Scott W. Keith
Where are you from? I grew up in Vermont where I attended public schools. After completing high school I went on to study at the University of Vermont (UVM) in the College of Arts and Sciences.
What degree or degrees have you obtained?In 1998 I graduated from UVM with a BA majoring in mathematics and minoring in biology. I later attended graduate school at the University of New Orleans and earned a Master of Science degree in mathematics with a concentration in statistics in 2004.
How long have you been at UAB?I began my doctoral studies at UAB in 2004 in the School of Public Health’s Department of Biostatistics.
What is your research? My current area of collaboration has been focused primarily on observational data analysis to investigate the effects of obesity on various health outcomes including mortality, headaches, and diabetes. This research has inspired me to conduct my own methodological research on statistical methods for modeling nonlinearity in quantitative relationships using splines and resampling techniques.
Why did you choose UAB for your graduate studies?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 my expectations.
Have you received any awards or honors?This year I was deeply honored to be awarded the 2008 UAB Samuel B. Barker Award for Excellence in Graduate Studies at the Doctoral Level which is given annually to only one graduating doctoral student in the University.
What has been your most rewarding experience at UAB? Earning the respect of your peers in research is a great reward which requires experience and dedication. Being nominated for the “Barker Award” this year by my professors and collaborators represents their respect for me. Winning the award is a culmination of much hard work and many rewarding experiences at UAB.
Who was your greatest influence here at UAB and why?My mentor and thesis advisor, David Allison, has had a profoundly positive impact on my development as a student and young investigator. He has guided me toward exciting collaborative and independent projects which have helped me formulate ideas, strengthen my skill set, and build my confidence to reach for increasingly challenging and expansive objectives. Working with him has shaped my vision for excellence in biostatistics and interdisciplinary research.
What is your motivation in your academics/research? I love modeling and analyzing data. Personally, I find the challenge of extracting important information and drawing inferences from data to be the most exciting aspect of science. My curiosity and penchant for public health risk awareness motivates me to conduct hypothesis-driven investigations. In the process, I have encountered several problems which have further motivated me to research and develop biostatistical methodology to address the problems using new approaches.
Do you have any advice/wisdom for other graduate students?What you give is what you get. Be bold -- seek out and take advantage of your opportunities, but do not forget to help others along the way. I firmly believe that this develops a generalized reciprocity which is crucial to the future of an interdisciplinary research atmosphere.
What are your plans after graduating and for the future?I enjoy conducting research and teaching. After graduation, I expect to take a biostatistics faculty position.