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Eberly College of Science 2007 Co-op Student of the Year Announced

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Helen Freyberger, of Bethlehem, PA, has been selected as the recipient of the 2007 Co-op Student of the Year Award, sponsored by the Eberly College of Science Cooperative Education Program. The award is given annually to a participant in the Eberly College of Science Cooperative Education Program in recognition of their academic achievements and contributions to their employers, the University, the community, and the field of cooperative education.

Freyberger was nominated by Dr. David Lanar of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Division of Malaria Vaccine Development. Helen was a co-op student in Dr. Lanar's laboratory at Walter Reed from January to August 2005 and then again from January to August 2007. Helen worked as part of a team of scientists analyzing the immune responses in different strains of mice to the department's malaria vaccine product, FMP011, and very quickly took on a major role in the project. She performed experiments, collected the data and did the primary analysis of the results. She ended her first seven month rotation in the laboratory by presenting a seminar on her work to the entire department. Her work was incorporated into an FDA submission and published with her as an author on the paper (Brando, et al. 2007. Infect Immun. 75:838-45).

Shortly after returning to the lab for a second rotation her supervisor, Dr. Brando, had to unexpectedly leave for six weeks and Helen designed and performed all the experiments that were required on her own. According to Dr. Lanar, Helen’s dedicated effort in such a difficult task was a major break-through for their laboratory. He has rated her as the top Penn State co-op student they have had in the laboratory in seven years.

Freyberger graduated in August from Penn State with a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and is currently enrolled in the Master of Science program in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. She will receive a $500 award and certificate of achievement, and will be nominated for state and national Co-op Student of the Year awards.

Information about the Penn State Eberly College of Science Cooperative Education Program is available on the web at http://www.science.psu.edu/coop.

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