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Bioinformatics Alumna Says USciences ‘Perfectly Positioned’ Her for Success
Cindy Winter MS’15 (Bioinformatics), a bioinformatician at the National Cancer Institute, credits USciences Bioinformatics graduate program for helping her become a subject matter expert in Molecular Biology in a software engineering group.
Winter’s experiences at USciences gave her familiarity with programming languages to help her convey biological problems and goals from MDs and PhDs to software engineers.
In her role as a bioinformatician, Winter is a liaison between the medical science experts and software engineers so that, “they can design a system to capture, store, and analyze data from a Precision Medicine Cancer trial,” she said. Winter is also able to run expert and elegant code written by her software engineer colleagues, giving her an excellent advantage over someone without any bioinformatics training.
“I would never have been able to do either of these things without my MS degree in Bioinformatics from USciences,” Winter said. ”My USciences degree has perfectly positioned me for my current job.”
Winter emphasizes that it was the specialized attention that she received during her time as a student that impacted her the most. Professors such as Randy Zauhar, PhD and Zhijun Li, PhD put forth tireless efforts to expose students to the greatest number of computer languages and coding scenarios as possible.
The curriculum is designed to focus on different biological questions, which would be interrogated by tools in different programming languages. This approach gives an in-depth understanding, Winter said adding that she appreciated that her professors devoted time to make sure each student succeeded in comprehending the complex material.
“I knew the professors cared about me and my success in my classwork and they were always willing to help me,” she said.
Winter, who was 52 when she made the decision to return for her master’s degree, was drawn to the bioinformatics graduate program at USciences because she did not want to have to retake basic chemistry and biology prerequisites before applying to a Master’s program, especially since she worked with science every day. At USciences she was able to apply work experience credits to her degree.
“USciences had the opportunity to apply based on my current education and experience level and did not require things that would take me years to complete prior to applying,” she said.“I received my MS degree just days after my 55th birthday. I am so proud that I could be a role model to my two college-age daughters to show them that you can do anything that you set your mind to, no matter how old you are!”
Categories: News, Alumni, Proven Everywhere, Misher College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Mathematics, Physics and Statistics, Bioinformatics