Area Graduates Make the Most of Their Time at Mount Union College

April 01, 2010

Competition is expected on the playing field but not usually evident or promoted in the classroom. Sean Trevino, a biochemistry major from Beloit, and Andy Smith, a chemistry major from Canton, used competition as a means to push each other to the top of their respective class.

Andy Smith and Sean Trevino

Trevino, who graduated summa cum laude with honors in biochemistry, was the recipient of the Louis A. Pappenhagen Prize, 2005 Alumni Chemistry Award and the 2004 Carl Mathematics Prize. He served as president of Alpha Lambda Delta national honorary, president of the American Chemical Society and vice president of sophomore service.

His counterpart Smith, who also graduated summa cum laude with honors in chemistry, was the recipient of the American Institute of Chemists Award, the Ullman Mathematics Prize, 2006 Alumni Chemistry Award and the 2004 Carl Mathematics Prize. He served as a member of Alpha Lambda Delta national honorary, the Mount Union marching band and wind ensemble.

The similarities don't stop there. The two are good friends and roommates. In addition, they both prefer to use their middle name. Sean's real name is Robert Sean Trevino while Andy is among a long line of Albert Smiths.

'We are very good friends,' said Trevino. 'We were roommates and did have a friendly competition between each other to see who would get a better grade or higher percentage on an exam. It really did help a lot having someone like Andy to go up against.'

'Having two students of their quality in the same class has been amazing not only for the program, but for the institution as well,' said Dr. Scott Mason, associate professor of chemistry at Mount Union. 'They really helped each other. They pushed and challenged one another and it was to their advantage having the other present.'

Having the good fortunes of helping each other excel in the classroom, Trevino and Smith paved the way to continue their education. Trevino will attend Stanford University (CA) in the fall and pursue a doctoral degree in molecular biology while Smith will be attending Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) pursuing a doctoral degree in physical chemistry.

'All along I really was not shooting for MIT because I did not know I could do it,' said Smith. 'My goal was to do my best and hope that it would lead to other opportunities.'

That changed once he was accepted for an internship at the University of Akron after his sophomore year and then landed an internship at California Institute of Technology (Caltech) after his junior year.

'A professor told me if I applied to bigger schools, I might just get in,' said Smith.

Smith followed the advice of his professor and applied to prestigious institutions such as Harvard, MIT, California Berkley and Caltech.

While Smith felt at home with MIT, Trevino chose Stanford because of its similarities to Mount Union.

'I really liked the atmosphere and I felt comfortable because, in a way, it reminded me of Mount Union,' Trevino said. 'The faculty are well prepared and have in interest in their students and want to see them succeed. That's why I chose Mount Union.'

Although the two will be on opposite coasts, they will continue to be good friends and will continue to push each other to achieve their goals.

'We will always be close friends,' said Trevino. 'Since our classes begin at different times, I'm planning on visiting him before my classes start.'

'These are two well-rounded individuals and it was a pleasure to watch them grow over the past four years,' said Mason. 'Because they are both so driven and focused in everything they do, they will continue to succeed in the classroom and in life.'

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