Graham D. Williams '10
May 26, 2009
Graham D. Williams '10 will be among the first people that incoming freshmen will meet this fall. Beginning his second year in the campus mentoring program, Williams enjoys providing new students with the same guidance that he received when he first came to DePauw.
"I had a really good first-year mentor when I came to DePauw, and I ended up getting close to those in my group," Williams says. "When I joined the mentoring program, I wanted to facilitate other students who are trying to get used to the college atmosphere here. As a new student, having a group that you can get close with and make friends with is really helpful."
Williams remembers his biggest hurdle as a new college student.
"For me, it was the classes," he says. "There was a big-time management difference, and it was easy to feel overwhelmed. Now it's just, well, I've got work to do, so I'm going to go do it."
Williams may have been overwhelmed early on, but he quickly expanded his involvement with a variety of academic programs. He started at DePauw as a member of the Information Technology Associates Program (ITAP). Williams, a biochemistry major, saw ITAP as an opportunity to integrate computers with the science he would be studying.
As a sophomore, Williams again increased his workload, this time by laterally entering into the Science Research Fellows (SRF) program.
"My heart was set on becoming a doctor, but then I realized that doing research would be just as rewarding," Williams says. "In my first year in SRF, I did research with [Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry] Dan Gurnon on HTLV-1, a retrovirus that causes leukemia and lymphoma."
Williams also is co-president elect of the DePauw Global Health Initiative, a student group that promotes the study of public health issues. The group has brought numerous authorities on public health to campus, including James T. Morris, former president of the United Nations Global Food Programme, and Dr. Kenrad E. Nelson, a 1954 DePauw graduate and professor of epidemiology at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. Williams pursued his current ITAP internship as webmaster for the DePauw Sustainability Initiative because he felt that the issues of sustainability and public health are directly related.
"In order to leave a better, healthier world for our children, we need to make it possible to have as little of a harmful impact on the world as we can," Williams explains.
This summer, Williams is continuing his interest in research at Harvard's Mucosal Immunology Laboratory, run by 1959 DePauw graduate W. Allan Walker, where he will study cholera toxin and its effects on the intestinal tracts of infants.
Entering his senior year, Williams is thankful for his decision to attend DePauw. The opportunities open to students with different interests, he says, are something that keeps the small campus diverse.
"I've met a lot of people who I wouldn't have been around otherwise, and they've been awesome. ... There are more than 100 clubs on campus. There are definitely ways for people to get involved, no matter what their interests."