May Student Spotlight: Amelia Morgan Hansen

Microbiology Major Plans Career in Medical Research
By UW-Washington County

Amelia Hansen
Amelia Hansen with her dog Elliot.

UW-Washington County’s May Student Spotlight is on Amelia Morgan Hansen of West Bend.  Amelia’s major is microbiology, with a special interest in viruses. As a junior at West Bend West High School, Amelia “thoroughly enjoyed” the AP Biology and Principles of Biomedical Science classes that she was taking.

With a “wish to contribute to decreasing and ending human suffering caused by diseases,” she plans to research and develop preventions, treatments and cures for infectious and genetic diseases.

The Spotlight highlights a UW-WC student’s academic achievement and provides the community with an inside look into campus life and a greater understanding of the diverse profiles and experiences of our students.

Name: Amelia Morgan Hansen
Age: 20
Hometown: West Bend, WI
Major: Microbiology
High School: West Bend West High School, 2016

Research in Rotunda - Prof. Ayoub, Amelia Hansen, Ben Spicer
Amelia (center) shown with Chemistry
Professor Ayoub and Benjamin Spicer
-taken at Research in Rotunda

With plans to continue her studies at UW Madison this fall, Amelia’s career goal is “to research and develop preventions, treatments, and cures for infectious and genetic diseases.” Currently she is most interested in viruses.
As an officer in the S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Club on campus, she likes that the club provides “exposure and insight into various fields,” acknowledging that without S.T.E.M., she would “not have known about or found them” on her own. She finds the “stories of how the speakers got to this point in their lives and careers most useful” and was “relieved to hear that most did not plan out their career path from the start.”

Enrolled in the Chemistry Independent Study with Professor Ayoub, Amelia recently participated in the Research in the Rotunda event in Madison. Her research involved running “systems of molecules on a program through UW Madison to examine the molecules with hydrogen bonds. We then generate images of the molecules, and generate graphs comparing different measurements, such as the bond orders and the change in energy before the molecules form hydrogen bonds and after they form hydrogen bonds.”

What led you to choose your major: I took AP Biology and Principles of Biomedical Science my Junior year of high school, and I thoroughly enjoyed the classes, particularly during the topics on genetics and cellular biology. I like math, physics, and chemistry, but biology out of all the sciences stands out, because it is more vibrant and colorful to me. I wish to contribute to decreasing and ending human suffering caused by diseases.

What surprised you most about UW‐Washington County?  I was surprised at how quiet the campus is! Perhaps it is mere chance that all my classes and areas around campus that I hang out in and study in are all quiet.

Outside of being a college student, what takes up your free time? During the fall semester I had three jobs and eighteen credits, therefore I did not have much free time. I worked at the Student Union on campus, at West Bend Public Works (in the yard or cleaning work vehicles) and I judged high school debate tournaments on the weekends. I found the debate tournaments very enjoyable and entertaining. I am in an officer in STEM club, and during the lunch hour on Wednesdays, I attend the seminars. During the spring semester I have had more free time to spend time with friends. After four years of high school with plenty of AP and honor courses and being buried in studies, I am “finally finding the balance between studying and having free time.”

Is there a UW‐Washington County professor or staff member who inspired you or made a difference in your life?
I look forward to the lectures with Professor (Mark) Peterson, because the atmosphere is relaxed and he is humorous. His classes have sparked a new interest of mine in ethics, and if I had all the time in the world, I might major in an area of philosophy too.

Advice for incoming UW‐WC students? Do not make decisions based on assumptions, because if you do, there is a risk of being misinformed, and the difficult part is identifying the assumptions.

UW-Washington County is located at 400 S. University Drive in West Bend.  The campus is part of the University of Wisconsin System and offers freshman and sophomore level classes in over 250 majors. With dedicated faculty and small class sizes, it provides an optimal learning environment. For more information about the campus, visit the website, or email:


Sue Bausch, Regional Director of Communications