Undergraduate: Texas Tech University, TX - MS Statistics and Southern Methodist University, TX - Statistical Science
Internship: Epic Sciences, San Diego, CA
Current Job Title: Biomarker Biostatistician at Denali Therapeutics
How did you find yourself at Oregon? What about the program attracted you?
I completed a master's in statistics prior to joining the program. As a statistics research assistant, I started using bioinformatics pipelines to build miRNA and tumor suppressor gene relational networks and absolutely loved it. I wanted more formal education in genomics and lots of hands on experience with genomics data. I also had little experience in an industry setting and wanted to know more about the biotech industry. This program was perfect for meeting those goals!
What was the summer intensive like for you?
It lived up to its name- but I wouldn't say it was the hardest thing I've ever done. While it was very demanding, there are numerous resources in the program to help keep your head above water. My cohort supported each other a lot, so it was a bonding experience and I think we all learned more as a result.
Do you feel the program prepared you for the internship? In what ways?
My existing skills in programming and analysis were solid prior to starting the program, but they nonetheless improved immensely through the coursework. I also gained significant skill boosts in oral and written scientific communication, algorithmic thinking, cross-disciplinary communication and writing, and project management. A lot of the tools I developed during the program in the technical and "soft" skill realm allowed me to hit the ground running and provide meaningful feedback at my internship.
What was your internship like? What were you responsible for? What was a typical day like?
My internship involved wearing many hats (very typical of smaller startups) and I became involved in key projects early on. I worked on data management, performed analysis, presented results, coordinated with key opinion leaders and collaborators, and took part in cross functional team meetings for a variety of projects.
Do you have any advice to prospective students?
If you’re intimidated, don’t be- especially if you’re intimidated by math and statistics. The BGMP instructors are amazing people and resources, and your peers and the alumni network are invaluable long after you graduate.
As with anything, you’ll get out what you put into the program, but there are so many opportunities and resources to take advantage of in this program. Your efforts are repaid in immediate, tangible ways, which will allow you to rapidly carve out a career path that uniquely suits you.