Alumni Spotlight

Luke Peterson

Major/Emphasis: Statistics (BS)
Current Position Title: Principal Biostatistician
Company Name: UCB Biosciences

Why he picked his major:

I always had a strong interest in numbers. My mom worked for an actuary. He drove a Porsche, so I figured this was the career for me! As a result, I started with the Actuarial Science emphasis, but I took a linear models class from Dr. Fellingham (which I loved) and converted to Statistical Science.

How schooling helped prepare him for his current position:

The BYU undergraduate curriculum in statistics did a wonderful job of emphasizing correct communication of statistical results, which is an indispensable skill for a statistician in clinical development.

His advice to those currently studying:

Develop expertise in statistical theory and methodology as instructed in your classes. However, just as important is developing skills in communications, negotiation, and management. While I occasionally have to draw on my background in statistical analysis (and that is important), I have to apply communications skills on a daily basis.

Kevin Crookston

Major/Emphasis: Statistics, emphasis in manufacturing (BS) BYU
Applied Statistics (MS) University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Current Position Title: Operations Research Analyst

Company Name: Department of Defense, U.S. Army

Why he picked his major:

My introduction to statistics was an AP Stats class my senior year of high school. I was amazed at how much information could be extracted from data. Before absolutely declaring my major at BYU, I explored other majors, but eventually came back to statistics. I chose it for two reasons: It's something I can do that most others prefer not to do, and the demand in the job market was high.

How schooling helped prepare him for his current position:

If you ever think the subject you study in school is going to directly apply to your career, then this will be an awakening statement. I have met very few people who's careers relate to their majors. The primary reason for getting a college degree (and this is my observation and opinion) is to learn how to learn, how to think technically, how to solve problems, how to overcome challenging tasks, and how to work with a team.

His advice to those currently studying:

Have fun! Go watch a game, join a club, ask someone out on a date. You spend enough hours studying. Taking a break will give your mind a chance to rest. And most of all, don't study on Sunday. Avoid debt as much as possible. Be frugal. Get a part-time job. Do an internship during the summer. Apply for grants and scholarships. It is possible to graduate debt free if you plan to do it. After you graduate and have a job, be generous.