Brandelyn Pitcher graduated from GVSU in 2006 with a major in Mathematics (secondary teaching emphasis) and a minor in Movement Science. After substitute teaching for one year, she returned to campus to earn an additional major in Statistics and continued on to earn a GVSU Biostatistics Masters Degree in 2010. During this period she also interned in the Spectrum Health Systems Research Department.
Brandelyn holds the job title of Biostatistician II at the Alliance Statistics and Data Center located at Duke University in Durham, NC. Biostatistics is broadly defined as the application of statistics to problems in biology, and Brandelyn’s own work consists of supporting clinical trial research projects that focus on breast cancer, lymphoma, and cancers in the elderly. Her contributions include planning statistical analyses, collecting and documenting data, statistical programming (SAS, R, S+), and both generating and interpreting analysis outcomes. Results of her research projects have been published in a variety of journals and abstracts, and Brandelyn currently serves as a manuscript reviewer for the international scientific journal PLOS ONE.
Brandelyn feels several specific undergraduate GVSU mathematics and statistics course have proven helpful to her as a research statistician. They include the calculus sequence, MTH 210 (Communicating in Mathematics), MTH 227 (Linear Algebra), MTH 310 (Modern Algebra), MTH 345 (Discrete Mathematics), STA 312 (Probability and Statistics), and STA 412 (Mathematical Statistics). She credits her strong technical communication skills to her mathematical background. “Being able to communicate effectively has helped me in my position especially with protocol and manuscript writing.”
To current mathematics majors and to those contemplating concentrating in the discipline, she offers the following advice: “Learn the options for careers available with a mathematics degree and make sure that is your passion….Keep going, learn as much as you can, become familiar with many techniques, but most of all, learn how to communicate.”