Megan Boyer and Sarah Robbins, valedictorian and salutatorian respectively of Manchester High School’s Class of 2014, have marked many milestones together. Now the two friends are following similar, yet divergent paths, as incoming freshmen in UConn’s Class of 2018.
Friends since middle school, both have ambitious plans for medical careers and are eager to continue their education. They’re in good company, joining just over 500 other incoming high-achieving students entering UConn’s Honors Program. Both enter the University with a number of college credits from AP courses and UConn Early College Experience courses taken in high school. Both are also among some 80 new Honors students choosing a course of study in UConn’s STEM programs: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
Boyer wants to major in biological sciences with a pre-medical track and a goal of becoming a pediatrician. Robbins plans to major in pathobiology, then on to medical school to specialize in infectious diseases and eventually work on developing vaccines.
“I never took my class rank for granted, so having my hard work recognized was so satisfying,” says Boyer of being selected as valedictorian.
Challenging herself by taking seven AP courses in high school along the way, she discovered a fascination for anything science-related. “There’s something so rewarding about investigation and discovery, which definitely keeps the subject from becoming boring,” Boyer says.
As a sophomore, Boyer channeled her interest in science into what became a three-year biomechanical research study into the risks of injury to teenage female recreational runners. Months of collecting data, performing calculations, and analysis eventually paid off. Placing third at the Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair, Boyer’s study earned her a trip in May to the nation’s most prestigious pre-college science competition, INTEL. And, she was the only high school student accepted to attend the the Northeast Bioengineering Conference in Boston.
“They were shocked that I even applied to present,” Boyer recalls of the college-level competition. “I’m now published in their conference proceedings. The whole experience was worth it, and I’m even more eager to do research at UConn.”
Robbins participated in varsity swimming, indoor track, and outdoor track throughout high school, and was named the CIAC Scholar Athlete and JI Fall Scholar Athlete in her senior year.
Also a member of her school’s Quiz Bowl Team, president of the Manchester High School National Honor Society chapter, first chair clarinet in the school band, and part-time employee at Munson’s Chocolates, she challenged herself academically in math, science, and history.
Balancing extracurricular and academic activities, “I learned how to be highly organized,” she says. “It required a lot of time management. You learn to be patient.” When she was named salutatorian, Robbins recalls her excitement to see that it all paid off.
When it came to decide which college to attend, say Boyer and Robbins, the decision came down to the caliber of preparation that UConn could provide for their career aspirations.
“Pathobiology is not exactly a field that a lot of schools have either as a major or even offer courses in,” Robbins notes. “I was really excited that UConn has an entire department dedicated to the field.”
Says Boyer, “I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else.”
A glimpse of the paths that three other top high-school graduates took to UConn:
New Jersey’s Butler High School Class of 2014 salutatorian, Bryan Glock, has plans to pursue a biological sciences degree at UConn. While he’s always had a gift for academics, Glock said that graduating at the top of his class was never necessarily his goal: “My goals have always been just to work hard in order to better prepare myself for college and the future.” A lifelong resident of Butler, Glock’s favorite subjects are chemistry and biology.
Amisha Dave, the Newtown High School Class of 2014 salutatorian, participated in her school’s Student Government, National Honor Society, served as captain of the school’s math team, and ran for the school’s track team her freshman and sophomore years. Her favorite subjects are math and science. Amisha will be starting studies in an eight-year medical program.
William Corey Moore, the New Haven Notre Dame High School Class of 2014 salutatorian, was selected as a Day of Pride and Honors Scholar, and has a four-year scholarship to attend UConn. The Senior Class Vice-President, member of the National Honor Society, Spanish Club, and a Senior Peer Counselor in the Minority Student Union, Moore was also on the basketball team and involved with the New Haven NAACP Youth Group. He was also guest speaker at New Haven Police Department functions, including the swearing in of the city’s newest police officers in December.