Xue Geng, (Biostatistics, MS 2016)

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Xue Geng graduated with a Masters of Science in Biostatistics in 2016 and earned a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering from the Shanghai University in Shanghai, China in 2014. Currently, she works as a Biostatistician in the Department of Biostatistics, Bioinformatics and Biomathematics at the Georgetown University Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.

How did you get interested in studying Biostatistics? What was your background before Georgetown University?
While studying biology in college, I had experience working in the laboratory and conducting research. When experiments are conducted, it generates a lot of data [from which we have to make] conclusions. Although I took a Biostatistics course in college, I felt it was really hard to analyze all this data by myself due to my lack of systematic knowledge of Biostatistics. I realized that Biostatistics is very important and I wanted to learn more in order to draw better conclusions [especially when there is]… incomplete, messy, and complex data.

As a well-known university, I knew I wanted to attend Georgetown University. Applying to Georgetown University for Biology was suggested by a friend, but I applied for Biostatistics instead. [Although], I felt nervous as I had limited knowledge about the world of Biostatistics. Luckily, I had the chance to meet Dr. Ming Tan who answered all my questions about the program and gave me a clear picture about the student life here at Georgetown. 

What did you love most about the MS program?

  1. I love the course setting as it’s both informative and comprehensive. It helps you build a solid theoretical foundation and you will have opportunities to use them in real projects.
  2. I love that we can have the opportunity to be Student Research Assistant (SRA) and work on the practicum with professors, which gives us a preview of the future work. You can gain a lot of experience while applying what you learned into what you need to solve.
  3. I love the department faculty as they are professional and nice. They are not only my mentors but also are my friends.
  4. The department has plenty collaborative research with the hospital and Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center (LCCC) which gives students more chance to participate in something. Besides, GU is located in an ideal place, Washington, DC. There are many nearby resources (university, museum, etc.) and opportunities (government agencies, pharmaceutical companies, etc.), as well as the convenient transportation to everywhere.

What was challenging about the program?
I changed my major from Bioengineering to Biostatistics. Thus, I had to spend more time on course work to catch up with other people. In my 2nd semester, I was selected to be a SRA (Student Research Assistant) [at the same time] my practicum was about to start, and I still had to keep up with all my courses. A lot of things happened at the same time, so I have to balance all of them and learn to be more efficient. But, everything was worth it. 

Please describe your current work and job responsibilities.
Currently, I work as a biostatistician in the Department of Biostatistics, Bioinformatics and Biomathematics at the Georgetown University Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. I provide statistical consulting services to Medical Students for their Independent Study Projects and collaborate with Georgetown affiliated researchers (department professors, medical doctors and scientists) on their funded research, clinical trial protocols and analysis, and grant applications.

How do you use what you learned in our program in your current work?
I use everything I learnt in the MS program in my current work.

What advice would you give to current and prospective students?

  1. Balance your workload. Study hard since the theory-based course work is very useful, but the chance to do practical applied work is also valuable. However, try to be efficient as you should also enjoy the life at Georgetown.
  2. Communicate with everyone! Don’t be shy to talk with other people. You will need help, you will need advice, and you will need friends.
  3. Plan ahead. We are in a three-semester program. Before you know it, time can pass very quickly. I recommend that you make a good plan about your life and study. [It is important to] get all the information you need in advance.
  4. Take advantage of the resources offered by the Department and Georgetown University. As we are in a private school, these services are really good!

What is your favorite hobby?

Anything else you’d like to add?
Thanks to all the professors, staff, and friends who helped me. Welcome to all the prospective students! Fasten your seatbelts, you are about to start a very exciting journey!!

Updated December 2018