May 2, 2019

2019 Murphy Award recipient: Jennifer Freeman

Jennifer Freeman Jennifer Freeman, recipient of the 2019 Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award in Memory of Charles B. Murphy. (Purdue University/Rebecca Wilcox) Download image

Five professors have received the 2019 Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award in Memory of Charles B. Murphy. This week, Purdue Today will feature profiles on each of the recipients. Today's profile features Jennifer Freeman, associate professor in the School of Health Sciences.

Years at Purdue: Started at Purdue in August 2007.

Teaching interests: My teaching interests are in environmental health, toxicology and the biomedical sciences. I currently lead an undergraduate course in environmental, occupational and radiological health sciences that is a University core course and a graduate course in environmental health, which is part of the School of Health Sciences graduate program and a core course in the Purdue Public Health Graduate Program. I also have a strong interest in teaching undergraduate students about research. I serve as the director of the School of Health Sciences Undergraduate Research Honors Program.

What she wants students to take away from her classes: The most important lesson I want for my students to take away is to never give up on their goals. Along their educational journey they will encounter many bumps and roadblocks, but I encourage them to continue to work hard toward their goals. The journey might not be the exact plan they had thought and it will require a lot of hard work, but it will definitely be worth it.

What Freeman enjoys most about teaching: What I enjoy the most about teaching is my direct interaction with the students. I am encouraged by their new ideas and enthusiasm. I love having the opportunities to give students experiences beyond the classic classroom setting and encourage them to participate in research opportunities to gain and expand their knowledge base.

I have had the opportunity to develop and serve as director of the School of Health Sciences Undergraduate Research Honors Program. Through this program I get to interact with our students about all aspects of research and am able to provide them with unique research experiences that align with their interests in the various research laboratories of the faculty in our school. I encourage the students to participate in research learning experiences including research poster sessions here at Purdue and if possible, travel to regional and even national scientific meetings to broaden their educational experiences to better prepare them for their next steps once they graduate.

On being nominated and selected to receive the Murphy Award: It is such an honor being nominated and selected to receive the Murphy Award. It was an amazing surprise. I look forward to many more years of interacting with students and aim to provide unique opportunities during their educational experience here at Purdue that will assist them as they work toward achieving their educational goals.

What her students say: I have also been able to attend many interesting seminars given by various people within the research field that mainly pinpoint on how to be successful with a career in medicine and research. While their journeys and advice all vary, they all mention one thing in common: that having a good mentor was crucial to their success. They go on by listing the characteristics a good mentor should have, and, not surprisingly, you fit every one of these qualities. Thank you for always sharing your knowledge, being a role model, taking an interest in my academic career, and always pushing me to aim a little bit higher. I can't say enough how beneficial my undergrad research experience has been in not only how quickly I was able to acclimate to a new laboratory and understand procedures, but also in being a better student and critical thinker. It’s because of you that I’m lucky enough to know exactly what a good mentor should be.

Writer: Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723, 

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