Senior Bryant Hamilton Overcomes Obstacles for the Love of Science
In May, Senior Bryant Hamilton will be walking in commencement. It will be in many ways the fulfillment of a dream and the doorway to another.
The biology major grew up in New York City, in the Bronx to be exact. As a child, he loved microscopes and would sometimes carry his toy version to the playground where he could examine more closely the world around him. He claims to be a “giant comic book nerd,” and has a keen interest in Spiderman and his interaction and understanding of the world around him. When he commented about his Spiderman interest to his science teacher, she told him that Spidey-sense was actually connected to biology and her answer awakened a passion for science in her young student.
Hamilton met his wife, Samatha Anderson, via the Internet, and following her visit to New York, he says he felt “the need for direction” which in would eventually bring him to study at the University of Minnesota Crookston.
“Coming back to school has been rewarding and challenging,” he says. “I learned some important things about the field of biology and what it means to work in the field of science.” At one point feeling overwhelmed by a series of experiments that were not working properly, Hamilton considered withdrawing.
“I was working on a process called polymerase chain reaction (PCR) that is used in molecular techniques class,” he explains. “I thought if I couldn’t make the process work, then, maybe I was not meant for the field.” He went to his instructor and asked if he had ever felt like giving up.
“He knew just how I was feeling, but what really made a difference was that he explained that my struggle was not keeping me from class,” Hamilton says. “He reminded me that it was my passion for biology that kept me coming back and that science isn’t always about success but about trying, failing, and trying again.”
For Hamilton research failures began to spur on his desire to try and an opportunity last summer to work in the lab on antibiotic research with Associate Professor Bryan Dingmann was pivotal.
“Last summer, I lost my father, and a week later, my brother took his life,” Hamilton reflects. “Losing my brother Elias was the most difficult time ever. You see for most of my life growing up, my big brother had been encouraging me to pursue my dream to study science.”
Those dark days gave way to another lesson for Hamilton. “I went to my advisor, Dr. Dingmann, and told him what had happened,” Hamilton says. “His response made all the difference. He told me he would be there for me to help me through when I needed it, but he also told me to use the research to give me a sense of purpose and allow it to bring something good out of the pain. All I can say is ‘it worked.’”
The research allowed Hamilton to channel the negative energy and use what his brother, Elias, had always encouraged him to do—study biology.
Hamilton is also appreciative of the support his wife has given to him, and he says he owes a debt of gratitude to his mother, April Carter, and his brothers Dennis, Danny, and of course, Elias.
“I believe you should always aim for your dream, and that is what I am doing,” he says. “Obstacles can get in the way, sometimes things happen that seem insurmountable, but your dream is something you should keep trying to reach.”
In a few years, Hamilton hopes to have saved enough financially to go to graduate school with the goal of a career as a microbiologist or a genetic engineer. No matter where the future takes him, Hamilton knows, it is one hurdle at a time and persistence is its own reward.
The University of Minnesota Crookston now delivers 34 bachelor's degree programs, 22 minors, and 39 areas of emphasis on campus as well as 14 degree programs entirely online. These degrees are offered in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology. With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from more than 20 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree. "Small Campus. Big Degree." To learn more, visit www.umcrookston.edu.