2017 ISIB Participant Presentations and Feedback

As a part of the Iowa Summer Institute in Biostatistics, participants are given a list of potential projects and choose the one that looks the most interesting to them.  They work as a biostatistician on the project and give a presentation on their findings at the Biostatistics 2017 Iowa Summer Research Symposium.

The 2017 participants’ presentations are listed below along with their comments about the program.


Ali Charlson and Mitchell Kinkor


Identifying a Useful Dynamic Range for Perimetry Data Relating to Disease Progression in Glaucoma Patients


Ali Charlson:The Iowa Summer Institute in Biostatistics was an amazing experience for me. I feel incredibly prepared to pursue graduate school and future career opportunities within the field of Biostatistics. It was a great group of people and a great summer.

Mitchell Kinkor:It is obvious that the faculty and staff in the Biostatistics Department at Iowa put an immense amount of effort into ensuring that participants are exposed to the potential that the field offers. I really appreciated the opportunity to work on a project directly with faculty members and learn more about the process of academic research. I recommend this program to anyone with interest in statistical analysis of biomedical research.”


Sabah Munir and Journey Penney


Genetic Risk Factors for Preterm Birth


Sabah Munir:Attending the ISIB program really allowed me to gain a better idea of what biostatistics entails and what can be studied within the discipline. I was able to make connections between my learning at the University of Iowa and my current knowledge from my area of study; this may allow me to have a clearer idea of what I want to do after college. Seeing how math can be used to help answer science-related questions also helped me to better appreciate statistics in general; I highly recommend this program for both math/statistics majors and any non-math majors who still wish to pursue biostatistics as a career.”

Journey Penney: I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at ISIB. I’m extremely thankful that I got the opportunity to learn about the field of biostatistics, work on a mentored research project, and make connections with such wonderful people. I have learned so much during my time here in Iowa, and I am very interested in pursuing biostatistics in graduate school.”


Roger Netherton and Félix Pabón-Rodríguez


Creating County Health Rankings: State of Iowa


Roger Netherton:I had a great time at the ISIB program – I learned a great deal about what it means to work in biostatistics. I appreciated the special topics

lectures and especially the mentored research project; working on the project helped me learn a lot about coding with R. I was also able to consult the biostatistics professors extensively for advice, and because of that I have been able to decide what I will do after graduation. In addition, from meeting and interacting with other students from such different places and life experiences, I was able to grow more as a person. I am very grateful to Dr. Zamba for creating the Iowa Summer Institute in Biostatistics!”

Félix Pabón-Rodríguez:Through the ISIB program, I had the opportunity to improve my statistical and programming skills. I have obtained the best experience in the field of Biostatistics, because of the lectures, homework and lab sessions, in particular, with the research. During my participation in ISIB, I created a good network with some of the faculty at the University of Iowa, faculty from other institutions and created new friendships with students from different states. I am a graduate student (MS) who before the ISIB program was not sure about pursuing a PhD, but with this program I have made the decision to start a PhD in Epidemiology or Biostatistics. Being part of the ISIB is one of the best decision I have made.”


Torry Alcindor and Megan Woodyard


How Comparable are Clinical Trials Results Reporting on ClinicalTrials.gov Versus a High-Impact Neurological Journal


Torry Alcindor:My experience here at ISIB has been an experience I will never forget. By coming here, it gave me a better idea of what I want to do after my undergraduate studies. I would recommend this program to anyone interested in math or public health.”

Megan Woodyard:Being able to do a project with key biostatistics relevance was one of the most valuable aspects of this program; tackling real-world problems isn’t often done directly in academia.”


Chandler Pendleton, Fabiola Rivera- Rodríguez and Brenton Washington


Tornadoes: Trend in Extreme Weather Events in the US Heartland


Chandler Pendleton: ISIB has been an amazing summer experience. My favorite part of the program was having the opportunity to participate in a mentored research project because that allowed me to see the kinds of research I could work on if I decided to become a biostatistician. Meeting with faculty, learning more about biostatistics, and participating in research has shown me that pursuing a graduate degree in biostatistics is the right choice for me”

Fabiola Rivera- Rodríguez:The Iowa Summer Institute of Biostatistics has been a wonderful experience that introduced me to the field of biostatistics. The opportunity to work on a project with one of the faculty members was rewarding and helped me develop my research skills.  This program refined the direction I want to take my studies and motivated me to pursue graduate school.”

Brenton Washington:Although I was unsure about living in Iowa for the summer, I was pleasantly surprised. This summer program taught me so much about Biostatistics and about postgraduate studies. Iowa City is such a beautiful city with a lot of culture. The projects were well thought out and required a lot of preparation and analysis.”


Holly Diop, Erica Lleras, Miguel Quime and Eldon Sorensen


Impact of Chronic Graft vs. Host Disease on Survival in Bone Marrow Transplant Patients


Holly Diop:Being in the ISIB program has been a humbling experience. Coming into ISIB I had zero knowledge of statistics and computer programming. Leaving ISIB I realize I will not be able to take my Mathematics degree where I want without a strong understanding of stats and solid skill in programming. ISIB has been a learning experience, one that has me changing my remaining two years in my undergrad to better prepare me for graduate work in Biostatistics.”

Erica Lleras:This program changed me as a person, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in my future. After coming here, I have a clearer view in what I want to focus my studies on with the help from the wonderful faculty here at ISIB. I would highly recommend this program to anyone as this is an amazing learning experience.”

Miguel Quime:I thoroughly enjoyed my time here in Iowa for the ISIB program. It provided me with a general introduction to Biostatistics and exposure to graduate level research. The mentors and TA’s were great to work with, and I really loved the university town setting.”

Eldon Sorensen:ISIB has been a truly incredible program in exposing me to the world of biostatistics. I came in with no knowledge beyond mean, median, mode, and range, and now I have the confidence to say I wish to pursue it in the future. They provided lectures, talks, activities, and research that truly gave a hint of the potential of biostatistics. Highly recommend.”


Jordan Baker, Serenity Budd and Carissa Comnick


The Effect of Hospital Networks on Clostridium difficile Infection Rates


Jordan Baker:Being in ISIB was a great way to gain exposure to biostatistics. Doing a research project with a professor helped to show what biostatistics is about. Additionally, I enjoyed getting to know the professors and students in the program.”

Serenity Budd:I enjoyed being able to work on projects with real data and hear guest lecturers speak about specialized areas in biostatistics. The faculty, mentors, and other ISIB cohort members were kind and helpful. I could not imagine a better way to spend my summer than to be doing biostatistics at the University of Iowa.”

Carissa Comnick:ISIB has been invaluable for exploring potential future graduate studies and the variety of career opportunities available in biostatistics. Having the hands-on experience of completing a faculty-mentored research project and participating in shadowing sessions were highlights of the program. I would highly recommend ISIB to anyone wanting to combine interests in medicine, public health, and statistics.”


Joseph Boyle, Michelle Orozco and Joshua Tomiyama


Modeling Complex Epidemics with Environmental Reservoirs: Studying Cholera Transmission on the Island of Hispaniola with Bayesian Epidemic Models


Joseph Boyle: I greatly enjoyed the ISIB program. It provided me a wonderful opportunity to learn the foundation of biostatistics, to learn special topics from the supplementary lectures, and to get a taste of what biostatistics research looks and feels like. The cohort was cohesive and supportive, and Iowa City is a wonderful city.”

Michelle Orozco:I really enjoyed the time I spent participating in this program. The time spent working with my mentor and research group was valuable and will greatly contribute to my success as a student and undergraduate researcher at my home institution.”

Joshua Tomiyama:I was exposed to a variety of topics that are in high demand now such as machine learning, infectious disease modeling, and bioinformatics. Before ISIB, I did not know anything about biostatistics but after the program I have a good idea of the types of problems they work on as well as the types of techniques they use to solve these problems. I am really excited to have been exposed to this field and hope to learn more about it!”

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