December 17, 2019
The Tweet Heard ‘Round the World: Student and Father Story Goes National

When Stephanie Veerman ’20 tweeted texts from her dad after he lost her pet hamster on November 24th, she never expected to receive a crash course in what it means to go viral on the Internet.

The Emmanuel College sophomore, her dad and her hamster, Chester, have taken social media by storm with a simple post liked and shared roughly 575,000 times in a matter of two weeks in addition to being picked up initially by Buzzfeed, then by dozens of news and entertainment outlets, including CBS, NBC Today, People, the New York Post, Access Hollywood, the Doctor Oz Show, and Inside Edition.

Veerman's father, who cares for Chester while Stephanie is studying at Emmanuel, noticed Chester had escaped one day when he was cleaning his cage. His panicked texts to his daughter as he searched for the missing hamster became a feel-good story that thousands of people connected with across the globe.  

"It was on my Instagram story at first and people kept saying this is so funny," said Veerman. "So, I said to myself, maybe I should tweet it and see what happens, but I was expecting maybe a hundred [reactions], not half a million, which is crazy."  

As a marketing major with a minor in communication and media studies, Veerman says the experience has been more than just managing requests from news outlets and answering responses to her tweet. It has given her a hands-on perspective of what it is like to work in the industry in which she seeks to pursue a career.  

"It's definitely taught me how to manage my time, as well as how to respond to people in a timely manner," said Veerman. "It's a fifteen-minutes-of-fame kind of thing, so if I don't answer People magazine for two days, there's always another story."  

Veerman's father, Daniel, has been appreciative of how his daughter has spearheaded the situation.  

"[Media outlets] are reaching out to me...but I've told them to go through Stephanie - she's my media consultant and she's just running with the whole thing," he said. "She does everything and lets me know where to be and when."  

As the semester winds down and students head into final exams, Veerman has been working overtime to make sure she's taking care of all of her commitments and coursework. For her mother, Elaine Dalton '87, watching her daughter handle the overall experience of being part of a viral sensation has been a pleasure.  

"I'm impressed with her maturity and level of composure in terms of keeping things in perspective while juggling classes, finals and an off-campus job," she said. "She's having fun with this, but staying humble.  

"I never imagined how many people would relate to the emotion and want to share it on social media," she added. "A feel-good story is always great at any time of year, but it's especially nice during the holiday season."

chester the hamster

steph and her father, daniel, holding chester the hamster Daniel Veerman, Stephanie Veerman '20 and Chester the Hamster

Explore Emmanuel

Research Spotlight: Searching for an Evolution Solution

Propelled by a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, students and faculty in the Mathematics Department are studying the rate of evolution in spatially structured populations using evolutionary graph theory, which may inform the estimation of important events in our evolutionary past, such as when humans split from our closest primate relatives.

Learn More
Learn More
Research Spotlight: Powerful Partnerships

In collaboration with Emmanuel graduate, Kierstin Giunco ’17, Associated Professor of Education Christine Leighton and current student Kayla Balthazar '20 are working with local elementary students to deepen reading engagement and comprehension.

Learn More
Research Spotlight: Economics Education on a Global Scale

As her research in economics education has focused on innovation in the classroom and finding ways to help students apply economic theories to real-world situations, students are vital in every aspect to Associate Professor of Economics Rebecca Moryl’s work.

Learn More
Eileen Milien '22: A Career-Affirming CURE

When choosing a college, Eileen knew two things for sure—that she would be able to get to know her professors and peers and that she wanted to be in an area in which she would have myriad opportunities in the research and medicine.

Learn More
Melissa Duffy '20: Artist and Appreciator

When Melissa started at Emmanuel, she chose what she believed to be two separate and distinct majors—studio art and history—to fulfill her both her personal and professional interests.

Learn More
Kai Uehara '20: Social Justice Scholar

Kai has always had the inclination to try to make any situation better. When he was searching for colleges, Emmanuel's social justice mission resounded deeply with his ideals of supporting those who need the help.

Learn More
Robert Columbus '20: The Idea Man

Robert’s interest in the workings of the wider world grew in 2011 as the Arab Spring became international news. “I love history,” he said, “so knowing the history of the states as well as their current affairs made their actions and interactions much more interesting to me.”

Learn More
Jake Hill '20: Seeing Citizenship with a Capitol C

Growing up in a suburban town outside of Boston, going to college in the city had always been a goal for Jake. After touring Emmanuel's campus he felt it had the perfect mixture of “small campus feel and big city appeal.”

Learn More
Learn More
Jessie Wang '19: Head of the Class

What began as an on-campus job in Emmanuel's student center transformed into a new career path for Jessie, one that brought her to Harvard University as a master's candidate in higher education administration. 

Learn More
Learn More

Let's Get Started.

Emmanuel is a place where students broaden their sense of what’s possible and prepare for inspiring careers in an ever-changing world. Be here.