Courtney McEachon is an ISI all-star. A junior at Yale studying biomedical engineering, Courtney is a leader of Choose Life at Yale—proving that being a pro-life activist and an intellectual is not a contradiction. She has combated Yale’s hookup culture by forming the Anscombe Society, a student group affiliated with the national Love and Fidelity Network. She is also an officer in the Federalist Party, an ISI-sponsored conservative society in Yale’s Political Union. Courtney writes for the Christian magazine The Logos and for Light and Truth, a conservative publication sponsored by ISI’s Collegiate Network. For all her achievements, ISI recently awarded her the Richard and Helen DeVos Freedom Center Leadership Award.
ISI spoke with Courtney about her experience with ISI, her career goals, Rome, the pro-life movement, and more.
- How did you find out about ISI? What drew you to get involved in ISI's programming?
In the same way many blessings have come into my life, ISI was introduced to me by friendly invitation. During my freshman year, I was quickly absorbed into the conservative pocket of student organizations that included the Federalist Party in the Yale Political Union and Choose Life at Yale, the pro-life organization. Within the Federalist Party, I received countless recommendations to become involved with ISI from previous Honors Scholars, alumni of the party who now work for ISI, and other students involved in ISI’s programming. I applied for the Honors Program for the summer after my sophomore year and am thrilled to be a part of the 2013–14 class.
- If you had to choose one highlight of your undergraduate experience, what would it be?
The highlight of my undergraduate experience was a summer study-abroad trip to Rome during the summer of 2013. We live in a world so removed from ancient Rome. My adventure in Rome permanently changed me as a student. I experienced a city that was once filled with such dynamism because it was formed on the ideas of great philosophers and thinkers. I have a new profound respect for a classical education that for centuries has been nurturing leaders. The summer was not only a break from my usual engineering internships but also an epiphany about what education is and how we use our past to shape our future.
- What have you valued most about your ISI experience?
Of all of the fruits of ISI involvement, I value most highly the peers and professors I have met through the Honors Program and the Liberty Fund weekend seminars. The students and professors, plucked from their respective campuses to unite under the common goal of education and liberty, have been the source of much inspiration and conversation that could not be replicated elsewhere. As a science major, I appreciate the excuse to read the foundational texts of a liberal arts education that aren’t exactly assigned in organic chemistry.
- How have you spent your summers while in college?
After my freshman year, I spent ten weeks in a vascular biomedical engineering lab at Yale studying the chemokine composition of premetastatic niches in the secondary target areas of breast cancer metastasis. I spent my off-hours reading with a third-grade “little buddy,” who was seeking to improve her reading ability over the summer. After sophomore year, in addition to studying in Rome, I attended student conferences with the Love and Fidelity Network, Students for Life of America, and, of course, the ISI Honors Program. Amid travel, I dedicated myself to organizing Yale’s first annual pro-life conference, Vita et Veritas.
- Whom do you admire most, and why?
I admire a dear friend and alumna of Yale (and a former ISI Honors Scholar) who is now a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps, Isabel Marin. A senior when I began my Yale experience, Isabel taught me what it means to be a poised conservative woman and has inspired me to always ask good questions. She took time to pass on what she had learned at Yale, and she is responsible for much of my involvement in the Federalist Party and ISI. Trustworthy and intelligent, driven yet thoughtful, Miss Marin continues to be a role model for me.
- What advice would you give to other students who want to preserve the principles of liberty?
No one should have to be the lone conservative ranger on campus; everyone seeking the truth should find a group of like-minded friends who not only share values and first principles but also challenge each other to be better conservative intellectuals. Often these friends can be found fighting for the pro-life cause or regularly at church. From course selection to extracurricular involvement, friends are necessary to help you make the right decisions about your undergraduate education.
Connecting conservative students from schools across the country is what ISI does best. ISI provides not only educational support through its conferences and colloquia but also faculty support via its broad network of affiliated professors who are ready to guide students through their undergraduate life. The friends you will meet will be for a lifetime.
- What are your plans for after graduation?
I hope to attend medical school after graduation. I am an aspiring neonatologist, a doctor with the most precious patients. Neonatology is a profession closely related to the pro-life movement, which motivates and drives my greatest passion. I plan to be involved in pro-life work until we live in a world without abortion.