I’m a little late on this one – Usually I put it up in January, but never late than never!
It seems like I read less this year than in previous years, but a lot of what I was doing was working through coding exercises. Also, we moved in the middle of the year, and a whole lot of bad stuff happened too. At one point I was working two jobs. So, life happening plus less time to read combined with working through coding textbooks meant this year was anemic when it came to books. Still, I hope you find some value in the list below. There are books on history, international affairs, religion, mathematics, epidemiology, and of course, many fiction books.
So my semester is just about done. I am finished with my SQL class, and am awaiting the final grades in my International Relations class. I finished my Future Cities class on EDX as well. Whew! Now I can graduate!
So, school done, what next? Well, I am working on continuing to burnish my computer skills – Python and R, both very big languages in Data Science. For the spring, I am signed up for a class for R and also a class on how to use programming to do linear algebra – this will be in Python.
At this point, I think my future direction may lie in Computational Epidemiology.
In addition, I am reading. As always, I will post a list of the books I read this year in January. Right now, I am reading a book on the history of the number Zero, and a book on Topology. For fun, I have been reading HALO books. I’ve never really played the game but it’s a cool setting.
Anyway, more later!
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!