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Alumni Spotlight

Ally Lunich Go Frogs 2022

Ally Lunich - B.S. Biology 2022
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Current city: Fort Worth/ Washington DC

Please tell us about your position.
My position, which began in July 2022, is through the Post-bac IRTA program at the  National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI/ NIH) on the NIH campus in Bethesda, MD

What is your job title?
Postbaccalaurate Intramural Research Training Award (Postbac IRTA) trainee

What will you do on a day-to-day basis?
I will be working in a lab under Dr. Adrian Wiestner utilizing the technique of flow cytometry to understand the effects of current treatments on cells from patients with Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) or other leukemia and lymphomas. In addition to running the cells through flow cytometry, I will also help interpret the results that we get and discuss future studies with scientists in the lab. This program also gives me access to all of the resources at the NIH so I will be attending their seminars weekly as well. 
Why were you interested in the position?
I never got the opportunity to do extensive biological research at TCU and it was something that I was always interested in. This position allows me to not only do hands-on lab work but also allows me to use my knowledge and critical thinking skills to work with the team on formulating new treatments and studies. I am very comfortable in clinical settings and I knew that this position would push me out of my comfort zone. 

What made you choose to pursue Biology at TCU?
I was always interested in Biology, especially since high school. In my personal life, I am a perfectionist, but biology challenges me and pushed me out of my comfort zone because rarely anything in biology is perfect and things are constantly changing. This passion for studying biology and eventually becoming a physician continued throughout my time at TCU. 

How do you think your experiences as a TCU Biology student have prepared you for this new position? 
First and foremost, I think the critical thinking skills that I developed in my classes helped me get this position the most. I am not someone who has done extensive lab work, but the curriculum has instilled in me the basics of biology and taught me perseverance when I never felt like I would be able to understand a given topic. Classes such as Mammalian Physiology and Histology, along with the professors that I have had along the way, have pushed me to go beyond just rote memorization and really interact with a topic, which is what I will need to do in my future lab. I feel as though the labs that we are required to take in biology, in addition to some of the elective ones that I took such as Histology and Microbiology, have given me a strong foundation for performing in lab work. 

Did you conduct research with Biology faculty? If so, who did you work with and what research question did you work to address?
No- I did some work in a department of kinesiology lab. 

What was your biggest accomplishment as a TCU student?
As cheesy as it sounds, graduating. I faced A LOT of obstacles during my time at TCU and there were many points where I thought that I would not get here, but I somehow did. 

What would be your advice for current and future TCU Biology students?
Keep going! Make friends/ study buddies! I know that I would not have made it to graduation without my support system of students and the professors in the biology department who constantly encouraged me and challenged me. Also- don’t do something because you think you have to. There are a lot of paths that you can go down with your biology knowledge and there is no “right” one that applies to everybody. Do what you are interested in and apply even if you think you are not very qualified.