This year the eScience Institute hosted another summer of our hackweek programs, including the SnowEx Hackweek in July and the NeuroHackademy program in August. Hackweeks are intentionally designed to foster an environment of collaboration among participants, and include participants from around the world. Here are some reflections shared by participants in our 2022 programs:

SnowEx Hackweek

Tunde Akin and Mahboubeh Boueshagh

The SnowEx Hackweek participants collaborate with the NASA SnowEx team to utilize satellite data to model and estimate seasonal snow levels. The event was offered in July, and hosted in Maple Hall on the UW Seattle. The program has the goal of fostering a collaborative learning environment and sharing datasets across teams.

Tunde Akin:I am a graduate student from the Imperial College London, and I have keen interest in cryosphere science. The event was extremely helpful in guiding me on how best to work with real-time open science data alongside researchers from all over the world, and who have the same interest and focus in answering research questions. SnowEx also gave me the opportunity for academic developments, learning new practical tools for both in my field and field of interest, exposure to lectures and presentations of high quality relevant to new technology and research. The whole week was packed full of continuous learning and inspirational time with [my] team and getting to know other people and their scientific interests. [This] multi-disciplinary atmosphere promotes research, data sharing, and international collaboration to do scientific work. The knowledge and learning I have gained from attending SnowEx are applicable to my present project research in heavy metal distribution. The coding tool I have learnt is transferable in my field of work and  eagerly look forward to the next SnowEx week next year.”

Mahboubeh Boueshagh:I am a Ph.D. student at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA. The NASA SnowEx Hackweek 2022 was an excellent experience for me! I met a lot of people in snow science who were very supportive and helpful, [with] many useful tutorials for snow monitoring and remote sensing. The event was so friendly, collaborative, and interactive! It was amazing that we all could access different SnowEx measurements, notebooks, and codes without any barriers! I also gained many ideas and hands-on experience, which are beneficial for my research. If there is another SnowEx Hackweek next year, I would like to attend it again and encourage everybody to apply!”



Raj Jain, Artur Paulo, and Yi-Heng Ryan Tsai

The NeuroHackademy program held in August is a summer school in neuroimaging and data science. Participants learned about the technologies used to analyze human neuroscience data, and how to make analysis and results shareable and reproducible.

J.B. Poline, program instructor:The NeuroHackademy summer school isn’t only a fantastic experience for students – giving an amazing set of tools to get started in open and collaborative data science – it is also a fantastic place for mentors and instructors. I feel more proud to be part of it than from some invitations to speak as a keynote at known conferences. The effectiveness and mindset with which the two weeks are run is amazing and a model for boot-camp like events, emphasizing not only excellent tutorials and material but also the collaborative, inclusive, supportive atmosphere, striking a rare balance between a solid curriculum structure and a spirit of scientific openness and freedom.”

Raj Jain:I joined with the aim of learning more about what’s happening in the field, and how I can use it for my research (which is mainly focused on fMRI). It was a truly rewarding experience. I got to meet so many excellent people and listen to great talks, especially the possible solutions and best practices to overcome the reproducibility problem. I highly recommend any new researcher to attend the event to become  aware of the issues before starting (and publishing) their research.  It is also a great place for a novice coder to get hands-on experience on machine learning and neuroscience datasets. Concepts like git and docker will especially be useful for someone starting with coding. I would also recommend people to join the event in-person to get the full experience of the event!”

Artur Paolo:NeuroHackademy 2022 allowed me to broaden my perspectives in data science and neuroimaging. Not only were we presented valuable lectures in neurosciences and programming, but also we had the chance to apply them many times in different datasets throughout several neuroimaging methods. We learned the best practices in neurosciences to make studies reproducible, and I will definitely apply it to my current research. Also, we had the chance to be introduced to cutting edge tools regarding big data, such as parallelization and cloud computing which will be very useful to me as well. Moreover, I had the opportunity to connect with other people that work in the same field, exchange research experiences and engage in interesting conversations. People of all skill levels were welcomed, and I feel we had a very supportive and safe environment to learn and thrive as scientists.”

Yi-Heng Ryan Tsai:NeuroHackademy 2022 has definitely transformed my way of accomplishing a meaningful, transparent, and reproducible research! The lectures and workshops of diverse topics related to programming and reproducible research provided foundations for future research. We dove directly into a project with real data, and cooperating with people from diverse backgrounds is always inspiring! We have completed an 8-page preregistration to clarify our research aims, [which] could never have been done without collaboration with people from various fields. Thank you NeuroHackademy 2022 for making this a fantastic, ongoing research journey!”