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Student Profile: Winfield Chen
Statistics master's student in the Faculty of Science
I'm a researcher in bioinformatics and statistical genetics with a background in computer science. I love using the power of big data to find new results and drive our decision-making, and I'm passionate about doing it right! I love being a part of the new advances we are making in computing, algorithms, machine learning. My other interests include intelligent systems, mathematical optimization, digital signal processing, software-defined radio, and quantitative finance. The future is bright, and I look forward to being a part of it.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?
I'm so grateful that I was able to start my undergraduate education in Computing Science at SFU with an entrance scholarship. I received scholarships and awards from SFU throughout my undergrad so when it was time to choose a graduate school, the choice was easy. I believe in loyalty to the people and institutions which have done so much to raise you up and support you.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RESEARCH OR YOUR PROGRAM TO A FAMILY MEMBER?
Statistics is a diverse field with many application areas. With my computer science background I bring with me the right skills for applying machine learning, big data processing, and statistical computing to a wide variety of problems. I currently work on ways to improve the storage and processing of human genetic data to find connections between our health and our genes, an application of statistics and computing science known as genome-wide association studies. As these studies grow in the number of participants to the size of entire national populations, the practical importance of this research in finding genetic links with disease and public health will only increase.
WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?
I believe the most significant part of your studies and research will be the impact on practical applications in the real world. The most rewarding part of study and research at SFU is knowing that you are making a difference.
HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR-FUNDED AWARDS? IF SO, PLEASE TELL US WHICH ONES AND A LITTLE ABOUT HOW THE AWARDS HAVE IMPACTED YOUR STUDIES AND/OR RESEARCH.
An underestimated impact of receiving an award is the confidence it builds in your own abilities. Cash is king, and receiving the NSERC Canada Graduate Scholarship-Master's helped build my confidence in my own research abilities. Research and graduate study is difficult and there will be times when you will struggle. I found that looking back on my award helped reassure and steady me in those moments.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PROGRAM/POSTDOC POSITION TO SOMEONE STILL SEARCHING FOR A PROGRAM OR POSTDOC POSITION?
The Statistics department at SFU has a wide variety of research areas, not just biostatistics. Ranging from statistical theory to sports analytics to data visualization to machine learning, it's more likely than not that you will find an area of interest that suits you.
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE?
The Elliott Lab's page is located at elliottlab.ca, where you can find my latest work including "Enhanced Brain Imaging Genetics in UK Biobank," which I collaborated on and should be published on Nature Neuroscience by the time you read this.
Contact Winfield: firstname.lastname@example.org