Interview with Katie Evans, Ph.D.
Hometown: Blue Springs, Missouri
Undergraduate Degree: B.S. in Mathematics from Truman State University
Ph.D. Thesis Advisors: Professors Tanzy Love and Sally W. Thurston
Thesis Title: Extensions to Model-Based Clustering for Mixed-Type Data: A New Model Framework, Variable Selection, and Outlier Detection
Why did you choose the University of Rochester?
When looking at graduate schools, I was interested in a university that was actively engaged in important research, but one that also cares about the success of their students. Personally, I wanted to pursue my statistics degree in a program with a biomedical “flair”, allowing me to apply my analytic skills to research which could ultimately help people. Since the Department of Biostatistics and Computational Biology is located in the University of Rochester Medical Center, I believed this program, in this school, would be a great fit. I would have the same rigorous coursework as other statistical programs and the opportunity to use statistics in a medical setting at a university doing interesting and innovative research. During my first visit to the department at the medical center, I was overwhelmed by the supportive environment created by the students, faculty, and staff. I instantly felt that they were invested in me and would help give me the tools I needed to succeed.
Tell us about the program
The Department of Biostatistics and Computational Biology is a unique statistics program. The coursework is similar to what is offered in most statistics programs, but its location in the medical center is what sets it apart. Being a part of the Medical Center allows students to work with different professors on collaborations with a variety of researchers who ask unique questions from their datasets.
What are some of the things you have learned?
The importance of communication. Communication plays an important role in the field of statistics; our collaborations are multi‐disciplinary and it is important for statisticians and researchers to ask the right questions and to understand one another’s backgrounds when interpreting results. Also, as with any experience, it is important to take initiative and to become involved. By taking on new projects, working with a different professor, or attending a conference, taking steps out of my comfort zone has enabled me to discover which paths are right for me.
Any advice for prospective students?
Maintain a healthy work‐life balance! The advanced programs at University of Rochester require mental toughness and perseverance, but as a matter of well‐being, it is important to know when and how to relax. Luckily, at the university and in the greater community, Rochester offers a thriving cultural, social, and active scene.