Tyler Cote, Political Science & Criminal Justice
“I accomplished more than I could have imagined when I walked in here.”
Tyler Cote came to college for more than a degree.
He wanted hands-on learning opportunities - and the chance to do something meaningful.
"I wanted to leave knowing I made an impact on other people," he says. "I accomplished more than I could have imagined when I walked in here."
But he achieved so much more. He co-authored a book chapter
on the role of Twitter in the 2016 presidential election, as well as an academic paper
on the psychology of the pro-Trump movement's rhetoric, working one-on-one with Assoc. Prof. Morgan Marietta
, thanks to a pair of Honors College research fellowships
He also co-founded a nonprofit, Operation250
, that won third place in the international P2P: Countering Extremism
competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Facebook.
Op250, which educates students, parents and teachers about the recruitment tactics of violent extremist organizations, was started by Cote and other interns at the university's Center for Terrorism and Security Studies
, where they were advised by the center's director, Asst. Prof. Neil Shortland
Thanks to the DifferenceMaker and P2P prize money, some grants and generous donations, Cote, who graduated in December 2017, is now Op250's first full-time employee. Even before graduation, as Op250's education director, Cote went into schools, including Drury High School in North Adams, Mass., and the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth in Baltimore, where he used hands-on activities to teach critical thinking skills and online safety.
"Sitting in a classroom with sixty 12-year-olds and talking about what hate means, that's not an opportunity a lot of college students get," says Cote, who eventually plans to earn a Ph.D. in psychology with a focus on terrorism.
"As I move forward, I can't overstate the impact that UMass Lowell made on me and the opportunities the university gave me."