Robert Brucker '07

Major: Biology
Job Title: Rowland Jr. Fellow, Harvard

Hometown: Mount Gilead, Ohio
Minor: Chemistry

As a Rowland Junior Fellow I lead a team of scientists in discovering how bacteria that live in and on animals contribute to the health and fitness of their host. 


Family Traditions
I had been looking at other colleges but my family were alumni, including my mother, uncle and aunt. Although I did not expect to like it for myself, when I came for a visit I knew right away that it was the school I wanted to go to.

Passionate Connections
Mount Union has a staff and alumni network that is incredibly passionate about the University. It is inspirational to be part of that community.

Favorite Professors
It is really hard to pick just one. There are three that really stand out, Dr. Brandon Sheafor and Dr. John Scott were great mentors and shaped the way I think about academia. Dr. Kim Risley was important to my long-term career path. I took her first Microbiology class at Mount. We were given the opportunity to design our own experiment, which was my first step towards animal microbiomes.

After Mount Union
After Mount I worked at James Madison University as a research technician. I did this for a year before going to graduate school for my PhD. I earned a PhD from Vanderbilt University. I defended in the Spring of 2013.

I had two internships while at Mount. One was with EnviroSci Inc. doing bioremediation work. The second was at James Madison University. The second internship was in part due to an alumnus, Elizabeth Davidson, who had encouraged me to ask members of her research community for summer research programs. It was at my first scientific conference that she introduced me to Dr. Reid Harris of JMU which is where I did a summer Research Experience for Undergrads program working on frog skin microbiomes.

Campus Involvement
I was involved with the Student Senate, Blue Key Honors society, Students for Environmental Awareness, Beta Beta Beta, the concert choir and the theater.

Getting Prepared
Mount Union was a great proving ground for me to gain confidence in my own abilities. The diversity of course work, social interactions and encouragement from the faculty made a tremendous impact on the way I approached my career.

Staying Connected
I’ve visited campus a few times since graduating but it is hard to get back during the semester when faculty and students are around. So I like reading the Mount Union Alumni magazine and talking with my friends and family.

Future Goals
I would like to have a family and travel the world together.

Mount Union Investment
Mount Union set me on my current career path. The courses and professors that I interacted with helped shape my thinking and made me appreciate the value of a good education. I was fortunate to have mentors, advisors, and friends who were genuinely interested in my success.

Current Job
It is great to be able to manage your own research group. I get to develop my own ideas and test them with a team of scientists and other like-minded individuals. We get to explore the boundaries of what is known about the natural world and what is yet to be discovered.

Robert Brucker

Mount Union set me on my current career path. The courses and professors that I interacted with helped shape my thinking and made me appreciate the value of a good education.

Fun Facts

Favorite Book?
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
Favorite Travel Destination?
Santorini, Greece
Favorite Quote?
“You can not do all the good the world needs, but the world needs all the good you can do.” – Anonymous. There are many claims to this quote, but when I heard it from Prof. Steve Kramer it stuck with me.
What is the #1 Most Played Song on your iTunes?
"Today is the Day," by Apollo Sunshine. It’s my earworm that I have to play to get it out.
You're meeting a friend for coffee, what do you order?
Coffee, black and dark roast. I like to keep it simple and strong.
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