Kayla Pratt

Kayla Pratt

  • Hometown: West Palm Beach, FL
  • Internship: I am currently interning with PPD (Pharmaceutical Product Development), a part of Thermo Fisher. Second, I also need to do a Capstone Project to finish my degree.
  • Why did you choose your degree program? I’ve always loved math and science and this was the perfect degree to bring the two topics together. I never thought I would be a Biostatistician, but I’ve learned how fun it is through my internship and will definitely pursue it after graduation.
  • What is the greatest words of advice you have learned from your mentor? At my orientation, a professor had said that everything we learn/experience through the program is something to add to our “tool-box”. He was absolutely right; I would’ve never gotten my internship without the knowledge in my “tool-box”.
  • What have you found most beneficial and enjoyable about your program at AU? The class sizes are small. I’ve always been the type of student to sit at the back of a class and never be seen. This program forced me out of that comfort zone. I am extremely grateful for that as it has helped me gain confidence in asking questions, which has made me a better student and professional.
  • Please share words of advice for someone considering this program at AU? I had only taken one statistics course before joining this program (and I honestly thought it was a little boring), and was a little hesitant whether I would like a biostatistics graduate program. So if you’re like me, join the program! There is a lot of math involved (which I have always loved) and learning the programming is super cool!
  • Have you been involved in any AU activities?  I played on an Intramural volleyball team. It was super fun because I got to play with my husband and his classmates and some of my own classmates, which ended up making two totally separate graduate programs meet and become friends.
  • What have been some of your most rewarding moments while in your program? Working really hard on homework assignments and studying really hard for exams to have a 4.0 GPA through my first year.
  • What courses in your program's curriculum stand out as most helpful for your specific career goals? The programming/data science courses. A lot of the jobs in my field require those to be successful. The programming courses that I've taken so far are Programming for Data Analysis (required course) and Machine Learning for Big Data (elective). In the required course, we get an introduction to SAS and R. SAS is a pretty important program as most biostatistician jobs require some knowledge/experience with it. For the internship I'm a part of now, knowing SAS is a requirement. All other programming courses are electives, but I would highly suggest anyone to take them as that's a plus for most jobs.
  • What AU resources have been most helpful? I use the IT resources at the library a good amount because the SAS program is provided. It's an expensive program to own on my own computer. I had also been to a jazz performance at the Maxwell Theater. As students, we received free tickets, and it was amazing! It was a perfect date night for my husband and me.
  • What do you do for fun (hobbies etc)? I have too many! I like to run, hike, bike, workout, play disc golf, and hang out with my husband and cats.

Former Student

Kathryn McDonald

“The program's emphasis on research and focus on real-world applications, particularly the explosion of availability of medical data, provides an environment for innovation in the analysis and management of data.” 

Meet Kathryn >>