Honors Student Values Individualized Experiences at UConn

<p>Honors student David Lindsay at work in a chemistry lab. Photo by Lanny Nagler</p>
Honors student David Lindsay at work in a chemistry lab. Photo by Lanny Nagler

Honors student David Lindsay may be a science major, but at UConn he has taken saxophone lessons with no less than the dean of the School of Fine Arts.

An aspiring neurosurgeon, Lindsay met Dean David Woods during his first semester at UConn, while on an Honors Program trip to the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Lindsay asked Woods what opportunities the School of Fine Arts offers for students pursuing degrees in science. He told Woods that he had played piano and saxophone for many years and wanted to continue his passion in college.

The next day, he received an e-mail from the dean outlining music-related activities at UConn, including lessons with performing arts faculty. Much to Lindsay’s surprise, Woods wrote, “David, I was a saxophone major throughout all of my music work in undergraduate and graduate school and often teach saxophone lessons at the undergraduate level. I would be pleased to teach you once a week.”

Lindsay says he read the e-mail again to make sure he wasn’t imagining things but it was true, the dean of fine arts had just offered to give him private saxophone lessons.

Since then, he says, “Dean Woods has become an incredible mentor, teacher, and friend.”

The potential for individualized attention was part of what attracted him to UConn.

Lindsay, who holds a Coca-Cola Scholarship as well as two scholarships from UConn, applied to some of the top schools in the country.

“During my college decision-making process, I visited many schools,” he says. “The admissions officers’ approach was always the same; ‘You should come here because we are one of the best-recognized schools in the country.’ When I came to UConn’s open house, honors program director Lynne Goodstein said, ‘We want you to come here, because you are the best-recognized students in the country.’ That was a drastic change in tone. Once I realized the personal attention I would receive at UConn, I knew exactly where to send my check.”

Lindsay says UConn has delivered on the promise of student-centered education many times. During his first weekend at UConn, he met Jill Deans, director of national scholarships. Deans recommended steps he could take as a freshman to enhance his candidacy for national scholarships, such as the Rhodes and the Udall.

During his first semester, he worked in the lab of Professor John Enderle, head of the biomedical engineering department, searching for a suitable mathematical model for the forces involved in muscle movement. In his second semester, he worked in the lab of chemistry professor Challa Kumar, where he has begun his own research, supported by a grant from UConn’s Office of Undergraduate Research.

“In the Ivy League, I’d be splitting these opportunities with every other undergraduate,” says Lindsay, now in his sophomore year. “In UConn’s Honors Program, a more select group of students benefit.”