Margaret Fredricks '00 and Emily Lowe '00 Win German Academic Exchange Service Grants



Emily Lowe '00

Margaret Fredricks '00

Margaret Fredricks and Emily Lowe, two senior science majors who also have a strong interest in German, have been awarded Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD) annual grants to study and do research in Germany during the academic year 2000&endash;2001.
Fredricks, a double major in chemistry and German studies, describes the day she learned that she had won the award as one of her happiest. "My parents were here for the weekend to hear my senior science symposium talk," says Fredricks. "They were just getting into the car to go and do some shopping while I got ready for the talk when I came running out of my dorm in my bath robe and called them back in to read the email from Hilary Shaw [announcing the award]. It made my presentation go a lot smoother. At the end of my presentation, Professor Davis announced the good news to everyone in the audience. The room lit up with excitement. It was one of my best days."
Fredricks will spend ten months at the University of Munich, where she will focus her research on catalytic degradation in the Heck reaction, which is similar to the Stille reaction that she researched for her thesis. Both reactions are used to form carbon-to-carbon bonds. She began her thesis project with a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship from Pfizer Corporation and continued the project during both semesters this year.
Of her future plans Fredricks says, "I plan to get my Ph.D. in chemistry. I would like to be a German chemist. That is, I would like to work for a company that has dealings with both the United States and Germany and hope to travel and live in both countries."
Emily Lowe, a double major in geology and geography, had already started looking for a job when she received word that she had won a DAAD grant. " I thought it [the award] would be announced earlier, and since it was late March, I assumed they just hadn't gotten out the 'we-regret' letters," she says. " I am really excited to be continuing with my research. Although it is not exactly what I did for my thesis, it is within the same field."
Lowe will conduct her work at the University of Heidelberg. The research will encompass the study of the trace elements of rocks called pyroxenites. She completed a thesis this year on the ferrous/ferric iron ratios in metapelites (metamorphosed rocks, which prior to metamorphism were mudstones). "Emily was a student in both my mineralogy and petrology classes last year," says M. Darby Dyar, visiting assistant professor of geology and Lowe's adviser. "In both classes, she was the most enthusiastic, the hardest working, and the brightest student (among a peer group of extremely talented women). In lecture, she was a frequent participant in discussions, and she was never afraid to ask questions or seek clarification. In lab, she spent many hundreds of hours mastering the skills needed for the courses, and she was also generous in giving her time to help others less talented in the class. Outside of class, Emily read every word of reading I assigned and sometimes asked for more."
Lowe's future plans include pursuing a graduate degree in some field of geology, perhaps geochemistry, mineralogy, or petrology. She hopes to take a year or two off after her year in Germany to "actually do geologic work in the real world for awhile and see how that focuses [her] future plans."
About the DAAD Award
DAAD (The German Academic Exchange Service) is a private, self-governing organization of the universities in Germany. Its purpose is to promote international relations between institutions of higher education, especially in the fields of academic and scientific exchange. Among the many programs sponsored by DAAD is the fellowship program to provide a year of study in a German university to graduates of United States colleges and universities. The selection committee looks for overall academic achievement and feasibility of the proposed plan of study. DAAD is interested in candidates from a broad range of disciplines, but students in the sciences are especially encouraged to apply. Awards cover ten months of study, including airfare, health insurance, and a monthly maintenance allowance.
Twelve Mount Holyoke nominees have won DAAD awards since the program began in 1985. MHC seniors have won placements to study chemistry, computer science, economic development, mathematics, pharmacology, psychology, geology, German studies, literature, and biology.
Photographs by Fred LeBlanc