Friday I went down to the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Public Health for an Open House. This division of Pitt has several departments: Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, Biostatistics, Environmental and Occupational Health, Epidemiology, Health Policy and Management, Human Genetics, and Infectious Diseases and Microbiology. I went down to take a look at the Epidemiology Department. I’ve noted before that I have an interest in data science, and that I want to start exercising my Christian faith by helping others. I also maintain an interest in international affairs and Human Security; by combining this with a Certificate in Global Health it looks like I can tie all of these together.
The day started out with a session on the latter certificate, where Pitt offers two tracks – one local and the other part of the Peace Corps. Then we went to the main session for all of the schools, where we learned about the various departments and student organizations, as well as career services, financial aid, and the application process. The school is expensive but it seems like there are many possibilities for financing, although as a middle-aged male, I’m not sure how many I am eligible for. After the main session there was a “marketplace” where you could talk with representatives from the various departments. I was interested to see that a number of professors perform dual roles – not just teaching, but as part of the administration. There is apparently a ratio of one professor for every 4.5 students. The students are involved in real and active research on actual contemporary – and often cutting edge – problems.
As noted, I am male and as I’ve pointed out before, my background is in engineering. The ratio here (among the prospective applicants) appeared to be 80% women. That is quite a change for me. I was pleased to note that even the Biostatistics department representatives were mostly female; I was not happy to find out that they knew nothing of Daniela Witten at the University of Washington, whose book I have been reading through.
All in all, it was an informative day and gave me much to think about in pondering my future. I have made no decisions; however, if I do choose to do Epidemiology I think that Pitt will be an excellent choice!