“I participated in the B.I.G. Summer program in the summer of 2016.  I loved my experience in the program.  Participating in B.I.G. Summer gave me a wonderful opportunity for a hands-on bioinformatics research experience at an exceptional university.  Not only did this experience grow my resume and skill set, but it increased my confidence in my ability to do research on my own.  B.I.G. Summer also gave me the opportunity to form relationships with many wonderful students and professors at UCLA, as well as students from various other schools who were attending the program.  B.I.G. Summer was a great way to prepare for applying to and attending graduate school, and gave me the opportunity to observe first-hand what graduate school at UCLA would be like, especially in the Bioinformatics PhD program. Now I am a first-year graduate student in that program, and the relationships I developed because of B.I.G. Summer have continued to help me as I transition into being a graduate student.  I am glad I was able to participate in this great program, and would encourage undergraduates to get involved in summer research experiences as soon as possible.  It’s really fun and will help prepare you for what’s ahead!”

Sarah Spendlove
B.I.G. Summer ’16
UCLA Bioinformatics, Ph.D

“The BIG summer program exposed me to next generation sequencing  analysis, and at the end of the program I had learned so much that I started answering really interesting biomedical questions using next-generation sequencing data at my home institution. In addition to the world class research, the mentoring during BIG summer was amazing in that I was able to work independently given the necessary resources and support from graduate students and faculty members. My experience during BIG summer was a key factor in deciding to come back to UCLA for graduate studies in Bioinformatics. There is no place I would rather be!”

Kofi Amoah
B.I.G. Summer ’16
UCLA Bioinformatics, Ph.D

“Through the BIG Summer program, I made some great friends and had the chance to work with people who are pioneering the work in the computational biology field. Coming from a school that does not have a bioinformatics program, it was nice to be able to work alongside people who have similar interests and career goals. BIG Summer solidified my plans to pursue a graduate degree in computational biology, and it gave me the chance to see what life as a graduate student in this field would be like.”

Toni Boltz
B.I.G. Summer ’17

Major: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Computer Science
Academic Institution: University of Miami

“This program influenced me so much and I would recommend it for so many reasons. I feel really lucky to have been exposed to the expertise of the QC Bio fellows and the insights they shared with me are so valuable. The program inspired me to minor in Bioinformatics and gave me a clear direction to pursue my PhD. The mentorship of the faculty was incredible not only because of their knowledge but because they welcomed me in and made me feel like I belonged there. I’m excited to be presenting my research project from the summer at the ABRCMS conference this fall and I’m also looking forward to reconnecting with my mentors from UCLA when I apply to the PhD program.”

Garrett J. Parker
B.I.G. Summer ’17

Major: Computer Science
Academic Institution: Santa Monica Community College

“The BIG Summer program was an excellent opportunity for an aspiring scientist. I truly enjoyed my time in this program. I thought it provided great opportunities for professional and personal development. This summer I learned a new set of skills and knowledge that I can take back to my home institution and share. I have gained so many new exceptional friends that I will cherish. Thank you BIG Summer – It’s been real!”

Brieanna Hollis
B.I.G. Summer ’17

Major: Biology, Pre-Med
Academic Institution: Florida A&M University