Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Report from the Net Generation

Dan Turner was hired to work as a summer intern for BioTek in mid-May. Dan is entering his sophomore year in software engineering at Vermont Technical College in Randolph, VT. He comes to BioTek with many achievements under his belt including National Technical Honor Society (2009); Tech Prep Student of the Year 4-year scholarship recipient (2009); and High Honor Roll membership (2009).

As a Data Analyst working under my supervision, Dan has supported our contract OEM market and applications department in a variety of ways, and his strong software engineering skills have served BioTek well. Although not a science specialist, he has successfully and with very little supervision programmed dozens of unique clinical diagnostic assays into over nine databases, and edited existing databases for both ELx800 Microplate Reader and ELx50 Microplate Washer applications using our proprietary Extensions software program. In addition, Dan has mastered some important onboard reader and washer programming expertise to assist in the production of customized Short Form Instructions for paying customers. These activities require a high degree of understanding how to translate specialized data reduction requirements into programming logic in a format that is easily understandable to a non-technical end user.

Dan has also learned some important lessons in working within the strict technical limitations of a corporate environment. Competence in open source software architecture allowed Dan to complete a MySQL/PHP program for modernizing our MSDS procedure in the Applications Lab. When faced with the fact that we operate under a closed source environment using Microsoft tools, Dan willingly learned the C# (C Sharp) programming language and in a matter of days completed translating his PHP code into C# as Visual Studio generated code. He is currently overcoming the challenge of integrating SQL into the program, the last necessary piece allowing us to maintain the program here at BioTek in his absence. This project put Dan in touch with expertise from other parts of the company, including interfacing with our IS and Software Engineering groups.

It has been refreshing to have Dan ask “why?” each day, forcing me to keep growing as I assess the proper answer, one that certainly shouldn’t be cast in stone or our company will stop growing, too. I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for that, for all of his hard work, for his commitment, for his contribution, and for his busting of the stereotype of his generation as one of entitlement without effort. If Dan is a picture of what is soon to be entering our workforce, we can rest secure. He has embraced technical challenges in a mature way that defy his age. His conscientious work ethic and surprising degree of professionalism, the opportunity he has embraced to learn important life skills within a corporate environment that no college course could possibly teach him, combined with the technical depth of his already impressive resume I hope provide for a future contribution from him that will continue to make the world a better place.

By: BioTek Instruments

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