Gabrielle Adams, a 19-year-old at The Ohio State University and an aspiring chemistry major, has always had a knack for science. From the Columbus area, Adams enjoys solitude hikes, spending time with her nieces and exploring the Ohio State community.
Adams attended the Ohio Supercomputer Center’s (OSC) Summer Institute after learning about it her sophomore year of high school and credits the program's research emphasis as something that has been extremely helpful in her college career.
“I liked math a lot in early high school…so I ended up taking an AP Computer Science class, which is just all Java and that was a very interesting experience. There were two girls in the class and a ton of guys, and it was one of the harder classes I have taken. It pushed me pretty hard but luckily, I had a very good science teacher. She encouraged me to apply for this [the Summer Institute] and so did my parents.”
Adams applied to the Summer Institute, and after getting in was very excited. “I got assigned to a project about dwarf galaxies with an astronomy professor and we got to work with some of her grad students. So, it was the first up close experience I ever had with not only college students but also people who are in the academic research process,” Adams said.
Adams recalled the other projects she and her fellow students were involved with at OSC.
“There were six projects where all the professors were in various research groups… somebody in biology, another astronomy group, an engineering group. The lines really do get blurred in research and you go places you didn't expect. When you need to work with different datasets, you get pushed to work with groups like the Ohio Supercomputer Center.”
Over the course of the two-week project she was involved with, Adams learned about how the research process worked and how to communicate with people throughout major research projects. She also got to know how the graduate students’ involvement worked, and she now wants to go to graduate school as well.
“It really did change what I thought I wanted to do for my future as well as learning. What’s big in programming nowis the language Python and the OSC summer camp is where I got my first experience with Python,” Adams said.
Most students in the camp were interested in computer science, but some of the girls she befriended were in neuroscience and chemistry, Adams said. “I think part of what it taught me is how interdisciplinary everything is.”
“I would say it was a new experience in a lot of different ways, but I think it forced me to grow in ways I didn't really expect. I went into thinking how I'm going to learn a little programing, and I went in and got the full great experience at OSC,” Adams said. “The biggest takeaway really is just experience at the university and working with other people and getting comfortable in the research setting.”
The Summer Institute provided Adams with fond memories, confidence going into college and clarification about what she wants to pursue in the future. The next OSC Summer Institute is currently being scheduled for 2021.