UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH INTERN USES DATA SCIENCE TO STUDY IMPACT OF HEAT ON SOWS
Jemima Baributsa (Agricultural Economics: Applied Agricultural Economics, West Lafayette, IN) chose to do research to apply what she was learning in class and by herself to a real project while also proving to herself that she did not have to be an expert in a field to learn something new and be good at it. This led her to the Animal Science Department where she uses data to measure the physiological effects of heat stress on sows. To do this she uses statistical data analysis in R and excel to determine whether the use of cooling technology, cooling pads for this project, is significant when reducing the impact of heat stress on sows. She is based on the ASREC farm where she goes out to make repairs on the data collection equipment, collects data, and sorts it.
Throughout her experience in this role, she became more comfortable with using power tools and understanding the reasoning behind equipment placement and electrical wiring, both of which she never expected to do. Her favorite memory was the day she and a team had to install new pads. She said, “I was so scared going in because I don’t do much work with wiring and tools, but I picked it up quickly and made repairs by myself when needed, which was really rewarding.”
She mentioned that she was encouraged to go out, learn about the hardware and how the equipment worked, and while this was something she was reluctant to do at first, she really enjoyed it. She said the best part about being unfamiliar with something is the clean slate that you are, and she encourages other students to work on the basics, master them, and build confidence to dive deeper into anything that you do.
This experience has confirmed for Jemima that working in data science and using her skills in statistical analyses is what she wants to do in the future. While she sees herself more on the analytical side, she still plans to engage with the hardware and equipment as much as possible because doing so has given her insight into data she would not have had otherwise.