Intern Spotlight: Meet Marieke Sorge:

Who is Marieke?

I am a rising senior at Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University. I am completing a dual major in biological sciences and neuroscience, minor in statistics, and a certificate in computational life sciences. I plan to continue my academics and achieve a doctorate in-computational neuroscience, with the intent to pursue a career as a research scientist. 

Why did you decide to apply to intern at Systems Imagination?

Systems Imagination (SII) piqued my interest in exploring the power of biological data. SII provided insight into leveraging multifaceted information in guided discovery and decision making.

Tell us about your intern project?

As an intern at SII, I was part of a team focused on predicting the second wave SARS-CoV-2 outcomes for counties in the United States.
To achieve this, we created an LSTM model incorporating numerous factors, including data from sources like the CDC and the NOAA. These sources were used to predict the spread of the coronavirus during the first wave, as measured by the number of new cases per day in each county. In addition to pre-generated data, we mined for sentiment in each county using key-words such as: mask, quarantine, and stay-at-home. We then utilized this information to generate SEIR models with time-dependent parameters. This created a dynamic curve that plots the number of susceptible, exposed, infected, and recovered individuals for each US county.
This project aims to publish a journal article and/or white paper outlining our findings. We plan to make our compiled data publicly available for future projects regarding the spread control of Covid-19. Ideal your efforts inform effective policy and social best practices, which will help mitigate the consequences of the virus.

What were a few of your biggest takeaways this summer?

In this process, I learned practical skills including project development, problem evaluation, and python. As most of my previous experiences have been wet-lab work, the internship at SII shed new light on the process of discovery. Rather than focusing on the generation of data, I was able to analyze the process by utilizing pre-existing data. I gained experience outside of academia and exercised more entrepreneurial methods of thinking.
The remote nature of the internship also enabled me to have the opportunity to mentor at Devils Invent, a collaborative hackathon between Arizona State University and SII. The hackathon improved my day-to-day and technical information communication skills.
I was grateful for the opportunity to work within interdisciplinary teams. This collaboration will be highly useful in my future career in science. My internship with SII demonstrated that stepping out of your comfort zone pays off.

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July 20, 2020

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