Pictured here are Chang’s advisor and co-founder Dr. Hui-Hsien Chou, and Jennifer Chang, PhD candidate and co-founder, Complex Computations

$2,500 Scholarship presented by the Technology Association of Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa (November 10, 2016) – Jennifer Chang was awarded the Collegian Innovation and Leadership award and a $2,500 scholarship at the 2016 Iowa Women of Innovation awards ceremony held at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center on Nov. 10. Chang was recognized in her field for her academic achievement, inventiveness, creativity and extra-curricular activities. The Iowa Women of Innovation awards is a nine-year-old Technology Association of Iowa program that recognizes and celebrates women in business, government or academia who are leaders in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Chang is a PhD candidate in Iowa State University’s Bioinformatics and Computational Biology program and co-founder, software developer and CFO, Complex Computation, LLC. Chang is also a Research Assistant at Iowa State helping to update the open source software called Lucy2 for analyzing raw DNA sequence data. In addition, she serves as a Teaching Assistant for upper level undergraduate courses in Genetics and Bioinformatics.

According to Chang’s nomination, “Jennifer became frustrated with using existing software to help answer a research question. In response, she developed the powerful graph analysis and visualization software, called Mango, using a programming language she helped create. Mango is a general-purpose tool that can be used for data visualizations so that complex data networks (“Big Data”) can be easily understood. The power of Mango for Big Data analysis led Jennifer to co-found the startup company Complex Computation in 2015.”

“This is a great honor,” Chang said. “I was so impressed to see the work being done by all the women involved in the competition, and to have my work be seen as important is validation and motivation for me to continue to think, and to teach others to think in a different way. That has always been of great interest to me — finding innovative solutions for challenging problems and sharing what I’ve learned.”

Dr. Hui-Hsien Chou, Chang’s advisor and co-founder, CTO, Complex Computation said Chang is a true innovator and leader.

“This is an exciting moment,” Chou said. “This is validation for Jennifer who has proven herself as an outstanding role model and mentor in her field with a true entrepreneurial spirit. She feels strongly about developing useful tools and sharing her contributions with the scientific community, and now with Mango, she has the opportunity to have an even broader impact.”

Chang’s startup company, Complex Computation, is a cohort member within the ISU StartUp Factory, a 52-week intensive program housed at the Iowa State University Research Park (ISURP).

Chang earned her B.A. in Computer Science and Biochemistry from Cornell College, Mount Vernon, Iowa and is expected to complete her PhD dissertation at Iowa State, December 2016.