Peiwen Yu, (Biostatistics, MS 2016)
Peiwen Yu is an alumnus of the Department of Biostatistics, Bioinformatics, and Biomathematics department at Georgetown University. He graduated with an MS in Biostatistics in 2016 and earned a Bachelor of Applied Science (BASc) in Biotechnology from Nanjing Agricultural University in 2014. Currently, Peiwen is working as an Associate Statistician at Evidera, PPD in Waltham, MA.
What did you love most about the MS program?
I liked the practicum most. Firstly, I had the chance to work with my practicum research advisor, Dr. Lockwood Taylor, [a Lead Epidemiologist at the FDA (Food & Drug Administration)]. We spent around one year to solve a practical topic with real world data. Since Dr. Taylor’s office was not located on campus, we usually[communicated]…using web conference software. The practicum not only gave me experience and real practice, but it also [helped me become]…comfortable talking with someone on a computer…screen. This helped a lot especially when applying a job after I graduated.
People from our department are like the angels from…heaven. Everyone in our department…the professors and staff are nice and always [willing] to help us anytime we need [such as]…searching for resources about intern, job, network opportunities, etc. My advisor, Dr. Christopher Loffredo [would] touch base with me every month [whether]… he was in the US… [or in another] country for work.
What was challenging about the MS program?
[With my undergrad background in Biology, my] Calculus and programming skills were not as good as the people whose undergraduate major was mathematics or statistics. These are no longer problems for me now. It was painful at the very beginning, but I spent a lot of time to practice. All my practice led to progress!
How did you get interested in studying Biostatistics? What was your background before Georgetown University?
I decided I must jump out of the [biology or biotech] zone to a new field. I thought I could make more money in [Biostatistics] rather than in a biology lab.
Please describe your current work and job responsibilities.
I’m an Associate Statistician at Evidera, PPD in Waltham, MA. I am responsible for proposal writing, developing statistical analysis plans (SAP), conducting statistical analyses, report presenting, project management, etc.
How do you use what you learned in our program in your current work?
I frequently use the statistical methods and SAS programming [that I learned] in our MS program. [The Quantitative Data Analysis & Reporting (BIST 545) course] taught by Dr. Kepher Makambi helped a lot.
What advice would you give to current and prospective students?
Current Students: Know what it is you would like to [do after earning your MS degree]…e.g. getting a job, a PhD degree, etc. Be well prepared for that [goal] and make an all-out effort. Don’t be afraid about asking for help. The professors, staff, senior students, and alumni are willing to give you a hand.
Prospective Students: The Biostatistics MS program offered by DBBB [Department of Biostatistics, Bioinformatics & Biomathematics at Georgetown University] is excellent. Georgetown is a famous university with good reputation. This MS program only takes one and half years to [earn] the degree. The faculty are professional and kind. Take geographical advantage from living in DC. It is easier to build your network and [there are good] opportunities for work.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I want to say “Hi” to everyone in the department. I miss you guys so much. Hopefully we can meet next year…in cherry blossom season.
Any other interesting information you’d want to share with us?
I’m pursuing a Data Science Certificate from the Harvard Extension School.
Updated December 2018