Summer Science – A Blast!

By Bryan Nelson

As my second week of my 6 week long Summer Institute for Training in Biostatistics at Boston University comes to an end, I really cannot even begin to process how much I’ve learned in such a short amount of time.

Being part of a program with only 22 people is a great opportunity to make connections as well as get one on one time with the professors, all of whom are incredibly dedicated to making sure we are all prepared for whatever the future holds. Some days we even get to attend a lecture by a guest speaker and then sit with them at lunch picking their brain. As far as I’ve been able to tell so far, it is incredibly wise to follow the saying,  “hang out with people smarter than you.”

Okay, now it’s time to talk about math. As anyone that has ever talked to me for 30 seconds knows, I am crazy about math, so my favorite part of the program so far has clearly been the math! In the first (almost) 2 weeks we have covered basically a semester’s worth of biostatistics in the mornings, followed by instruction in SAS (a statistically software used by most large companies and by many statisticians such as those working on the Framingham Heart Study). After lunch, we work on projects in SAS using data from the Framingham Heart Study (one of the most influential studies in the history of medicine), the Jackson Heart Study, and other miscellaneous studies.  It is a real honor to get to work with data from the Framingham Heart Study, for any statistician, especially for a rising junior in college.

*For anyone confused by what the distinction between biostatistics and statistics is (I was too): Biostatistics is basically statistics for medical and public health research. It is essentially a specific subset of statistics.

I can’t wait to see what else I can learn in the coming weeks and more importantly, how it will help me with future research! It’s safe to say that curious mathematically-oriented kids never grow up, we just go to math camp for adults! Be sure to check out the MAS blogs for more updates!  Next time I’ll talk about our upcoming visit to the Framingham Heart Study (which does not normally allow visitors)!

Thanks for reading!

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