Alumni Spotlight

Department of Biostatistics & Informatics

We're proud of the caliber of the students that become our alumni. Our classes, practicum, and capstone are designed to help you develop your resume, portfolio, and skills. Our graduates have deliverables, such as SAS and R programs from class projects, that future employers look for to determine if someone is qualified for a career in biostatistics.

Featured alumni

Harris Butler headshot

Meet Harris Butler, PhD

What degree did you earn? 
PhD in Biostatistics

What's Next?
Dr. Butler will spend three years in Washington, D.C. working on modeling and simulations for the government. Then he plans to return to Colorado and he will teach statistics at the Air Force Academy.

How did the department prepare you for your future in biostatistics? 
The department gave me a safety net while developing essential skills. I learned theory and example applications in class, then got to do "real" research where I had a new struggle every day. I struggled with getting/storing/organizing data, working with non-stats people outside the department, and writing/presenting my work. But my mentors and the department were there to make everything manageable. Now I feel prepared to tackle these things after working through the process with help from the department. 

What would you tell a student entering their first year in our program?

  1. Join the Biostatistics Student Association!
  2. Get involved in the department early since it benefits the rest of your program. Getting involved is how you'll learn about hot research areas, meet students outside your cohort, and meet faculty outside of your coursework. 
  3. Volunteer for opportunities in the department and go to as many seminars and other events as you can, even if they are optional.
Sarah Ryan Headshot

Meet Sarah Ryan, PhD

What degree did you earn?  
PhD in Biostatistics 

Where are you headed? 
I will be joining the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania in Fall 2020.

What will you be working on? 
I will be working closely with PennSIVE, the Penn Statistics in Imaging and Visualization Endeavor, to analyze medical imaging data, including lung CT scans from patients with COVID-19, as well as brain fMRI.  

How did the department prepare you for your future in biostatistics? 
The professors, faculty, and staff in the Department of Biostatistics & Informatics taught me the statistical and technical skills to be a biostatistician. More importantly, they connected me with research opportunities at the Center for Innovative Design and Analysis on campus, as well as the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, which have been invaluable for my career development. 

What would you tell a student entering their first year in our program? 
Seek out opportunities beyond the classroom to learn about your interests and provide you with real data experience. Become friends with your classmates and professors—it is more fun to learn together, and they will be a great support system. At times, the program can be difficult, but don’t be discouraged! I found that it was in those times where I grew the most. I wish you all the best!

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