By: Miles McCall
June 22, 2015
I have been working for the Cowen Lab at the Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing (CGRB) at Oregon State University (OSU) since the end of this winter, and I can't pronounce plankton species names to save my life. I am a second-year undergraduate student studying computer science at OSU, but became passionate about computer science roughly four years ago as a sophomore in high school, and followed my desire to learn more about all the wonderful logic and critical thinking that comes with the science to a university setting.
While I currently have a “scratching the surface” grasp of many of the biological aspects of the research being done on the OSTRICH cruise, I am intensely curious and plan on adapting my degree by combining computer science and biology into a study of bioinformatics. Since that decision, I feel I have almost been blessed to work at the CGRB on campus, an opportunity practically unheard of for young undergrads. In even the past few months I have met extraordinary people involved at all different levels working on extraordinary projects.
My time working here has been a relationship of give and take. While I apply my limited-but-growing knowledge to the image processing techniques being implemented at the Cowen Lab, I take away invaluable tools and skills that I can apply back into my work and school. Half of the time my job feels more like private tutoring than work, and that in and of itself is extraordinary.
So far I been able to exponentially expand my knowledge of Linux operating systems, build a high performance processing desktop from the ground up, assist the management of obscene amounts of data, and hopefully this is just the beginning. I am eagerly awaiting the conclusion of this year's cruise and the accompanying DPI-2 data so we can begin processing new samples and learn even more!