Students discover career passions at UConn startup program

Published on Sunday, 6 August 2017 22:14
Written by Charles Paullin

Staff Writer

NEW BRITAIN - Two students from central Connecticut are getting real world experience while pursuing careers in their fields of interest.

Ethan Cope, of Kensington, and George Andrews, of Terryville, recently participated in the University of Connecticut-Technology Incubation Program (TIP) Summer Immersion Fellowship Program.

“It’s not your usual experience, there’s a lot more put on to you,” said Cope, who, in June, earned his Master of Science degree in Microsystems Analysis, before beginning dental school at UConn, in pursuit of a career as a dentist.

“Because it was with a small startup, you were exposed to so many different fields,” said Andrews, who is a rising junior majoring in biomedical engineering.

The 10-week program, consisting of 18 students, who are sponsored by their respective academic home departments, and based out of the Cell and Genome Sciences Building of the UConn health facility in Farmington, works by pairing Connecticut startup companies with UConn undergraduates, graduate and recent graduates.

“When you’re in kind of a startup environment, and there’s less people in the company, you might be doing a lot more than what you initially expected,” said Cope. “You kind of open your mind and explore opportunities more openly.”

Cope worked with Oral Fluid Dynamics and tested how sterilization affected a membrane flux and salt rejection for a unique medical device that he wasn’t allowed to go into specifics on because the product is still in early stages of development. This meant coordinating the effort to procure membranes from Yale University, testing them on the variable sterilization methods and then returning them to Yale to study the findings.

“I never thought I might go into sales but now I may,” said Andrews.

Andrews worked with Avitus Orthopedics in the sales department coordinating the marketing effort and scheduling meetings with doctors to discuss the distribution of a unique bone harvesting device. This involved taking a trip to Johns Hopkins University in Maryland to test the product and learning the process of cold calling doctors to sell the product.

Throughout the program, seminars are held to discuss different successes. The day culminated with a Research Day at the headquarters where MaryJane Rafii, a leader in the biotech industry, gave a keynote speaking presentation.

“It’s really important to understand you have to give your things away, you have to move them into something that can be accepted as a business in order to get that innovation out to patients,” said Carrier, founding director of the program from six years ago as a way to teach students the entrepreneurial aspect and bring startups fresh minds, and heard nothing but positive things of Cope and Andrews experiences.

Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or

Posted in The Bristol Press, General News, Plymouth on Sunday, 6 August 2017 22:14. Updated: Sunday, 6 August 2017 22:16.