JAX predoctoral associate Alexis Garretson receives the 2023 Raskin Scholarship

An image announcing Alexis Garretson as the 2023 Raskin Scholar.

Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) has awarded the 2023 Robert G. Raskin Scholarship to Alexis Garretson, a graduate student at The Jackson Laboratory and Tufts University, as well as a data scientist for Anecdata.org. The scholarship is given annually to an outstanding student who helps bridge disciplines through Earth science data and computing.

The Raskin Scholarship is an annual award made by ESIP to a current graduate student in the Earth or computer sciences who has an interest in community evolution of Earth science data systems. The scholarship is named for longtime ESIP member Robert G. Raskin, and seeks to promote collaboration, research support and exposure for talented students in the Earth or computer sciences.

“The connections between Earth science and genomics lie in their shared goal of understanding and unraveling complex systems,” Garretson said, explaining that combining multidisciplinary expertise with high-performance computing offers deeper insights into the interplay between environmental factors and genetic variations and leads to a better understanding of how ecosystems function, evolve and respond to environmental changes.

Garretson added, “ESIP is a place for these critical cross-disciplinary collaborations and provides invaluable support to trainees as we find our place in the information science community.”

In 2018 and 2019, Garretson served as a Community Fellow in ESIP, supporting the Data Stewardship Committee and Research Object Citation Cluster. 

“Taking part in the Community Fellow program introduced me to so many facets of open science and fueled my commitment to ensuring that valuable data is not lost and is made available for synthesis research and analysis,” Garretson said. “The guidance and input from ESIP mentors and community members played a crucial role in my decision to pursue a PhD focused on computational sciences.”

As a doctoral candidate in Tufts University's Graduate School of Biomedical Science's Mammalian Genetics @ JAX program, she conducts research at JAX, investigating how candidate genes can alter mutation rates and resulting population genetic variability. JAX Associate Professor Beth Dumont advises Garretson’s doctoral research.

“Alexis is the full package: she’s a talented writer and oral communicator; has strong analytical and programming skills; and is incredibly hard-working, productive and scientifically imaginative,” said Dumont, who is also an assistant professor in GSBS. “To boot, she is incredibly generous with her time, providing instruction and advice in data science to junior colleagues and peers. It is both a joy and privilege to serve as her PhD thesis advisor, and I have enjoyed learning alongside her as she makes inroads toward her thesis project aims. Alexis is clearly poised to have a very bright future in science, and I’m excited that a Raskin award is now part of her success story!”