Chris Bancroft ’08, ’G10
Electrical Engineering, master’s degree student
Carroll County, N.H.
Growing up on a tree farm, Chris Bancroft learned how to fix all manner of equipment—generators, tractors, etc. He also learned a lot about trees.
“I got interested in UNH when I came down to visit my brother, who was majoring in computer science,” says Bancroft. “I just liked the campus. It was the right size, and there was still a lot of open space.”
Bancroft’s undergraduate career has ranged from microbiology to computer engineering to electrical engineering. As an undergraduate in electrical engineering, he did research on neural interfaces and adapting a wheelchair to be controlled with brain waves. In addition, he worked with the Department of Occupational Therapy and Northeast Passage, a University program that delivers disability-related health promotion and adapted sports programs throughout New England. Working with these programs, Bancroft and a team of students created simple adaptive technologies for use by a quadriplegic woman.
“UNH is not just a state school,” says Bancroft. “The research opportunities here are exceptional.”
After graduating in electrical engineering, Bancroft decided to gear up for medical school and stayed on at UNH to complete the premed courses. While completing those courses, he worked with faculty member Vaughn Cooper on genetic research. To pay the bills, he tutored undergraduates in physics and precalculus. He also volunteered at Frisbee Hospital in Rochester.
When electrical engineering professor John LaCourse offered Bancroft a teaching assistantship and the opportunity to earn a master’s degree, Bancroft accepted.
The focus of Bancroft’s two-year master’s degree is neurology and control systems. “My goal is at some point to integrate the two and work on neurological control systems or neural prostheses,” says Bancroft.
Whether Bancroft continues in electrical engineering or goes on to medical school, he will undoubtedly make valuable professional contributions.
But Bancroft emphasizes: “One of the best things about UNH is the social experience. I’ve met people here that will be lifelong friends.”