West Hub Research Experience for Undergraduates Students Complete Summer Data Science Projects

By: Timothy Chu, West Hub REU Intern


This summer, the West Big Data Innovation Hub hosted four interns through the National Science Foundation-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program. Interns Timothy Chu, Vivian Kwan, Iain Law, and Charles Young assisted with an array of projects for the West Hub.

Charles Young, Iain Law, and Timothy Chu at the San Diego Supercomputer Center.

“This summer cohort of NSF REU interns produced fantastic data science-related work and research in support of the West Hub’s mission," said West Hub Executive Director Ashley Atkins. “We are excited to showcase what they achieved."


"The team of interns played an integral role in helping the Water Boards update the form and functionality of the California Water Data Challenge website,” said Nicholas Martorano of the California Water Board. “The insights and updates they provided have given us an attractive and easy-to-navigate system to allow us to direct and recruit resources to the 2022 Challenge and beyond."


While all the students worked on tasks related to the West Hub-affiliated California Water Data Challenge each week, each one also had an individual project.

Timothy Chu is an incoming second year Computer Engineering student at UC San Diego.


During the course of the internship, he created curriculum on Filtering and Sorting Data and created the California Water Data Challenge website for the California Water Board.


“I learned the process of developing curriculum. While creating the website, I learned about web accessibility, web design, and extensified my HTML, CSS, and JS skills.”


Iain Law is an incoming second year Business Economics and Data Science student at UC San Diego.


As part of REU, Iain worked on a literature review project analyzing applications of the FAIR Data Principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) and CARE Principles for Indigenous Data (Collective Benefit, Authority to Control, Responsibility, and Ethics) for systems science.


“I obtained valuable research skills, learning how to gather information from all parts of a professional journal, collecting academic literature through Web of Science, and categorizing my research in libraries through Zotero.”


Charles Young, an incoming senior at UCSD majoring in Mathematics - Computer Science, developed the West Hub’s repository website.

“I learned how to use Django and became much more proficient at writing HTML. I [also] learned how to integrate Javascript into HTML and how to build a dynamic website, as well as how to build the backend of a website.”


Vivian Kwan is an incoming second year at UC San Diego. Interested in studying Computer Science, she hopes to go into software or video game development in the future.


She worked on creating two interactive maps and maintaining websites for the West Big Data Innovation Hub and the California Water Board. As she researched each project, she learned multiple tools, such as ArcGIS and Quarto.

REU Intern Vivian Kwan.

“This summer has been a wonderful experience,” said Vivian Kwan. “I’m proud of what I was able to accomplish: I created two interactive maps for use on the West Hub website, and helped with updating websites for both the West Hub and the Water Data Challenge.”


About the REU program:

The REU program supports active research participation by undergraduate students in any of the areas of research funded by the National Science Foundation. REU projects involve students in meaningful ways in ongoing research programs or in research projects specifically designed for the REU program. Research programs are hosted by institutions and are run by faculty and other researchers.