Graduate students win Department of Defense Fellowship

By Tatum Lyles Flick
Marketing & Communications Manager

Chemistry graduate students Christopher Dade (Forest) and Ashley Ogorek (Martell) have been selected for the Department of Defense’s National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (ND- SEG) fellowships, which for three years offer a monthly stipend, travel budget, health insurance and pay tuition and fees.

Only 159 fellows were selected out of 7,942 applicants.

“This fellowship will enable me to pursue research full time for the last three years of my graduate career,” said Ogorek, who is part of the Martell group. “I am also excited to become part of a community of top scientists across the country.”

Ashley Ogorek, a graduate student in the Martell Lab, recently won a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate fellowship.Ogorek detects protein-protein interactions through DNA and antibody switchable catalysis. She hopes her research can reveal more about proteomics, therapeutics, and disease diagnostics.

“My research is focused on identifying inhibitors of a protein in the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa that processes the subunits of both the type 4 pilus and type 2 secretion systems,” Dade said. “Our goal is not only to better understand the structure, function, and mechanism of integral membrane aspartic acid proteases but also to potentially develop new leads for targeting virulence in drug-resistant pathogens.”

Dade was excited and honored to earn the three-year fellowship.

“Because the fellowship funds graduate students and not the research, I also see it as a validation of my goal to become a publicly engaged scientist, working to establish the role scientists can play rebuilding connections and trust between citizens and their land-grant universities,” he said.