Featured Fellow: Erin Mihealsick

Marla Elsea
Mar 18, 2021

Phi Kappa Phi awards $1 million each year to outstanding students, members, chapters and institutions. This includes 58 Fellowships ranging from $8,500 up to $35,000 each to members entering the first year of graduate or professional study. Erin Mihealsick was the top-scoring STEM applicant last year and the recipient of the 1897 Fellowship.

Mihealsick graduated from Clemson University in 2020 where she majored in genetics/biochemistry and completed her undergraduate program with a 4.0 GPA. Her interests are in research – a path that started in her high school science experiences and set a foundation on which to build other experiences that served to clarify her goals and interest. These experiences included extensive research opportunities at her undergraduate institution, then as an Amgen Scholar at Duke University.

As she moves forward with her academic plans, she'll be one step closer to living up to her name and will help to, quite literally, heal the sick. Mihealsick aims to become an independent researcher with a focused interest in disease-based research application, specifically to using the immune system (rather than chemotherapy drugs) to treat cancer.

"Receiving opportunities like this truly help me feel as though I belong in the field I have chosen," she said after receiving the 1897 Fellowship. "Many people have the 'impostor syndrome' but when people receive opportunities like this, it's easier to chip away at this and show others that they can, too."

Mihealsick will continue her studies at Johns Hopkins University where she will pursue a Ph.D. in immunology.

Interested in applying for a 2021 Fellowship award?

Questions? Email Kelli Partin, awards manager, at