Success Stories

Biostatistics grads stay in Michigan

From left: Craig Johnson, Heather Houseman, Becky Twing, Justin Sjogren and Tom Holmes.

While Michigan’s economic outlook continues to be bleak, the first five graduates from the Professional Science Master's program in Biostatistics at Grand Valley State University have all found jobs in Michigan.

Robert Downer, director of the Biostatistics program, said the graduates are strong in their knowledge of applied statistical techniques. “Through their applied coursework and internships, they have strong hands-on experience in the application of statistics to the biological and health sciences,” said Downer. “I believe they will become leaders in their positions within industry and the academic world.”

The five graduates are Heather Houseman, a contract biometrician with Pfizer Animal Health in Richland; Justin Sjogren, a clinical biostatistician with MMS Holdings in Canton; Becky Twing, a visiting professor of statistics at Grand Valley; Tom Holmes, a biostatistical analyst for QST Consultations in Allendale; and Craig Johnson, a statistician at U of M’s Comprehensive Cancer Center in Ann Arbor.

“The coursework required in the program helped me get my position at Pfizer Animal Health,” said Houseman. “Internships are required in the program and mine, at Van Andel Institute, provided me with valuable experience.”

Tom Holmes, an employee of QST Consultations, said he started as an intern with the company. “I was able to transition into full-time employment after graduation,” he said. “That is a testament to the program that students not only can gain employment in the field, but also have the necessary tools to succeed.”

The Professional Science Master's program, launched in fall 2006, offers two other master’s degrees, one in medical and bioinformatics and one in cell and molecular biology.

by Dottie Barnes

This story was filed with the tags: Graduate Alumni, Health, Impressive Jobs