How I spent my summer: Turning a class project into a fulfilling job opportunity

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How I spent my summer: Turning a class project into a fulfilling job opportunity

Posted by Amanda Boone on September 28, 2023 in Students
Jesse Guzman. (Provided photo)
Jesse Guzman. (Provided photo)

This article is part of 
How I Spent My Summer, a series of articles showcasing what students got up to over the past few months -- from work-intergrated learning to mini-courses and more. Find more stories in the series at the bottom of this article.

Bachelor of Computer Science student Jesse Guzman started his summer focusing on a new term of courses when an unexpected offer arose. The surprise was a year-long job offer within his field of study after a stellar performance in his Introductory Project course (CSCI 2691). 

In the computer science course that pairs up groups of students with clients to work on real-world problems, Jesse was a member of the group assigned to the special website project for Dr. David Gardner from the Faculty of Medicine — the Gardner’s Effect Size website.

Gardner’s Effect Size website creates a space for scientists to test their calculations, providing statistical insights into sample data. It’s an important tool for scientists and students alike.

“When comparing the efficacy of different treatments, it’s common to calculate values based on the sample data,” says Jesse. 

Fine tuning

Several students have worked on the Gardner’s Effect Size website under the supervision of Robert Hawkey, an Instructor for the Faculty of Computer Science. Though Jesse’s group saw the project to completion, in August Jesse was presented with an offer to stay on the project for a year-long contract to maintain the site, complete updates, fix bugs, and even add new features.

Jesse strives to ensure that the website is at optimal performance, conducting regular verification of the calculations, running test cases to ensure the accuracy of the calculations, and maintaining the integrity of the data.

Dr. Gardner was thrilled to have the opportunity to revive his website after a brief hiatus, thanks to new software and Mr. Hawkey’s course. Dr. Gardner describes the website as, “a dynamic visualization of a fundamentally unintuitive yet common numerical expression that is used to compare two groups, known as the standardized mean difference (SMD) or effect size. All you need are 2 means and 2 expressions of variance (e.g., standard deviation) to calculate an SMD to compare groups.”

Jesse’s work on this project is a prime example of how computer science and medicine intersect, working with technology to make advancements in the medical field and brightening the future of students through impactful work.

From student to summer success

Dr. Gardner was impressed with Jesse’s level of commitment to the website and his deep understanding of its purpose. 

“If you’re looking for someone who has a passion for the work, enjoys the process of problem solving and discovery, steps up without hesitation, has a positive can-do attitude, and does it all with a great deal of modesty, then, in the Computer Science world, you are looking for someone just like Jesse,” says Dr. Gardner.

Now entering his third year, Jesse couldn’t have dreamed of a better way to spend his East Coast summer than doing something he loved. He looks forward to spending the next year continuing his work on the website. 

“Taking this course was extremely valuable because I got an actual job opportunity out of it,” says Jesse.  “In this course, if you put the work and care into a project, not only will you have an end result that you’re proud of, but you can also say you spent a semester building a real thing for actual users, and you never know when a job opportunity can come from it.”

Learn more about Jesse’s work on Gardner’s Effect Size website.

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