The New Business Analytics Specialization in RMS

The Business Analytics specialization is an exciting new addition to the Institutional Research track in the Research Methods and Statistics Ph.D. Program. This specialization provides you with an opportunity to gain a multidisciplinary education that opens up several future career paths.

Taking courses in Business Analytics will be challenge you to view research design and analyses from a different perspective. You will collaborate and network with students from various career backgrounds and  will learn about cutting-edge programs and programming languages.

Why Business Analytics?

Heather Blizzard“In today’s world, businesses are looking for people who have skills in research design and have the ability to implement research analyses. That’s why I was extremely excited to learn that my program was adding a specialization in Business Analytics.” – Heather Blizzard, RMS Ph.D. Student

Research Methods and Statistics Ph.D Candidate Priyalatha Govindasamy received top award at the University of Denver Research and Performance Summit (DURAPS) on January 29. Govindasamy presented her research at the DURAPS poster session highlighting the software package that she has been developing with Antonio Olmos, Ph.D and Kellie Keeling, Ph.D.

Govindasamy explained that “effect size is the key to conducting meta-analysis, but not all the studies report empirical information required for computing effect sizes.” Studies will often report different types of statistical information that require different mathematical algorithms to compute effective sizes. To overcome this hurdle, Govindasamy and her supporting faculty developed the Effectssizecalculator Package in R for Meta-Analysis. This package was designed to compile all different mathematical algorithms and estimate the effective sizes into one module and leverages the R statistical analysis software.

The Morgridge College of Education would like to congratulate Miss Govindasamy on her award and recognize her fascinating research.

The Rocky Mountain Prevention Research Center (RMPRC), under the leadership of Jini Puma, PhD, clinical assistant professor in Community and Behavioral Health and Research Methods and Statistics (RMS) Program graduate, has been awarded new funding from the Buell Foundation to expand the Culture of Wellness in Preschools Program (COWP). The expansion will include 20 additional preschools serving 1,240 children and 170 staff.

COWP works collaboratively with preschools to implement coordinated and comprehensive evidence-based activities aimed at increasing daily healthy eating and activity by preschool students, staff and parents. This new grant will expand COWP with a focus on outdoor playtime. COWP was also refunded by the Colorado Health Foundation in February for $1.4 million over the next 3 years and is now receiving on-going sustainability funds of $100,000 annually from Denver’s Great Kids Head Start. This is the first time that the Buell Foundation will be funding health promotion as part of their focus on positive youth development and  brings the funding for this year to over $2.1 million across COWP projects.

Heather Blizzard is a PhD student in the Morgridge College of Education (MCE) Research Methods and Statistics Program (RMS). Utilizing qualitative research methods and program evaluation, her research focuses on social and academic support for first-generation students. She is currently developing a measure to examine the self-perceived social support of first-generation, post-secondary students. “This is the first step to what I hope will lead to pinpointing ways to aid in their success as students” states Heather, who also works as a Graduate Research Assistant on a federally funded grant for the Kennedy Institute. We sat down with Heather to learn a little more about her Morgridge experience.

Research Methods and Statistics student Heather Blizzard

Research Methods and Statistics student Heather Blizzard

“I would say that the one thing we all have in common at MCE is the desire to make a difference.”

Morgridge Blog: How did you learn about the RMS program at DU?

Heather: I actually found the RMS program on accident. I was originally setting out to pursue a degree in Social Psychology; however, I had an interest in studying first-generation college students and teaching at a university level, so I decided to check out the College of Education and came across the program. After reading about the program and the faculty members in the program, I was extremely interested in learning more.

MB: How did you decide to pursue an MA in RMS at Morgridge, and then to continue on with the PhD program?

Heather: The faculty played an instrumental role in my decision to complete both my MA and my PhD in the RMS program. My partner was asked to come in for an interview session with a different program in Morgridge, so I emailed Dr. Duan Zhang to see if I could meet with her during that time, and she ended up getting me a meeting with every faculty member. Each faculty member has a unique background in how they approach research, and through their guidance I have grown as a person and as a researcher.

MB: How do you feel the programs in MCE are related, and how have other programs, professors, or students in other programs shaped your experience?

Heather: All of the programs have a central focus on education, but approach it in various ways. By having classes with professors and students in other programs I have gained different lenses to view research. I feel that collaborating with students from other programs enables me to learn more about the way they view research and gives me the opportunity to share my passion.

MB: How would you describe the core value of MCE and the programs within it?

Heather: I would say that the one thing we all have in common at MCE is the desire to make a difference. Some people want to make a difference in how education is attained, some want to change the way education is viewed, and some want to create better ways of assessing education. While each journey is different, the end goal of improving education is the same.

MB: Looking back, is there any decision/action you would change during your time in the program? Or, advice you would give to incoming/prospective students?

Heather: I wish I had gone to more of the events that were held on campus. The amount of free resources that are available is amazing, but I didn’t really take advantage of them. Advice for others: take advantage of the resources. Also, I recommend utilizing the assignments given to you in your classes to hone in on your personal research interests. Each assignment served as an opportunity to do more research on what I thought I was interested in. I came into the program with a very broad idea of what I wanted to study and was able to leave my MA knowing what I wanted to do my PhD dissertation on. Another piece of advice would be to make sure you check the schedule for what classes are being offered.


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