Workshop Evaluations

“I would wholeheartedly recommend this workshop to my colleagues. The faculty provided insightful, intelligent guidance on study design and analysis issues, and they did so in a way that was engaged, non-critical, inclusive, creative, and constructive. I very much enjoyed meeting the other students and was impressed with both the quality of their work and their ability to articulate the challenges and potential solutions of their projects.”
-Jacqueline Starr, University of Washington, 2002
“[The workshop] was a unique opportunity to meet peers from other institutions and hear about their successes and struggles in our common goals. The fact that there were no other students from my institution at the workshop was an unexpected bonus, since I found myself spending more time (before and during the SER meeting) with other students who were ‘sole representatives’ like myself. Moreover, it was interesting and enlightening to hear the different viewpoints of faculty from other institutions and learn how they would tackle the problems posed by the students. I believe that we, as graduate students, are slightly cloistered in our interactions. By that I mean that we tend to work with the faculty and students from our own institution and have few opportunities to benefit from interactions with investigators and professionals from other academic research centers, government agencies, and industry. It is in this opportunity that the SER Student Workshop is truly unique and valuable.”
-Katherine Saunders, University of Texas, 2003
“The act of presenting my proposal to faculty and students whom I had not met before in and of itself was a useful experience. At this stage in my career it was affirming to have my project be taken seriously by people who were not involved in developing it. In additional, the comments I received about my proposal were encouraging and informative. Although I had not expected it, getting to know students from other programs, and learning about their projects, was one of the most enjoyable and interesting parts of the workshop. Overall it was a positive and enriching experience that I would gladly recommend to others.”
-Caroline Fichtenberg, Johns Hopkins University, 2004
“Besides the direct impact this workshop had on my dissertation research, I found a few additional benefits from a professional development standpoint. First, although the workshop was informal, I felt like I had a chance to take constructive criticism for my research ideas but still could offer some defense of my decisions. Furthermore, I enjoyed the opportunity to act as a peer reviewer for my 11 colleagues in a somewhat controlled environment. Most importantly, however, I was exposed to a very interesting variety of both content and methodologic issues that I have not confronted yet in my own research projects. I think the topics selected well represented the trends in ‘cutting edge’ topics I have seen in SER over recent years (genetic epidemiology, social epidemiology, inflammatory biomarkers, pharacoepidemiology, aging, preventive services, etc.). The diversity of disease states also covered many important areas (cancer, cardiovascular, perinatal). My home institution does have an advanced epidemiologic methods course required for PhD students, but this real-world application of these techniques and methodologic concerns made me think about epidemiologic research in a new way. Also, by having this immersion prior to the full SER meeting, I was able to immediately attend sessions that complemented the new material that I had learned. I think it is very important to maintain a diversity of topics because this provides the participants with insight about other approaches that they may not have considered. For example, a method commonly used in one sub-field of epidemiology may not be as common in other areas, although the method may be equally advantageous.”
-Dominic Cirillo, University of Iowa, 2005
“The highlight of the workshop was the individual attention each student received. Feedback was provided not only by the assigned faculty discussant, but from all faculty participants. In addition, there was ample opportunity for students to interact with each other (e.g., opening reception, lunch). As the workshop was held prior to the SER conference, interaction continued throughout [the conference].”
-Elizabeth Torrone, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2007