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2017 SGCI Summer Internship Reports: Jacob Harless

Each year, our Workforce Development team offers summer internships for students interested in developing their gateway development skills. Eligible participants are placed at one of several SGCI partner sites. We will be sharing some of the experiences of our 2017 student interns in a series of blog posts entitled SGCI Summer Internship Reports.

Featured below is SGCI summer intern Jacob Harless, an undergraduate student at the College of William and Mary. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself, including what you are studying and the career path you hope to pursue once you graduate.

My name is Jacob Harless, and I am a 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.

Where did your SGCI internship take place, and who did you work with?

This past summer, I worked with Dr. Drew LaMar at William and Mary as a web developer on 

the gateway. QUBESHub is a community of math and biology educators who share resources and methods for preparing students to use quantitative approaches to tackle real, complex, biological problems.

What are some things that you learned as a result of this internship? How does what you learned apply to your studies/goals?

I worked on adding components and plugins to the site, which uses the HUBzero Content Management System (hubzero-cms), itself based on Joomla!. I mainly did backend development in PHP, but also did some front-end work with HTML, CSS, and Javascript. While web development is not a part of the required Computer Science curriculum at my school, this experience is a great combination with my major. Prior to this internship, I had little knowledge of web development but learned a lot over the summer which will definitely help me with finding jobs after I graduate.

What did you learn about science gateways as a result of this internship?

During this internship, I was able to attend the PEARC17 conference in New Orleans which taught me the importance of creating gateways between scientists. It was awesome to see so many scientists and system administrators get together and talk about their successes and struggles. This conference was an opportunity to learn from others and also share your own experiences. My work mainly consists of reading code from HUBzero, so I’ve definitely learned about HUBzero and how it creates a great gateway for scientists to connect online.

Is there anything else you’d like to say about your internship experience?

I applaud the HUBzero team for open sourcing all their code. This has made my job far easier and also allows third parties like me to contribute to the HUBzero code base with additional components and plugins. I hope to eventually submit the plugin and component I’ve been working on so that other HUBs can use them.


Interested in a summer internship with SGCI, or know a student who might be interested? Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to stay updated on upcoming opportunities.