Employee Spotlight: Tamara

Remember when we hopped over to Bali, Indonesia to interview our front-end developer Adit about what it’s like to live and work for Labster in the Power House?

Today it’s another House, and another star employee. Tamara Tjitrowirjo came to Founders House to work with us as Lead Content Developer in November 2012, and her first week set a FAST pace as we launched the CSI case (more on that soon). Tamara’s enthusiasm for the work we do is infectious. Case in point: at last month’s Founders House breakfast, where each of the tech startups living here presents their most recent work for each other over croissants, Tamara received a hearty round of applause and several “awesomes” when she demo’ed our upcoming Animal Genetics case.

We sat down with Tamara to hear what it’s like to execute each case from start to finish, and some other tidbits about working in Denmark.

1) You’ve lived virtually everywhere. Can you tell us about your path to Labster from your native Jakarta, by way of Australia and Sweden?

I was born in Jakarta and I studied there until high school. I’ve always wanted to study science so I decided to go to Australia and studied at University of Queensland. During my bachelor study, I got very interested in embryonic stem cells and breast cancer. So I did my master thesis work at The Stem Cell Center, Lund University in Sweden where I studied human embryonic stem cell differentiation and then I did a breast cancer research for my PhD project. I applied for the position at Labster and got my wish, now I work with so many interesting and fun people in Copenhagen =)

2) You’re the lead content developer and biotech expert, but you also wear many hats (like business development and case architecture). Can you describe a typical day at Labster?

A typical day at Labster, hm… very hard to describe as every day here is always something that’s different. My main task is to develop the case content. So I spend some time researching to create a great case topic and I have meetings with teachers to discuss the case content. In the mornings, due to the time difference, I coordinate with the tech developers in Bali to produce the case. I also have meetings with faculty boards and course leaders to integrate Labster into the courses at their faculties, and I also have contact with anyone who is interested in Labster (both within academia and professional industries). So it’s always a pretty busy day.

3) What is your favorite part about your job?

I pretty much like every part of my job. But to pick a favorite, it has to be creating the cases. I read many interesting papers about the application of science in real life. This is, for example, how we came up with studying enzyme Alcohol Dehydrogenase within the frame of the Asian Glow syndrome. Other upcoming cases have very interesting topics…look out for them and learn science the fun way!

4) How long does it take for a case (like Animal Genetics or Enzyme Kinetics) to go from idea stage to complete?

I started working with the Enzyme Kinetics case in the beginning of November 2012 where we presented the ideas to the teachers. And now (early February) the case is programmed and ready for testing. So it takes about 3 months. We still need to do some adjustments after the focus group but essentially the case is completed already.

5) Finally, have you gotten used to the Scandinavian winters?

Well, I kind of like the cold winters, when we have snow and it doesn’t melt. Unfortunately it doesn’t happen very often. And for some reasons the public transport is usually problematic when it’s snowing, which is weird considering we are in Scandinavia. But once in a while we do get that magical winter day where everything freezes, the sun is shining and the ice is thick enough for ice-skating. Those days I am very happy to live in Sweden.