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Ashalla FreemanSPIRE Fellow, Microbiology and Immunology
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Hello, I am Ashalla Magee Freeman, a proud native of Jackson, Mississippi. In 1996, I graduated magna cum laude from Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, MS, with a B.S. in Chemistry. Under the mentorship of Dr. Janet Yother at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, I completed my dissertation research investigating the role of Streptococcus pneumoniae polysaccharide capsule in animal models of virulence and received my Ph.D. in Microbiology in 2004. Here at UNC-Chapel Hill, I have joined the lab of Dr. Robert Bourret. The focus of our research is the elucidation of the molecular mechanisms of bacterial signal transduction using chemotaxis in bacteria as a model system. I became interested in science education during my undergraduate years when I took advantage of opportunities to tutor both undergraduate and high school students in the areas of math and science.
As a SPIRE Fellow, I will be trained to effectively teach undergraduates and incorporate my scientific research into my courses. As an undergraduate, the MARC and AMP Programs required my participation in summer research internships which sparked my love for biomedical research. However, everyone is not afforded these opportunities, and even these opportunities are too late for students who became disenchanted with math and science at an early age. Earlier intervention is needed for those students, and I pray that my SPIRE training will afford me the skills necessary to help improve primary and secondary science education.
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