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A Day in the life: Alina Bilal, SDSU Masters Student

By: Alyssa Uribe, SDSU Chapter Member

Alina Bilal is a Cell and Molecular Biology Masters student at San Diego State University, working in Dr. Glembotki’s Molecular Cardiology research lab. She is currently completing her project, building and comparing atrial and ventricular vectors. Alina completed her bachelor's degree in Interdisciplinary Studies: Anthropology, Biology, and Statistics in spring 2018. She was exclusively an anthropology major until her third undergraduate year. A gradual intrigue formed in the biological area of anthropology and she wanted to further pursue her many questions and fascinations. Out of personal interest, Alina took upper division Biology courses and decided to start volunteering in Dr. Glembotski’s research lab. She found a passion for research and ultimately decided to continue her master's program in the same lab. In the future, Alina is looking forward to attaining her MD/Ph.D. She intends to continue doing translational research and forge towards drug development.

In her day to day life, she is very committed to her projects. She is in the lab at 8 am every weekday morning and leaves approximately at 6 pm, if all goes well throughout the day. Benchwork, administrative work, and reading fill her daily schedule. Alina most often performs tasks such as cloning, producing AAV, genetic regulation and mice work. On the weekends, she chooses to go into the lab and get ahead of the week. With an empty campus, she finds ease in her weekend work. Once her work is completed for the day, Alina tries to go to the gym 2-3 times a week. Though it takes time to master time management, Alina has created a balanced lifestyle for herself.

Overall, Alina describes her schedule to be flexible. On most days, she is available in the evening for time with friends and family. She loves going to the movies and exploring the San Diego restaurants and museums. When she needs time to de-stress, she enjoys reading non-fiction, playing with her cats, cooking and watching Parks and Recreation. Her biggest pieces of advice for students thinking about pursuing a master's degree in science is to work hard, take initiative and embrace failure. Research is about trial and error. Failure is inevitable. It is what you do after failure that can dictate your career. Learn from mistakes and try it again. Those that succeed have the most failures.


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