Where are you from and what do you enjoy most about your hometown?
I’m from Omaha, Nebraska and when I go home I love getting to spend time with my family both immediate and extended! With my immediate family, we enjoy spending time exploring the main street area my parents live near – a cute street with shops, bars, and restaurants to enjoy good food together!
What is your research focused on?
My research is initially focused on the creation of a computational tool to carry out viral profiling for sequencing data of complex microbial communities. Once the tool has been developed, I’ll focus on applying it to samples from both individuals with Inflammatory Bowel Disease and healthy individuals to investigate the role viruses within the gut microbiome may play in disease and human health.
What is your favorite part of your research?
I really enjoy computational work, and have enjoyed getting to learn new programming languages and computational and statistical skills in the Hutlab! I came into graduate school as a wet-lab scientist with an interest in dry-lab, and I am so happy that my path in the BPH program has included becoming a computational biologist and tool developer – every day is a fun new challenge!
How do you relax when you’re not working?
I would say one of my main hobbies is collecting new hobbies – I like to learn new things in a casual, fun way! As a graduate student, this has included learning to sail, starting cross-stitch, a couple sewing projects, and a 125 day duolingo streak (and counting!). Currently, I enjoy taking ballet classes at Boston Ballet School, and I’d like to learn how to oil paint or oil pastel draw next.
Tell us about an activity outside of lab you’re involved in and why it’s important to you
I’m involved with the Harvard Graduate Student Union. The union plays a really important role in supporting student workers through collective bargaining for and enforcement of labor rights in student-held positions such as research and teaching. The union also oversees equitable distribution of funds to students for expenses such as healthcare, dental, childcare, and emergency expenses. I’d encourage every student to join the union!