Chemistry and Biochemistry
Advised by Joseph Fox
Interview submitted in Fall 2023.
CHARM Interviewer (CI): Where did you grow up and go to school for your undergraduate degree?
Ashlyn Hillman (AH): I grew up in Catasauqua, PA and attended Moravian University, where I majored in Chemistry and graduated Magna cum laude with Honors in Chemistry.
CI: What got you interested in materials science?
AH: The ability to design reactions that will yield materials with different properties and the potential to use these materials as new soft bioelectronics.
CI: In technical language, what is the research you do here at CHARM?
AH: Design, synthesis, and evaluation of dihydrotetrazines for photoactivated spatiotemporally controlled polymerizations to form responsive materials in vitro and in vivo. Also, construction of “Minimalist” tetrazines to modulated linker size to allow for tunable rigidity in our materials.
CI: What is a skill you would like to build on while being a part of CHARM?
AH: Networking and Science Communication. I have had the opportunity to attend some conferences to expand my network and I through UD CHARM and the UD CBI program I have had the opportunity to do some science outreach to get some experience explaining my science to non-scientists.
CI: Tell us about your career goals and aspirations.
AH: I am currently searching for a post-doctoral research position and after that would like to pursue research with my own lab as a research active faculty member.
CI: Are there any other student/campus organizations you belong to?
AH: I’m very involved in CHEM department events and in other organizations such as Chemical-Biology Interface (CBI), Delaware Biotechnology Institute (DBI), Allies for a Culture of Inclusive Diversity (ACID), and UD’s Graduate Student Government. Most notably, I am the Parlimentarian in the Student Government and act as an ambassador/grad student mentor/committee member in several of the mentioned organizations.
CI: What do you enjoy doing on your downtime outside of the lab?
AH: I love to read a lot of fiction books. I am really passionate about crafting and using crafts to brighten up a space (i.e. our office space). I loving hanging out and playing with my new puppy Darcy.
CI: What advice would you give to undergraduate students and first-year graduate students?
AH: For undergraduates: Follow your passions, graduate school can be overwhelming but if you are passionate about what you do it can be a really rewarding experience.
For first year graduate students: Keep an open mind when it comes to choosing a lab to join and picking research topics, some of my greatest projects have been ones that were daunting at first.
You can follow Ashlyn on Twitter/X at @AshlynSHillman.