Student Highlight — Jiali Zheng is an MPH student in the biostatistics concentration. She is from mainland China and is currently in her last semester. Jiali received a bachelor of science degree in nutrition science from Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine, China. During her four-year undergraduate study in medical school, she was not only exposed to medical and nutritional knowledge, but also developed an interest in the area of public health, especially in biostatistics and epidemiology. At that time, she wanted to be actively involved in disease prevention and control. She embraced a noble goal: to reduce the burden of disease and the need for hospital care through preventive action in the world. Jiali wants to see a world where fewer people resort to expensive hospital care where and when it can be prevented.
Jiali decided to study biostatistics because statistical methods are integral to understanding what is useful, what works, where possibilities may exist, and more. We could never understand disease trends or the impact of risk factors without the rich tools we use in statistical analysis. In the second year of her MPH studies, Jiali learned and gained experience in many of her biostatistics courses. The cases and examples that were used are very much relevant today and are the kind of challenges that would emerge in the real world. She believes that her experience in this program has equipped her with the skills and knowledge that will make for a successful and gratifying career in biostatistics. She particularly applauds the use of data sets and examples in a global context, not relevant to only the United States.
Jiali has built long lasting relationships in the College of Public Health. She likes the faculty and her peers and appreciates the warm, friendly, and open environment in the college. Jiali likes the positive atmosphere and helpful attitude faculty have towards students. She received a lot of helpful suggestions and guidance from instructors. Jiali worked one semester as a research assistant and another semester as a teaching assistant. After she graduates, she plans to pursue a PhD degree in nutrition epidemiology, which is an area that will combine her undergraduate and graduate background and focus on what we consume everyday and the impact of those dietary decisions on health status.