Having ET raises the bar for many important tasks Ezra Thomas has to perform as an aspiring electrical engineer at Merrimack College in North Andover, Maine. It interferes with manipulations of electrical components like inserting wires into breadboards. And surface-mount smoldering under a microscope “is challenging beyond words,” he said. But he remains a dedicated student. In fact, faculty members have expressed that he has exceeded their expectations.
“My work and commitment has impressed the chair of electrical engineering,” Thomas said. “He’s told others that he needs more students like me.”
Thomas’ ET is generational – both his mother and grandfather have it. For him, it began in high school. As a member of the First Robotics Team, he used his passion for engineering to construct and wire robots, even though his ET frequently interfered. His most frustrating times were conducting emergency repairs at the competitions.
Instead of stepping back and letting his ET manage his life, he has stepped out as a volunteer and mentor throughout high school and college. He has been a peer tutor for the Merrimack College iTEC Initiative, and a counselor since 2013 for robotic and build-your-own computer summer camps. He received the Maine Robotics Outstanding Volunteer Award. He was 1st Regional 2&3 State Student Government Representative when he was a student at Baxter Academy.
“I won’t let ET deter me,” Thomas said.