The Road Less Trumpeted

Aaron Brumbaugh '14 in the lab

Aaron Brumbaugh '14's green-chemistry research helped distinguish him as the 2014 Mohler Prize winner. Photo by Carl Socolow '77.

Mohler Prize fuels Aaron Brumbaugh ’14's path to success

by MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson

Aaron Brumbaugh ’14 isn’t one to trumpet his own accomplishments—he’s too busy quietly achieving. But as this biochemistry & molecular biology major prepares to enter medical school this fall, he’s reaping the rewards of his work, as the 57th recipient of Dickinson’s Mohler Prize.

Bestowed on a Dickinson senior entering medical school, the Mohler Prize was established by family, friends and students of Roy William Mohler, class of 1917, a Jefferson Medical College graduate, physician and Dickinson trustee. Brumbaugh, who was accepted to three medical schools this spring, will attend New York Medical College (Valhalla, N.Y.). The Mohler Prize will help fund his studies there next year, as he pursues his interest in urban medicine.

A multidimensional career

The only undergraduate in the nation to receive the 2013 American Chemical Society (NCS) Green Chemistry Award, Brumbaugh distinguished himself early on as an exceptional student researcher whose lifelong passion for science is augmented by a commitment to sustainability and a love of the arts.

At the NCS conference last spring he presented student-faculty research he performed with Sarah St. Angelo, assistant professor of chemistry, which he describes as a defining experience of his Dickinson education. Soon after the conference, he conducted research on prokaryotes as a summer intern at the University of Georgia. Brumbaugh, a former Eco Rep, also is a WDCV-FM DJ and a member of the college choir who enjoys creative writing. He’s sharpened his leadership skills as a resident advisor, community advisor and learning-community coordinator.

The company he keeps

Brumbaugh’s Mohler Prize arrives on the heels of a similar Dickinson award he received last spring to fund his senior year on campus. The Forney P. George Award, named for a late Carlisle doctor, is granted to Dickinson sophomores and juniors who demonstrate humanistic values and academic excellence and who plan to study medicine.

Brumbaugh was named a 2013 George Award recipient along with Andrew Bell ’14, a fellow biochemistry & molecular biology major who is interested in working in health care reform, and Krista Dionne ’15, a neuroscience major with dreams of directing a medical clinic in a Spanish-speaking community in the U.S. or abroad. Dionne also is a 2014-15 George Award recipient, along with fellow neuroscience major Lisa Freeman '15 and biology major Suleiman Sudah ’15. She plans to perform clinical research at Hartford Hospital (Hartford, Conn.) this summer while launching her medical-school application process.

With his own application process behind him, Brumbaugh is looking forward to the future. “I'm interested in infectious disease right now, but I'm sure I won't really know what I'm passionate about until I experience it firsthand,” he says. “So I'm trying to keep an open mind.”

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Published April 30, 2014