“I enjoyed the course's emphasis on the practical application of statistical techniques in the context of the healthcare industry. The capstone project component was particularly exciting, as it allowed me to work on real-world healthcare scenarios and apply statistical techniques to solve practical problems.”
Peixuan came to Australia from China and studied the Bachelor of Science (majoring in neuroscience) and a Master of Biostatistics at the University of Melbourne, graduating in 2022. She now works as a research assistant in biostatistics and would like to pursue a PhD in the future.
Why did you decide to study the Master of Biostatistics?
My decision to pursue the Master of Biostatistics program was primarily driven by my interest in the intersection of health and quantitative analysis. I came across the course while exploring various postgraduate programs and was immediately intrigued by the word “biostatistics”. Attending a webinar that introduced the program further cemented my interest in the course, and I ultimately decided to enroll in it.
My passion for numbers, combined with a desire to contribute to the health industry, made the Master of Biostatistics an ideal choice for me. Moreover, the ongoing pandemic created a unique opportunity for me to witness firsthand the critical role that biostatistics plays in public health.
I was initially drawn to the Master of Biostatistics program because of its unique blend of health and statistics. Despite not having a strong statistical background, I was impressed by the course's approach to teaching fundamental concepts first, which allowed students to build a solid foundation before advancing to more complex statistical techniques. This approach made it easy for me to understand statistical concepts, and I felt that I was able to keep pace with the course material.
Additionally, the program's emphasis on the capstone project appealed to me. This was a valuable opportunity to apply the statistical knowledge I had acquired throughout the course to real-world healthcare scenarios, as well as to experience what it is like to work as a biostatistician.
As a recent graduate of the University of Melbourne, I had already established a connection with the university and had come to appreciate the high-quality education that it provided. The University's commitment to diversity, inclusivity, and innovation was reflected in its curriculum and student experience, and I felt that this aligned well with my personal values and goals. Therefore, I decided to enrol in a postgraduate program here.
What did you like most about your course?
I enjoyed the course's emphasis on the practical application of statistical techniques in the context of the healthcare industry. The capstone project component was particularly exciting, as it allowed me to work on real-world healthcare scenarios and apply statistical techniques to solve practical problems.
The project also provided an opportunity to collaborate with other students and industry professionals, which facilitated a collaborative learning environment. Though I found the capstone project particularly challenging, as it required us to integrate the knowledge and skills we had acquired throughout the course into a project, I was greatly supported by my supervisors and coordinators. The collaborative learning environment also made me feel easier to overcome these challenges.
Throughout the course, I developed several key professional skills, including but not limited to data analysis and interpretation, statistical modelling, and programming, etc. Additionally, the course helped me to develop my critical thinking and problem-solving skills, as well as my ability to communicate technical concepts to non-technical audiences.
What kind of work-integrated learning or practical experience did you get through your degree, and how did they impact your development?
During my degree, I had the opportunity to undertake a capstone project where I investigated the inflammation and metabolic risk profiles in the social gradient of cardiovascular disease in Australian children. This project was challenging as it required me to build foundation in the content area and apply statistical knowledge to work on the real-world data.
One of the main challenges I faced during the project was how to present a large amount of results in a clear and understandable manner. However, with the guidance of my supervisors, I was able to overcome this challenge and present my findings in a concise and informative way.
The guidance and support from my supervisors were instrumental in helping me overcome these challenges and develop a more comprehensive understanding of working as a biostatistician. Overall, my experience in the program has solidified my passion for biostatistics and affirmed my decision to pursue a career in academia.
Where are you currently working? How did the course prepare you to be job ready?
I currently hold the position of Research Assistant in Biostatistics at the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne. My role involves contributing to various collaborative clinical research projects, where I provide statistical support for observational studies and randomised controlled trials. Additionally, I work on malaria research, which adds to my experience in diverse areas of research.
What I enjoy the most about my job is the opportunity to work on different projects and collaborate with diverse groups of people, including clinicians, epidemiologists, and researchers from different fields. This enables me to broaden my knowledge and learn from experts in different areas, while contributing my statistical skills to the projects.
The course has played a pivotal role in preparing me to be job-ready. The modules on statistical computing, biostatistical inference, epidemiology, longitudinal data analysis, and so on provided me with a solid foundation in the key skills required in my current role. The capstone project further enhanced my practical skills.
What advice do you have for future or current students studying the Master of Biostatistics?
My advice for future and current students who are interested in studying biostatistics and pursuing a similar career is to focus on building a strong statistical foundation by taking fundamental courses and practicing statistical methods regularly. Networking and attending conferences and workshops can also be valuable for expanding knowledge and building connections in the field.
Additionally, I would suggest seeking out practical experiences, such as internships or research projects, to gain hands-on experience and to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world problems. Lastly, it is important to maintain a passion for learning and to stay up-to-date with emerging statistical methods and techniques, as the field is constantly evolving.