Campus News

UK summer workshop to offer Fayette County students a taste of statistical programming

A student uses a laptop.
BIOSTAT PRODIGY informational flyer

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 29, 2024) High school students can get a jump start on a rewarding career using programming to solve real-world public health problems with an upcoming summer programming workshop right here in Lexington.  

The five-day immersive workshop — called BIOSTAT PRODIGY — will give students an introduction to statistical programming that’s both hands-on and approachable, said Kristen McQuerry, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Biostatistics in the University of Kentucky College of Public Health.  

“Just giving students a taste of what it’s like to be a biostatician in a way that’s not intimidating could spark their interest and help them think, ‘Hey, I can do this,’” said McQuerry, who is heading the workshop.  

The workshop runs June 10-14 at Tates Creek High School from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily. Lunch will be provided. Those interested can apply here 

Students will get a chance to put their coding skills to practice by building a data visualization through the creation of a Shiny application, an interactive tool that allows users to interact with and update graphs in real time.  

Professionals from the epidemiological and biostatistics fields will be available to students during interview sessions. During past workshops, professionals from Pfizer, Google, Kaiser Permanente, Wells Fargo and many more have been able to share their experiences with students.  

“It’s nice because students are able to get an idea of the types of things they do each day and ask what advice they might have and just get some guidance,” McQuerry said.  

Both programming beginners and students with prior coding experience have had success in the workshop, McQuerry said.  

When McQuerry was in high school, she never knew she wanted to be a biostatistician simply because she didn’t know it was an option. 

McQuerry has worked as a biostatistics professional in both academic and industry settings. Before that, she was a high school math teacher. She’s passionate about training the next generation of biostatisticians and epidemiologists.  

“There's a huge need for biostatisticians,” McQuerry said. “There's just more jobs for biostatisticians than there are biostatisticians.” 

The workshop is an initiative of the UK Department of Biostatistics, Department of Internal Medicine and the Center for Health Equity Transformation. This year’s rendition also wouldn’t be possible without help from Fayette County Public Schools. The school district is providing use of their Chromebooks for the workshop.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.