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College of Science and Mathematics

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Statistics Student Wins National Awards for Biomedical Research Presentation

Feb. 14, 2013

Contact: Rachel Henry
805-756-7236

Debbie Huang in front of her poster
Huang at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students.

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly student Debbie Huang recently won two awards at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students, a national gathering held in San Jose in November 2012. Huang, a statistics major, received a presentation award and one of only five interdisciplinary awards for her poster. Her research focused on the statistical analysis of cardiovascular disease in women.

Huang conducted her research at the Summer Institute for Training in Biostatistics at the University of Pittsburgh in summer 2012. Analyzing data collected on women with ischemic heart disease, a condition in which plaque builds up in the arteries, Huang assessed survival rates for different groups. Her analysis compared smokers, former smokers, and people who had never smoked.

"This area of research is fairly new," Huang said. Data on heart disease in women has only been collected for about a decade.

According to Huang, the Learn by Doing education she received at Cal Poly gave her an edge when it came to doing real-world research. "I felt very prepared to learn information and techniques I'd never seen before," she said.

Huang plans to graduate in the spring after only three years at Cal Poly. Her next step is to pursue a master's degree in statistics or biostatistics, and she's confident she's ready for graduate school. "I got the initial research experience I needed to prepare me for grad school, and presenting my results at conferences improved my communication skills each time," Huang said.

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