SISG: Summer Statistical Genetics in Seattle

    Posted on Thursday, Aug 01, 2019
    This past July, PhD student Jensen traveled to Seattle, Washington for the 24th Summer Institute in Statistical Genetics hosted by the Department of Biostatistics at the University of Washington.  A condensed interview follows that covers the highlights of his PNW trip.
    The Workshop: The Summer Institute in Statistical Genetics “introduces geneticists to modern methods of statistical analysis and…challenges posed by modern genetic data.”  Several modules covering a variety of topics are offered; the three I attended were Introductory Statistics, Regression Methods, and Bayesian Statistics.  Of the three, the Bayesian module was the most difficult, but also the most rewarding.  I learned terminology I’ve read in papers, but was not previously very familiar with.  Overall, it was a great opportunity to improve my skills in data analysis and collection.
    The Scholarship: I learned about the module scholarship from my advisor, who attended the workshop several years ago.  The scholarship covers the cost of three modules, leaving travel, lodging, and food to be worked out on your own.  Otherwise, the cost per module is $675 to $775.
    The Travel: The flight was a four hour direct plane ride from Austin to Seattle, and in the city I got around by metro/train, ferry, and bus.  I love the Pacific Northwest, so this was a great opportunity to simultaneously learn and go back to an area I enjoy. 
    The People: SISG has socials at the beginning of each module where participants can get to know each other.  However, my commute back to where I was staying was so long that I didn’t get to attend.  For those who can make it, the potential is there to make connections and network.
    The Food: I ate at the Seattle classic Ivar’s four times; always get the fish and chips.  I tried a couple other local places, and nothing stood out, but there are so many options and you’re bound to find something you enjoy.
    The Places: Pike Place Market is fun, but as one of Seattle’s “must-sees” it’s packed with tourists.  It’s still worth a short visit, but getting out into the surrounding areas and mountains is something I’d recommend more; there are so many beautiful hikes out there. The University of Washington campus is gorgeous.  The architecture, green spaces, and bike- and pedestrian-friendly paths leave you feeling refreshed, which is necessary after the heavy mental load of the workshop modules.  All in all, I’m glad I had the opportunity to go, and ____.

    ---Ally Miyazaki
    Ally Miyazaki is a Masters student in the Department of Educational Psychology

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