In this short video, UC Merced undergraduate and graduate students share how their summer internship experiences have influenced their careers in science. Hear more about what they learned from working with their JGI mentors, what challenges they overcame, and what new skill sets they look forward to taking back to school.
The interns from this cohort and their respective JGI mentors are:
- Ruoxi Zhao and mentor Margot Bezrutczyk
- Eric Wu and mentor Atif Shahab
- Edward Lu and mentor Miguel Romero
- Sean Saki and mentors Zhong Wang and Bryce Foster
- Sivagunalan Thamilarasan and mentors Zhong Wang and Bryce Foster
- Feng Yu and mentors Zhong Wang and Bryce Foster
- Irina Birskis Barros and mentors Elle Barnes and Susannah Tringe
- Shari Larsen and mentor Robert M. Bowers
- Nathaniel Brown and mentor Frederik Schulz
- Daravuth Cheam and mentors Clement Coclet and Simon Roux
- Tyrome Sweet and mentor Jonelle Basso
- Yumary Vasquez and mentor Juan C. Villada
- Natalie Meacham and mentor G. Albert Wu
Yumary Vasquez: So this summer what I learned at the JGI is how to really work in the government lab. And I find this really valuable because in this time that I’ve been in my PhD program, I’ve been really focused with academia. And so this was the first time I was introduced into what a government lab and what this future could look like.
Edward Lu: I think this internship is gonna help me in the future because it just showed me when people have a goal and passion for it, it’s possible to do amazing things. And it made me explore every single possibility. And also specifically, it sparked my interest in bioformatics, so that’s what I’m gonna take with me to the future.
Shari Larsen: I didn’t grow up with computers, and it seems like my younger counterparts are a little bit stronger in computing, so I was kind of worried coming into the, the internship that maybe I didn’t have as good of skills as somebody else might have. But Robert, uh, Bob [Bowers], was super helpful and I, I just have so much more confidence and I can say that I’m an app developer and that’s amazing.
Sivagunalan Thamilarasan: I think this internship affects my future as, um, looking at Sean and Fang when they’re doing their internship, it really made me think about should I, do I really wanna do a PhD in the future? And it made me confirm that I might wanna do it maybe a graduate degree, then maybe like think about doing a PhD or not in the future.
Feng Yu: So for me, previously I had I don’t know how to communicate with team members previously. I think I may keep doing research, but now I think I can lead a team. So maybe I go to industry field, I lead a research team. I think, yeah, that’s maybe one possibility.
Sean Saki: Yeah, I think the, the main thing for me is since I want to go to industry a lot sooner, is having the experience coding with the team and working with everybody is a, a really valuable experience.
Nathaniel Brown: My biggest concern before I started my internship was whether I had enough experience to make really good contributions to the project. Also my area of expertise over the past couple years is a little bit different from what I did during the summer. But ultimately I think that my skills were very complimentary to the project and I learned a lot and gonna take a lot away from it.
Ruoxi Zhao: Yeah, the most exciting thing I learned at JGI is how to work with a scientist and, uh, how to, um, make a scientific research poster. And I was able to present at the, um, final symposium at UC Merced
Daravuth Cheam: The biggest concern I had when I started this, uh, summer internship was working with big data, but something that I learned from this program was how to use Python, um, from the week long Python workshop. And I’m excited to take that with me, along with other tools that I can use to, um, perform computational biology.
Eric Wu: From the internship I learned to work as a group. Um, during the internship I was able to have code review sessions with a few people in my team, and we can sit down together and working on the same problem. We can research on the internet and share our findings. And that was really important for me.
Tyrome Sweet: Most of the internships I’ve been a part of were only about the project, but JGI truly invested in me to help me become a better scientist. I think this internship will make me much stronger as a scientist and really helped me become the professor and PI I’ve been aiming to be.
Natalie Meacham: Looking at how this internship affected my future because I am a math person, I got to see kind of for the first time how people do science on both a macro and micro level, which was really cool for me. It encouraged me to keep looking at the possibility of working at a lab for my career. And of course, I also met a ton of really cool people who do really cool science, and I look forward to keeping them in my network.
Byline: Ashleigh Papp