Hunter Hamrick is on the board of the DC Area Phi Beta Kappa Association. He was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa in 2015 at Florida State University, and currently works at the Structured Finance Association as a Policy Analyst.
As a child, what profession did you envision for yourself when you grew up?
It sounds kind of nerdy, but I always wanted to be a chemist when I was a kid. There was something exciting to me about learning how the world works and figuring out what makes certain things tick. My favorite part about chemistry is that, like me, it’s persistent. No matter how big or small the question, chemists will do everything they can to find the answer. No question is unanswerable, it’s just that you haven’t found the solution yet.
What was the most transformative course from your undergraduate education?
My junior year of college I had the opportunity to take a Leadership Seminar with Dr. John Mayo and Dr. Tom Taylor. I always tell people that the course was one of the focal points of my life and I would not be where I am today without it. Besides meeting people who I now consider lifelong friends, the course really shaped who I am as a person. The course showed me not only how to view the world through different lenses but how I can use those new perspectives to make an impact on the world. Something the course made me realize is that what you may view as a small act of kindness could mean the world for someone else. Because of that, one of my personal philosophies is, “A little kindness a day goes a long way.”
You’re currently a Finance Policy Development Analyst at the Structured Finance Association. What does your job entail, and what is your favorite part about what you do?
Honestly? Every day is a different day at SFA and that’s what I love most about it. One day I’m drafting policy briefs for Members of Congress and the next I’m meeting with our members to provide them solutions to the problems they find most pressing. My favorite part about the job though is the association’s commitment to my professional growth. While my position may not be highest at the organization, my supervisors always take the time to make sure the work I do is meaningful and impactful. In addition to that, my coworkers always make it their priority to mentor me and make sure that I’m understanding me. I feel pretty lucky to be a part of this team.
You’re also on the board of the DC Area Phi Beta Kappa Association. What plans do you have as a part of that leadership team, or what projects have your worked on in the past that you’re proud of?
I love being on the board of DC Phi Beta Kappa
! Honestly, it’s one of my favorite things to be a part of. I’m super excited because I’m taking over the DC PBK Young Professionals (YP) Network
this summer and I have so many ideas about how to make both the YP Network and DC PBK itself bigger and better! One thing I’m aiming to do is to find ways to get DC PBK more involved in the national conversation surrounding the importance of research and liberal arts. Whether it’s through public panels with PBK alum or publishing pieces about liberal arts, my goal is to make our organization’s voice stronger and louder. I truly believe this organization can do great things and I’m excited to contribute what I can.
What was the best advice you were ever given and who gave it to you?
One piece of advice from my old rowing coach that stuck with me was “Do what the other guy won’t do.” What it means is that in tough situations, while the other guy is going to quit or cut corners, you have to keep pushing forward even if it’s painful. While I used to think that only applied in sports, I realized it applies to so much more than that. While “the other guy” won’t take the time to send that cold-call email or make a leap of faith, you should take that chance.
Do you think Phi Beta Kappa and a well-rounded, liberal arts and sciences education are important in today’s society?
One hundred percent. In an era filled with disinformation and “fake news”, it is crucial that everyone, especially future generations, have the tools necessary to navigate through everything and be able to separate fact from fiction. That’s why I think Phi Beta Kappa is more important now than ever. Our organization’s mission of spreading the importance of learning and the necessity of liberal arts helps provide people with that well-rounded education and the tools to better find the truth.
What book are you reading right now? Are you listening to any podcasts or watching any shows? Anything you'd recommend?
If you’re not watching these shows or listening to these podcasts, you’re missing out!
TV Show – Westworld: One of my favorite shows. With big data and technology having such a large presence in our lives, this show really makes you think about the implications of it all. Besides, who doesn’t like a sci-fi western show?
Podcast #1 – FiveThirtyEight: If you’re a political junkie like myself, FiveThirtyEight should be at the top of your list. I’m a huge fan of the way FiveThirtyEight interprets the chaotic and random nature of politics and uses statistics to find a meaning in it all.
Podcast #2 – The Adventure Zone: I’m a self-proclaimed nerd and proud of it! With everything going on, people need to find a way to disconnect from all the stress of the real world and Dungeons & Dragons is the perfect way to do that. The Adventure Zone podcast not only does a great job explaining how to play the game but it shows you the possibilities of what your adventures could become. Better yet, it could encourage you to create a game of your own!