Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Alumna now a Homeland Security fellow
By Rebecca Wyatt, OU Web Writer
While OU alumna Jennie Froelich, CAS ’04, is well into her master’s degree program at Michigan State University, she said she really doesn’t like lectures or bookwork. Lucky for her, the education she received at OU took her out of the classroom and into the lab, which helped earn her a prestigious scholarship and, in turn, a Department of Homeland Security fellowship.
Beginning her junior year at OU, Froelich had the opportunity to work in the lab with Xiangqun Zeng, associate professor of chemistry, and Gabrielle Stryker, assistant professor of biological sciences, which opened up many doors for her as an undergraduate.
“Oakland University has a great reputation of getting undergraduate students involved in active research,” Froelich said. “I was able to start doing research before my junior year and that gave me the opportunity to apply for the DHS (Department of Homeland Security) scholarship.”
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Scholars program supports the development and mentoring of the next generation of scientists as they study ways to prevent terrorist attacks within the United States and help reduce America’s vulnerability to terrorism and minimize the damage and recovery efforts in the event of an attack.
One of four DHS Scholars, Froelich’s interest revolves around mass spectrometry and developing analysis methods for small amounts of chemicals — important for the detention and identification of chemicals in potential biological attacks.
As a DHS scholar, Froelich’s tuition and fees her senior year at OU were covered and it allowed her to continue conducting research in the lab. Through the scholarship program, Froelich completed an internship at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn.
After graduating from OU, Froelich began her dual master’s degree in forensic science and Ph.D. in analytical chemistry at MSU as a DHS fellow. She will continue her studies as a DHS fellow for the 2005-06 academic year and can renew her fellowship for 2006-07. She returned to Oak Ridge National Lab this summer and worked in the organic and biological mass spectrometry group and gained a lot of valuable skills she has been able to apply in her studies at MSU.
Once Froelich completes her degrees, she would like to continue to explore areas in science that interest her.
“I always wanted to work in the field of forensic science. As of right now, I am keeping my options open,” Froelich said. “I would really like to continue doing research whether that be in an academic or industrial setting. I am probably leaning towards a government position. It would be great if I could use my knowledge to develop new forensic science techniques.”