Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

Jennifer Mass, Ph.D., '90

Chemistry

When I was a student at F&M, I chose a mixture of courses that were right in line with the school’s liberal arts mission, taking classes that I loved in both the arts and sciences.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but my curriculum at F&M, a chemistry major and many classics courses, would be directly responsible for my first job at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, doing scientific analysis of the museum’s Greek and Roman collections. This initial position has led to fifteen exciting, rewarding, and meaningful years working in museums and universities as a conservation scientist. A conservation scientist is a chemist, geologist, physicist, biologist, or engineer who works on the preservation of our cultural heritage – anything of artistic or historic importance from an oil painting to a piece of furniture or a building.

Not only did my curriculum at F&M prepare me to be a chemist working in the arts, but the faculty at F&M inspired in me a dedication to learning that has led to an incredibly fulfilling career in teaching and research. Many encouraging discussions with Professors Yoder, Hess, and Steiner, and the opportunity to conduct summer research with Professor Yoder, gave me the confidence to pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry and a non-traditional career that combined my love for chemistry and art.

My experiences at Franklin and Marshall also gave me such a deep appreciation for art and antiquities that they inspired a lifelong passion for a career in preservation.

  • Alumni Profile: Jennifer Mass, Ph.D., '90