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Alex Fister

Alex Fister

Postbachalaurete IRTA Fellow

National Institutes of Health

What was your major/minor at Purdue and when did you graduate?

Major: Biology

Minor: Psychology

Graduation: May 2018

What drove you to pursue your current career path?

My biology teacher freshman year of high school was a great teacher and her passion for biology sparked my passion for it as well. I took AP biology my senior year of high school, which just solidified that interest.

What are you currently working on?

I study the role that a microRNA and one of its downstream transcription factors play in the development of the lymphatic system using zebrafish as the model system.

Can you think of any special accomplishments you've achieved after college that you might not have been able to do without your college experiences?

Purdue has a reputation of being a great STEM university, and nation-wide people recognize that. I believe that with a diploma from Purdue, I am much more of an attractive candidate to employers. The opportunities for personal and professional development that Purdue has available are beyond helpful in helping you grow as a person.

What did you do after graduating?

I started with Lilly about one month after graduating.  I worked as a scientist supporting the manufacturing of the bulk drug substance for human insulin at a very large scale. 

Did you pursue internships/co-ops, research experiences, volunteer, or join student organizations while you attended Purdue?

Yes, I completed 2 internships at Purdue and participated in undergraduate research in Dr. Donna Fekete’s lab. I also volunteered regularly and was involved in a few different student organizations like Beta Psi Omega, the biology professional fraternity. These experiences helped me gain valuable leadership experience as well as experiences that people I was competing with did not have, which gave me a leg up. Having the year of research experience definitely helped me get a job at the NIH.

What advice would you give to prospective or current Purdue students about how to make the best use of what Purdue offers?

Get to know your professors and go to their office hours! Having connections with them that you maintain is important especially post-grad with them writing you letters of recommendation for graduate/professional school.

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