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Marie Curie Scholarship Provides Career Path for CSM Sophomore
Lyna Truong
Colorado Springs, CO

When Lyna Truong chose to major in biology, she was unsure what career path she would take with the degree. But as a recipient of College of Saint Mary’s prestigious Marie Curie Scholarship, the sophomore has had the opportunity to explore careers and glean insights from professionals in the biology field.

That’s just one of the many opportunities afforded to Marie Curie Scholars, who receive up to $20,000 annually for four years in tuition support. In addition to having access to substantial financial resources and facilities, participants also receive free tutoring, have opportunities for undergraduate research, and have access to top programs like the National Institute of Health and NASA research fellowships.

The support included a First Year in STEM class, which teaches the Scholars how to be prepared and organized as well as study skills. “They taught us so much stuff,” Lyna said. “I feel like it’s made me a better student overall.”

As she prepared for her junior year, Lyna has talked with Associate Professor Heather Stigge, PhD, director of the Marie Curie program, and upperclassmen about the opportunities for research. She’s also considering a career in analyzing DNA or gene therapy.

“Not the medical route, but behind the scenes,” she said.

In addition to her classes, Lyna is also a member of the Flames Tennis Team. She is the No. 3 singles player and No. 2 doubles player with junior Miranda Swanson, a nursing major. Lyna didn’t think playing collegiate sports was a possibility for her.

“In high school, I was more focused on my classes, so tennis was just extracurricular. But when the tennis coach reached out and said there was a scholarship open and spots on the team, it was exciting,” she said. “I love tennis so much and I didn’t want to quit. This was the perfect opportunity for me.”

Lyna has found a group of friends in her teammates. “All of our personalities blend so well together, so it makes it so much fun,” she said.

Balancing a busy schedule filled with academics and athletics can be challenging, but Lyna said high school prepared her for that. Her professors have also been flexible.

“I feel like I have a pretty good relationship with all of my professors,” she said. “They are very open to being flexible and giving me more time if I need it due to athletics.”

When she’s not in class or on the court, Lyna works as a student admissions associate in enrollment, is a member of Do Unto Others (DUO), Green Team, and is a co-founder of Blaze, a campus Bible study group.

As an out-of-state student, the Colorado Springs native was worried about not knowing anyone on campus. But both the Marie Curie Program and tennis have provided that for her.

“It’s the community for me,” she said.