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Brandon Hopkins ’05

Thursday, September 1, 2016

When did you come to Waterford and why did you choose Waterford as your school?
I came from 1st through 4th and then came back to complete 7th through 12th grade. My parents wanted the best for me, and they thought Waterford was the best in Utah.

What has been the most meaningful impact that Waterford has had on you?
One notable thing that comes to mind is the instruction I received on writing. I still use and refer to some materials I used at Waterford. I remember the phrase, “point, evidence, and explain” for organizing my writing. Even though I am a researcher and design engineer, I also have to be a part-time writer. If you aren’t a good writer, you don’t get grants and can’t get money to do the research you want to do.

What passions did you find at Waterford that you may not have discovered elsewhere (photo, theater, dance, robotics, birding, Shakespeare, ceramics, tennis, outdoor, lacrosse, etc.)?​
Probably my passion for all forms of visual and performing arts.

Did you have a favorite teacher or more than one? Why?
Many teachers had an impact on me. Some names that come to mind are Mr. Shaw, one of my chemistry teachers, and Mr. Ong, one of my art teachers. Mr. Shaw’s class was really, really entertaining and educational. I spent hours after school working on my AP art portfolio with Mr. Ong.

Did Waterford prepare you well for college and life beyond?
I can say I probably had to work less in college than I did in high school.

Where did you go to college?
Harvard University. I then went to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for my Master’s degree. I am currently in a Ph.D. program, also at MIT.​

What culminating experience(s) helped you select a career?
I initially thought I wanted to go into physics after leaving Waterford. I loved physics classes, but once I started doing physics research in college, I realized I didn’t really like what physicists actually had to do. I also wanted to somehow incorporate my visual art talents. I wanted to be an inventor/artist, sort of like Leonardo Da Vinci. At the time, Waterford didn’t have any engineering classes. I took a few design engineering classes in college and realized product design was the closest profession that matched my passions for the sciences, visual art, and business. My research has focused on energy storage and renewable energy.​

Where do you live now?
Cambridge, MA

Words to live by?
Be humble, kind, and don’t give up too quickly.