Adeline Volz ‘22 was scrolling through Tik Tok in early May when she came across a video introducing a new six-week online scientific research program run by Ivy League alumni and top researchers. The summer internships Volz had applied to had been canceled due to COVID-19, and she was looking for something to keep her occupied throughout the summer. Volz applied to the program and was accepted.
“I want to study astrophysics when I’m older,” Volz said. “So when I found this opportunity, I thought it’d be really beneficial to learn a programming language and get a certification from it.”
All students had to take courses on Python Programming and scientific research in order to get their certification, Volz said. Along with these courses, she had to research a topic and then write an extensive research essay using the data she collected. Volz chose to research how people can implement small scale biodiversity in the growing world.
Volz analyzed raw data sets during her research process. These sets had information on what plants need to thrive in a biologically diverse environment, she said. Volz went on research websites provided by the program and sorted through the sets until she came upon information that supported her research paper.
“The goal of the program is to help teach students the skills that they need to do data science research projects,” Summer Stem Institute (SSI) assistant instructor for the research course Anne Lee said. “Students learn both the programming skills they need and the scientific communication/research skills they need to do computational research projects.”
Master class lectures, weekend challenges and social events were integrated into the program to teach students different skills, Lee said.
The academic enrichment activities on the weekends exposed students to finance, consulting, entrepreneurship and sustainability, SSI Academic Enrichment Director Joshua Chiang said. Participants had the opportunity to answer a prompt and were given feedback on how to improve on and refine their presentation and research skills.
“Having learned a programming language is beneficial to future jobs and any research I may take on,” Volz said. “As for the scientific research course, I will use it to partake in my own research and maybe even work to publish something of my own one day.”