For Ian Henry ’01, Ph.D., undergraduate campus projects and involvements honed skills he now uses in his career as Senior Scientist in Research and Development with consumer-products giant Procter and Gamble.
Earlham was familiar to the Marion, Indiana native, since at least five members of his family are past attendees, but he made it his own during his college years.
Henry participated in the Hughes Bridge Program the summer prior to his first year on campus. Through that experience, he met Amy Mulnix (biology) and John Howell (physics) who remained strong supporters during his time at Earlham. They introduced the chemistry major to Paul Ogren (chemistry) with whom he collaborated on numerous research projects. The experiments they conducted resulted in Henry’s opportunity to present at regional conferences and have his work published.
Henry was also a student analyst in the Earlham Analytical Laboratory, which was a contract lab for EPA water quality testing at that time. With guidance from Craig Kubitschek and other Earlham staff, he collected and analyzed water samples from industrial clients in Richmond.
The summer following his junior year, Henry worked in the biology department at Purdue University as part of an NIH-funded Summer Research Opportunities Program, learning and applying microbiology techniques for understanding gene expression. (He later received his doctorate in Analytical Chemistry at Purdue.)
Science-related topics were not his only focus. The summer following Henry’s senior year, he captured the history of some of Earlham’s African-American alumni for then-president Doug Bennett. This experience was remembered as a chance to meet “outstanding alumni who had gone off to do amazing things.” He enjoyed listening to their stories and sharing them with the Earlham College community.
Outside the classroom, Henry was active in varsity football, Earlham Ambassadors, Student Activities Board, BLAC, and Gospel Revelations. He served as a web designer, Hughes Bridge Program teaching assistant, physics and chemistry tutor, off-campus tutor, and volunteer at the Townsend Community Center.
One of Earlham’s big selling points, right from the start, was getting to know professors and being on a first-name basis with them. In his experience, Earlham was the only college that presented that to him. The aforementioned professors, as well as Corinne and Mike Deibel (chemistry) and Terry Shipley (chemistry administrative assistant) were influential mentors.
Henry, a member of the College's Board of Trustees, believes that Earlham does an excellent job of preparing students for future success.
“Earlham delivers challenging experiences to each of its students from the moment they step on campus, giving them a skill set, or tool box, with which to engage the world,” says Henry. He carries that “tool box” everywhere he goes, using it on a daily basis. “I give Earlham a lot of credit for cultivating and honing this skill in me.”