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.
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.
Mount Union has a staff and alumni network that is incredibly passionate about the University. It is inspirational to be part of that community.
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.
I was involved with the Student Senate, Blue Key Honors society, Students for Environmental Awareness, Beta Beta Beta, the concert choir and the theater.
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.
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.
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.
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.