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Superstar seniors

Who says lightning never strikes twice in the same place?

In recent award ceremonies, seniors Christina Dorismond and Rhodes Hambrick both received one of Furman’s highest leadership honors, the President’s Award, and the John Albert Southern Chemistry Award, given to exceptional chemistry majors who demonstrate meritorious scholarship, strength of character, and who show promise of a successful medical career.

For Furman Volleyball Captain Dorismond (Cary, N.C.), the path to distinction is marked with stellar grades (3.977), undergraduate research, her service as teaching assistant and chemistry tutor, and a medical rotation internship and other learning experiences through Greenville Health System. Adding to these experiences, Dorismond interned at Duke University, where she conducted research in the departments of pharmacology and immunology and in cancer biology.

She also gave her time through Chi Omega philanthropic events serving Make-A-Wish and Relay-For-Life, and an afterschool care program. Through the Athletic Service Board (as a leadership committee member), she helped organize events for children at the Mauldin Miracle League, the Boys and Girls Club, and the Junior Paladin Club, along with raising money for the Frazee Dream Center, which sponsors programs for under resourced children in the downtown Greenville area. She also volunteered at the Greenville Free Medical Clinic and the Furman Child Development Center.

Dorismond has garnered an impressive list of honors over her career at Furman including an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship (a first for Furman Volleyball), the Dorothy Hicks Graduate Scholarship, and in 2013, the Winston Babb Memorial Award. She was selected for Senior Order, an elite leadership honor society for Furman women.

She has earned more than a dozen athletic tributes, among them, a member of the Southern Conference Academic All-Conference Team for three consecutive seasons. For the past season, she earned first team All-SoCon honors after helping the Paladins to a 17-12 overall record (12-4 SoCon) and a second place league finish. More recently, the middle blocker won the Elizabeth Blackwell Academic Achievement Award, which recognizes the Furman female senior athlete with the highest GPA, and she landed the Furman Student-Athlete Achievement Award, the highest accolade granted by the Furman Athletic Department.

Dorismond, who says she appreciates the Chemistry Department’s support in her goal to become a physician, will attend University of North Carolina School of Medicine, which she culled from a short list including Duke, Emory, and University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville.

Like Dorismond, biochemistry major Hambrick (Georgetown, Ky.) has notched a phenomenal number of accomplishments during his time at Furman.

Hambrick served as a Tier II MedEx Academy intern at Greenville Health System where he shadowed health professionals and conducted research in the area of childhood obesity. He was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Fellow—an experience that led to a publication in the European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry. Through a travel seminar in Southern Africa, he examined poverty, health and other social issues.

Hambrick volunteered with Heller Service Corps as head of the medical division and director of communications. As philanthropy chair of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, he helped raise funds for a charity aiding people with disabilities.

Fluent in Spanish, Hambrick volunteered as an ESOL tutor and mentor to Latino children. He also used his Spanish skills at the Greenville Free Medical Clinic as an interpreter. Hambrick was selected among 25 incoming freshmen to be a part of Shucker Leadership Institute.

Other activities in Hambrick’s stable include Furman Peer Advisors; co-president of Global Issues Forum; Mere Christianity Forum; Building Tomorrow for Uganda, aimed at setting up schools; International Connections Program, a support arm for first-year international students; HHMI math and science tutor; and leadership roles in American Chemical Society.

In his spare time, he played trombone in three separate bands/ensembles, and this year was selected to be part of the South Carolina Collegiate Honor Band.

On top of the awards mentioned, Hambrick won the Robert Emmett Allen Pre-Medical Prize; was inducted into Quaternion, a selective men’s leadership honorary; was elected to Furman “Hall of Leaders;” and won the Alfred S. Reid Memorial Award for outstanding leadership.

At graduation ceremonies in May, Hambrick was awarded yet two more distinctions:  The Scholarship Cup, which is given to students with the highest grade point average, and the Bradshaw-Feaster Medal for General Excellence, which is conferred by the faculty to a senior man based on scholarship, general culture, participation in college activities, and high moral character.

With a 4.0 GPA, and scoring in the 99.6th percentile on the MCAT, it’s no surprise that Hambrick had to turn away 10 other med school contenders, among them, Northwestern, Yale, Johns Hopkins, Washington University (St. Louis) and Columbia. NYU made the decision pretty painless. The School of Medicine offered Hambrick an all-inclusive, four-year merit award valued at more than $320,000!

So, as Dorismond and Hambrick exit Furman gates with their u-Hauls of hardware and commendations, one thing is clear. They made the most of their careers at Furman, and will leave behind a legacy of service and academic, athletic, and artistic excellence. Dorismond says teammates, classmates, professors and a host of others provided the support network along the way. “All have helped shaped me and my Furman experience by being great examples. I couldn’t imagine anything better,” she says.

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