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Student summer experience refocuses future plans

Practical experience is an essential part of the UW Biostatistics student experience and summer internships are one way students gain insight into work and research outside academia.

“I learned quickly that outside of the classroom, you need to make compromises,” said second year MS Capstone student Niki Petrakos who worked as a marketing analytics intern at Kaiser Permanente (KP). "There are different stakeholders, messy and missing data, time and resource constraints, and other issues that cannot allow for the perfect solution.”

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Niki Petrakos
Second year MS Capstone student Niki Petrakos gained first-hand experience working on a summer internship with Kaiser Permanente in summer 2021.

Throughout the summer Petrakos collaborated with other statisticians and worked cross-sectionally with the KP marketing team.

She planned, executed, and presented analytics for a project investigating the relationship between the utilization of various care modalities and member retention.

She wrote a Statistical Analysis Plan (SAP), pulled data from various data bases, cleaned data, performed exploratory analysis, created data visualizations, fit statistical models and decision trees, and presented the results to business partners.

When Petrakos first read the job title which was, Marketing Analytics Graduate Intern, she thought, 'I don't have interest in marketing, why would I apply for this?'

She submitted the application anyway and ended up learning so much from the experience, she is now revising her future plans.

“My experience this summer showed me that I still have a lot to learn, and that Googling solutions or being told what to do without understanding why something works is not fulfilling or satisfying enough. My experience this summer has actually pushed me to apply for a PhD program.”

Petrakos encourages students to apply for positions even if they think they aren’t qualified.

“I’ve learned that job descriptions are often a laundry list of skills that the ideal candidate has, which shouldn't deter people from applying for the position.  The bulk of my work at KP required SAS and SQL, both of which I knew nothing about going into the summer, however, I quickly picked up the skills I needed on the job and ended up succeeding. Moving forward, I won't let a job description dissuade me from trying!”

Other 2021 Summer Internships

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Taylor Keating

Taylor Keating

Program: MS Capstone
Internship: Think Academy

 
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Pearl Liu
 

Pearl Liu

Program: PhD
Internship: Biostatistics Intern, Cell Therapy Biostatistics, Bristol Myers Squibb

 
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Yongzhe Wang

Yongzhe Wang

Program: MS Capstone
Internship: Clinical Studies, UW researcher Helen Chu

 
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Yutong Wu
 

Yutong Wu

Program: MS Capstone
Internship: Statistical programming intern, Global Biometrics and Data Science, Data Visualization Team, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company

 
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Zifan Fred Yu

Zifan Yu

Program: MS Capstone
Internship: Department of Preventative Medicine, University of Tennessee Health Science Center

 
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Kun Yue

Kun Yue

Program: PhD

Internship: Research Data Scientist, Infrastructure Team, Facebook

 
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Angela Zhang

Angela Zhang

Program: PhD

Internship: Bioinformatics Intern, Research and Early Development, Cancer Immunology, Genentech

 
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Edward Zhao

Edward Zhao

Program: PhD

Internship: Intern, Biostatistics Department, Biogen