Bronco Spotlight: Alanna Van Huizen

Alanna Van Huizen

Ph.D. in biological sciences, 2021

Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the McKinney-Freeman Lab at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN

I do research to better understand hematopoietic stem cell development, regulation, and transplantation for therapeutic use.

If you had a campus job or internship, how did they impact your career development?

I did research in the Beane lab in the biological sciences department. Without this research or mentorship, I wouldn’t be where I am today!

What activities, resources, or people helped you prepare for your career?

My advisor, Dr. Wendy Beane, taught me practical research skills, critical thinking utilizing the scientific method, communicating my work via conferences, and scientific writing. Presenting my work on campus at graduate college or departmental events as well as traveling to conferences allowed me to communicate my work and network with other scientists.

Which of your skills had the biggest impact on your success?

Difficult to choose, but I’d say communication. Dr. Beane taught me to tell a story with my work to draw people in. By doing this, I was recruited by the organization I am now employed by.

What experiences impacted the choice of your career path?

Attending scientific conferences. At conferences I would really get excited about my work and hearing about the work of others. You get input on your ideas you never would have thought of and it really shapes how you approach questions in the lab!

What advice do you have for others pursuing a career similar to yours? 

The journey can be daunting, but it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Take each day, experiment, and task one at a time. Ultimately, the sum of being persistent is a body of work you can be proud of.

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