Senior Sean (Nate) Cole, winner of a 2016 Undergraduate Research Fellowship (URF) from the American Society for Microbiology (ASM)

Hartwick’s Cole Earns American Society for Microbiology Fellowship

December 21, 2016

Hartwick College senior Sean (Nate) Cole has been named a recipient of an Undergraduate Research Fellowship (URF) from the American Society for Microbiology (ASM). Funding from the Fellowship and a Hartwick College Faculty Research Grant to his mentor, Professor of Biology Mary E. Allen, provided Cole a $4,000 summer research stipend, and funding for travel to the ASM Microbe Meeting in New Orleans next June. Cole will learn in February if he has also earned the opportunity to present the findings of his research at the Microbe meeting.

Cole earned the Fellowship for his proposed research project, “How the Resident Microbes of Hop Cones Differ Between Fresh and Dried Cones, as Determined by Next Generation DNA Sequencing.” He started his research with Allen, and in conjunction with the Hartwick College Center for Craft Food & Beverage, beginning in June 2016. His work focuses on identifying microorganisms that naturally occur on hops, a plant product used in brewing beer. The microorganisms Cole detects on hops might positively influence or detrimentally impact the development of aromas, flavors, and freshness of beer.

Cole, of Homer, NY was selected as one of 42 Fellowship winners from 85 applications. Of the 42 awardees, only 12 students were from undergraduate- and master’s-degree-granting institutions.

“Nate’s strong writing skills, commitment to quality work and openness to new challenges led me to suggest he apply for the fellowship,” said Professor of Biology Dr. Mary Allen, Cole’s mentor both for the Fellowship and in the classroom. “I am proud of the contributions he is making to the research project and look forward to seeing him present his results in New Orleans.”

“This has been a tremendous opportunity for me to advance my scientific knowledge and skill set,” Cole said. “It has been a pleasure working with Dr. Allen and I look forward to completing the Fellowship under her guidance.”

The ASM is the largest single life science society, composed of over 48,000 scientists and health professionals. Its mission is to promote and advance the microbial sciences, and promote a deeper understanding of the microbial sciences to diverse audiences. The fellowship is awarded to highly competitive students who wish to pursue graduate careers in microbiology.

“The ASM is very active in supporting the development of young scientists, and the ASM-URF is an especially competitive program,” Allen added.

For more information on the ASM Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program, visit