Spotlight on Natural Sciences Alumni: Ben Corwin

Name:: Ben Corwin
Age: 23
Occupation: Teacher
Education (UR and additional)::  undergrad and grad school at University of Rochester.
Current city/state of residence: Chicago, IL
Community activities: Working for the Obama for America campaign.

Why did you choose to attend the University of Rochester?

The lack of required courses; I really liked the cluster system. This system allowed me to only take classes I enjoyed and to develop a program that was tailored to my academic passions.

When and how did you choose your major?

I was an oddity (it’s OK to come in not knowing what you want, and to use your freshman year to explore and see what you like); I came to the U of R with the intentions of majoring in mathematics, minoring in statistics, and doing a cluster in linguistics. This slowly developed into a double major in math and statistics and a minor in linguistics. Because of the lack of required courses, I soon realized I could turn them all into majors and so I left with a triple major (dual degrees): BS applied math and BAs in linguistics and statistics.

What activities were you involved in as a student and what did you gain from them?

I spent four years working for the Interpres Yearbook, from sophomore year through my graduating year. There’s no denying that developing a yearbook is a dying art and I am proud to say that I revitalized the creation of one at the U of R. Working for the yearbook, I perfected many skills, including office work (making phone calls, organizing, answering emails, creating spreadsheets, etc.) and artistic work (performing interviews, creating ads, taking pictures, etc.)

What resources did you use on campus that you recommend current students use?

The career center–go there early and often. Develop a relationship with a career counselor as soon as you can so he or she gets to know you and can help you as much as possible. You go to college to get a job in a field you want so use the career center to jumpstart that process.

What skills, tools, or knowledge from your major have been most useful to you since graduation?

Each of my majors has contributed to my post-graduate life in its own ways. My math major developed my critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Linguistics has given me insight into how language and communication work (something we do every day without thinking about it). Majoring in statistics provided me with a deep understanding of how numbers and statistics work, (again, something we see everywhere around us but without giving it a second thought).

How are you still connected with the University?

I’m currently in Chicago, IL, where I am in contact with the regional director. In fact, I’m meeting him for lunch tomorrow to discuss my conducting interviews for prospective students this December. I am very excited to be contributing to the U of R in this manner.

What advice do you have for current students?

Work hard but also enjoy your time at the U of R. Explore the city of Rochester by going to different places and events (I unfortunately didn’t start doing this until grad school). And for the future, try to get some work experience in your desired field on top of the superb academics that the U of R provides.