Yujie (Maggie) Guo, Computer Sciences & Biology

Yujie (Maggie) GuoYear in school: Junior – expect to graduate in Spring 2021
Hometown: Shanghai, China

Why did you pursue degrees in both of your areas? Why did you add the second one (if you did)?
I have two majors because I want to study bioinformatics in the future, and I think these two fields would help me acquire the knowledge I need. Also, I love these two fields. I’ve been doing ecosystem conservation for quite a long time. My parents are both software engineers, and they’ve profoundly influenced me and taught me a great deal of programming.

How do the two work together?
The course requirements for the two majors don’t overlap at all. However, one major help me to succeed in the other. Specifically, I use CS knowledge to analyze biology research data in my bio courses, and I think of genetics when I was learning dynamic programming applied to sequence alignment, which allows me to better understand the logic behind it.

Do you have career plans? If so, how do you think these two degrees will help you in the future?
Yes, I’d like to do research in bioinformatics, specifically biomedical data science applied to the field of cancer genetics. Biology helps me understanding the deep-down mechanism when programming. In this modern age, biological research depends heavily on big data, and it’s necessary for researchers to utilize bioinformatic tools to achieve satisfactory results. It becomes increasingly essential for the bioinformatic tool developers to understand biological mechanism as much as they understand algorithms. I believe this is the key to develop more efficient and reliable bioinformatics methods.

Was there anything surprising about your path through these two degrees? 
I am surprised that the things I learned in CS courses could help me in bio courses. For example, in a bio lab course, I can do data analysis much faster than my peers because I am familiar with R, while others were struggling with Excel. In this case, they worked together pretty well.