2016 Participants

Alejandra De Jesús-Soto is a third year mathematics major at the University of Puerto Rico, Cayey campus. Her interest in math dates back to my primary and secondary school years because it is a discipline that transcends language barriers. She has a particular interest in biostatistics applied to public health. One of her most desired goals is to earn a Ph.D. in Biostatistics. Her interest in this field is due to its combination of life sciences, mathematical modeling, statistics, and scientific computing

Deja Washington is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in mathematics, with biology as a minor, at Xavier University of Louisiana. After she graduates in the fall of 2017, she plans to take part in research or an internship in the biostatistics field prior to entering graduate school in the fall of 2018. Using a quantitative analysis approach to understand data and research in the public health sector is a passion of hers. She looks forward to gaining further knowledge and skills in the biostatistics field in order to help advance medical findings and to educate the public.

Janelle Walker is a senior at Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York with a passion for mathematics, problem-solving, analyzing, logics, and developing strategies. In addition, she minors in the discipline of environmental science. Her anticipated date of graduation is December 2016, after which graduate school is the next stop on her academic journey. She hasn’t decided which area of mathematics or environmental science she would like to pursue further as she is still exploring both disciplines. Her career aspiration is to do research. Additionally, this semester she was offered an opportunity to do research with her Advanced Calculus professor, Dr. Cesar Valverde. The project topic is ‘Conjugation Invariant Representations of the Generalized Symmetric Group’ and is supported by the LSAMP NYC Program.

Jarvis Miller was born and raised in Houston, Texas and actually never left Texas until his sophomore year in college. He is pursuing a bachelor’s degree with a double major in mathematics and statistics at Rice University. He enjoys being a TA to his fellow peers in these subjects as it helps him internalize and better grasp what he learned as well as assist those around him. He also really enjoy creating infographics to help explain complex data in an easy to digest way. After graduating, he is pursuing a PhD in statistics so that he can continue following his passion in solving relevant problems and explaining them to empower others.

Joseph Zoller is on the math honors track at Carnegie Mellon University, and  will graduate in 2018 with both a BS and MS. He plans to then go on to graduate school to study computational biology. After he gets a PhD, he will find a career doing research in the field of computational biology, and eventually teach at the university level. He is drawn to computational genomics focusing on cancer research.


Kimberlyn Bailey is currently a senior attaining an honors degree in Philosophy from SUNY Oswego and a General Science degree from Le Moyne College. In the fall, she will be working as a research assistant in the computational systems neuroscience lab of Dr. Dietmar Plenz at the National Institutes of Health. She plans to apply to MD-PhD programs that offer computer science PhDs and computational neuroscience research within the next two years. Ultimately, she aspires to become a physician-scientist, with one foot in the clinic and the other in the lab and computational neuroscience as her primary focus.

Marcus Spearman is a public health studies major at Johns Hopkins University with a minor in applied mathematics and statistics. After graduating in May of 2017, he plans to go to graduate school to further his study of biostatistics by pursuing a PhD. He appreciates how biostatistics will allow him to use quantitative methods to solve the medical and public health issues of today, whether in academia or industry.


Maria Fernandes is a rising senior at UMASS Amherst studying mathematics and statistics. She is originally from Fogo, Cape Verde. After she graduates in May 2017, she intends to continue her education by getting a Master’s degree in biostatistics. She has always been interested in public health, medicine, and data analysis, thus making biostatistics an ideal career. During her career, she will be able to help society by researching risk factor assessment and physical maladies. She also plans on giving back to her community in Cape Verde by supporting underprivileged students in attaining higher levels of education.

Mark Ruprecht is a double major in statistics and mathematics studying at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. He is a summa cum laude candidate in the honors program and plans to graduate in May of 2018. He hopes to pursue his Ph.D. in statistics or biostatistics upon graduating. His goals are to one day teach at the university level and pursue an academic career in applied statistical research. Mark’s research has included using novel applications of nonparametric statistics to examine self-esteem development and developing data-driven methods for assessing the success of facial reanimation surgery.

Matthew Blake is a graduating senior attending Boston College. He is obtaining a bachelor’s degree in biology with a possible minor in computer science. Upon graduation, his objective is to pursue a PhD in either genomics or bioinformatics. Once he obtains this degree, he hopes to work as a geneticist or bioinformatician at either a biotech or pharmaceutical company.


Patricia Vera-González is a math major with a pre-med concentration at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus, where she will graduate from in the spring of 2017. Her interests in the field of mathematics and health sciences have led her to biostatistics, allowing her to not only link the two fields, but also to promote healthcare in unconventional ways by giving meaning to data concerning public health. In this regard, she has been able study applied mathematics and have acquired experience analyzing big data for cancer research. These academic experiences have provided her with a firsthand understanding about the strong impact of mathematical modeling and simulations, and how it can be used to improve health and reduce illnesses. Once she graduates, she plans to pursue a PhD in biostatistics and attend medical school.

Rebekah Kiana Loving eagerly anticipates pursuing graduate study in either bioinformatics or biomedical engineering. Accompanying those B’s, her nickname is Bekah. She is a freshman at the University of Hawaii at Hilo majoring in computer science and mathematics. In the meantime, she is preparing for a career in the fields of data visualization and modeling, computational health, and medicine. She desires to mature our understanding of processes through data analysis and computation to treat and cure diseases. Her favorite pastimes are problem-solving puzzles and algorithms, reading books, and hanging out at the beach with friends and family.

Thabat Dahdoul is a student at California State University, Fullerton majoring in mathematics with a concentration in probability and statistics. She was born in Palestine and immigrated to the United States upon graduating high school. Thabat is planning to pursue a doctoral degree in biostatistics so that she can work in a capacity to analyze medical data. She says that, “Growing up in Palestine where there is so much death, I wanted to work in medicine to help those whom I love.” Thabat will be the first woman from her county in Palestine to earn a doctoral degree in biostatistics.

Valerie Santiago González is majoring in computer science at University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras. She expects to graduate in winter of 2017. After completing her undergraduate studies, she plans to attend graduate school. Her goal is to contribute to the public health using math and computational methods, to help the medical field become more precise, and to improve the well-being of the humanity.

Program Post-Bacs

Jimmy Nguyen earned his Bachelor’s of Arts in mathematics and English at Wesleyan University in 2015. After graduating, he participated in the University of Michigan’s Future Public Health Leaders Program, where he met and worked with inspiring public health leaders, amongst them biostatisticians. His summer experience in public health practice motivated him to apply to graduate school in biostatistics. He is interested in researching imaging statistics, statistical genetics, and epidemiological methods. He will pursue his Master’s in biostatistics at the University of Michigan as a Rackham Merit Fellow.

Marcia Higgins earned her Bachelor of Science in mathematics at Johnson C. Smith University in 2012. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a major GPA of a 4.0. She has previous research experience in applied mathematics which includes operation research, computer science, optimization, and statistics. Her research project in disaster relief management earned her recognition in the National Association of Mathematicians Math Fest in 2010. In 2013 she joined Teach For America in order to help close the achievement gap in mathematics. She served as a high school math teacher teaching honors pre-calculus and advanced functions and modeling. She plans to obtain her Ph.D. in biostatistics following her teaching career.