James Robertson and North Carolina State University are turning out to be inseparable. Robertson recently graduated from NC State with a master’s degree in statistics, and he is putting that knowledge to work immediately as a new biostatistician for the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine.
A biostatistician applies statistical methods to a wide range of topics, encompassing the design of biological experiments, the collection and analysis of data and the interpretation of the results. Roberston will assist CVM researchers on myriad biomedical research projects. For example, if a study compares the effects of a drug on a group suffering from a certain disease with another group suffering from the same disease that did not receive the drug, a statistical comparison between the groups would show if the drug had been beneficial.
What is your background?
I’m from Durham, which is a really lively place. It’s not generic, like some places. I love math, it’s fun and engaging, but I think the Renaissance men had it right — appreciation for the arts is really important, too. It puts feeling into the human experience.
How did you happen to get into this field?
I first got interested in statistics from an AP teacher in high school who made it really enjoyable. When I went to college I started to major in engineering, but I just found statistics more fun. During my studies, Emily Griffith, a research associate professor of statistics, worked with me and helped me identify my interest in the medical area. It was a natural fit. My mother is actually a veterinarian, an NC State graduate from the Class of 1986.
What will you be doing in your new job?
I’ll have the chance to work on a variety of projects, from completed studies to working on the proposal to perform the study from the beginning. I’ll be working with a lot of different people, which is great. I’m looking forward to working with everyone. I hope everyone will reach out, because I’m here to help.
What are you most excited about in your new role?
This job is exactly what I was looking for: using statistical analysis on lots of different projects working with lots of different people. I’m a people person, and everyone here is so nice.
What’s something someone would be surprised to learn about you?
I like punk music. That’s a vibe I don’t give off much.
When you’re not on campus, where could we find you?
At a live music show at Kings in Raleigh.