First-Gen Spotlight: Alan Mlotkowski

Alan Mlotkowski (he/him/his) is a 4th year PhD student whose research interests are centered on RNA modifications. If you would like to connect with Alan, follow him on Twitter @Alan_Mlotkowski!

  1. Where do you call home? Illinois
  2. What is a quote that you live by? “It be like that sometimes”
  3. What do you see yourself doing in the future? Science policy or science communication
  4. If you could switch fields/careers, what field/career would you want to work in/have?*  Sustainable architecture
  5. What frustrates you the most about academia? Sometimes there can be a lack of empathy
  6. What are three things you can’t live without?* My neon palm tree sign, my bed, and my laptop
  7. What message do you hope your research conveys to the public? Things are more complicated than they seem, especially when you look really closely but when you begin stitching together multiple concepts/ideas, things begin to make a lot of sense.
  8. Who do you do this for? Simple answer: my family. My parents came to this country to provide a better life and I’ve already gone farther than anyone in my family. My mom wanted to study science/chemistry but my grandma told her that they were too poor to send her to such schooling and so she went to work instead. I’m pursuing my passion and I know it makes it that much better that it’s in the same area that interested her.
  9. What is your proudest moment (so far)?* Personal moment: One day while in grad school I was talking to my dad and he went on to say how he was in genuine awe of me with what I’ve done. Career moment: I presented my research at an international conference in Poland, the country where my parents are from and where all of my family live. It’s always been a dream of mine to present research there.
  10. What is one piece of advice you would give to other first-gen students? Find a good support system, specifically a group of friends that are going through the same stuff. Cut ties with the toxic students who are always constantly competing with other students. “All work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy.”

*borrowed from the 46 Questions blog!

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