Stephen Coutu ’24

“My time with the honors program has given me the immersion with the community at URI that I was not getting in my other classes. It allowed me to find other students who are driven and curious who also want to do something more in life.”
What was your Major(s) and year of graduation?

I am an English and Psychology double major in addition to being an honor student. I will be graduating in the spring of 2024.

Why did you choose URI?

I am a transfer student from CCRI but I also grew up in Rhode Island. While attending CCRI I learned of the programs that assist students in transfer from CCRI to URI. At that time I didn’t know if I would actually make it through CCRI and receive a degree, so any idea of being accepted or enrolling in URI was still a dream. But growing up and living in this state it is impossible to not see the influence of URI in the communities, that influence seemed to work itself into my hopes and dreams without me consciously realizing. So when the opportunity finally arose for me to think about transferring I didn’t think of any other school but URI.

What do you plan to do post graduation?

I am currently looking into graduate schools for clinical psychology programs and I hope that I will be accepted into a program after graduation. In the event that I am not immediately accepted into graduate school, which is very common for clinical psychology programs, I intend to find a postbac position to further my research experience in order to become an even stronger candidate for clinical programs in the following cycle. I’m also planning a celebratory vacation with my wife because 2024 will mark 20 years since I graduated high school and to be finally receiving my undergraduate degree is truly something for me to celebrate.

How are you involved in life at URI?

Being a nontraditional student, and a transfer student, I have had a unique experience becoming involved with life at URI. As a nontraditional student I am typically much older than most of my peers in my classes, and I also bring a wealth of life experiences that set me apart from those same peers. Despite these inherent differences, my involvement with the the honors program, the STRESS Lab, the psychology research lab here at URI where I currently work with other undergraduates, and joining the honors advisory council, have all given me the opportunities to get to know and interact with other students from various backgrounds and experiences in new and exciting ways. Specifically, each of my classes with Dr. Murphy where we were involved in discussions, groups projects, or peer editing, these classes pushed me to interact and get to know other students in ways above and beyond that of a normal class. The honors classes overall, and my involvement in the research lab and the advisory council have also given me extensive opportunities to become more engaged with the community at URI in a capacity that I would not have experienced otherwise.

How has the honors program supported/ equipped you as a student?

My time with the honors program has given me the immersion with the community at URI that I was not getting in my other classes. It allowed me to find other students who are driven and curious who also want to do something more in life. These encounters and like-minded individuals helped me find the academic atmosphere that I was hoping to find when I first enrolled at URI but had not seen in the majority of my normal major classes.

What do you hope to get out of your honors experience?

When I entered into the honors program I wasn’t expecting anything other than some very interesting classes. Now, after taking the bulk of my classes and only having the honors project left to complete, I am hoping to gain further conviction to pursue a clinical psychology degree, and I am looking forward to having a venue to present my research findings for my honors project. This research project, in many ways, will be the unofficial culmination of what I have learned here at URI in psychological research and my overall development as student and I am beyond excited to see this part of my time here through to fruition.

What would you tell students thinking about the Honors program to help them prepare?

Explore, dive in and ask questions. See what is out there for you to find. My experiences and memories in the honors program are going to be what stick with me as I continue forward. There is so much more to a collegiate experience than just taking classes to fulfill requirements, and the honors classes and program are a great first step into what the university has to offer for its students. Also early registration is awesome!