Allison Hommel is a Fullerton College alumna, current student at UC Irvine, and research assistant at Inscent, Inc. She says that Fullerton College science and Biotech courses taught her a myriad of skills- from social to critical laboratory techniques- that have helped her achieve great things. She is soon to be published!
Allison says “it’s pretty cheesy”, but she was always interested in the medical side of Grey’s Anatomy. In high school anatomy class, she performed several dissections on animals and says that being able to pump air into lungs was “the coolest thing ever”. Her ability to succeed in her science classes made her realize that this was probably the path that she should take in life.
After high school, Allison entered Fullerton College and began her journey to transferring. Her first year at Fullerton College, she was not involved in the Science Club until almost the last day of school, when her friend asked her to join. She was given a very minor role as the “Historian”, taking pictures of the club and creating a slideshow for the end of the year. By her second year, she was the Event Coordinator. By her third and last year, she was the President of the Science Club. She believes that new students should “throw themselves into everything… Dedicate time to clubs!” because of the social skills and life experiences you can gain from being involved.
In the summer of 2017, Allison participated in Cal State Fullerton’s Project RAISE internship, designed to give undergraduate students an opportunity to participate in research. She participated in a project named “Comparing Larval Settlement to Adult Distribution of Native (Ostrea lurida) and Non-native (Crassostrea gigas) Oysters Across Tidal Elevations” and says that the greatest thing she gained from this summer research was the lesson of working with people in the context of a research laboratory.
Soon after, due partly to her research experience and probably in large part to her can-do, optimistic attitude, she began working at her current laboratory, Inscent Inc., where she practices protein chemistry. Her lab focuses mainly on the chemistry of insect proteins in order to find sustainable, environmentally-friendly, and ethical solutions to mosquito-borne diseases. She says that much of the techniques she uses are techniques she learned in her Biotech courses. While she still wishes to move on to medical school, she says that she has found a passion in research and that her work at Inscent “doesn’t feel like work”!
Some advice that Allison gives to new students in addition to her advice about getting involved is to “Dedicate time to reaching out to faculty”. The relationships she developed with her teachers allowed her to learn about several opportunities that she may never have been able to experience had she been too shy to speak to them!