MDI Biological Laboratory
General News

Anecdata Interns Bring Fresh Thinking

  • July 22, 2020 is an MDIBL designed and developed free web platform that engages citizen scientists to collect, manage and share their data for more than 200 projects across the globe.  

A core team of four have worked to constantly improve the platform since its inception and there had been numerous conversations about how internships, if set up correctly, would be mutually beneficial for both Anecdata, and the student interns.  

Ashley Taylor, community manager of Anecdata, says that the logistics of developing and implementing an internship program began to fall into place around the same time COVID-19 began to close everything down. But unlike other student summer programs that have had to be cancelled, the team were able to move ahead in recruiting seven talented interns from across the country because no-one needs to be physically present to work on the web platform. 

The aim of the internships is to recruit help from diverse expertise and differing training and skill sets. Anecdata has grown from 1,000 to 8,000 users under the care of the core team, but they’ll happily admit that more hands on deck and fresh ideas will help them expand the platform further and provide more tools and functionality for succesful citizen science projects.

The interns, who you can “meet” below, have experience in UX/UI (User Experience/User Interface) design, data analysis, graphic design, and of course citizen science. 


Elana Fortin is a senior Visual Communication Design major at Champlain College. In addition to her role at Anecdata, she is a digital communications intern at the Island Institute and a web designer in Champlain College’s marketing department.


Turam Purty is working towards developing open-source tools and technologies to help empower people and communities across the world in the development of equitable, innovative, and inclusive technologies. Turam’s current research includes the development of blockchain infrastructure to provide attributions to citizen science dataset contributors.


Theresa Tran is a Human Centered Design and Engineering (HCDE) and Psychology major at the University of Washington. Outside of User Experience and TA-ing for a web programming class, she enjoys hiking, climbing, and being outdoors in the PNW.


Madison Beardslee studies Science, Technology, and Society at NC State University. This major has allowed an interdisciplinary work of study in science/technology and also her expertise, public health. She additionally worked on Citizen Science research at the university before. Outside of studying and working she enjoys hiking, being a plant mom, and playing with her animals.


Lauren Jackson is a recent University of Florida graduate with a BA in Digital Arts and Sciences! She is a former Smithsonian intern and looks forward to
applying her creative skills at Anecdata. When she’s not playing with her dog, she’s probably outside improving her landscape photography skills.


Cameron Dunn is the Head of Support Operations at Vimeo, where he’s worked for 8 years, and a Community Science Fellow for AGU’s Thriving Earth Exchange, helping community leaders and scientists work together on science that advances the community’s priorities.


Malick Niane is a recent graduate of Hampshire College where he concentrated in user research and linguistic anthropology. He is probably learning about a new accent or dialect and unequivocally believes that cats are
better than dogs.