Lewis Wheaton '99
“When I came to Radford University, I wasn’t sure which path I wanted to take, I just knew I wanted to be in the life sciences,” said Lewis Wheaton ’99.
As a student, Wheaton was a biology major with a concentration in chemistry. He was heavily involved in intramural basketball as well as multiple clubs and organizations.
“I had two professors that really impacted me. Dr. Orion Rogers’ class was the first and last time I had to retake a class,” said Wheaton. “I did so poorly, but I loved that guy. He was awesome and really tested my work ethic. I’ll never forget his teaching methods.”
Georgia Hammond, Wheaton’s micro biology professor, allowed him to do research in her lab.
“She really got me interested in research and helped to point me in the direction that I am in today,” said Wheaton.
Today, Wheaton is an associate professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He is currently teaching neuroanatomy, movement disorder and neuroimaging. In addition to teaching, Wheaton runs his own research lab.
“In the lab we are looking at understanding how the brain works with individuals who have suffered from upper limb loss. We are creating theory and helping these individuals learn how to adapt,” said Wheaton.
Before Wheaton got into teaching, he obtained his doctorate at the University of Maryland and worked at the National Institute of Health for four years. He did his postdoctoral fellow at the Baltimore Veterans Affairs Medical Center, where he worked with veterans who had suffered from stroke.
“I did a lot of research that was focused on understanding neurological changes after a stroke and how to help stroke victims adapt,” said Wheaton. “It was an interesting experience and very rewarding working with the veterans.”
Wheaton has now been a professor at Georgia Tech for almost eight years.
“I have always liked teaching – I think it is in my blood. I like dealing with students and watching the material click with them and see that light turn on,” said Wheaton.
Wheaton and his wife, Teri Wheaton ’99, both try to stay involved with the university.
“I am on the advisory board for the College of Science and Technology,” said Wheaton. “This is a good opportunity for me to keep track of the things that are happening on campus and understanding the vision.”
While teaching, Wheaton likes to remind his students that he too was an undergraduate once upon a time and he understands the struggles that they all go through.
“I always tell my students – and I feel like I get this from Dr. Rogers from Radford University – always challenge yourself. Don’t ever give something a half-effort, give the full effort, even if you don’t know what you are doing.”