When Brittany was a sophomore in high school, one of her family members was diagnosed with breast cancer. She knew she wanted to help fight the disease and used her interest in STEM to develop Cloud4Cancer, a Webbased application that she hopes will make it quicker and less invasive for doctors to diagnose breast cancer (a project that won Google’s Science Fair). Now a junior at Duke University, she’s working to get more medical professionals using her system.
When did you learn to code?
When I was in seventh grade, I took a course about the future of thinking and the area I chose to explore was technologies of the future. I got interested in artificial intelligence and how it has infinite potential. After that, I bought a college textbook on computer programming, started going on online forums, and began teaching myself.
How do you even begin to create a program that helps diagnose cancer?
I didn’t do a lot of coding for it at first. I spent 10th grade trying to understand medicineâ”it was about learning and building my knowledge base. I watched online tutorials about different systems in the body. I read lots of articles and would ask my biology teacher lots of random questions.
How long did it take to get it up and running?
I’ve been working on it for five years. The program actually flopped twice. The first time I tested it, there were more errors than code. But now it’s been over 99 percent successful in the trials I’ve done. Initially it was taking up a couple hours of my day, but now that I’m a college student, I work on it primarily on the weekends.
WHAT inspires you to keep hustling after ve years of working on this?
It’s actually a fun process because I’m getting to figure out this puzzle. At a certain point in your work, you see that you’re actually solving complicated questionsâ”and that’s rewarding.