Gateways 2016 introduced undergraduate Joel Gonzalez-Santiago to the work of nanoHUB, presented by Lynn Zentner of Purdue University, and led to an internship.

2019 Interns 2019 Interns

Gregory Sirko
Purdue University
Dr. Paul Parsons

Hello! My name is Gregory Sirko. I am studying in my second year at Purdue University, pursuing a Bachelor of Science in User Experience Design. Alongside my primary degree, I am pursuing minors in psychology and anthropology. I work as a research assistant in another space, called the Community-Computer Interaction Lab with Dr. Austin Toombs here at Purdue.

I am interested in user research, particularly in understanding conditions and effects of personal technologies, digital and physical, on humans’ senses of social, mental, and cultural wellbeing. Additional areas that I am concerned with are information architecture and visual design. I hope to understand more meaningful manners of visual and interface design and system presentation to improve information literacy, ease of use, and enjoyment.

Studying within my UX degree here has afforded numerous opportunities to experience rich fast-paced, user-focused projects that one might find working in the field. I have worked in multiple and various phases of UX design and have firsthand experience with user research and testing methods, including (but not limited to): observations, interviews, usability testing, and heuristic analysis. In addition, I have had significant training and practice with sketching and rapid prototyping, including: low, medium, and high-fidelity digital prototypes. Furthermore, creating wireframes, user task flows, and personas are some other noteworthy skills I have been able to develop throughout my studies. I have worked in web and mobile settings.

I now work as a usability consultant with Abbee and Chris through the Science Gateways Community Institute (SGCI). We consult with members of science communities from different backgrounds, including those who provide and access geospatial mapping, hydrologic data and others. Our work involves analyzing and testing various forms of websites or web applications in order to present feedback and redesign considerations to improve the overall user experience, namely in terms of usability. We make use of methods such as heuristic analysis, usability testing, and cognitive walkthrough.


Chris Watkins
Purdue University
Dr. Paul Parsons

My name is Chris Watkins, and I’m currently in the second year of a master’s degree in Human-Centered Design & Development at Purdue University. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Web Design & Development from Northumbria University in the United Kingdom in 2015. In the two years between graduating and continuing my education at Purdue, I worked as a User Experience Designer & Front-End Developer for an in-house agency creating e-commerce and software solutions for the automotive industry, as well as carrying out freelance work in UX consultancy, design, and development. 

My undergraduate education was geared predominantly towards the front and back-end development of websites and software applications, with complimentary classes in user experience research and visual design, arming me with the ability to rapidly create high-fidelity interactive prototypes as well as fully-fledged websites, and conduct lab-based usability testing. My graduate career has allowed me to greatly build upon my skills in HCI research, particularly in more contextually suitable qualitative methods including interviews, contextual inquiry etc., from a critical perspective. My thesis research focuses on the impacts of fulfillment and compromise of a HCI/UX student’s core values as a designer in the workplace, as the field advocates for academics and practitioners to adopt a more critical and reflective approach to their work, with the end goal being the production of more socially responsible design.

During the summer of 2018, I was fortunate enough to complete a 12-week internship with M*Modal in Pittsburgh, working on improving voice-interactions for physicians using speech-enabled content in a multi-modality system, to improve the quality and completeness of their clinical patient documentation.

I have been working with the Science Gateways Community Institute as a usability consultant since January 2018. During this time, I have worked with clients from a variety of STEM backgrounds, including quantum chemistry and geospatial mapping, carrying out usability evaluations of existing software, conducting user research, and providing design recommendations in the form of static and interactive prototypes, as well as providing some development support throughout the implementation process.


Abagail Westbrook
Purdue University
Dr. Paul Parsons

My name is Abagail Westbrook. I am currently a junior at Purdue University, in my second year of studying User Experience Design at the Polytechnic Institute. Along with obtaining a Bachelor's of Science in User Experience Design, I plan to earn a minor in Communications at Purdue's Brian Lamb School of Communications. I expect to graduate in the Spring of 2020.  

Through studying UX at Purdue I am being exposed to many of the fields in which UX can be applied, and have chosen to specialize in civic design. In the past, I have had opportunities to work on semester-long projects with Avanade, an IT consulting firm, and Crema, a tech innovation company. I am currently leading a team of six on a project for Garmin aimed at increasing the usability of their app and website.  

At present, I am working as a Research Assistant in the Community-Computer Interaction Lab. The project I am working on currently is aiming to understand the types of interactions on social media that lead to the creation of communities and their subsequent effect on the user's mental health.  

I have also begun working as a usability consultant for the Science Gateways Community Institute. I have the pleasure of working with clients from all over the world of STEM to help make their projects more usable for their users. I have enjoyed the opportunity to hone my skills as UX designer by providing clients with research through a variety of methods according to set milestones.  


2018 Interns 2018 Interns

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Yuexi Chen
University of Maryland
David Fushman, UMD

I dedicated myself to interdisciplinary research when I was a sophomore at the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC). At that time, I was an engineering major and worked in a computational lab that used mathematical and physical models to help experimentalists to explain experimental phenomena and reveal mechanisms. Unsatisfied about only developing explanatory models, I switched my interest to computational biochemistry when I was a senior, hoping to develop predictive models to better assist researchers to design experiments.

At the University of Maryland, I'm advised by Prof. David Fushman, a structural biologist, and Prof. Max Leiserson, a computational scientist and computational biologist. In Prof. Fushman’s lab, my research focuses on studying the conformations of proteins via the integration of different NMR data. In Prof. Leiserson’s lab, I develop algorithms to study peptides presented on cell surfaces (antigen presentation), and work on missing link prediction methods for biological networks. I study different proteins in both labs, but the major goal is unified: help experimentalists to integrate experiment data from different sources to gain insights into biological interactions.

Gradually, I realized that many scientific programs are not easy to use for general researchers since they don’t have graphical user interfaces and require some knowledge in Java/MATLAB. Moreover, they are separate programs and if someone wants to do a bunch of analysis, they have to install multiple programs and deal with different runtime environments of different languages. When I work with biochemists, I find they are often unwilling to install and run those heterogeneous programs. More importantly, it’s not easy for biochemists to find those programs. Some algorithms are published on prestigious journals, for example, Prof. David Fushman’s group published PATI (Prediction of Alignment Tensor through Integration) in the Journal of American Society of Chemistry (JACS), but the huge potential applications in biochemistry may be overshadowed by complicated theoretical details in that paper. As a result, even biochemists who need the software can’t find the software if only at a glimpse of the paper.

Therefore, as a first-year Ph.D. student, my short-term goal is to transform our off-line software into web-based applications and make them more accessible to biochemists. The first time I heard about GenApp, I realized that was exactly the framework I was looking for. I hope by utilizing GenApp, any biochemist in this world can easily find our programs if they want to do similar analysis, and they can run programs on web servers smoothly without any prior knowledge in MATLAB/Java. Hopefully, we can even collect feedback from them to make further improvements.

Sponsored by Science Gateways Community Institute, I realized my goal this summer. With the assistance of Dr. Emre Brookes, Dr. Alexey Savelyev and Dr. David Fushman, I modified an existing program called ROTDIF, a versatile software package that enables researchers to perform accurate and comprehensive analysis of NMR relaxation data in order to determine the rotational diffusion tensors and characterize the amplitudes and time scales of internal motions in biological macromolecules (proteins and nucleic acids). Using the GenApp technology for scientific gateways (https://genapp.rocks), I successfully developed a science gateway for ROTDIF that provides advanced computational functionalities, streamlines data input, storage, and output, and enables interactive 2D and 3D plotting and visualization. These features will dramatically improve the user experience and broaden the number of potential users of this gateway. I will present specific examples illustrating data input, functionality, and output visualization in a poster. I also firmly believe that others in science gateways related to the biological structural community will be able to use these new tools to advance their research capabilities and to enhance their research experience.

In the future, I intend to transform and make available through GenApp other software packages and modules for NMR data analysis that we developed. Moreover, I will also take GenApp into account at the beginning of designing any original program.

I will continue devoting myself to developing useful algorithms combined with the first-hand information gained by experimentalists and cutting-edge algorithms for biochemists who always look for rationale in performing experiments. Meanwhile, I am determined to join more projects working on science gateways since they can successfully bridges researchers in experimental and computational areas.


Yu-Shen Ho
Purdue University
Dr. Paul Parsons

My name is Yu-Shen Ho. I am a graduate student at Purdue University in the Department of Computer Graphic Technology, and I am specialized in the user experience of human-computer interaction. I come from Taiwan and I obtained my Bachelor's degree in Sociology. I changed my career path but my passion for knowing how and why people think and behave stays the same.

While working at the National Taiwan University College of Law, I was responsible for a web redesign project and I learned the design and web coding skills and the structure of websites at that time. Through this experience, I felt technology is powerful to see the instant improvement. To expand my probe, I was opting to work at Otis Elevator Company as a human resource specialist mainly executing the external and in-house employee training and development program. The program helped escalate my strength in observation, and in interpersonal and leadership skills.

With my diverse backgrounds and the curiosity of the design innovation and technology possibility, I was driven to pursue a higher degree in the human-computer interaction field. My goal is to find more simple, direct and interactive solutions for interfaces to align with different environments or settings.

During the summer of 2018, I got the opportunity to join the Science Gateways Community Institute (SCGI) team and to work with an organization outside Purdue. In a consultant role, I was responsible for giving recommendations to help improve the overall experience of using the client's data portal web pages. I went through the whole process of user research, including survey and result analysis, heuristic evaluation and cognitive walkthrough, designed a new wireframe, and conducted usability testing for the current version and new design. Through this work, I had the chance to perform my research and design skills and execution ability with the help from the team leader, colleagues, and the lead of the organization.


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Thomas Johnson III
Texas Advanced Computing Center
Ritu Arora, TACC

My name is Thomas Hilton Johnson III, and I am Freshman attending Elizabeth City State University. I gained a passion for technology at the age of four when I reset the language on the family computer to Chinese. From there, science fiction stories were my main source of reading material as they brought forth the technology the human mind could imagine. Under various teachers, especially my Exploring Technology teacher Mr. William Wall and my wise high school teacher Mr. Arthur Close, I began to have a fixation on technology, mainly driven by a curiosity of how devices worked or could be improved. Rewards in the form of an Exploring Technologies trophy and induction into the career-focused National Technical Honor Society allowed for more concentration in the field of technology until high school graduation.

Over the summer of 2015, the Engineering and Technology camp of Envision Experience opened its doors to allow me to explore breadboards and coding that was among the many elements of exposure. An internship under the guidance of Mr. Steve Coleman at the Joint School of Nanotechnology and Nanoengineering provided me with exposure to nanotechnologies and the scales to which human beings can actively induce a change in the universe.

I am currently taking part in the Center of Excellence in Remote Sensing Education and Research (CERSER) program at ECSU that encourages the attainment of Master’s and Doctoral degrees. CERSER provides a great amount of exposure to the applications of various computer systems and software packages.

As technology grows and more platforms become dependent on efficient computers to run advanced tasks, CERSER is providing the skills needed to handle the developments in coding and operating systems that are revolutionizing the world. Training sessions in Mac Operating systems, Adobe Dreamweaver and Adobe Photoshop will prove useful in the future in the development of web pages for documenting my research. Throughout the CERSER program, there is an emphasis on the construction of well-organized resumes and professional statements.

In Spring 2017, I entered a research group under my mentor Jerome Mitchell in the usage of machine learning algorithms to classify particle collisions obtained from the supersymmetry dataset. The purpose of this research was to examine whether backpropagation or linear regression was more effective in classifying the data within the supersymmetry dataset. This effectiveness was examined by measuring the accuracy of both the linear regression and backpropagation algorithms and comparing the accuracy of both. This was my first exposure to machine learning which is critical in modern times with ever-growing importance of big data and the necessity of programs that are adaptive in nature to accomplish more complex or challenging goals.

I am also a member of the Pi-Byte club which gives its members opportunities to explore coding disciplines while providing a hub within ECSU for computer science and mathematics majors to congregate to assist one another in gaining capabilities to stay ahead of the curve in the global market.

In the future, pursuing Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate Degrees in Computer Science will be a priority. Giving back to the communities that have added to my education will be a goal for my future as I pursue a career in programming or nanotechnology.


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Stephanie Knab
Purdue University
Dr. Paul Parsons

I’m a Master’s candidate in the Computer Graphics Technology department at Purdue University. More specifically, I’m studying Human-Centered Design and Development. I study how different user groups perceive data visualizations having to do with climate change. I’ve been working with SGCI since I started my Master’s degree a year and a half ago. As I finish up my last semester, I’m realizing how perfect the opportunity working with SGCI was. I had the pleasure of using my skills and passion for environmental conservation to help projects that make a difference in their community and to many other scientists. After graduation, I hope to continue down the path of making scientific applications more usable and understandable to the general public.


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Nayman Leung
University of Illinois
Joseph Curtis, NIST

Two summers ago, I worked on a project titled “Visualization of Perovskite Octahedral Tilts in Augmented Reality” under the supervision of Dr. Ratcliff at the NIST Center for Neutron Research. Although I applied to the Summer High School Intern Program (SHIP) under the impression that I would conduct research in an EE concentrated field, I came to appreciate the beauty of the intersection between two entirely unexpected fields: crystallography and computer science. Analyzing phenomenons in repeating atomic structures seemed entirely foreign to me at the beginning of the internship when I was reading introductory journals, but I now understand that research is an ongoing learning process that does not necessarily require comprehensive background knowledge for success. To elaborate, I was able to simulate an immersive user interface environment on the Microsoft HoloLens by perusing the web for tutorials and resources on programming in Unity 3D game engine. My final design allowed the user to select a perovskite from a menu and interact with it by making gestures like pinching to zoom in, or rotating by moving the hand horizontally. While there were several flaws in representing the Octahedral tilting phenomenon, I thoroughly enjoyed learning how to enhance how scientists visualize and manipulate data, a field that I know will be pertinent to all areas of science no matter what age we are in.

This summer, I returned to the same campus to develop an open source user interface built on a scientific gateway, GenApp, primarily for improving interaction with protein data files so that they can be compatible with simulation programs. While I certainly gleaned valuable software engineering skills such as high-level design, effective abstraction, version control, transparent documentation, and other nuances exclusive to JavaScript and Python, I ultimately understood the function and potential of scientific gateways. For researchers who want to modify fields in their data files to customize a protein, it is cumbersome to meticulously search through the records, even with the help of some established programs available on the web. Thus, a programmer can step in to abstract away the trivial details of the anatomy of the data file and instead present a fluid user interface to minimize effort on behalf of the researcher. At a minimum, the developed application allows customization of sub-sections in a potentially large chain of residues, but the most important functionality (still under development) streamlines a seamless workflow for assembling customized proteins after editing the individual data fields. Releasing the web application as an open source project on a scientific gateway platform was the first step towards building a flourishing community of researchers who can utilize the tool and provide feedback as well as developers who can continue contributing software.

While this project was undoubtedly unique compared to traditional internships for a typical Electrical Engineering student, I look forward to fostering these skills in future career paths where designing user-friendly interfaces are key - especially for many embedded systems applications.


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Edsel Norwood II
National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center
Shreyas Cholia, NERSC

My name is Edsel Norwood, and I have recently graduated from the College of the Albemarle with an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science, majoring in computer programming. At a young age, I was often asked “what do you want to be when you grow up”, and it seems like every time I answered that question it was different. It was not until my sophomore year in high school that I noticed the interest that I had in computer programming. Ever since then, I could not see myself pursuing any other profession.

I started with the associate’s program at the College of the Albemarle located in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Part way into my second semester I found myself coding not only the programs that I was assigned for class but programs that I challenged myself to write. I found myself doing this because I genuinely enjoyed the process of brainstorming the planning and structure of coding an optimized program. After my first year, I found that learning a programming language was not as intimidating as I had previously seen it to be.

During the summer of 2017 I attended a workshop at Elizabeth City State University organized by the Science Gateways Community Institute. In this workshop, we learned how to use different programming languages and programming software such as R Studio and PyCharm. We also had the opportunity to attend PEARC17. The PEARC17 workshop is in New Orleans, Louisiana and covers the objectives for those who show interest in managing, developing, and using advanced research computing. I will be attending some of the sessions at the workshop as well as participating in the student mentor program and student volunteer program.

During this 2017-2018 school year, I am attending Elizabeth City State University for my Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science while also being involved in the Center of Excellence in Remote Sensing Education and Research. While working on my bachelor’s degree I plan to explore different internship opportunities. My hopes are that while completing my bachelor’s degree I can participate in multiple internships and gain an ample amount of hands-on experience.

After acquiring a bachelor’s degree, my plan is to further my education and pursue my master’s degree. At this point in my life, my long-term goals involve having a well-developed career and a network of professional connections as I enter the field of computer science.


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Marlo Owczarzak
Purdue University
Dr. Paul Parsons

My name is Marlo Owczarzak, a Master’s student in Human Centered Design and Development currently attending Purdue University. I graduated with a BS in Informatics from Indiana University in 2017, and also completed minors in French and Graphic Design, and received a Kelley School of Business Certificate. Throughout my studies, I have had excellent opportunities to work in fast-paced, iterative design processes. I’m familiar with the complete process of designing from the first idea to a polished product and enjoy everything from brainstorming to testing paper prototypes.

During the course of my academic career, I have worked on various design challenges on multiple platforms and under varying time constraints. My undergraduate work focused on interaction design, wireframing, prototyping, and usability testing, mostly for mobile experiences. My current graduate work is tailored towards UX research, including research methods and study design, which supplements my interaction design skills. I also have experience working on a design team firsthand; my experience on the Angie’s List UX design team has afforded me the opportunity to become familiar with the design process from start to finish in an agile setting. I worked as an interaction design intern while collaborating with visual designers, UX researchers, and development teams. This work taught me the importance of detail as well as clear understanding among all members of a project team, and also reinforced my passion for problem-solving in a design space.

My involvement with Science Gateways Community Institute (SGCI), is in the role of a usability consultant for different groups. Usability work was broken down into milestones, and throughout the process, I delivered an annotated portfolio, a competitive analysis, sample visual designs, and design recommendations. Throughout this process, I have honed design skills under set deadlines for clients, and have produced comprehensive UX recommendations for SGCI projects. 


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Gabriel Stenger
University of Michigan
Brock Palen, U-M

Chris Watkins
Purdue University
Dr. Paul Parsons

My name is Chris Watkins, and I’m currently in the second year of a master’s degree in Human-Centered Design & Development at Purdue University. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Web Design & Development from Northumbria University in the United Kingdom in 2015. In the two years between graduating and continuing my education at Purdue, I worked as a User Experience Designer & Front-End Developer for an in-house agency creating e-commerce and software solutions for the automotive industry, as well as carrying out freelance work in UX consultancy, design, and development. 

My undergraduate education was geared predominantly towards the front and back-end development of websites and software applications, with complimentary classes in user experience research and visual design, arming me with the ability to rapidly create high-fidelity interactive prototypes as well as fully-fledged websites, and conduct lab-based usability testing. My graduate career has allowed me to greatly build upon my skills in HCI research, particularly in more contextually suitable qualitative methods including interviews, contextual inquiry etc., from a critical perspective. My thesis research focuses on the impacts of fulfillment and compromise of a HCI/UX student’s core values as a designer in the workplace, as the field advocates for academics and practitioners to adopt a more critical and reflective approach to their work, with the end goal being the production of more socially responsible design.

During the summer of 2018, I was fortunate enough to complete a 12-week internship with M*Modal in Pittsburgh, working on improving voice-interactions for physicians using speech-enabled content in a multi-modality system, to improve the quality and completeness of their clinical patient documentation.

I have been working with the Science Gateways Community Institute as a usability consultant since January 2018. During this time, I have worked with clients from a variety of STEM backgrounds, including quantum chemistry and geospatial mapping, carrying out usability evaluations of existing software, conducting user research, and providing design recommendations in the form of static and interactive prototypes, as well as providing some development support throughout the implementation process.


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Ke'Darius Whitley
Texas Advanced Computing Center
Joe Stubbs, TACC

My name is Ke'Darius Whitley and I am a senior Computer Science student at Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. I did not know what major I wanted to pursue in college coming out of high school. While in high school I took basic computer classes, so I knew I wanted to major in something dealing with computers. My freshmen year at WSSU I was considering the management information systems (MIS) major and I was taking a few classes that corresponded with computer science. My sophomore year of college I took my first programming course, I struggled but I knew I wanted to progress within the major. Dr. Rebecca Caldwell inspired me to expand my knowledge in computer science and to enhance my skills so I changed my major.

While attending Winston-Salem State University to receive my Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, I am taking classes towards my degree. Within the computer science department fall 2017, I plan to join the Cloud Computing Science Department in the fall of 2017. Cloud computing is the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer. My goal is to become diverse in computer science skills so I can acquire as much knowledge as possible about different fields within the major.

During the summer of 2017, I attended the Science Gateways Coding Institute (SGCI)'s Coding Institute at Elizabeth City State University, located in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. The program was led by Dr. Linda Hayden, the director of the Center of Excellence in Remote Sensing Education and Research (CERSER) at Elizabeth City State University. This is a four-week program that focused on gateway development for undergraduate students. The workshop covered the core skills needed to be productive in the design and maintenance of science gateways. The program was presented as short tutorials alternated with practical exercises, and all instruction was done via live coding. Within the program I had the opportunity to learn Python, Unix Shell/Git, R-programming, configuring computers, etc. Later that summer, I attended the Practice & Experience in Advance Research Computing Conference (PEARC) in New Orleans, Louisiana. The objective of the conference was for those who manage, develop, and use advanced research computing throughout the nation and the world; sustainability of the infrastructure environment; measuring and ensuring success for organizations that provide and use advanced research computing, and impact of the technologies on the workforce and on science and scholarship.

During the summer of 2018, I had the opportunity to be a summer research intern at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC), located in Austin, Texas. This is a nine-week program that focused on gateway development for undergraduate students. As a summer intern at TACC, my mentor for the REU program was Dr. Joe Stubbs who leads the Cloud and Interactive Computing (CIC) group, which focuses on building cloud-native applications and infrastructure for computational science. While working under Dr. Stubbs I had two major objectives this summer, the first one was python systems programming to do development on the API itself. The technologies that I had to familiarize myself with were Python, flask JSON, queues, and Docker. In addition, to help get a good understanding of my first objective, I attended a workshop at TACC that went over the concept of Docker because it was the main foundation of my research during the first half. The second objective was JavaScript front-end application programming, where I worked on web interfaces/tooling on top of the API. A majority of my front-end development for the second objective took place in Pycharm which is a development tool that supports Python.

My goal is to graduate from Winston-Salem State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. Then I want to further my education to obtain my Master’s Degree in Software Engineering. I am aiming to develop better critical thinking and programming principles to assist me in applying the principles of software engineering to the design, development, maintain, test, and evaluate the software and systems that make computers or components containing software work.


2017 Interns 2017 Interns

Amy Bennett
University of Michigan
Dr. Katherine Lawrence
Amy Bennett was a master's student at the University of Michigan School of Information, where she participated in SGCI's usability internship program. As an intern, she conducted usability analysis for SGCI's website redesign. After graduation, Amy began working as a UX Architect at Campbell Ewald. 

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Disaiah Bennett
Indiana University

Hello, my name is Disaiah Bennett and I am originally from Virginia Beach, VA. I am a sophomore at Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) located in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. My major is Computer Science with a scientific concentration. Computer Science became a strong interest during my sophomore year in high school. Throughout my time in college, I plan on achieving a bachelor’s degree at ECSU and later continuing to secure my education at a graduate level to obtain my master's degree in software engineering.

Attending ECSU allowed me the opportunity to be accepted into the Center of Excellence and Remote Sensing Education and Research (CERSER) program. With the help of CERSER, I was able to attend a certain tutorial programming session to help further my knowledge in this field. Throughout my years at ECSU, the programming languages that have been shared with me are C C++, HTML, and Python. Learning how to code is an essential part of my educational development throughout my college courses. CERSER is a great opportunity for me because it will allow me to branch into certain areas of Computer Science that I haven’t explored.

I was first introduced into the field of computer science during my early Sophomore year. Learning how to code has always been fascinating, and it produces a feeling of satisfaction when you produce the correct procedures. Computer science is a field I intend on working towards to graduate, and even though there are technological advances every day, CERSER is an amazing program to help me develop into a more advanced coder.

My goal after obtaining my degrees is to be granted an opportunity to work with a technological company, for example, Google or Apple. Working to be enlisted into a larger corporation will allow decent exposure and provide a sense of acknowledgment from people, showing that the skills I have developed at ECSU will be equivalent or higher than others from a different institution. I look forward to any internships opportunities that are presented for the remainder of my undergraduate years at ECSU. With the CERSER program, I’ll be able to learn a more in-depth perspective on various programming languages, and independency.

For the future, after obtaining my degrees, I hope to utilize the information that is given and proceed to a higher level of graduate studies. However, learning both software engineering and artificial intelligence (AI) is my main focus. Becoming a software engineer will allow me to connect various pieces of information for everybody to benefit from. Learning how to construct AI will allow me to test the limitations that computer scientist are limited to. My intended plan is to develop skills in each section to become a better programmer and computer scientist.


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Joel Gonzalez-Santiago
Purdue University

My name is Joel Gonzalez-Santiago and I attend Elizabeth City State University. I am pursuing a degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Management Information Systems as well as a minor in Remote Sensing and Public Health; I am a student in the program led by Dr. Linda Hayden's, the Center of Excellence in Remote Sensing Education Research.

When I was in the sixth grade, a teacher noticed the work I had put into my studies and recommended me to the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program at the school which sparked a variety of opportunities for me. The AVID program guided me in not only how to organize myself but how to learn more efficiently. The program's recognition also allowed me to be a more competitive individual. An acceptance into the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp introduced me to the STEM fields the summer before eighth grade. Traveling to a university and exploring all the amazing fields of science and technology was quite an experience. That program only further influenced me to continue with my love for technology by applying and being admitted to Grassfield High School Governor's STEM Academy. This decision only amplified my passion for the STEM field.

Currently, I continue to work with the field of STEM but through the business mindset. Therefore, I am still using all my past to further work on my current field of study. My thoughts are that my technological background will allow me to connect the multiple sides of a business to create a smoother working system. My concentration of Management Information Systems zones into the aspects of technology in the business world. My minor of Remote Sensing allows me to connect the two worlds of technology and geological science together. This mixed set of skills allows me to balance and understand the information received from my classes and experiences. A large reason I chose Business over a computer science major is how the different majors process information. While the science majors mostly deal with information that stays with the people who understand, Business majors must almost always translate information in a simple way to explain to a broad audience. For this reason, I can be useful in researching many different areas of study. I can evaluate data, convert it into useful information, and finally present the information. With these skills, I am determined to continue my education even more.

My future plans include finishing the semester and keeping an average above a 3.5 GPA. Furthermore, I would like to continue my previous research and expand with more research topics in my field. My goal is to understand the interactions between technology and people to provide better performance and utility. My hopes are that the internships I apply for will help me study for the research or give me even more ideas for research. After my four years at Elizabeth City State University, I want to continue my education and acquire a master's in geosciences. With my plans of furthering my own education, I also hope to inspire my younger siblings to do so and display to my parents that their guidance has inspired me to complete my degree and more.


Sue Gyoung Kim
University of Michigan
Dr. Katherine Lawrence
Sue Gyoung Kim was a master's student at the University of Michigan School of Information, where she participated in SGCI's usability internship program. As an intern, she conducted usability analyses of QUBESPlantingScienceCloudLaunch, and SGCI's Gateway Catalog. After graduation, Sue began working as a User Experience Researcher at Google. 

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Jacob Harless
College of William and Mary

My name is Jacob Harless and I am a rising senior at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA. I am studying Computer Science and hope to go into the software or web development industry after I graduate.

I became involved with Computer Science after taking intro classes as a freshman. I was drawn to Computer Science for the critical thinking approach to solving problems and the rush of emotions after creating a feature or fixing a bug.

Through my courses, I have been lucky enough to work on time-intensive projects. In the fall of 2016, as part of a team of two, I created a Maze Solving game working with Java, and then eventually ported the game over to Android. In the spring of 2017, I worked on a team of 5 following Agile-style development where we created a rapid prototyping application for Android applications. I also participated as a team in TribeHacks 2017, where we created a virtual reality Imgur explorer.

This summer, I am working with Dr. Drew LaMar at William and Mary as a web developer on the QUBESHub.org website. I am working on adding components and plugins to the site, which uses the HUBzero Content Management System (hubzero-cms), itself based on Joomla!. I mainly have been doing backend development in PHP, but have also done some frontend work with HTML, CSS, and Javascript.


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Hagen Hodgkins
Purdue University

My name is Hagen Hodgkins. I am a Junior at Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) with a major in computer science with a scientific concentration. Since a young age, I have enjoyed using computers and other forms of technology such as entertainment systems. However, it was my love of science fiction books and movies that drove me to pursue knowledge of computers.

To advance my knowledge of computers I completed digital design and Microsoft certification classes at Camden County High School. During that time, I learned about image editors and what could be accomplished with them along with rudimentary coding skills and website design. In my first semester at ECSU I was able to take part in the Center of Excellence in Remote Sensing Education and Research (CERSER) Program in which I was able to vastly expand my knowledge of computer programs and coding in different languages. As a part of the training program that was offered by CERSER, I was prepared for a role in one of the research teams.

During the spring of 2015, I was a participant of a research team at ECSU that worked on creating a database. This project was titled, “Implementation of an interactive database interface utilizing HTML, PHP, JavaScript, and MySQL in support of water quality assessments in the Northeastern North Carolina Pasquotank Watershed.” The goal of this project was to manufacture a database system that would house the water quality data gathered by the Summer Research Experience for Undergraduate teams during the summers of 2014, 2013, and 2011. The primary focus was on how the data would be entered and displayed within the database as it was critical that the database be viable for use in the field.

In the summer of 2015, I was able to participate in two different programs. One of which was a course offered by CERSER that expanded my knowledge on the programming language, Python. This proved to be invaluable as my knowledge of Python was tested in the bioinformatics course offered by the Vikings Enhancing Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (VESTEM) program. During this course, I learned that technology plays an important role in today’s biology and chemical fields.

In the spring of 2016, I was a participant in a research team at ECSU that studied the waters off the coast for changes in sea surface seaweed or sargassum. This project was titled, "Quantifying Sargassum Boundaries on Eastern and Western Walls of the Gulf Stream Protruding Near Cape Hatteras into Sargasso Sea Bermuda/Azores." The objective of the project was to quantify changes in the sargassum population off the eastern coast of the United States. These changes are hypothesized to be related to the Deep Horizon oil spill that took place in April 2010. This coincides with the time that sargassum is traditionally suspected to be moving through the gulf stream as sargassum is traded between the sargasso sea and the Gulf of Mexico.

Going into the 2016 summer season I took part in a research internship. This research experience offered by Indiana University exposed me to new information. Over the course of the project, “Developing big data and development environments using Ansible,” I was introduced to a new language which I had never encountered before, YAML (Yet Another Markup Language). During this time I also became more accustomed to the Linux operating system as well as working with GitHub. The project itself focused on the deployment of big data and development environments along with their dependencies with the least amount of user interaction required. The need to limit the required user interaction leads to the use of YAML which is proficient at the automated deployment of programs and files in bulk.

Over the winter break in 2016, I had the opportunity to participate in a training program offered by SeaSpace. This program provided me with experience in the operation of their TeraScan systems as well as an understanding of how to operate related software. This program also assisted me in refining my academic and career goals towards a focus in remote sensing.

In the spring season of 2017, I was part of a research team studying NDVI and LST imagery of north-eastern North Carolina. the data we collected was from the summer months of 2015 and 2016. We were looking to identify noticeable differences in the changes between LST and NDVI data for the same location in order to discern a relationship between the two.

In the future, I intend to take part in additional internships and strive to further my education in the computer science field, taking what I have learned while at CERSER as a base for the application of my skills. After I graduate, I intend to pursue a master's in computer science with a focus on remote sensing.


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Thomas Johnson III
Indiana University

My name is Thomas Hilton Johnson III, and I am Freshman attending Elizabeth City State University. I gained a passion for technology at the age of four when I reset the language on the family computer to Chinese. From there, science fiction stories were my main source of reading material as they brought forth the technology the human mind could imagine. Under various teachers, especially my Exploring Technology teacher Mr. William Wall and my wise high school teacher Mr. Arthur Close, I began to have a fixation on technology, mainly driven by a curiosity of how devices worked or could be improved. Rewards in the form of an Exploring Technologies trophy and induction into the career-focused National Technical Honor Society allowed for more concentration in the field of technology until high school graduation.

Over the summer of 2015, the Engineering and Technology camp of Envision Experience opened its doors to allow me to explore breadboards and coding that was among the many elements of exposure. An internship under the guidance of Mr. Steve Coleman at the Joint School of Nanotechnology and Nanoengineering provided me with exposure to nanotechnologies and the scales to which human beings can actively induce a change in the universe.

I am currently taking part in the Center of Excellence in Remote Sensing Education and Research (CERSER) program at ECSU that encourages the attainment of Master’s and Doctoral degrees. CERSER provides a great amount of exposure to the applications of various computer systems and software packages.

As technology grows and more platforms become dependent on efficient computers to run advanced tasks, CERSER is providing the skills needed to handle the developments in coding and operating systems that are revolutionizing the world. Training sessions in Mac Operating systems, Adobe Dreamweaver and Adobe Photoshop will prove useful in the future in the development of web pages for documenting my research. Throughout the CERSER program, there is an emphasis on the construction of well-organized resumes and professional statements.

In Spring 2017, I entered a research group under my mentor Jerome Mitchell in the usage of machine learning algorithms to classify particle collisions obtained from the supersymmetry dataset. The purpose of this research was to examine whether backpropagation or linear regression was more effective in classifying the data within the supersymmetry dataset. This effectiveness was examined by measuring the accuracy of both the linear regression and backpropagation algorithms and comparing the accuracy of both. This was my first exposure to machine learning which is critical in modern times with ever-growing importance of big data and the necessity of programs that are adaptive in nature to accomplish more complex or challenging goals.

I am also a member of the Pi-Byte club which gives its members opportunities to explore coding disciplines while providing a hub within ECSU for computer science and mathematics majors to congregate to assist one another in gaining capabilities to stay ahead of the curve in the global market.

In the future, pursuing Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate Degrees in Computer Science will be a priority. Giving back to the communities that have added to my education will be a goal for my future as I pursue a career in programming or nanotechnology.


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Stephanie Knab
Purdue University
Dr. Paul Parsons

I’m a Master’s candidate in the Computer Graphics Technology department at Purdue University. More specifically, I’m studying Human-Centered Design and Development. I study how different user groups perceive data visualizations having to do with climate change. I’ve been working with SGCI since I started my Master’s degree a year and a half ago. As I finish up my last semester, I’m realizing how perfect the opportunity working with SGCI was. I had the pleasure of using my skills and passion for environmental conservation to help projects that make a difference in their community and to many other scientists. After graduation, I hope to continue down the path of making scientific applications more usable and understandable to the general public.


Radhika Kolathumani
University of Michigan
Dr. Katherine Lawrence
Radhika Kolathumani was a master's student at the University of Michigan School of Information, where she participated in SGCI's usability internship program. As an intern, she conducted usability analysis for SGCI's website redesign. After graduation, Radhika began working as an Associate User Experience Designer at Ellie Mae. 

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Tatyana Matthews
Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC)
My name is Tatyana Matthews. I am a senior computer information science major with a scientific concentration at Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) located in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. At no point in time did I think that I would major in a scientific field. It was not until a representative of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) opened my eyes to the wonders of computer science that my curiosity was triggered. 

At ECSU, the Center of Excellence in Remote Sensing Education and Research (CERSER) is a scholarship program directed by Dr. Linda Hayden. The program is designed to develop and implement innovative and applicable education and research collaborations centered on ice sheet, coastal, ocean, and marine research. As a recipient of the scholarship award, one has the opportunity to learn numerous skills that are key to performing excellently in internships as well as other research opportunities. 

During the spring of 2014 at ECSU, mentors Je’aime Powell and Justin Deloatch led a research project titled “Configuring and Customizing the HUBzero Experience”. The project investigated how HUBzero elements are utilized for scientific collaboration, education, and research. The focus was to learn how to make use of the database component of HUBzero as well as the process of publishing the hub so that it could be viewed publicly. The data that was used for the database component was derived from information collected by the 2013 Research Experience for Undergraduates Pasquotank River Watershed Team. The team was very successful in accomplishing its objectives of creating a hub (named CERSERhub), uploading the water quality data to the database component, and gaining a comprehensive knowledge of HUBzero. 

In the summer of 2014, I engaged in an enriching research undergraduate experience at Indiana University Bloomington. I worked in Dr. Geoffrey Fox’s Informatics Lab under the mentorship of Scott McCaulay, investigating the “Apache Big Data Stack”. Exploration of this study included installing and testing as many open-source software packages as possible on the FutureGrid platforms and later making those packages accessible utilizing the product Chef. The particular focus of this research was Apache HBase, a scalable database, in which the package was installed, abstract knowledge was developed, deliverables were produced, and its Chef cookbook was installed. The research revealed how the Apache Big Data Stack could be used and applied to solve challenges pertaining to Big Data. 

Throughout the spring of 2015 at ECSU, Mr. Edward Swindell led the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) team in researching “Remote Sensing Archeological Sites through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV)”. As a part of this research team, the group used the DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ UAV in addition to, supporting image mapping software, Pix4D, to produce elevation datasets practical for remote sensing archeological sites and studying ground anomalies. My personal contributions consisted of collecting, recording, and synthesizing site data, such as environmental conditions, challenges faced by the team, and technological limitations. The team’s research and results have been published as part of the IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society (IGARSS) Symposium. 

Returning to Indiana University Bloomington in the summer of 2015, the research was centered on “The Security Risks and Vulnerabilities of an Android System,” as a part of Dr. Xiaofeng Wang’s Informatics Lab. This research experience enabled me to learn the approach to handling the challenges generated by vulnerabilities in Android System applications. This project consisted of designing and conducting a malicious attack meant to change the homepage of an application via intent uniform resource locator using vulnerability CVE-2014-3500, Apache Cordova, and Android Studio. The research study highlighted how the Android System can continue as an open-source system and remain secure despite the threat of malicious attacks. 

During the spring of 2016 at ECSU, I engaged in research titled “Quantifying Sargassum Boundaries on Eastern and Western Walls of the Gulf Stream Protruding near Cape Hatteras into Sargasso Sea Bermuda/Azores”. The research included identifying the Sargasso Sea boundaries, exploring the prominence and cause of Sargassum near Cape Hatteras and, in addition, incorporating various indexes (Floating Algae Index and Normalized Differential Vegetation Index) and algorithms to identify the pelagic species. 

The following summer in 2016, I worked as a software engineering intern for Apple in Cupertino, California. An experience that was provided through a scholarship program designed between a partnership with Apple and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), known as the Apple Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Scholars Program. As a member of a team, my contributions involved further developing a web application utilizing JavaScript, REST API, and tools such as Redux and React. 

During the spring of 2017 at ECSU, I conducted research titled “Enhancing Interactivity and engagement to the Science Gateway Community Institute Workforce Development Site”. In 2016, the San Diego Supercomputing Center launched the Science Gateway Community Institute (SGCI), a partnership with several universities, one of which being the CERSER program on the campus of ECSU. One of the five areas within SGCI is Workforce Development. This area has a website and the team’s goal was to enhance the site by increasing its interactivity, attracting potential members, and disseminating information. As a member of the team, my contributions involved designing and developing the team website using Bootstrap components, producing the team PowerPoint presentation, and clarifying the team’s future works in the research paper. 

My experience at Indiana University Bloomington prompted my interest in Human-Computer Interaction and Design (HCI-D) and my time at Apple deepened that interest. My goals are to further my education by obtaining master’s and doctorate degrees in the HCI-D field. It is my aim to learn the principles of HCI-D and apply those principles in order to design interactive technologies that enhance the user’s experience and confidence in their abilities.

Purva Sane
University of Michigan
Dr. Katherine Lawrence
Purva Sane was a master's student at the University of Michigan School of Information, where she participated in SGCI's usability internship program. As an intern, she conducted usability analyses of QUBES, PlantingScience, CloudLaunch, and SGCI's Gateway Catalog. After graduation, Purva began working as a UX Accessibility Specialist at FedEx.