While echoing the sentiment that we need to flatten the curve, stay home, and stay safe, BIOST Chair Shyamal Peddada also shared his views on some of the challenges we are facing as we become familar with these new work and lifestyle changes.
Thinking of Pitt's international students, many of whom are particularly isolated at the moment, he had this to say, "A special message to our international students who must feel away from their dear ones more than ever before. Some must of you must feel emotionally challenged. As I noted in one of my earlier emails, the university has online counseling available and I strongly encourage you to take advantage of it. I am glad to see that **Dr. Tseng is organizing virtual social events engaging interested students and faculty. I also understand students themselves are organizing other social events. Such activities should be uplifting and helpful to all of us. If there is anything else we can do to help you through these difficult times then please do not hesitate to contact me.”
In response to how the transition to online courses has been going for him and the department/school as a whole he notes, "Although at first it seemed like a challenge to some of us, me in particular, it is not bad at all. Although I don’t have any formal data from students to claim success, I have not heard anything negative so far. It would be helpful for the school to collect feedback directly from students who are taking these courses. Given that we all could put together online courses in such short notice, I feel encouraged to explore the possibility of online courses for certificates in the future.”
Dr. Peddada recommends visiting this website: https://www.isi-web.org/index.php/covid-19 for current resources for statisticians interested in the COVID19 pandemic. In particular he suggests visiting the talk by Xihon Lin, Harvard Biostat.
**(George Tseng, Professor of Biostatistics, has organized a Quarantine Fun Sharing contest where students are asked to submit short videos of themselves in quarantine for the chance to win $25 gift cards donated by faculty members. Some of the award categories include: Best Cooking, Best Pitt/Biostatistics Related, Most Creative, and Most Peculiar. Winners are chosen by faculty members and awarded weekly.)