Pfizer and SPH Partner to Support Graduate Study in Biostatistics
Incoming MS student Yolanda Rolle is the first recipient of the scholarship, which aims to support underrepresented students in pursuing an advanced degree in biostatistics.
Pfizer has partnered with the School of Public Health to financially support a student from an underrepresented group who is pursuing an advanced degree in biostatistics. The scholarship aims to not only attract promising students to the field of biostatistics, but also bring in more diverse voices and experiences.
Yolanda Rolle, an incoming student in the MS in biostatistics program at SPH, is the first recipient of the scholarship. Prior to starting her program this fall, Rolle built her career teaching mathematics at both the college and high school level, and is also a practicing Episcopal priest.
“I have been a teacher my whole life, and while this scholarship is great from a financial point of view, I am so grateful for this opportunity because it allows me to be an example for younger people,” says Rolle. “We often do what we see other people doing, so if I can be a mentor and encourage my students to keep studying math and building systems and places where math meets the real world, I am so honored to be that person.”
As a teacher, Rolle understands the value of representation in the sciences, and hopes that scholarships like this can continue to enhance diversity in public health practice.
“Public health is not white health, it is not Black health. It is about all of us. Representation at all levels builds public trust and helps to make our health systems better,” she says. “When new voices are brought to the table and we are all able to share our experiences, we can make decisions that benefit everyone.”
In addition to financial support, the scholarship will also provide Rolle with networking and mentorship opportunities with Pfizer representatives, allowing her to advance her training and broaden her understanding of working in an industry setting.
“Yolanda has a great academic background and strong motivation to pursue a career in biostatistics,” says Laura White, professor of biostatistics and chair of the admissions committee. “We are excited about her enthusiasm to work with and mentor others in the mathematical sciences, as well as her interest in working in a setting where she can help improve the health of populations who have been historically underrepresented in medical research and innovation.”
“This scholarship provides generous support for students to pursue their degrees while increasing opportunities for those who are so often underrepresented, advancing a key mission of our work here at SPH,” says Debbie Cheng, interim chair and professor of biostatistics. “We are grateful for this partnership with Pfizer and hope we can continue to work together to help cultivate strong and diverse talent in the field of biostatistics for generations to come.”