Rhody track athlete wins the biggest race of career — and it’s not on the track

Kindopp was awarded the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship alongside two other URI students on April 10.

The University of Rhode Island’s men’s track and field student athlete Aidan Kindopp was awarded the Goldwater Scholarship on April 10th. His work on Nanobiotechonology Engineering research in the Roxbury Lab at the University led him to this scholarship. 

 Kindopp is a fourth-year at the University of Rhode Island and has been working towards his degree in chemical engineering while on the pharmaceutical track and french individualized education plan. Two other students, third-year chemical engineering major Camila Cersosimo and third-year mathematical science and business major Morgan Prior have all received the 2023 Goldwater Scholarships. This scholarship focuses on undergraduate students that are studying and planning on research careers in either natural sciences, mathematics, or engineering. In accordance with his outstanding academic performance, Kindopp has also been a member of the men’s track and field team.   

Kindopp has been working in the labs at the University of Rhode Island since his second year at the school. His passion and interest in biology is what motivated him to get more involved in becoming an undergraduate researcher. Some of the factors, such as the data analysis, is part of what he said  pushed him to be more involved in wanting to learn about the field he is working towards being a part of. 

On the athletic side of his college career, he has been competing in track and field meets all four years. His first year in high school was where he got his start as a long distance runner. As a student athlete for the past four years, Kindopp has learned how to balance his schedule between his two passions. He explained that in order to work through his schedule, he has learned over his years at the university that he sometimes has to work in the lab early in the morning to have time to attend his track and field practices later in the day.  

Kindopp highlighted that even with his full schedule, he still found time to clock more hours in the lab than he was required to. 

“I was really proud when I found out I was going to receive the scholarship,” Kindopp said. “It made all the time spent in the lab worth it.”  

Throughout both his academic and athletic career, Kindopp pointed out he has been fortunate enough to have several people in his life that have greatly influenced him over the years. One of those people was his younger brother Torrin. Kindopp was a fourth-year in high school when his younger brother was a first-year in high school and they both were on the cross country team together. He described his experience on the team with his brother as a typical competitive experience between siblings. However, he went on to add that it was the type of competition where they both made each other stronger rather than tore each other apart. 

He emphasized the influence his brother had on him from the very start of their cross country season. 

“Cross country season he was motivated,” Kindopp said. “Having him on my heels for the last four years of my life has been a big motivation for me.” 

His younger brother, who would be in his first year in college this year, decided to join the military instead. Kindopp expressed that seeing all the milestones his brother is making in his own life, such as following his own dream of joining the military, have been a true inspiration for the life that Kindopp has made for himself at the University of Rhode Island.  

Another strong figure in Kindopp’s life that has been a guide for him in the past couple of years is his long distance coach on the track team. Brian Doyle, the men’s track and field team assistant coach, became a part of the University’s track team back in 2020. Since then has offered Kindopp with advice that he plans to use throughout his final stretch of his undergraduate career. 

Doyle expressed to Kindopp the importance of having fun with the sport and enjoying the process of it all. According to Kindopp, he might not have had the best outdoor season last year, however he indicated that he came back in his last year ready to just enjoy the training this time around. He stressed the positive attitude he has kept up with throughout his final year on the team. Even with the people in his life who have greatly influenced him, he too made significant impressions over the course of his time as a student athlete.

 Head men’s track and field coach Trent Baltzell did not hesitate to praise the hard work Kindopp has shown as a student athlete. 

“He is incredibly intelligent,” Baltzell said. “On the team, he is a verbal leader, and extremely supportive of his teammates.”  

During the application process to be considered for the Goldwater Scholarship, Kindopp ran into a few bumps in the road along the way. He initially applied last year but unfortunately did not receive the scholarship during that year. Instead of giving up altogether, Kindopp decided to try again and use that new window of time to make his application stronger for it to be reconsidered this past year.   

As Kindopp’s final year at the University of Rhode Island comes to a close, he has finished off his college career as a student athlete on a high note. The prestigious Goldwater Scholarship that has been awarded to him illustrates a milestone in his life from his hard work over his years at the university.