A Conversation with Arno Pan: BCIT Summer Student Assistant

August 26, 2022
Arno Plan has short dark hair.

In the summer of 2022, Arno Pan, a student from the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) came to work for the Vision Research Cluster. We ask him about his experience.

What are you studying? At which institution are you at?

I am studying Computer Systems Technology at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) under the Combined Web and Mobile Option.

Why are you working for the Vision Research Cluster at the UBC?

Previously, for our school projects, a couple of classmates and I worked on the Wordpress website for the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. The UBC was one of our top choices and we were assigned here! While working for the Department, under the supervision of Dr. Claire Sheldon, we found that we enjoyed helping out and wanted to do more. We expressed interest in helping out after the summer and were presented an opportunity for one of us. I was chosen to represent my group.

How long did you work at the Vision Research Cluster? What did you learn?

In total, I worked for almost two months at the Vision Research Cluster under Dr. Ruanne Lai's supervision. I was brand new to Drupal before starting this opportunity. I am more familiar with the structure of Drupal now and know how it works. Drupal is a content management system, similar to WordPress, but is generally more structured. I found myself constantly trying to code from scratch when I didn’t need to. So I learned to trust Drupal and only use code when I have to. Also, I got to use Qualtrics XM. It is similar to Google Forms but more academically inclined. 

What are your career aspirations? How did your experience working for the Vision Research Cluster assist with your career path?

I want to be working in the programming sector, particularly building web applications or automating tasks into programs. The jobs include but are not limited to Web & Applications Developer to Full Stack Web Developer. My experience working for the Vision Research Cluster helped me learn how to maximize meetings, because content is heavily dependent on the existing material. By asking more questions and having more in-depth conversations, the Vision Research Cluster can have its needs met--by turning ideas into reality.

Do you have any advice for future BCIT students?

Yeah, if they want to participate and work for the Vision Research Cluster, they should ask many questions and be as concise as possible. Hopefully, this prepares them ahead of time. Be mindful that every meeting you get is under a time crunch--everyone in the department is always busy working on something else. Do make mistakes and correct them before publishing. Always ask for feedback. Don’t delete unless you have to and always edit when there’s something available from before. 

Other than that, good luck on all your studies. Don’t panic! The staff at the UBC are very nice. Maybe during the first meeting, it is kind of tense, but in my experience it is nice. I would say it is better than normal work places I have been in.


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