Hunter Giles was one of many BYU students who intern at the Center for Genomic Interpretation. He found this internship to be very practical and flexible while invaluable for pursuing a career in this field of study!
What was your internship experience?
My internship centered around developing a working model for predicting the accuracy of genetic testing results based on technical specifications provided by medical testing laboratories. I was mentored by the CEO of the company to refine the math I developed and then to apply the model to various specific genetic testing scenarios. She used her industry experience and contacts in the field to provide real data for me to verify my model. We are preparing to publish the accuracy calculator in order to help medical providers and patients better understand the implications of their genetic test results.
What was the most useful thing you learned during this experience?
The most useful thing I learned in my internship was the ability to flexibly apply my knowledge of genetics to business scenarios. I also found that the ability to use the internet to learn new skills in order to solve problems was very useful.
I became much more proficient with Excel in order to develop genetic models. They gave me a necessary background to understanding the industry I was working in, as well as the credibility for others to show that I knew what I was talking about. I didn’t have specific personal goals for what I wanted to accomplish during the internship besides learning about the genetics industry, but my supervisor helped me to develop specific project goals and work to achieve them.
How did your BYU courses prepare you for this experience?
I frequently had to use knowledge from my advanced molecular biology classes and genetics classes to understand and contribute to the conversations around me. I also had to apply statistics and modelling concepts from my econometrics classes. I was very grateful for the preparation that I had from my classes. It was helpful to talk with my supervisor and look back over what I was accomplishing and see the impacts of what I was doing.