Haley Hill '04 Wins Homeland Security Fellowship
Haley Hill, a 2004 graduate of Occidental College, has been awarded a U.S. Department of Homeland Security Graduate Fellowship designed to support efforts to pursue scientific and technological breakthroughs that will result in improved homeland security.
The year-long fellowship, which can be renewed for two additional years, pays all tuition and fees and allots a $27,600 annual stipend. Hill, originally from Issaquah, Wash., is now pursuing a doctorate in chemistry at Northwestern University. Next summer, she will take part in a 10-week internship at a national lab or with government agencies that include FEMA, the Coast Guard, and the Secret Service.
At Northwestern, Hill is working on developing an ultra-sensitive detection system for DNA, RNA and proteins. The system she is working on has the ability to detect biological molecules when there are as few as 10 in a sample.
“The ability to detect these molecules has far reaching application to medicine, biowarfare detection and the basic biological sciences,” said Hill, who graduated cum laude from Occidental with a degree in biochemistry. “We hope to have the ability in the next few years to simultaneously detect as many as 20 biological agents with one test. This technology is critical to protecting the American population from the possibility of a biological attack.”
Hill is among 105 award recipients from 37 states and 73 different institutions. She was among 900 applicants who were reviewed by science and technology experts. The scholarship program started in 2003.
In 2002, Hill was awarded a Beckman Scholars Program award, one of the country’s most prestigious undergraduate research scholarships. At the time, she studied how well DNA works as a “wire” to detect disease and other mutations, research that could have broad implications in cancer prevention and treatment.