Thursday, August 09, 2007

Classes and Biostats Projects

Yesterday, we had biostats. The seminar leader was my favorite biostatistician. Reading that last sentence back to myself, I have to laugh. It sounds funny to say that I have a favorite biostatistician, but I do. He will be teaching the advanced stats class that I have to take for my MS, so I'll have another chance to work with him next year or whenever I get around to taking that class. One of the things that I like about this guy so much is that he's just an awesome presenter. He is very good at getting us involved and participating. And he does and says crazy things, so we never know what he'll do. Today he brought in a plastic baggie full of silver dollars, and he was throwing them to people who answered some of his questions. I ended up with two of them. He said he wasn't going to let us keep them unless we were able to catch them. Nobody dropped theirs, so I don't know if he was serious about taking them back if we had dropped them!

After class, my partner for the biostats group project and I finished up our presentation. The stats TA was there, so we were able to get some help to solve the problem of trying to eliminate confounding variables. The statistical solution the three of us came up with is way ahead of what we were supposed to do for tomorrow. But on the other hand, our project is a lot more interesting now than it would have been if we had just stuck to what we were asked to do. We ended up with at least one interesting result that we wouldn't have gotten otherwise.

This morning we had epi, and then I had to run for a research group meeting. During lunch, I was looking over our biostats presentation again, and I realized we had written one of our conclusions backward. I'm really glad that I reviewed the project early enough that I had time to fix it! The same biostats instructor that I like was the one in charge of our small group, and it was really fun. Since my partner and I had gone last two weeks ago, our classmates made us go first this time. This meant that our presentation wound up being the longest, because this biostatistician likes to interrupt and tell stories early on while there is still plenty of time. He told us that some of what we had done was "naive," but that the techniques we used are also what the stats faculty were planning to have us do for the fourth project at the end of the summer. Whoops!

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