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MIT to the power of three: Science-driven triplets head to college

From left, Chris, Claire, and Edward Goul at their last day of class at Sage Hill High School


(Henry DaMour)

Growing up, science had always been a bond for the Goul triplets: Edward, Claire and Chris. Now their connection and passion for the subject will take all three 18-year-olds to MIT in fall for their first year of college.

“They’re all very driven in the sciences, sports and everything else they do,” their mother Karen Thorp said.

Edward plans to study math and physics. Claire plans to study biology and computer science. Chris plans to study electrical engineering.

Their grandfather Edward Thorp, a former math professor at MIT, would spend time doing various science experiments with the triplets. Claire considered him someone to look up to while growing up.


“We’ve always had a close relationship,” Claire said. “He had a telescope I would use late at night in his house to learn about astronomy. He’d also teach us math problems whenever we’d go out to dinner.”

Although the three all took an interest in science as children, they found their own paths within the subject over time. Chris, who is the youngest triplet, is considered the inventor of the family.

“He collects spare parts and loves to manufacture things,” Karen Thorp said. “He’s built rockets and is working on a bow and arrow now. He event built me a kitchen knife one time.”

Thorp graduated from UC Irvine and Loyola Law School and is a lawyer, her husband Richard Goul is a judge who graduated from USC and Loyola Law. They live in Newport Coast.


The couple took the trio on their first college trip to MIT in February of their sophomore year in high school. During their visit, the family took a tour of the school’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research.

The tour was led by Anne Deconinck, the institute’s executive director.

“Our kids had so many questions for her during the tour and really took an interest in it,” Thorp said. “By the end, she asked if they were interested in an internship there. After that, the kids said they didn’t need to look at any other colleges.”

The following summer, the three interned in the institute’s lab for two months. They were mentored by MIT professors and graduate students.

“At that time, we became really connected to the school and loved the environment there,” Claire said.

At the beginning of their senior year, the three decided to apply to additional colleges such as Stanford, Harvard and various UC schools. But MIT remained their first choice.

The day they received their online college acceptance letters, Edward and Thorp were on a plane while Chris and Claire were at their family’s home. Chris and Claire promised to open their letters together at home. Edward could not wait for the plane to land so he could check on his phone.

Once he and Thorp landed, Edward called his siblings and they all shared the good news.


Edward says he is ready to start this next chapter with his two siblings.

“I’ve lived my whole life in Southern California,” Edward said. “I’m excited to meet a ton of other people who are equally interested in math, science and engineering. I’m ready to try new things, learn new things and grow.”