Hometown: Hopewell Jct., N.Y.
WCSU Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry
Activities: Work fulltime as a senior analyst for Columbia Analytical Services
HONORS AND AWARDS:Carl and Ruth Denison Award for Outstanding Senior
Thomas Coyne received an Associate of Science in Computer Science degree from Dutchess Community College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. in 1994. He transferred those credits to WCSU and after eight years of part-time night classes, Coyne is about to receive his Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry from WestConn.
Coyne explains how he managed to make it happen. "For a working adult continuing education, scheduling is an obstacle. WestConn offers an availability of classes day or evening that allows the part-time student to progress every semester, around the work schedule, while offering a strong program and access to state-of-the-art instrumentation."
Why chemistry? "Even as a kid, sciences were always my favorite subjects," Coyne explains. "I chose to study chemistry because of its relevance, marketability and diversity of applications."
When thinking about what helped him achieve his goals, Coyne says, "I could not have achieved this without the support of Dr. Russ Selzer, Dr.Yu-Fong Yen and Dr. Yuan Mei-Ratiff. Pursuing a degree while working full time requires a certain degree of multi-tasking that demands determination and focus to remain consistent over the long term. Their progressive and receptive attitude creates an atmosphere of availability that gave me confidence and made my goals attainable."
Asked what he will remember most about his WestConn experience, Coyne says, "There were times driving home from class when I was on top of the world from having some chemistry epiphany or sudden realization. But I would have to say my most memorable experience was giving my Senior Research Presentation. It was surreal to approach something that I was nervous about and that held a lot of weight for me, and then just drop my notes and speak comfortably as if it was second nature. I could see how I had evolved. It felt good.”
After graduation, Coyne says he intends to "keep the momentum, applying my degree to my career and continuing to
expand my chemistry knowledge and skills. On a personal level , I would like to spend
more time with my wife and family. My favorite pastime is playing the guitar and I am
looking forward to having more time to get back to it."
Coyne’s advice to new students entering WCSU is: “Dr. Chris once said before an Organic Chemistry lecture, 'It would behoove you to study this material with the mindset of retaining it for life.' He said that because chemistry builds upon itself; everything you learn is laying a foundation that is necessary for future studies. If you are a part-time student, work within your field. Stay positive. Take a huge accomplishment and reduce it to a two-step process — get started, follow through.”