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Otterbein’s Will King uses campus involvement to further bacteria research

Otterbein’s Will King uses campus involvement to further bacteria research

By Courtney Kilmer ‘17

Will King, a senior biochemistry and molecular biology major, recently traveled to Tampa, Florida, to present his research at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS). He is Hispanic and was excited for the opportunity to take part in this unique conference.

King has been working on phosphodieterase genes and Streptomyces coeilicolor research with Dr. Jennifer Bennett since spring semester 2016, and has received an Otterbein research grant in addition to the travel grant. He is hoping that he will be able to present his research at the American Society for Microbiology conference in June.

“The ABRCMS was a great opportunity for me and other students who may not get to present at a national conference because of costs,” King said. “And Otterbein, through the student research fund, helped pay for my plane ticket, housing and other general lab equipment, like pipettes and plates, to keep my lab work alive.”

In addition to doing research, King is very involved on campus. Currently, he is a host and tour guide and a member of Sigma Delta Phi fraternity and Otterbein Christian Fellowship. In the past, he has also been an orientation leader and was voted the 2016 Homecoming King last fall.

“One of my favorite parts of being active on campus with my research is not necessarily helping with the research itself,” says King. “Presenting, communicating and bringing awareness to my research is really the best part for me. I want to bring the information I learn into the community and help others understand why it’s relevant.”

King is a communication studies minor, which he says has also helped him further his presentation abilities.

“Taking communications courses has taught me the importance of communication in science and seeing science as a form of rhetoric. Science is a language and a thing that people use to communicate,” he says.

After graduation, King has a variety of doors open to him. He has applied to several doctorate programs and would like to be a professor at some point.

“The faculty at Otterbein have meant so much to me. Being able to do that for other students, having that mentorship available to them, can change a life. Recreating that connection I had with my professors with students in the future would be really cool,” King said.

Ultimately, King would like to begin a life of service and go into the ministry to become a pastor. He plans to start this by taking a year off after graduation and doing mission work overseas.


Learn more about the Otterbein Department of Biology and Earth Science.