Get to Know Our New PhD Students!

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

Sharon CaslinHey, I’m Sharon Caslin. I grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee, but spent the last 13 years in Atlanta, Georgia. I received my BA from Emory University in Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies and then spent three years working in the non-profit sector as a fundraiser, GED instructor, and health navigator. Wanting to increase the impact my career had on marginalized populations, I decided to obtain my Master’s in Public Health with a concentration in Biostatistics at Georgia State University. This began a five year period of research focused on substance abuse, child maltreatment, intimate partner violence, and physical assault. After receiving the MPH, I worked as an Epidemiologist for the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice and later transitioned to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to serve as an Evaluation Fellow and, later, a Statistical Analysis Fellow at the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.
As a first year PhD student, I’m excited to complement my field and research experiences with a deeper understanding of probability theory, statistical inference, causal inference, spatial methods, and other topics I’ve yet to discover!
Outside of statistics, I am a creative. I use singing, dancing, listening to music, creating beats, cooking, retro gaming, and fashion to express myself. I am always looking for new opportunities to “cut a rug” in Boston, so let me know about dance classes or hot dance floors across the city!

Emma Crenshaw Hello! My name is Emma Crenshaw and I’m from Durham, North Carolina. I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2019 with a BSPH in Biostatistics and minors in math, medical anthropology, and chemistry. During my undergraduate years, I was drawn to research to see the applications of what I learned in class. I was fortunate to be able to work with Drs. Allison Aiello and Lindsay Fernandez-Rhodes to estimate the association between intergenerational cycles of poverty and metabolic disturbance in a Hispanic/Latino population using generalized estimating equations. I was also able to work in the Center for AIDS Research with Dr. Michael Hudgens to investigate the association between social network characteristics and antiretroviral therapy initiation in people living with HIV who inject drugs at three international sites using Fine-Grey models for competing risks.
After graduation, I worked as a Biostatistician at RTI International for projects ranging from a longitudinal study of maternal and child health, a community-clustered randomized clinical trial of opioid use disorder interventions, an international follow-up study of a cohort of Zika-infected children, and more. My experiences at UNC and RTI fueled my passion for statistical applications to infectious disease research and clinical trial methodology, so I’m thrilled to be joining the program on the HIV/ AIDS training grant! I’m also excited to explore more areas of statistics, including causal inference and network analysis.
Outside of work, I love cooking, ballroom dancing, reading, and rock climbing. During the weirdness of 2020, I also picked up embroidery and started watching trashy reality TV… I’m looking forward to getting back to more academic pursuits and meeting people in the department!