Julia Moore Vogel
After the CBM program I got an MBA at Cornell, through an accelerated, 1-year program that I recommend to others with similar interests. I am now working at the New York Genome Center, a genomics nonprofit working with many institutions in New York including Weill Cornell and Sloan Kettering. We work with investigators and clinicians who send us their samples for research projects and clinical tests. We perform sequencing and computational analysis to answer their questions. We want to help the community use sequencing to cure diseases and be the hub that facilitates larger sequencing projects than ever before. Pooling resources allows the whole community to increase their sample size to achieve better results that lead to improvements in medical diagnosis and treatment.
In the program you have to be self-motivated. You choose your own classes based on what you need and that really appealed to me. I wanted the freedom to do what I thought was best and I liked that they trusted me. Beyond the academics, I grew up in a very small town and living in New York City sounded appealing but I wasn’t sure that I wanted to commit to it without trying it out first. On a personal level, doing laboratory rotations in the New York City and Ithaca campuses allowed me to make an informed decision about where I wanted to live for the duration of my PhD.
For me, the best part of the program was designing and creating software packages. One automatically created visualizations of very complex data sets. For another, a collaborator came to us doing manual analysis of their experiments. We sped up their analysis and reduced the hands-on time by 80%. This was exactly what I wanted to do, automate analyses to enable scientists to perform larger scale experiments and easily interpret the results. I learned how to organize, analyze and visualize complex data sets, extracting what is really important. These abilities serve me well at the New York Genome Center.
I was studying applied math at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and I wanted to my math skills to solve problems and cure diseases. I wanted to combine math and biology and there were very few programs like this one. To me it was very important to collect the data as well as analyze it and some of the programs where I interviewed said you had to choose one or the other. This was the only place where they said, “We want to support you to do develop the skills that you need to achieve your career goals.”