Person to Watch
Published: Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 22:02
Kevin Coughlin graduated from Boston College in 2009 with a B.A. in Political Science. While at BC, he participated in Model United Nations and the Fulton Debating Society. He also studied abroad during the entirety of his junior year at the London School of Economics.
Since graduating from BC, Coughlin has been working extensively in the field of education. Coughlin’s interest in education reform was sparked initially during his high school years. In fact, during his senior year of high school in 2005 in Hamden, Connecticut, Coughlin remembers spending much of his art class helping one of his peers with math homework.
“It was math that I had done in seventh grade, and this kid was supposed to get the same diploma as me, and it just showed that the education system had just failed him,” said Coughlin according to a Hamden Schools Beat blog post. “I think it’s important to have an environment that encourages you, and an environment that supports you. I think when you’re in a school that doesn’t have that environment, you have to do that yourself, and I think that’s a very tall task for any teacher.
Following this passion, Coughlin received his masters in education from Fordham University while volunteering with Teach for America. In this capacity, he taught 7th grade social studies for two years in South Bronx, NY. He also worked at an afterschool tutoring program and coached the school’s floor hockey team. During the 2010 election season, he worked on congresswoman Carolyn Maloney’s re-election campaign as a Deputy Field Director. He also briefly served as a researcher at Excel Bridgeport, a movement to ensure that all children in Bridgeport, Connecticut have an opportunity to attain a world-class education that prepares them for college by collaborating with students, parents, teachers, community members, and policy makers.
In October 2011, Coughlin joined Students for Education Reform (SFER), a nonprofit whose goal is to empower students as stakeholders in the education system and connect them with tools to advocate for change. SFER supports college students who wish to create university-sponsored student groups to bring awareness of the issue to their respective campuses.
He served as the Connecticut Program Director from October 2011 to November 2012. In this role, he facilitated the SFER chapter leaders coordinate their efforts around the state while connecting them with stakeholder groups in Connecticut that are working towards similar goals in education policy.
“Despite being home to some of the best public schools in the country, our state has the largest achievement gap in the United States,” said Coughlin in a blog post on conncan.org. “As the Connecticut Program Director for SFER, I support the impressive student leaders at the helm of our Connecticut SFER chapters as they elevate student voice.”
Coughlin has recently begun his new position as the Director of State Initiatives at SFER, a position he has occupied for four months.