Bigelow Laboratory’s IT interns

The 2016 summer interns at Bigelow Laboratory come from a diverse set of scientific backgrounds and academic majors. From biology, environmental science, and marine science, to geology, chemistry, and earth science, our interns have a wide range of skill sets to contribute to the Laboratory’s ocean research efforts. In addition to the physical sciences, two of our interns are putting their computer science skills to use working in the Information Technology (IT) Department. Luis Henriquez-Perez and Ed Zhou are working on unique, computer-based projects that will make business at Bigelow Laboratory more organized and efficient.


Luis is from Everett, Massachusetts and is mentored by Chief Information Officer Nathan Paquin. Luis is a rising junior at Colby College in Waterville, Maine and is majoring in computer science. The project he is working on this summer involves designing a web page that will summarize and map field data. The data for Luis’ project is from Bigelow Senior Research Scientist Dr. David Fields’ research. Dr. Fields, along with Dr. Nichole Price, has compiled a large set of environmental data over the past 6 years from Bigelow’s annual educator workshop. During the workshop, 10 school teachers from Maine are taught to use various pieces of scientific equipment, including a device called a micro sensor. The micro sensor collects light and temperature data from bodies of water near the teacher’s schools. Luis’ mission is to build a webpage where these teachers can plot the data collected by the sensor. Teachers from around the state will have access to this data, which will facilitate comparisons between bodies of water and allow trends over time to be extracted.

One challenge of Luis’ project was to create a faster and more efficient way to organize this large dataset. The monitoring device collects temperature and light intensity data every day at 15-minute intervals, and after 6 years, that is a lot of data! By taking the average reading of these two parameters per day, Luis allowed the graph to load faster and to be analyzed more holistically.

This project has helped Luis become more familiar with the JavaScript programming language. He is working with a software package called Google API, the same program used to make Google Maps, to generate the map for this project. The map will include the locations of the monitoring devices as well as the temperature and light intensity readings at that location on a specific date and time. Luis is also coding in HTML and CSS languages to write the functions and improve the aesthetics of the web page.

Luis (front) and Ed (back) are hard at work coding in the IT office at Bigelow.
Coding and smiling: Luis (front) and Ed (back) work on their projects in the IT office at Bigelow.


Ed is a rising senior who also attends Colby College and majors in computer science. He is from Natick, Massachusetts and is also mentored by Nathan Paquin.

This summer, Ed has been working on two projects involving web applications. His first project, known as “Re-digit”, worked to digitize files containing data and graphs into CSV files. Many Bigelow Laboratory scientists need to make use of figures and data tables from other documents that are saved as PDFs. PDFs are generally difficult to alter and extract data from, making Re-digit an especially useful application.

Ed’s second project is an internal application for the Laboratory’s credit card service. When a department at Bigelow charges expenses to their budget, transactions are recorded via paper receipts. To make this process more efficient and reduce manual errors, Ed created an application called “Expense” to keep track of transactions electronically. Ed is also involved in a third project that involves improving the user interface on Bigelow Laboratory’s portal site. He hopes to make internal applications through Bigelow’s super computer more accessible for employees to use.


It has been a busy summer so far for IT interns Luis and Ed! Although they don’t wear lab coats like many of their fellow interns, Luis and Ed play a crucial role in making technological aspects of Bigelow Laboratory’s research more available and efficient.

Bigelow Laboratory’s IT interns