ISB News

2017 Undergrad Intern Showcase

2017 ISB Intern Akanksha Bawa

Summer 2017 brought a fresh cohort of undergraduate students interested in exploring ISB’s research in the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience Program. Each intern worked with a mentor on a research project and participated in learning experiences aimed at expanding his or her skills.

A new intern course introduced this year tested “Entering Research” materials provided by educators and researchers at the University of Wisconsin. Students focused on reading scientific literature, presenting research findings and exploring career options. Funding for the course was provided by the National Institutes of Health to the National Research Mentoring Network, which the University of Wisconsin sponsors.

The introduction of the course provided “support for our scientists to explore teaching skills, specifically active-learning strategies, with undergrads,” said Jennifer Eklund, program manager in ISB’s Logan Center for Education.

The summer program provides students with a diversity of backgrounds and career goals a paid opportunity to experience research alongside experts in systems biology.

Akanksha Bawa

Akanksha Bawa is a UW pre-med student who came to ISB for a computational summer internship with very limited programming experience. From her mentor, Dr. Gustavo Glusman: “She is a very fast learner. Within a week she gained sufficient experience in the computer program R to perform meaningful analyses. She became so proficient at it that I couldn’t keep up with generating data sets for her to analyze! She then quickly learned how to work in the Unix environment and how to program in Python, and tackled a much more complex and valuable project: correcting distortions in the predicted disease risks of individuals from different populations/ethnicities. By the end of her internship she had produced very interesting results which will form the basis for an important publication. She presented her work as a poster and a group discussion, in both cases demonstrating a delightful clarity of thought and deep understanding of the problem and the strategy she developed. I’m looking forward to continuing to collaborate with her!”

The interns worked hard and brought fresh enthusiasm to ISB:
Asaad Ahmed
Aza Allen
Kourtney Tams
Christina Tran
Akanksha Bawa
Kirsten Pierce
Lena Joesch-Cohen
Omar Shah
Anisa Holloman
Noah McClean
Christopher Prinz
Parisa Tavakoli-Dehagi
Brian Bartz
Clémence Labarre

The mentors engaged with their interns with professionalism and rigor:
Serdar Turkarslan
Jake Valenzuela
Adrian Lopez Garcia de Lomana
Jessica Day
Fred Mast
Gustavo Glusman
Max Robinson
Paul Shannon
Alison Paquette
Cory Funk
Jacob Basett
Isil Hamdemir
Allison Kudla

The facilitators of the course embraced new ideas and rounded out the interns’ experiences:
Moriah Echlin
Mark Gillespie
Laura Heath
Matt Richards
Nyasha Chambwe
Alison Paquette
Leah Rommereim
Lee Hood
Sui Huang
Ilya Shmulevich

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