Stochastic Simulations of COVID-19 Community Spread
This student did her Polygence project over the course of the summer, right before her senior year. She already had a love for biology and enrolled in Polygence to take her future college major for a test drive. This project introduced her to fundamental techniques in bioinformatics, honed her skills of combing through scientific literature, and walked her through the entire process of writing a scholarly paper. Using computational methods, she coded stochastic simulations to ask: how is the community spread of a virus affected by herd immunity (conferred by a vaccine)? This question was particularly interesting because it allowed her to answer timely questions like: if 10% of people were to vaccinate, how effective would that be to stop the spread of COVID-19? How about 20%? or 80%? In addition, she inquired into how the rate of infection would change if the vaccine were more or less effective. The final product was a 20 page original research paper that she is submitting for publication.
The entire Polygence experience for the past 2 months has been immensely fun and educational at the same time. Fabian gave me so much freedom and encouragement to make this project my own, so that the research that I do is interesting to me. In the span of 10 weeks, Fabian has given me such a diverse set of skills including coding style, python, statistics, data analysis, stochastic simulations, researching scientific journals, communication skills and writing style, all of which are invaluably useful for a scientist out in the real world. He has allowed me to create a project that I am proud of and gives me a feeling of being a part of the scientific community. I'm so grateful towards Fabian for being an encouraging mentor and role model to me.
There are a lot of venues for students to find online school help, typically in the form of tutors. However, Polygence takes it a step further and helps students go beyond what their schools offer. I believe Polygence can help students develop skills that are difficult to cultivate in a classroom setting. For example, the one-on-one nature of the Polygence sessions allows students to better learn how to think independently, a critical skill for college and beyond.