After receiving a B.A. in mathematics from the University of Vermont and a M.S. in mathematics from the University of New Orleans, Scott Keith came to UAB to pursue a Ph.D. in biostatistics. For three years, Scott’s research has involved developing and applying statistical methodology to analyze medical and epidemiological data. He is particularly interested in obesity research, survival analysis, and nonlinear models.

Scott believes that the research environment is an important aspect for deciding where to pursue one’s academic career. “The most attractive aspect of UAB was the research and training environment. When I was planning the next step of my graduate education my top priority was to find a school that would offer me opportunities to work in collaboration with statisticians and public health researchers in other fields. Moreover, I was looking to find a department that would provide me the highest level of support for achieving my own research goals. Among the schools to which I applied, UAB was clearly the best choice in both respects; the Department of Biostatistics has far exceeded by expectations.”

When asked what his most rewarding experience at UAB was, Scott replied, “To me, the most rewarding experiences are those at which you work the hardest. I recently co-authored a paper in which we investigated the relationship between obesity and headache among women. The research and programming that went into developing the unique statistical framework that we applied to analyze the data required a lot of my effort. Having that paper accepted for publication has been my most rewarding experience at UAB to date.”

A large part of Scott’s success has been is mentor, Dr. David Allison. “When I came here I was looking for opportunities and training in biostatistics. Dr. Allison has been tremendously helpful in both regards. Under his guidance I have been actively interacting with scientists here and abroad, refereeing articles, publishing papers, presenting abstracts, and conducting my own research. His influences on my current skill set and potential for future success are truly beyond measure.”

Because Scott enjoys conducting research and teaching, he plans to pursue a faculty position upon graduation. “My long-term goal is to become an independent researcher. To get there, I intend to continue my work on statistical methods application and development in conjunction with collaborative research in public health.”

What is Scott’s advice for other graduate students? “Make mistakes and learn from them.”

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