Why did you decide to join CIBO?
“CIBO’s position as a science-driven software company was immediately interesting to me. In my role before CIBO, I was working at the McDonnell Genome Institute, writing software to support scientists doing cutting-edge medical research. While I had no direct contact with patients, I still felt like I was helping the scientific community.”
“Similarly, working closely with scientists here at CIBO provides an opportunity for me to contribute to agricultural science, including food security and environmental sustainability. I enjoy being in an environment where I’m helping to build something that has the potential to change the world.”
How did you get into your line of work?
“When I was a kid, I would play around with LOGO, a programming language. That experience sparked my passion to focus on engineering in college. When I took my first computer science 101 class, I enjoyed the work and decided to continue in that direction. It was fascinating to go from drawing shapes with the LOGO turtle to designing complex software systems.”
What is your most memorable moment at work?
“My most interesting project at CIBO was a client project where we had been contracted to figure out how seeds were germinating. I wrote computer vision algorithms to process images of seeds growing in a controlled environment. Using computer vision, we were able to detect each seed, detect the moment of germination, and measure root growth over time. These measurements were sent to a frontend display where the client’s scientists could monitor their germination experiments.”
How can we encourage more women to pursue a career in science?
“Having a network of good mentors is critical to pursuing a STEM career. For me, many people have been critical in shaping my career by being role models and by providing sound advice. Having the backing of someone who understands you is invaluable.”
“My advice to those interested in a career in science is to follow the subject and projects that you enjoy most. That is how I ended up finding a career in engineering.”
What are your hobbies outside of work?
“I am in a band called Robbie and the Rockin’ Fools that plays old rock and roll music. We perform a couple of times a month at local bars. My passion for music began in elementary school when I started piano lessons. I continued to play in high school, and after college, I started hanging around people playing music and ended up in my first band. Now I play not just with my own band, I also back up other people who have a similar style to me.”
Why are you excited about CIBO?
“I’m excited to be at CIBO because I’m always learning. I’ve recently transitioned roles from an individual contributor in engineering to a leadership position. It’s a new challenge, and I enjoy growing my skill set.”
What are your primary responsibilities at CIBO?
“When I joined CIBO, I started as an individual engineer working on different teams, including computer vision, engagement, and the model introspection team. Last January, I was asked to lead a small team developing a critical internal service. From there, my leadership role has expanded and I now lead a team supporting all of our internal services and data acquisition. It’s been an interesting journey transitioning from an individual engineer to a leadership role. It’s always exciting to see my team members put their own individual strengths to work. The most rewarding part of this job is seeing my team come together to do excellent work.”
About Amy Hawkins
Amy Hawkins is a Lead Software Engineer at CIBO, a science-driven software startup. Prior to CIBO, she worked for the McDonnell Genome Institute developing software programs to support large scale genome sequencing. She holds a Masters degree in Computer Science and B.S. in Computer Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis.