Zhidong Wu

Alum Zhidong Wu Wins Excellence in Graduate Studies Award for Computer Information Systems

Zhidong Wu
Product Development Assistant Intern
MS in Computer Information Systems, Health Informatics Concentration (MET’21)

What do you find most fascinating about the discipline of computer information systems? Do you have a particular focus within the broader field?
My focus within the field of computer information systems is health informatics. Every morning when we turn on our phones, we start generating various types of data. Among those, health data is very important. Whether we’re looking at population health or clinical systems, they all need a massive amount of health data. With the development of machine learning and artificial intelligence, we can analyze health data to produce more accurate predictive analyses and medical diagnoses. This will not only significantly improve the quality of healthcare, but also significantly reduce the cost of care for both patients and providers. During the COVID-19 pandemic, I have seen how healthcare information systems can help healthcare providers. This has inspired me to want to do more in-depth study and research on health informatics.

Did you always intend on going back to school, or did the need arise at a particular moment?
While pursuing my bachelor’s degree in chemical and biological engineering, I took several biomedical courses. Those introduced me to the field of healthcare information, and I began to develop an interest in the field. This led me to apply to graduate school. The well-developed healthcare system in the Boston area and the MS in Computer Information Systems with a Health Informatics Concentration offered by Boston University made me decide to study at BU.

Congratulations on your high achievement in the Master of Science in Computer Information Systems (MSCIS) program and your Award for Excellence in your studies! Looking back, what do you consider to be the main ingredients of your success?
Being willing to try new things and a passion for health informatics are the main factors in my success. Before I pursued my master’s degree, I had neither taken computer systems courses nor had any work experience in health informatics. However, I decided to take information system courses and study programming languages from scratch. This helped me lay a good foundation for my subsequent studies in health information systems. During my graduate studies, I also joined BU’s Health Information Research Laboratory and participated in the IEEE International Conference on Bioinformatics and Biomedicine. These gave me the opportunity to learn about cutting-edge medical information and technology.

How were you able to successfully balance your studies with your commitments outside the classroom?
Keeping to the schedule helped me a lot in balancing my studies and life. I arranged the projects and assignments of each course into my timetable, and completed each task in strict accordance with the plan. Also, I tried to maintain a study status in my spare time. For example, I read news that related to my field of study. Reading the news gave me the opportunity to better understand what I learned in class. Some news content or topics also helped me complete class assignments quickly and effectively and participate in class discussions.

Was your success in the program driven by a particular outcome—such as professional advancement, educational achievement, personal satisfaction, or something else?
My success in the CIS program was mainly motivated by my interest and passion for health information systems. With the development of telecommunication technologies and computer systems, I believe that both patients and healthcare providers will increasingly rely on information systems. Studying information systems gave me the opportunity to help improve the quality of service in the healthcare industry, which motivated me to study hard.

Is there a particular course or project that enhanced your experience in the MSCIS program?
Every class I took and every professor I met during my studies were amazing. I really appreciate their dedication to the class and students. In particular, Dr. Guanglan Zhang provided me with lots of support and guidance. Before participating in the MSCIS program, I lacked experience in the field of computer science and healthcare information. Thanks to an introduction from Professor Zhang, I joined MET’s Health Informatics Research Laboratory (HILab) which greatly enriched my experience in the MSCIS program. The lab is part of the MSCIS program, dedicated to research in health informatics and biomedicine. After I joined HILab, I attended online meetings every week. This gave me the opportunity to hear about the projects that professors and classmates were working on and to learn how widely health informatics can be used.

How do you plan to apply the skills and competencies you gained during your studies moving forward? What is next in store for you?
The knowledge and skills I have learned at BU MET have created more possibilities for me. The computer science skills I have learned, such as Python, Java, SQL etc., and the accumulated knowledge of healthcare information will help me pursue a career related to data analytics, such as a healthcare data analyst. In addition to seeking a job in the field of data analytics, I plan to be involved in some research related to healthcare systems.

You were recognized by faculty and peers for your hard work and dedication to the MSCIS program. What “words of advice” or encouragement have served as a guiding principle, or simply inspiration, for you?
Always maintain a humble and positive attitude. You may face some very tough times during your master’s program at BU MET. Adjust your mindset and have faith that you will eventually solve those difficult problems. Don’t forget that you can always ask for help when you feel like giving up. You will be surrounded by professors and classmates who have extensive experience in a particular field. Their insight and accumulated experience can teach and inspire you a lot.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the MET Community?
I would like to thank every professor, coordinator and staff member in the MET MSCIS program. As an international student, I am very grateful for all your help and guidance during my studies.

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