Q&A: What Does Mentoring Mean to You?

Noblis Data Scientist Andrew Wilson shares how mentoring has impacted his career

Andrew Wilson was a Noblis intern. Now, as a Noblis employee, he’s paying it forward by guiding new interns, teaching a programming after-school club at a local Danville, Va. school, and hopefully, will teach programming classes at a community college in the near future. Check out what mentoring means to Andrew in the below Q&A.    

Q:        Where did you start your career?

A:        Noblis was my first full-time job. Prior to starting full-time, I was a Noblis intern in the summer of 2014, and was a mobile development intern for a different company the summer before that.

Q:        Did you know what you wanted to do before you started your education?

A:         I had no idea – I switched majors a few times (from Mathematics to Pottery, even) before finally landing in Computer Science.

Q:        What mentors have influenced you? What did you and the mentor share?

A:         My undergraduate computer science professor, Dr. Ned Okie, definitely influenced me. He is an extremely intelligent computer scientist and continually pushed us in our classwork. At Noblis, [Data Science Expert] Sterling Thomas has mentored me. He was my intern manager and put me on a project in Bioinformatics. Before I got put on that project, I had no idea what Bioinformatics was. Now, I’m finishing up my Master’s in it.                                                                                     

Q:        Has your career diverted from the “path” you expected to take?

A:         Not exactly, once I decided on CS I mostly knew what I would be doing. Data Science, which is what I do at Noblis, uses all the things I learned in CS. I always wanted to get into something health related with CS and Bioinformatics is perfect for that as well.

Q:        Did your experience as a mentee inspire you to mentor others? How has mentoring others impacted you?

A:         My experience as a mentee definitely inspired me. I’ve assisted with interns, I lecture for Noblis’ high school programming camp, and will be lecture at the local community college in the near future. After being the mentee and having that “Aha!” moment it’s awesome to be on the other side and induce it.

Q:        If you consider yourself a mentor, what advice would you give someone who was considering mentoring?

A:         Do it. There’s no greater feeling than being able to help someone achieve something they are after.

Andrew is based at The Noblis Center for Applied High Performance Computing in Danville, Va.

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