Seymour native receives top honors

Daniel Hauersperger was recently honored at an awards dinner for being a Top 100 undergraduate student at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. He is the son of Maria and Lenny Hauersperger of Seymour.

The Top 100 are chosen from those students who have demonstrated excellence in academics, campus leadership and community engagement.

Daniel earned all A’s throughout his entire academic career from grade school through college.

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“It felt amazing to be honored among such great students,” Daniel said. “Definitely a reflection of all the people who have invested in me during my education.”

Daniel said his parents have supported him in everything he does and have always helped him learn. Knowing they will support him even if he fails has made it much easier to try new things.

“Daniel always enjoyed learning. I can still hear him say eagerly about starting first grade, ‘Maybe I’ll get homework,’” Maria said. “He is the only person I have ever known who wanted homework.”

Maria said their family policy is that school work comes before anything else. After Daniel started running cross country in sixth grade, he complete his homework immediately after getting home from practice.

“We knew Daniel was a good student when he was reading at an eighth grade level by the end of first grade,” Maria said. “Mrs. Meginnis taught all three of our children in first grade and all three have excelled in school, especially reading.”

Lenny said even though he and Maria set the standards high for their kids, Daniel exceeded their expectations due to his self-motivation and he also believes it’s a gift from God to have such wisdom and abilities.

“I’ve seen a lot of people comment they’re not surprised that Daniel received this award and I’m one of those,” Lenny said. “However, when I realize he beat out over 14,000 students, I’m astonished. It’s a huge honor.”

Lenny said they encouraged Daniel and their other two other kids, Maya and Luke, to always work hard and do their best. He used to take home three to five books each day and read them to Daniel and Maya, who were one year apart, after they were born.

“Daniel has had some great teachers through the Seymour school system and he loves challenges,” Lenny said. “Wayne Huddleston challenged Daniel to work on advanced math books and math problems. I believe Wayne helped harvest Daniel’s math skills.”

Daniel always liked math and wanted to find a way to use it to do something meaningful with it.

“When starting out at IUPUI, I chose the applied mathematics major to begin with,” Daniel said. “I hoped I would find a good way to apply it to the life sciences and then I also took an interest in data science.”

Data science is not a new field, but IUPUI is the first university to offer a Bachelor of Science in health data science, and Daniel is one of three members of their first graduating class, he said.

“A data scientist is a person that uses computing to derive insights and answer questions with data,” Daniel said. “This is great for me as it involves math, statistics, programming and machine learning, which are some of my main academic interests.”

Daniel said the health data science major is designed to prepare students to apply data science to answer questions related to health. With the great amount of life sciences research going on in the Indianapolis area, there are many opportunities for internships and partnerships.

He does not spend all of his time working and studying, though. During the summer of 2018, Daniel learned that a group, including a couple of his friends from high school, wanted to go to Iceland, so at the last minute he decided to join them.

“We hiked the Laugavegur Trail in Iceland, and it was a great experience to see nature and spend time camping with friends,” Daniel said. “We had planned to spend four days to complete the trail, but we met a new friend early on who convinced us to do it in three.”

Daniel said meeting interesting people and enduring hardships along the way made it a trip he won’t forget. His next adventure will be the new job he is starting at Eli Lilly this month, where he was an intern two years ago.

“My job title will be IT analyst and I’ll be working in chemistry research IT, where I can contribute to scientific research to advance health treatments,” Daniel said. “This is very meaningful to me and also I met a lot of great people during my contract, so I look forward to working with them again.”

Daniel’s sister, Maya, who is 21, is double-majoring in criminal justice and informatics with a minor in military science at IUPUI where she will be a senior. She plans to travel to Rwanda in the Cultural Understanding and Leadership Program through Army ROTC, then return from Africa and go to Fort Knox for leadership training.

His brother, Luke, who is 17, will be a senior at Seymour High School in the fall and is running on both the cross country and track teams. He also participates in both band and choir and is finishing his Eagle Scout rank this summer and is interested in pursuing a career in the medical field.

Maria said Daniel sets high goals and works hard to achieve them. She is very happy for him that his hard work has paid off.

“When Daniel was born eight weeks premature, the pediatrician told us he would likely be short and slow,” Maria said. “I remember thinking then, ‘You don’t know what my God can do.’”

She has always encouraged her children to work hard, do their best, and give God the glory and that is what they do. What more could a mother ask of her children?

“Daniel has a heart for helping people, which is exemplified by his time spent volunteering for the Wheeler Mission in Indianapolis,” Maria said. “Daniel is also very humble. He has a way of taking these great accomplishments in stride.”

Maria said she knows Daniel will do great things at Eli Lilly and with his data science degree, he has the potential to help millions of people for generations.

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Name: Daniel Hauersperger

Age: 23

High school: 2015 graduate of Seymour High School and a Seymour Scholar.

High school activities: Member of the National Honor Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Key Club, Latin Club, student government and 4-H for 10 years and started the Chess Club at SHS.

College: 2019 graduate of IUPUI with a Bachelor of Science in applied mathematics, a Bachelor of Science in health data science and a minor in computer science.

Daniel has been doing research for the past three years in association with the Indiana University School of Science and IU sent him to Houston, Texas, in March, for added training.

Research Intern at IUPUI, Sept. 2016 – May 2017.

Academic Contractor for AllSource PPS, May 2017 -Dec 2017

Data Science Intern for the IU School of Biostatistics, Sep 2018 – May 2019

Employee at OurHealth, Jan 2018 – March 2019

Activities & organizations at IUPUI: President of the Chess Club all four years. Daniel founded the chess club with one of his math professors.

What he is most looking forward to in the future: I’m really looking forward to starting my new job and seeing what I can help the team accomplish!