Student Perspective: Q&A With Vincent Turnier


By Lisa Stiepock, UConn Magazine
This Q & A originally appeared in UConn Magazine

Why did you choose to come to UConn?
I wanted to go to a school where there’s a lot of school spirit, where kids really love their school.

Has it met those expectations?
Oh, yes! Anywhere you go and see someone who goes to UConn it’s an instant connection. My parents say it’s like I’ve joined a cult. They used to tease me about it more. Now when I talk to my dad he’s like, “Go UConn!”

How was the transition from Port-au-Prince to Storrs?
I did not think winter was going to be that cold — compared to 90-degree weather all the time! No, but the biggest difference is you have a lot more opportunities here. So many more, compared to Haiti. Here, if I’m motivated to do something, I’m sure I’ll find people who can help me and who will push me to do it.

Did anything else about campus surprise you?
It’s so big. In Haiti you know everyone; it’s easy to talk to people. Here you can meet someone one day and never see them again. It’s harder to make friends. So now I’m more open to everything. I’ve learned not to wait for people to come to me. I have to make it happen.

Have you always been interested in engineering?
Always. I’ve always loved engineering. As a kid I would take my gifts apart — like electric cars — and make something else out of them. When I got older and stopped getting gifts, I got into coding. So the only question is, what kind of engineer will I be? For a while I was moving from electrical to civil, but now I’m back to electrical. I want to design an electric car. I can’t discuss the details, but it will be different from anything out there now.

I’m always building things. When I was 15 or 16, I asked my dad what I could do to help the family, and he said he had some beekeeping stuff. So I started raising bees, making honey. And then I found other beekeepers and started a cooperative.

It sounds like you’re interested in business, too.
I did the [School of Business] Innovation Quest. It was a great experience finding so many people who think alike.

Innovation Quest matches students who have ideas with mentors who can help them. What was your idea?
I’m working on a website that helps student entrepreneurs find the tools and people to help them create something. It’s called COSUP, for college start-up.

Name a favorite class.
Economics 1200. I love it. It makes you think a different way. I feel like I can apply it to everything. We had a lesson in opportunity cost, and I’ve already started being more efficient. For instance, I changed the routes I took to classes today.

Will you go back to Haiti after graduation?
Yes, of course. This is what motivates me. I want to be able to help the people of Haiti. I’ll continue beekeeping and work to expand agricultural growth. That’s what the country needs. Engineering is to accomplish my dream. Agriculture is to help people.

Categories: Agriculture, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Civil Engineering, Front Page, Headline, Momentum