Wednesday, October 30, 2019
Monday, October 28, 2019
Friday, October 25, 2019
STIP Student Jae-Moon Hwang Assists in Translating Significant Biological Data through a Novel, Intuitive Graphical User Interface
Hello! My name is Jae-Moon Hwang, and I am a Computer Science major. Over the summer, I worked in one of the team’s part of the Summer Team Impact Projects. The project I was in, “Translating Significant Biological Data through a Novel, Intuitive Graphical User Interface”, was tasked to create a website. The goal of the website is to analyze biological data while also helping the user interpret and visualize the results.
I am part of the back-end team of the project, which helps develop the algorithms to do the actual analysis of the data. I am not really interested in Biology, but the technical aspect of the project seemed interesting and a great chance to learn more technological skills. Going into the first week, I had a general idea of what the work was going to be like, but only a very general idea. Fortunately, the project had a clear goal, and I found a good work “stride” by the end of my first week working. I have limited knowledge of the field of biology, but the technical challenges that pop up from analyzing data and building websites is something I can easily contribute towards. There is more so a typical work cycle rather than a typical work day or week. A good amount of time is spent talking and planning about what an algorithm should do and how to do it. Only after a good amount of planning, the code is then written up. The biggest time sink is then testing the code, fixing bugs, and then integrating the code with the front end so that the results can be shown on the website. The cycle then repeats if a task is done or if there needs to be modifications to the whole task as most likely some part of the task was more complex than expected.
This project was a great experience for me. It helped give experience in bridging the gap of what I have learned as a Computer Science major and other fields that are increasingly becoming reliant on technology. The problems I had to solve while coding, testing, and planning were interesting, and it was not simply easy grunt work. The most interesting part is learning how to manage the data that we have and solving the problems that come with the large amounts of data that has to be processed. The experience was invaluable, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time working in this project.
Thursday, October 24, 2019
Tuesday, October 22, 2019
STIP Student Hadley Graham Involed in Summer Impact Public Safety Fitness and Wellness Resiliency Project
My father has worked with the department of justice for 20+ years, so he has worked regularly with police officers. As soon as my Kinesiology professor had announced an opportunity to work with public safety officers, it immediately sparked my interest. My father has conveyed to me other the years what law enforcement tasks entail-long work hours, both physical and sedentary work-related demands, and responding to highly stressful situations with carrying heavy equipment. As a kinesiology major and former psychology and public health major, I am extremely interested in not only how human movement affects our health, but also how our environment, occupations, and behavior can impact our mental and physical health. My long-term goal is to become a physical therapist working with populations who have limited movement whether it be due to medical circumstances, such as a chronic or acute illness, or an unfortunate injury. A physical therapist’s job is to improve people’s quality of life through movement. I believe that exercise is the best ‘medicine’ that can help someone restore functionality in order to live a high-quality life. As I’ve studied Prince William County public safety officers through this project, I’ve gained a better understanding of how their lifestyles can relate to their movement, fitness and health dysfunctions and where in the health and occupational field we have some gaps and needs for intervention or more research.
On a weekly basis, I attend team meetings with my fellow student peers and mentors, where we discuss collaboratively about our research topic and with our research protocol. I learned how to properly review literature on police fitness and quality of life, as well as how to develop a clear and concise research question based on past literature. I also test 3-5 public safety officers in the GMU SMART Lab on the Manassas campus. On each of our subjects I help run a body composition test, a functional movement screen indicating any movement dysfunctions, and other various tests that assess their muscular strength, endurance, power and cardiovascular fitness. After each testing protocol is complete, I write a fitness test report with the subject’s results compared to the normative data. I work either independently or collaboratively with other Kinesiology and athletic training students to write an exercise program for that individual public safety officer During this project, I have realized not only how much of environments and occupation directly affect our health, but that being able to come up with a clear and concise research question is the foundation of any research study. Learning from past literature and making research decisions based on what is both known and unknown is the most intriguing thing to me about research.
Sunday, October 20, 2019
Friday, October 18, 2019
What got you interested in this project?
I fell in love with chemistry my junior year of college. With that being said I never considered research an option for me. It wasn’t until my old organic chemistry lab professor Carol Ajjan reached out to me to help with her own research that I saw myself doing anything chemistry related. Once I started helping her, I got really sucked into the project and I wanted to start doing some experimenting on my own. I talked to her and Dr. Abul Hussam, and they motivated me to pursue my own research and to do it through OSCAR.
Lab work is definitely something that I need more experience in. This opportunity was a great way for me to be introduced to this type of work and to make me comfortable working with professionals. I am studying to be a dentist. Not only has my summer research allowed me to work more with my hands but I also see it as a good way to help me stand out when applying for dental school.
What do you actually do on a weekly basis?
I went into the lab about three days out of the week. I spent anywhere from 4-7 hours in lab per day. In lab I would measure out different reagents and create the solutions needed for the day. I got familiar with using a spectrofluorometer and controlling a computer which had the program we used to perform our experiment. When I was not in lab, I was doing my own research to learn more of the theory behind what I was actually doing. While I definitely stayed busy this summer, I thoroughly my enjoyed summer research.
What is one thing you discovered this term?
Apart from my own discoveries about the way antibiotics behave and react when in different conditions, I learned what it was like to perform my own work, write my own findings and to really take pride in what I have accomplished. There was a lot of work behind this poster I just created, when I sit back and reflect on it, I remember how exciting and fun the whole experience was.
Monday, October 14, 2019
At George Mason I study bioengineering and have a passion for designing assistive technologies. I saw the application for this project posted on Handshake and was eager to apply for the position. The goal of this project is to help develop a technology for sign language recognition, where sign language users would be able to interact with personal assistants, which currently only respond to vocal commands.
Prior to joining the team, I was already familiar with the inertial measurement unit data that the project would collect for the software. Inertial measurement units are sensors which are present in a lot of smart technologies today, which is why we use the Google Pixel to collect the data. Most days I work with my team to process and sort the data into machine learning classifiers. Before the start of this project, I did not have any machine learning experience and was unaware of the behind-the-scenes algorithms that are applied to raw data before analyzing and interpretation can occur. From this project I have learned a lot about data processing and machine learning, but also how to communicate effectively within a team setting to accomplish research goals.
As I continue my undergraduate degree and my professional career, I believe that the team work and communication skills will be applicable in many future endeavors, and the technical skills have given me a solid foundation for further knowledge and learning
Sunday, October 13, 2019
STIP Student Cameron Dow becomes Involved in Ecological Restoration with the Herbicide Protection Pod
I became interested in the topic of ecological restoration through personal experiences in my life. Growing up in a town just over an hour away from D.C. I have seen my community transform from a rural setting to a commuter town. With this change has come rapid development and the green spaces I knew and loved growing up have steadily been turned into new houses, restaurants, and shopping centers. This has inspired me to investigate how these lands can be restored to their former glory. In America, grasslands are one of the most threatened ecosystems out there. Because of this, I began reading literature specifically about grassland restoration techniques and found a relatively new method being researched, the herbicide protection pod (HPP).
The HPP was developed to protect desired grass seeds from herbicide so grasslands can be reseeded and treated with herbicide simultaneously, a method that could not be done in the past. The herbicide must be sprayed to combat invasive grass species which out-compete the native seedlings and dominate the ecosystem, decreasing biodiversity and chance for wildfires. My research expanded on the previous work which focused exclusively on grass seed and asked the question, can the HPP be applied to other plant groups like wildflowers, without negatively effecting seedling growth? If the answer was yes, the HPP could potentially be used in other ecosystems where invasive species were out competing the natives. To test the effects on wildflower seedlings, I planted several replicates of bare seed and several replicates of seed incorporated in the HPP. My daily tasks were simply to water the seeds several times a day, and make sure no other factors could be confounding the effect of the HPP. Over the course of this project I learned that a lot of things can and will go wrong and you must always be paying attention, and willing to be persistent.
I also learned how hugely important initial study design is. Knowing what I know now, I would have changed several things to make my results easier to interpret and analyze. Overall, I’m proud of what I accomplished and will take what I learned forward with me as I aim to find a career in ecological restoration research