Student Stories: Kevin Cummiskey

KevinWhat program are you in? 

PhD Biostatistics

You are in the Army. Tell us how your military career began?

I feel like I should have an inspirational story, but it¹s actually not that exciting.  I got accepted to West Point after high school and it seemed like a tremendous challenge, so I did it.  It was the mid 90’s and the world seemed safe. The potential dangers associated with my decision were far more abstract (especially to an 18-year-old) than they are to the young men and women who join today.  This June will mark 20 years since I first put on a military uniform and what began as a youthful adventure has evolved into a lifelong commitment.

How does an Army officer end up at HSPH? 

I am headed back to West Point to serve on the faculty there upon completion of my degree.  Military officers with PhD’s make up a large part of the faculty at West Point.

What do you like best about the department and HSPH?

This is an easy question: the people.  There are so many brilliant and dedicated people here doing exciting research across a wide variety of critical areas.  One might think that going from the military to Harvard would be a culture shock, but that hasn’t been my experience at HSPH.  Selfless service is at the heart of both professions. Like in the military, everyone here is dedicated to something bigger than themselves and those kinds of organizations are very special to be a part of. 

What do you see yourself doing in 5-10 years?

I’m imagining someplace exotic, with a beach perhaps.  I¹ll still be in the Army, so there’s a much higher probability I’ll either be at West Point, the Pentagon, or one of several Army analysis centers located across the country.  There’s an open invite to come visit me if I’m at West Point; it’s a wonderful place.  If I’m at the Pentagon, we might want to just meet in Boston.

Is there anything else you would like people to know about you?

Yes, I need to thank my family.  Serving in the Army takes the entire family.  My wife, Bokyeon, and I have been married for 9 years and lived at 8 different locations.  Our two kids, Andrew (7yrs) and Ashley (5yrs), have already lived in multiple states and overseas, adjusting to different schools at each location.  It¹s an adventure that has brought us very close and I couldn’t imagine being on this journey without them.