Carnegie Mellon University

Undergraduate Student Spotlight

Hear from some of our talented students below about their experience as computational biology majors.

Stephen Price, class of 2021

Stephen Price

Hometown: Houston, TX
Fun fact: I won the newbie breakdance award my freshman year at CMU at a CMU breakdance competition.
Favorite thing about CMU: Working in the Health and Human Performance Lab

Computational biology is a unique place at CMU that draws together students with both strong technical skills and a drive to make the world a healthier place. For me, computational biology offered me a chance to develop a skill set in biology and opened many doors. While at CMU, I became involved with research as part of the Health and Human Performance Lab with Professor David Creswell. While in the lab, I had the opportunity to gain expertise in working with longitudinal health and sensor data to better inform and improve student health outcomes. Additionally, I had the opportunity to compete with a couple of my CMU peers at a number of different medical hackathons and spent my spare time volunteering on the CMU Emergency Medical Service as an EMT. Computational biology was the perfect place for me because my courses worked hand-in-hand with my interest in computational medicine and helped me grow into my current role as a data science intern at Evidation Health. Joining computational biology at CMU was an amazing experience and I always encourage anyone interested in the intersection between biology/medicine/health and technology to consider joining computational biology.

Maggie Zhang, class of 2022

Maggie Zhang

Hometown: Shanghai, China.
Minor: Linguistics 
Fun Facts: I was briefly a sailor, a coral babysitter and a fly-swatter (luckily, not all at the same time).
Favorite spot at CMU: The common area on GHC 7th Floor*—you can see amazing sunset with a big cathedral** in sight.

*CB dept. is on the same floor!
**Cathedral of Learning

Back in high school, I was interested in but frustrated by how complicated it was (and still is) to design individualized treatments for psychological disorders. Without any prior experience in CS, I came into CMU CB, with the belief that by using computers, we have a better chance at solving REALLY HARD problems about our brain and health in general. Indeed, for the past 3 years, I have learned constantly how CS accelerates biological discoveries, and at the same time, I fall in love with the idea that bio-systems can provide crucial insights for computation.

While my home department and college provide me with the necessary education and training, my CB journey continues outside of CMU. I was away for Williams-Mystic Maritime Studies Program 2020 Spring and explored how my Comp Bio skills could be applied to Intertidal Ecology. I stayed on in the summer at the Oceanography lab there to create pipelines for automatic analysis of field images. This summer (2021), I’m at Rockefeller University, conducting research on extracting acoustic features of ALS patients. In retrospect, I never would have imaged the breadth of the problems I could take on as a CB major and I’m happy to be exploring more:)