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April 15, 2010

Shaping the Future of Clinical Researchers, One Student at a Time

EmpiriStat’s corporate approach and philosophy is that we all must continue to learn throughout our lives and careers, and it is our professional duty to offer and provide education and mentorship to others. In keeping with this philosophy, EmpiriStat is proud to announce the winners of their first annual “Professional Meeting and Mentoring Scholarship” to three outstanding students from Juniata College, Huntingdon, PA, (www.juniata.edu): Keiko Sing (Class of 2013), John Kyle Apostolides (Class of 2012) and Eric Frys (Class of 2011).

This year’s Scholarship Winners will attend the Society for Clinical Trials (SCT) 31st Annual Meeting, 16-19 May 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Scholarship was offered to students at Juniata College, the Alma Mater of EmpiriStat’s President and Founder Dr. Nicole C. Close (1992) and of Mr. Devin Hunt, Manager of Statistical Programming (2004). All students with a background in math or science, and with an interest in biostatistics and clinical research were encouraged to apply. Breaking away from the traditional paths of Alumni Support, Dr. Close created an opportunity in which a student could be immersed in a professional meeting, but with a mentor that will be a role model for interactive learning on various topics in the field of clinical research, professional networking, constructive socializing, communication and even knowing what to wear and how to wear your name badge for professional meetings.
Created in 1978, SCT is an international organization dedicated to the development and dissemination of knowledge about the design, conduct, and analysis of government and industry-sponsored clinical trials and related health care research methodologies (www.sctweb.org).  Dr. Close relayed that “SCT is a very important organization that I will be dedicating a considerable amount of time to in my role on the Board of Directors. It is not just because I was elected to do this, but I truly believe in the Society, the collaborations it develops and the educational aspects it brings to both Junior and Senior level colleagues.”
To combine her passion for the Society and her belief and support of her undergraduate college and the students, she said “I am continually amazed of the caliber of students that Juniata consistently educates and trains. I had no other plans than to go back to my Alma Mater when offering the Scholarship. In fact, the students that applied and were interviewed, were so talented, I had to expand the program from one scholarship to three and to offer them to one Freshman, one Sophomore and one Junior. And I just couldn’t leave it at that, so we awarded a one-year membership to the Society for those who did not win the scholarship this year.” It must be true, from Earl C. Kaylor Jr.’s book “Juniata College: Uncommon Vision, Uncommon Loyalty” that the vision of the college and the loyalty of its students and Alumni, truly is uncommon. This purposely small school founded in 1876 with humble beginnings, has played an influence in the philosophy of the corporate culture of EmpiriStat and will continue to do so in many ways in order to retain its’ uncommon vision and uncommon loyalty.
Dr. Close and Mr. Hunt are excited to share these experiences as mentors to the students. The students come from varied interests and backgrounds, and will each have something different to contribute to the overall experience.
Keiko Sing, a freshman in Biology, isn’t quite sure whether the future will find her in an academic position or attending medical school, but she does believe that the EmpiriStat scholarship to SCT “gives an interesting opportunity to look into an area that might provide future professional goals. It gives us a chance to get our feet wet.” Ms. Sing hopes the scholarship to the meeting along with the one-year SCT membership supplied by EmpiriStat will enable her to learn more about clinical trials as she has an interest in that field and is conducting research projects over the summer.
John Kyle Apostolides, a Juniata sophomore with a major in Neuroscience and a minor in philosophy, said he’s leaning heavily toward medical school after graduation. Mr. Apostolides, having heard about the scholarship from his health professions advisor, said “I need to learn more about the field and statistics, and I’ve never been to a professional conference before.” He added that he has “a lot to learn” and looks forward to following up on what he learns at the meeting by reviewing the SCT Journal that included with the one-year EmpiriStat paid membership to SCT.
Eric Frys, a junior studying Biology and Management is also not quite sure of his ultimate career goals, but is using the conference to explore if he is interested in clinical trials. Asked what motivated him to apply for the EmpiriStat Scholarship, Mr. Frys responded that he lives near Baltimore and this is a “great way to find out a lot of information about clinical studies.” Mr. Frys added, “I hope the SCT meeting helps me to decide what to do after graduation.”
The entire team at EmpiriStat (www.empiristat.com) is excited to provide this special opportunity to three energetic and ambitious students, and hope that they can provide encouragement to pursue a rewarding and diverse career in clinical research.



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