salty jokes, faculty mentorship and academic excellence across the generations



Pre-med, Statesmen soccer captain

Druid, Orange Key and Chimera member

Academic All-American

American Chemical Society’s International Research Experiences for Students program

Major: Biochemistry and Education

Hometown: Brookline, Mass.



President and CEO, TransDigm Group Inc., aerospace manufacturer


Phi Beta Kappa inductee

Ph.D. from Stanford University

Major: Chemistry

Hometown: Chagrin Falls, Ohio

What’s the best part about summer research?

CW: I’ve worked alongside Professor Elana Stennett on water filtration research since my sophomore year. Seeing this project progress from a simple experiment design, into data, and then a published paper has been extremely valuable.

KS: The close interaction with your adviser. Professor Romana Lashewycz Rubycz was such an influential mentor in my career. I wish she was still with us so I could thank her properly.

Toughest class?

CW: Organic Chemistry with Professor Erin Pelkey.

KS: Physical Chemistry with Professor Carl Aten.

Favorite element in the periodic table?

CW: Potassium is essential, and the most prevalent, in neuronal circuits. Thank you, potassium. I also love sodium, for the jokes. (Do you want to hear a chemistry joke? Na…)

KS: C is the basis of life; Au is what we all seek I suppose — but how about Na? People often call me a little salty so makes sense!

If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life…

CW: Salads.

KS: Neapolitan pizza.

What piece of culture — book, film, etc. — could you not do without?

CW: Kei Miller’s poetry.

KS: Music, especially live music.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

CW: Doctor.

KS: Paleontologist

What brought you to HWS?

CW: The research opportunities and multicultural community — not to mention, I was recruited by the soccer program.

KS: The size of the classes. HWS gave me the space to discover my personal and academic strengths.

What’s your proudest moment to date?

CW: Finishing my summer internship at the New York Blood Center.

KS: Successfully defending my Ph.D. thesis.

Biggest scientific challenge facing the world today?

CW: The potential end of antibiotics.

KS: Misinformation about science.

Where do you hope to be in five years?

CW: In my third year of medical school!

KS: Giving back to my family, my friends and my community.