Summer Diversity Program: 2018 Update

The Summer Diversity Program, directed by Professor Marcello Pagano and managed by Megan Scott, hosted 14 undergraduate students, 2 post-baccalaureate interns and 5 visiting faculty during Summer 2018.

The students came from across the United States and Puerto Rico: Amherst College, Dartmouth College, Westminster College, Santa Monica College, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of New Mexico, Tuskegee University, Lake Forest College, George Mason University, University of Florida, two students from the University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras, and three students from CUNY Medgar Evers College.

The visiting faculty came from the Department of Computer and Information Sciences at Delaware State University, the Mathematics Department of Norfolk State University, the Molecular Biology and Cell Biology Department at Brown University, the Mathematics Department at SUNY Geneseo, and the Mathematics Department at Agnes Scott College.

Along with intensive computing, biostatistics and epidemiology courses, students took part in professional development workshops and field trips, including a trip to the Framingham Heart Center.  The Symposium was attended by approximately 70 people and featured impressive research presentations by the summer students.

Projects included: “Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria: An Exploratory Approach,” “Deep Learning: Chest X-ray Classification Using Convolutional Neural Networks,” “International Quality Improvement Collaborative for Congenital Heart Surgery: Refining and Applying a Risk Adjustment Model,” “Working Towards Safer Deliveries: A Case Study in Zanzibar,” “Exploring Gene Regulation and Sex Differences in Lung Adenocarcinoma Using Network Analysis,” “Effects of Gestational Age and Birth Weight on Neurodevelopmental and Psychiatric Outcomes in Adolescents after Pediatric Cardiac Surgery,” and “Modeling Microbiome Data of Youth with Perinatally Acquired HIV Infection: A Comparative Analysis of Multivariate and Univariate Models for Zero-Inflated Data.”  The Symposium also featured an outstanding Keynote Speaker by Summer Program alum and department graduate, Dr. Aaron Foster.  As Lecturer in Applied Analytics at Columbia School of Professional Studies, and VP of Business Analytics and Insights, Vaccines, Rare Disease and Oncology at Pfizer Inc., he had the audience captivated.  The symposium also featured a lively and educational panel discussion with program and departmental alumni.

Students started the program timid yet eager, but gained confidence in themselves and a greater passion for applying their quantitative skills to better serve communities and make their voices heard in the Public Health arena.  Several of the students from the 2016, 2017, and 2018 cohorts recently applied to our department’s graduate programs… so perhaps we will see more familiar faces roaming the halls for Fall 2019!