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Profile Evaluation for PhD 2023 Biostatistics/Computational Biology/Biomedical Informatics for an Engineering BS


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Hello all, I’m trying to evaluate my profile so that I can apply for a PhD admission in Biostatistics/Computational Biology/Biomedical Informatics next cycle. I believe you all have much more experiences and better understanding about the program acceptance than I am! Thus, I hope you can help! I feel like I don’t have a strong background in pure math/statistics courses. 

Major: Chemical & Bio Engineering at a top ChemE University according to US News.

Undergraduate GPA (so far): 4.0

Research Experiences:

- First prize for a chemistry and data analytics city-level research competition and wrote a conference paper for it in high school.

- At a community college, 1 year of biology research and have a conference paper at a Big University Research Symposium. My work was offered a funding but I graduated at that time so the students, who continued my work, have inherited.

- I luckily got into a research group right after the first semester. I am the youngest and only undergraduate student to work along with other professors and scientists.
- I had two co-author publications (third author). One of them is published on Nature’s family.

- One of the most prestigious undergraduate research award at my school for my research proposal. It’s about biostatistics/public health and time series machine learning. I hope to have at least one 1st author publication before graduation.
- I have been one of the developers for two dashboards, which have attracted millions of users since 2020.

=>Totally, I have been doing research more than 4+ years.

Internships: 2 full-time semesters of Data Scientist internship and on part-time contract from now until graduation. I’m mostly applying statistical tests and programming for plant diseases and growth.

TA: for college math, statistics, chemistry, and physics 

Activities: actively participated in Student Government, Student Advisory Board, Ambassador, School Council, some data science clubs, etc. I hold many crucial positions there and made lots of progress/impacts before I left.

Awards: as an international student, it has been a great challenge to achieve any award. However, I did try my best and build “good” reputation. I became the top 1st student in my 2-year college (I got the medal), some scholarships for excellent academic records, research awards, etc at my college and current university.

GRE: I plan to not take this test. I just feel like I’m not a good standardized test taker. I’ll apply to programs that do not require GRE.

LORs: 1 from my PI (super well-known in Computational Biology/Bioinformatics/Physics fields), 1 from a research scientist (he’s my mentor who I work closely with. He knows my abilities the most), 1 from a Senior Data Scientist/Biostatistician (she’s my current manager at my internship), 1 from a Senior Chemistry Scientist (she was my manager in other 6-month internship. she was always impressed with what I could do).

Degree Classes: all Chemical Engineering classes (As). They’re all heavy diff eq and linear algebra based.

College-math: all Calculus (A), Linear Algebra (A), Differential Eqs (A), Intro to Statistics (A), 3 gen chem and physics (A)

University-classes: Probability & Statistics (A), three CS classes (As), 3 biology (As), biochem and organic chems (As)

Data Analytics (grad course in the Fall)

I realized that my courses are not competitive for the PhD after reading through lots of profile. Thus, I plan to take probability theory, real variables, and possibly proof-math in the Spring & Summer (all through UIUC NetMath). My university does not offer these classes over summer. 

I’ll be taking lots of classes, doing research, and working part-time at the same time next Spring and Summer. It seems to be a lot of work but I try to my best. I’m afraid my GPA may suffer a little bit. Are there any other recommendations and feedback for me? These are the schools I plan to apply:

  • Super Ambitious: 
    • Harvard Biostatistics
    • Stanford Biomedical Informatics
    • MIT Computational Biology
    • University of California Berkeley Computational Biology
  • Some chances: 
    • University of Southern California Biostatistics
    • Brown Biostatistics
    • Washington University in St. Louis Biomedical Data Science
    • Boston Biostatistics
    • University of Wisconsin Biomedical Data Science
    • University of Pittsburgh Biostatistics
    • University of Minnesota Biostatistics

if you have other school recommendations that fit my profile, please share! Am I too ambitious with my profile? Again, thank you so much for your reading! 

Edited by Rossiney
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