Name: Stephen Wu
Type of Project: Undergraduate Research
With each demo came numerous challenges in the technical details, and trying to build a library for the first time helped me realize the need for proper documentation and intuitive implementation. Chorus — the tool I built to coordinate data between visualizations — will be used with another project that helps visualize spatio-temporal data to expand its feature set and improve its demo-ability. Trying to incorporate Chorus with first D3, then MIDI, then Crossfilter, then Leaflet, then React each posed a new set of problems to address. My favorite project was using the MIDI.js library, where I created a collaborative keyboard and notes visualization, where users can create music from multiple synced devices whose note frequency would be visualized in a D3 barchart. For Leaflet, I sought to make map collaboration — adding markers, shapes, and other annotations — seamless and in real-time, so users could draw on any arbitrary map (of the world, factory, or even a human body) important annotations, whether it be a geographical point of interest, inefficiency in a factory, or cancerous area.
In weekly meetings with our PIs and other research group members, I improved my teamwork and communication skills. In the Women of Color Research Group, we used Trello for task management, Git, and implemented a bit of Agile with sprints and story points. Ultimately, the two roles really helped me clarify my research interests and gain knowledge about research and a wide array of tools used in real data analyst and software engineering roles. In the Interactive Data Systems research group, the work culminated in a presentation to the Technology Commercialization Office, and seeing my feature discussed and on a slide presented to Columbus professionals was rewarding.
STEP was transformational because it pushed me to try something new with undergraduate research and I learned more about what I love (and don’t love) about computer science engineering. It was my STEP mentor who suggested looking at REUs and other research opportunities, so I began messaging professors for summer opportunities. In these roles, I interacted with experienced undergraduate and graduate peers who gave me valuable advice about professional and academic careers as well. The work itself helped me continue to realize my interest in full-stack web development and UI/UX, data analytics and interaction, and reinforced my choice of focus area for my major (artificial intelligence). Going forward, I have revised my career goals and began looking into graduating with a research thesis route, and now I have several new peers to ask for help and guidance.