While living in Beijing amidst the pandemic, Guanyu Zou became aware of the increasing value of healthcare data analysis. As he completed his undergraduate coursework, he was motivated to understand and eventually work at the intersection of data and medicine. Guanyu is now part of the MS in Biostatistics and Data Science program at Weill Cornell Medicine (WCM), where he continues to discover the varied fields that biostatistics can benefit.
“My parents encouraged me to come to the United States since high school. I lived in Beijing for 22 years, and I think it’s a good thing to change your environment,” he said. “You’re not just gaining knowledge [in the program] but understanding different cultures and expanding your worldview.”
Guanyu knew about the program at WCM well before he applied. He obtained his undergraduate degree in economics and mathematics through a joint program between the China Agricultural University and the University of Colorado and was eager to pursue higher education in a new city. Navigating life in New York while starting the program presented some challenges, but he’s able to approach those challenges with the aid of fellow students, especially those in similar situations. He has also found that small class sizes allow professors to pay attention to each of their students, and in turn, provide one-on-one coaching.
Guanyu’s favorite course thus far has been Biostatistics I with Dr. Xi Kathy Zhou, which he describes as essential to understanding rational analysis. He describes Dr. Zhou as one of the best professors he has had in his academic experience. He values her patience in the classroom, as well as her willingness to provide advice and constructive suggestions.
He is similarly appreciative of the Master’s Project I and Professional Development course, led by Miriam Miller, associate director of career development and employer engagement at WCM. This capstone course places students in organizations they may not be familiar with and allows them to “hit the ground running.” Through this experience, he has addressed any concerns with his academic development and is now equipped with career “survival skills.” He plans to work as a research assistant after obtaining his master’s and eventually pursue a PhD in biostatistics.
His time in the program has broadened his perspective, academically and otherwise. He enjoys learning about various statistical tools and having real-world examples with which he can test his critical and programming skills. The unexpected value of the program, however, has come from his fellow students.
“Students in the program have extremely diverse backgrounds; it’s very different from what I first expected,” he said. “There are students who have previously been working full-time, students who are part-time, and students like me who have just completed their undergraduate degree. Their backgrounds have given me a fresh perspective of what I can do in the future.”