I'm Anvita Gupta, Bioinformatics Researcher, And This Is How I Work

We often look to veterans of life and business to share the wisdom they have accumulated during their career. Today, however, we're looking towards the future, to a young woman of striking ambition. Anvita Gupta, 17, is a bioinformatics researcher, Intel Science Talent Search Finalist and a high school student.

The Intel Science Talent Search is a prestigious maths and science competition that encourages pre-college young adults to pursue challenging questions of science and solutions that will better humanity. To earn her spot as a finalist and a trip to Washington DC, Anvita used machine learning to identify promising new drugs for cancer, tuberculosis and Ebola. She has also taught herself eight programming languages, is the president of her high school's robotics team, and teaches a computer science class for middle school girls.

You know, I think it's safe to say that Anvita has a promising future, and that our's will be better because of her research. We spoke with Anvita to learn a little about how she works

Location: Phoenix, Arizona Current Gig: High School Student, Bioinformatics Researcher One word that best describes how you work: Focused Current mobile device: Samsung Galaxy Current computer: Lenovo Thinkpad and MacBook Pro

What apps, software or tools can't you live without? Why?

Ubuntu, GIMP, Gmail and RStudio [a development environment for statistical computing — ed.].

What's your workspace setup like?

Wherever my computer is, that's where my workspace is! Usually I work at home at a gigantic desk that holds all my notebooks, a 32-inch Samsung monitor that I connect to my laptop, a large metal lamp and my USB mouse.

What's your best time-saving shortcut or life hack?

I try not to go on Facebook or email too much, and I set a time period to only concentrate on work. During that time period I am much more productive than usual!

What's your favourite to-do list manager?

I used Wunderlist for a while but it was too much trouble to log in every time. So I generally stick to Excel, or simple Post-It notes and a pen.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can't you live without and why?

My headphones, judging by what I use the most.

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else?

I'm pretty good at thinking of things in terms of connections and networks, and seeing objects in the context of the systems they are in. These skills really come in handy in my extracurricular activities, which include being a member of my high school's robotics team, and in teaching a computer science class for middle school girls that I started with funding from Google and the National Center for Women & IT. You can find out more about my club, LITAS at litas4girls.org.

I'm Anvita Gupta, Bioinformatics Researcher, and This Is How I Work

What do you listen to while you work?

If I'm doing something that doesn't require a lot of concentration, I'll listen to either mellow Bollywood music or Coldplay, The Killers, and alternative rock. If I'm studying, I won't listen to any music.

What are you currently reading?

Since high school started, I've had much less time to read. Nowadays I do most of my reading online: the news, Wikipedia articles, Quora and ScienceDaily are some of my favourites! I really like ScienceDaily because the articles there are very in-depth and categorised well according to your interests. Quora answers all the questions you never thought of asking, but would really like to know the answers to.

Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?

More of an introvert.

What's your sleep routine like?

Most definitely a night owl! I use three or four alarms on my phone to wake up, and I generally read before I sleep.

Fill in the blank: I'd love to see _________ answer these same questions.

Bill Gates.

What's the best advice you've ever received?

To work hard and not worry about the results, because the results aren't in your control.

We've asked a handful of heroes, experts and flat-out productive people to share their shortcuts, workspaces and routines. Every week we'll feature a new guest and the gadgets, apps, tips and tricks that keep them going. Want to suggest someone we should feature or questions we should ask? Let us know.


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