Student Highlight: Connor Lynch ’17

Hi there! I’m Eimi (pronounced ‘Amy’) and I’m your correspondent for Student Highlight this year, a column dedicated to highlighting the scholars who attend this institution. While I’ve deduced that there’s no ‘typical’ Brown student, I hope to share a small glimpse into the wonderful and diverse individuals of this community.

Name: Connor Lynch

Hometown: Sarasota, FL

Concentration: Astrophysics

What classes are you taking this semester? Design of Space Systems (ENGN 1760), Planetary Geology (GEOL 0810), Undergraduate Research in Physics (PHYS 1980)

Favorite class thus far? Mars, Moon, and the Earth (GEOL 0050) with Professor James Head. The class, which I took at the beginning of my sophomore year, helped me to discover my interest in planetary science and geology. Human exploration of space is really my big passion, and it’s an exciting time to study it! The eventual goal is to become an astronaut. I also enjoy the Planetary Geology (GEOL 0810) course that I’m currently taking with Professor Ralph Milliken. He’s on the science team of the Mars Science Laboratory, and the class looks at how life could’ve existed on Mars and which bodies in our solar system might support life now. It’s cool to learn about the bodies of the solar system and astrobiology by involving a variety of different scientific disciplines like chemistry, biology, and physics.

What do you do on or off campus? I’m captain of the NCAA Varsity Golf Team here and founded SEDS (Students for the Exploration and Development of Space) to cultivate a community for students interested in space science. I’m also active within the Physics DUG and the Physics Department, where I’ve helped to refine the introductory sequence of classes and draft their Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan. It’s nice to try and get as many people involved with Physics as possible, and having a good support group is key to sticking with it. I’m doing research on particle astrophysics and the upcoming LZ Dark Matter Experiment, which basically tests very sensitive light sensors. Most of the universe is made of dark matter but we don’t really know what it actually is, and the research hopes to figure that out to learn more about the structure of the universe.

Favorite place/ study spot? The Quiet Green. You can see down the hill into Providence while being surrounded by nice, historic buildings. It’s a quiet, nice, and green space.

Favorite Brown memory or experience? I gave a 45-minute presentation during Professor James Head’s research meeting on the research I had conducted over Christmas break in Utah for a month about Mars. It was cool to take part in that research and simulate working in Mars at a desert research station, but it was even more gratifying to be able to share it with the Brown community, including students and members of SEDS, and generate Mars exploration interest.

Why Brown? I began my college search by looking for places to play golf and eventually got recruited here, but I knew I needed more than just that to thrive. What cemented my decision to attend Brown over many other schools was its community; the school really is unmatched in terms of the support people give each other. Brown is nice because it retains a college campus feel while having access to a city like Providence. The Open Curriculum is also key in exploring and really allowed me to find my passion in astrophysics. Nobody really knows what they want to do when they first enter college, and I think it’s a great way for students to test out their academic options.

Know someone who should be featured or want to get in touch with a highlighted student? Send me an email at!


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