Future Looks Sweet for Ohio Wesleyan Seniors

Chloe Hamrick, Sean Williams to pursue advanced degrees at Michigan State

OWU graduating seniors Chloe Hamrick and Sean Williams began dating as sophomores. Both will pursue advanced degrees at Michigan State University. (Photo by Cole Hatcher)

When Ohio Wesleyan University seniors Chloe Hamrick and Sean Williams reflect on their favorite OWU memories, they think about living on the same floor of Welch Hall as sophomores, flirting while studying in the library, and helping to create a sweet treat named in their honor at a former downtown candy shop.

While enjoying one of downtown Delaware’s First Friday celebrations, Hamrick and Williams decided to buy some chocolate-covered coffee beans at the Nectar Candyland, but the store wasn’t making them. Wanting to accommodate the couple, the Nectar invited them to buy some beans from next door’s Mean Bean Caffeine Lounge and bring them back to be turned into custom-made candy.

“We got a tour of the candy store and got to watch the coffee beans being dipped in chocolate,” Williams recalls. The store liked the result and began selling the treat as the “Sean and Chloe’s.”

The future looks equally sweet for Hamrick and Williams. As they think about their future, they see a life spent together, beginning with both pursuing advanced degrees at Michigan State University.

Williams, a pre-professional zoology major from South Boston, will pursue a doctoral degree with assistance from a newly awarded 2011 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship.

The highly competitive national fellowship will provide Williams with a three-year stipend of $30,000 per year, as well as funding for partial tuition and travel. According to his award letter, Williams was selected for the award “based on [his] outstanding abilities and accomplishments, as well as [his] potential to contribute to strengthening the vitality of the US science and engineering enterprise.”

In addition, Williams has been selected by Michigan State to receive a University Enrichment Fellowship. Only about 20 of 500 accepted graduate students are awarded such fellowships, which include an annual stipend and health insurance.

Hamrick also will attend Michigan State, where she has been accepted into the university’s College of Human Medicine. She plans to pursue a career in primary care medicine. Before enrolling, Hamrick will take a year off to establish residency in Michigan and to prepare the results of her current OWU research for possible journal publication.

In 2010, Hamrick, a pre-medicine and biology major from Columbus, Ohio, was awarded an American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Undergraduate Research Fellowship to continue her studies into how feather-degrading bacteria move and feed. She will present the results of that research May 21 at the ASM’s 2011 annual meeting in New Orleans.

“The research shows that bacteria can respond and move toward amino acids on feathers, meaning the bacteria can target degradation,” Hamrick explains. “This is some of the first research to combine issues of motility and degradation.”

Hamrick also will stay busy serving as the OWU Class of 2011’s elected representative to the University’s Board of Trustees. She will serve a three-year term beginning in September.

Like Hamrick, Williams also will stay busy this summer, with plans to begin pursuing his graduate degree in July with aid from a Michigan State Early Start Fellowship. As part of that experience, he hopes to visit Panama, where his Ph.D. adviser has a field site.

OWU zoology professor Jed Burtt, Ph.D., met Hamrick and Williams when both enrolled in one of his freshman honors tutorials. He has watched them flourish over the past four years and is excited about their promising futures.

“It’s pretty exciting around my lab right now, I can tell you,” Burtt says.

Learn more about Williams’ NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.

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