In this year's high school summer intern program, the SCI Institute invited four students, one each from Juan Diego Catholic High School, The Waterford School, and two from West High School. These students were given the opportunity to work with a lead software developer from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) sponsored Center for Integrative Biomedical Computing (CIBC). Their task seemed simple: take Seg3D and ImageVis3D (two advanced software tools developed by the CIBC), find a dataset of interest to the student, load that data, and experiment with the software on both desktop and iPad versions. And then, present your results to your high school peers. In the end, the students learned that research is a full-contact sport, not just a homework assignment. They had to 'dig-in', expand their knowledge, and learn about their subjects of interest, their data, their software, even their computers. In the end, the students translated this process and knowledge to science classes at their school. And, the top question after the presentations? Oddly enough, "how do I get an internship like yours?" Kids excited about a science internship! Mission Accomplished.
West High School
"My project with the SCI Institute was an introduction to scientific computing and visualization, and it was my first opportunity to work within a research institution. When you go to a lecture or demonstration, you can easily watch the presenter flick around computerized models and show what a piece of software can do. It looks fun and simple, as if just plugging a piece of data into a program will render the model. However, what I found in my internship is that there is much more to the process. I always thought that scientific computing was just about writing code, but I ultimately learned that the subject area is just as much about analysis of the data (what it represents, the meaning of individual parts, and how it compares to similar pieces of data). This project gave me a great opportunity to learn about all those aspects."
Juan Diego Catholic High School
"My experience working for the SCI Institute was a very good one, and I was able to learn so much about computing, anatomy, and university-level work. While working on this project with ImageVis3D, I was able to realize the true potential of seemingly simple technology such as iPads, and how such technology has practical uses, which I found very rewarding. My experience with SCI also opened my eyes to how research and experimentation are done at a university level, and how much work and team effort needs to go into a specific project to allow for the success of the project. I now realize that working as part of a team can accomplish so much more than simply working by oneself. Overall, I have gained a great deal of valuable, practical experience, which I hope I will be able to apply to a career in science later in life."
West High School
"I entered SCI with very little computer science know-how. In fact, I didn't even know what "Hello World" meant. I learned how to use ImageVis3D for both the desktop and the iPad. Working with a biological dataset allowed me to combine my two interests: biology and computer science. After my summer at SCI, I decided I wanted to learn more about programming. This year I am taking a programming class. The environment at SCI was great, and I would recommend this opportunity to any high school student who is interested."
"My experience at the SCI Institute was eye opening. I was fascinated by the work that was being done because I had never seen computer science and graphics used in this way. Before going into this project, I thought the only need for fantastic graphics and graphic renderers was for video games. Seeing graphics used in a way that can directly help people made me appreciate their capabilities much more. The facility is world class and the resources available are top of the line. I enjoyed the freedom to do what I wanted for the project because I could go deeper into the software than what was required. And the staff at SCI were very helpful as I learned about ImageVis3D on a deeper level."