Dennis and Clista Heintzman, of Pennsboro, West Virginia, were so pleased with the science education and research experience their children — Dr. Bethany Tyler (’15) and Darren Heintzman (’17) — received at Freed-Hardeman University that they wanted to invest in the program to support future generations.
The couple said their children were blessed by the university’s biology, chemistry and undergraduate research programs. The endowment fund created will provide research awards and summer stipends to support students engaged in undergraduate research at FHU.
“The generosity of the Heintzman family will ensure that FHU students can participate in the summer research program for years to come. This is a huge blessing to us and our work here at FHU,” Dr. Joe Deweese, director of undergraduate research, said.
Following their graduation from FHU, Dr. Bethany Tyler and Darren Heintzman continue to work and study in the science field. Bethany is a veterinarian in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, and Darren is a graduate student in the sciences at Vanderbilt University. Bethany participated in undergraduate research with Dr. Brian Butterfield where she studied geckos. “Bethany was a valuable member of my research team. She was a hard worker and an outstanding student. I’m thrilled that she went on to practice veterinary medicine,” Butterfield, chair of the department of biological, physical and human sciences, said.
Darren spent his time in undergraduate research studying microbial genetics of a pathogenic bacterial strain with Dr. Caleb Kersey. “Darren is one of the only freshmen to join my research team and, to this day, his impact and output on my research remains the bar for my current students to achieve,” Kersey said. “It is exciting to see Darren thrive in his career, and we are so proud of his accomplishments as a researcher and doctoral student at Vanderbilt University.”
Darren reflected on his time at FHU, “I am grateful that my family can contribute to the science program at Freed-Hardeman. By performing undergraduate research with Dr. Caleb Kersey, my parents and I witnessed firsthand the intellectual and career-enabling benefits that arise from greater access to scientific research opportunities. My research experience at Freed-Hardeman prepared me for graduate studies at Vanderbilt University and will undoubtedly bless my life in many ways going forward.”
Darren noted, “I owe a great deal of gratitude to those who invested in me as an undergraduate student, and I am excited that this gift will bless others with an enhanced opportunity to access the research experience needed to go into the world and make a difference in people’s lives.”
Kersey added, “The Heintzman family continues to make an impact for our research students, and we are so thankful for them!”
The mission of Freed-Hardeman University is to help students develop their God-given talents for His glory by empowering them with an education that integrates Christian faith, scholarship and service. With locations in Henderson and Memphis, FHU offers associate, bachelor’s, master’s, specialist and doctoral degrees. More information is available at fhu.edu.