Summer Intern Update: Stowers Institute Summer Scholar

Emily Nissen
Applied Mathematics and Biology, College of Business, Policy, and Analytics and College of Arts and Sciences
Stowers Institute for Medical Research - Summer Scholar

My name is Emily Nissen and I am going into my senior year at Rockhurst University. I am majoring in Applied Mathematics and Biology. With these degrees, I have wanted to do research with more of a focus on the mathematics and computing aspect. So, after Rockhurst I want to go to graduate school for bioinformatics. To get research experience in this field, I knew there was no better place to look in Kansas City than the Stowers Institute for Medical Research.

Being in the Summer Scholars program at the Stowers Institute is a surreal experience. The Stowers Institute, founded by Jim Stowers (also founder of American Century Investments), is a research organization with a mission to uncover the processes of the biological functions of life to be able to improve treatments and preventions for diseases. As such, the Stowers Institute has state of the art equipment, brilliant researchers from all over the world, and a support staff and core facilities all focused on making sure science continues. Every day I walk into work I know that I am apart of something important, something that is trying to make the world better.

My internship consists of me having a bioinformatical independent research project. Since it is a research institute the Stowers is open 24/7 and I can make my own schedule. I tend to stick to business hours, so I come in at 8 and leave around 5. In the morning I get a cup of coffee and then head to the lab where I do the New York Times’ Crossword with a couple of my coworkers. It is a great way to get my brain going in the morning and prepare for my day ahead. After the crossword I log on to my computer, which I will be in front of the rest of the day since my project is all about data analysis. I spend the rest of my day, thinking about ways to make a biological problem understandable in figures and then writing the code to make that happen. Although it may sound boring to some, I love what I am doing, and it is exciting to be a part of this cutting-edge research.