Get to Know Our New PhD Students!

Over the next few weeks we’ll be introducing you to our first year doctoral students.

Sarika Aggarwal Hi! My name is Sarika Aggarwal and I was born and raised in Houston, Texas. I recently graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a BS in Statistics and minors in Hindi and Mathematics.

When I started undergrad, I planned to study biology, but quickly realized that it was not the right field for me. After taking a probability course and participating in the Summer Institute for Training in Biostatistics at Emory University, I sought to learn more about how statistics can be used to solve complicated problems. I began working as a research assistant for Dr. Tanya Kenkre at the Epidemiology Data Center, focused on determining characteristics and outcomes of injury associated with pediatric traumatic brain injury. Following this, I worked with Google LA’s Privacy Team through the Research in Industrial Projects (RIPS) REU at UCLA. While at RIPS, our team formulated a novel risk measure that uses expected value to assess the likelihood of uniquely identifying a record in order to reduce privacy leaks.

Though I have explored seemingly unrelated areas of statistics, I look forward to bringing my current research interests of Bayesian methods, epidemiology, and environmental statistics together within biostatistics. I also hope to gain more experience collaborating with peers and mentoring students.

In my free time, I enjoy going to concerts, swimming, vegetarian cooking, traveling, and watching movies!

Keith BarnatchezHi! My name is Keith Barnatchez and I’m from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. I graduated from Colby College in 2018, where I studied statistics and economics while running for the track and field team. I spent the past few years living and working nearby as a research assistant at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. As an RA, I mainly worked on topics related to monetary policy, forecasting and trade networks, though like many I spent much of During my undergrad, I developed an appreciation for using quantitative methods—in particular causal inference—to address public health problems. While I enjoyed being able to apply these methods towards policy-oriented problems in my time as an RA, I also developed interests in various areas relevant to biostatistics, such as infectious diseases, risk prediction and dynamic treatment regimes.This was my primary reason for making the switch from economics to biostatistics, and I’m looking forward to learning more about these applications, among others, in the coming years!

In my free time I love cooking and biking, and, to some extent, I have kept up with running since graduating. If all goes well, I’ll be running my first marathon this fall!