UConn ECE Alumni, Enlightened Scientist Politician
“It’s hard to know what you’re capable of until you push yourself,” Ed Courchaine told me with a pause, “…you can dial it back later when you reach your capacity.” As a verbal compass, Ed’s words ring true and honest; they are a great guide for any student and young professional. He is the living proof that hard work, embracing one’s passions, and also decidedly getting out of one’s comfort zone are a winning combination in life.
Ed Courchaine is the first UConn Early College Experience Alumni who we have profiled and it was a real pleasure to spend time getting to know him. Ed is a senior at UConn and straight-A student in Biophysics; a field that doesn’t suffer fools gladly. This summer he spent two months at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico. For the last two years he has been a research assistant with the Birge Research Group at Storrs, working on photosynthetic bacteria that live in salt water marshes.
If that were not enough, Ed is the President of University Student Government, as well as an active community member. No twin brothers, no trick photography; Ed pushes himself to capacity. But from what I can see, he hasn’t dialed back yet. He is a leader.
Ed came to UConn Fall 2010 with 37 UConn credits that he earned at Berlin High School through UConn ECE. He took almost every science, math, and statistics course we offered at the time as well as UConn freshman English.
“The ECE Program has given me the opportunity to try out different courses [at UConn] and get into my major courses quicker. It was a game changer.”
Ed is proud to have come to UConn with so many credits, which he says has allowed him to be both more focused and more well-rounded. He has taken courses outside his major due to personal interest and has taken the occasional semester with one less course. This is while actively participating in his fraternity, Phi Gamma Delta, and the public speaking club, which he started as a freshman.
During our conversation over coffee, I was truly struck by a man who leads by design and by example. In addition to the interview we had several fun side conversations concerning Syria, Spring Weekend, the building of a new recreational facility, as well as student enrollment at UConn. Ed is well-informed on most topics and lives a three dimensional life. He plans on applying to graduate school this year to a doctoral program. In the meantime, he will balance work, school, University politics, and his social life. Ed seems very easy going, but he certainly doesn’t go easy.
Ed’s advice to high school students and high school administrators is the same, “Encourage more classes.”
Brian A. Boecherer, UConn ECE