Every Second Counts for URI Student-Athlete Aidan Kindopp

Aidan Kindopp (wearing glasses) and Kellen Waters (left) scored points for URI in the 1,000-meter run at the Atlantic 10 Indoor Championship. (Photo by Mike Scott)
Indoor Championship - Atlantic 10
Aidan Kindopp ran the leadoff leg for URI’s distance medley relay team at the Atlantic 10 Indoor Championship. (Photo – Rafael Suanes / Atlantic 10)

By Neil Nachbar

As a distance runner on the University of Rhode Island cross country and track & field teams, Aidan Kindopp is fast and efficient with every stride.

As a dual major in chemical engineering and French, through URI’s International Engineering Program, Kindopp is just as judicious with his time.

“Being an engineer and a student-athlete has taught me invaluable time management skills,” said Kindopp, who is in his fourth year at URI. “To balance the two time-consuming commitments, I’ve had to be productive with my free time, especially in the evenings and on the weekends.”

Aidan Kindopp Atlantic 10 Outdoor Championship
Aidan Kindopp, picture here at the Atlantic 10 Outdoor Championship, has stayed ahead of the pack due to his hard work and time management. (Photo – Keith Lucas / Atlantic 10)

Cross country and track meets don’t usually conflict with Kindopp’s classes, as most meets take place on the weekends. But whenever the Keene, New Hampshire, native expects to be away from campus for a competition, he plans accordingly.

“Our coaches and captains stress the importance of communicating with our professors to make a plan on how to get notes that we miss or schedule alternate times to take quizzes or exams,” said Kindopp. “The coaches emphasize that we are student-athletes and academics must come first. That mindset has helped me succeed academically and athletically.” 

Kindopp’s coaches are pleased with how he’s handled a demanding schedule.

“We preach to our guys that they must make normal what they perceive to be difficult,” said Brian Doyle, assistant coach of the men’s cross country and track & field teams at URI. “Aidan is a great example, because he fills his schedule with the most challenging course load, while running more than 70 miles per week. Sometimes that means he’s busy from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., but he never complains or makes excuses.”

Excelling academically

Aidan Kindopp at Future Leaders Symposium
Selected to attend the Future Leaders in Chemical Engineering Symposium, Aidan Kindopp shared his research with his peers from around the country. (Photo courtesy of Aidan Kindopp)

For the past three years, Kindopp has worked in the URI NanoBio Engineering Laboratory under Associate Professor Daniel Roxbury.

“With his time management skills, intellect, and motivation, Aidan continues to amaze me,” said Roxbury. “Scheduling conflicts do arise with athletics, but Aidan does his best to bring them to my attention and plan his experiments accordingly.”

Kindopp had his first peer-reviewed research paper published in April 2022. The article, which he co-authored with Roxbury and other URI students, appeared in the American Chemical Society’s Applied Materials & Interfaces. The topic was related to how single-walled carbon nanotubes function. He’s in the process of writing a second article for submission.

This fall, Kindopp had an opportunity to share his research with peers from all over the country when he attended the Future Leaders in Chemical Engineering Symposium at North Carolina State University.

“That was a prestigious achievement for Aidan, as the symposium brings together the top chemical engineering undergraduates in the nation for research presentations and networking,” said Roxbury. 

Kindopp was one of 24 students to attend the event. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, Princeton University, and Northeastern University were a few of the other universities represented.

Being a good teammate

Aidan Kindopp at Bryant
Aidan Kindopp at an outdoor track meet at Bryant University. (Photo by Mike Scott)

Just as Kindopp’s dedication to his research has led to recognition for himself and his fellow students in the lab, his commitment on the track has resulted in similar success.

The indoor track & field team won its second straight Atlantic 10 Conference Championship last February, with Kindopp racking up points in two events, the distance medley relay and the individual 1,000-meter run.

“My greatest achievement in track was my performance at the 2022 Atlantic 10 Indoor Track & Field Championship,” said Kindopp. “I led off the distance medley relay team which finished third, then I placed fourth in my individual event, the 1,000 meters, which ended up being a fast race. Contributing by scoring points was super important to me and made winning the team championship even more special.”

Having a great mentor

Kellen Waters and Aidan Kindopp
Kellen Waters (right) took Aidan Kindopp under his wing as a fellow distance runner and engineering student. (Photo – Rafael Suanes / Atlantic 10)

When Kindopp came to URI for his official visit as a prospective Division I student-athlete in his senior year in high school, he stayed on campus with Kellen Waters, a freshman biomedical engineering student at URI, who was also a distance runner.

“Kellen’s charisma and positive personality were huge reasons why I finally decided to commit to URI,” said Kindopp. “I figured if most engineers at URI were like him, I would be in a perfect academic community for myself, and I was right.”

In the three years they were teammates on the track team, Waters made a point of taking Kindopp under his wing.

“He helped me become who I am today because he understood the dedication required to be an engineer and a track athlete,” said Kindopp. 

Waters, who graduated from URI in May and is pursuing a doctorate in biomedical engineering at the University of Colorado, recalled the immediate connection he made with Kindopp and the advice he provided.

“Our friendship started the day we met, relating to one another’s passion for academics, just as much as track and field,” said Waters. “I remember telling him during his visit to URI that the most important factor in choosing a college was the people he was going to surround himself with and whether he clicked with the student-athletes at each of his official college visits.”

Doyle noted that pairing Kindopp and Waters benefited each of them.

“Kellen had a great impact on Aidan, just as Aidan had on Kellen,” said Doyle. “Kellen had great self-confidence, which has since influenced his former teammate. As Aidan has matured, he has become more assured of himself, both as a student and as a runner. This newfound conviction is well-deserved and will lead to even greater success on the track this season.”

Saying au revoir

Kindopp’s athletic career will at URI will end after the spring 2022 semester, but his academic career will continue. He will study in France for his fifth year of the International Engineering Program.

“I chose to go abroad my fifth year instead of my fourth, which is more typical, so that I could complete the four years of my running career uninterrupted,” he said.

While in France, Kindopp will apply to graduate schools, where he plans to earn a doctorate in chemical engineering or bioengineering. He’ll undoubtedly employ the lessons he learned at URI in his next endeavor.