Anya Greenberg - Bioinformatics Pathway - Self-Assessment

Things Learned
Technical

  • batch correction with GEO datasets
  • manipulation of STRING DB graphs to better interpret results
  • how to interpret GSEA results
  • transcriptional factor analysis
  • survival analysis on GEPIA

Tools

  • STRING DB
  • GSEA
  • GEPIA
  • MSigDB

Soft Skills

  • improved presentation skills
  • learned organizational skills in managing a remote team - specifically dealing with different timezones
  • successfully communicated with mentors concerning deliverables and technical expectations, with leads concerning project expectations and timelines for the week, and with participants/observers concerning their questions or concerns
  • developed my ability to answer technical questions with non-technical answers and address a diverse audience
  • learned how to deal with and address non-responsive team members more effectively

Achievements Highlights

  1. Successfully stepped into the technical lead role as well as the project lead role and addressed interns’ questions and challenges effectively
  2. Became less awkward and more confident in leading discussions during team meetings
  3. Saw interns who had started with no R or bioinformatics background give amazing final presentations and take ownership of their work and the challenges they faced. Watching the presentations from my team was very rewarding.

Tasks Done

  • held 2 successful office hours during the training weeks
  • made comprehensive meeting notes for every team meeting
  • led engaging ice breakers at the beginning of each meeting
  • completed all deliverables (using 3 different normalization methods)
  • provided constructive feedback on submitted deliverables and presentations each week
  • created/presented on soft skills including LinkedIn, cultural diversity, resume/CV building, and presentation skills as well as led a GitHub webinar
  • successfully answered queries during office hours
  • answered questions asked outside of office hours on the forums and from private messages
  • initiated and organized GitHub use for the bioinformatics pathway
  • wrote up final project definition based on discussions from technical training meetings with Ali and the mentors
  • attended happy hours and had a chance to bond with participants and other leads

Challenges

  • My team had a disproportionate number of observers (7 participants, 6 observers by the end), so it was difficult to assign tasks and divide my team into subgroups. I know some of my participants moved to observer roles and an observer was added last minute. Some of the participants who were doing most of the work had difficulty creating a teamwork environment, especially when there were 2 participants and 2-3 observers. One solution, which I think we tried to do but interns changed their positions last minute, would be to limit the number of observers per team and try to disperse them across the pathway. Another solution could be to put observers in their own team at the start and allow them to solely observe the teams across the pathway for the first week and then assign them to participant teams based on how many there are. This would give a buffer zone for changes in positions and for observers who determine that they don’t actually want to do the internship (I think I had a few observers in this situation since they attended the first few meetings and then became unresponsive for the rest of the session).
  • Some observers were unresponsive and it was difficult to create a communication link with them to see if something could increase their participation since they weren’t active on the forums.
  • The technical lead on my team had a family emergency occur at the beginning of the session and so had to take a step back from the internship, leading me to step into her role and juggle two lead positions.
  • Having the technical training meetings with Ali after our weekly team meetings for the same material/week caused a lot of confusion in terms of expectations for the deliverables. Because of the timeline, I was presenting the deliverables before talking through them with the mentors so I would occasionally have to announce edits outside of our team meetings. The leads and mentors have discussed a solution to this challenge - implement a staggered schedule so the mentor-lead meetings are a week ahead of the lead-participant/observer meetings.
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