Alicia Chua, 2010 Ozarks graduate, was recently awarded a graduate research assistant position at the prestigious MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.
Alicia Chua, a 2010 Ozarks graduate, was recently awarded a graduate research position at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.
Chua, originally from Malaysia, studied mathematics, biology, and computer sciences at Ozarks, graduating with Magna Cum Laude honors. She found the perfect avenue for her varied education when she began working toward a master’s degree in biostatistics at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston.
"My new position is with the Department of Behavioral Science at MD Anderson," Chua said. "Basically, my duties are to use various software programs to assist with database building, management, entry and analysis."
One of the interesting aspects of Chua’s position is the human impact of her research.
"This new position means a lot to me," Chua said. "I’m really able to apply what I’ve learned in my biostatistics program to real-world applications."
"For example, I’m currently working with Dr. Michelle Fingeret, assistant professor of behavioral science, to develop a tool for assisting with head, neck, and breast cancer patients who are adjusting to body image and appearance related changes resulting from cancer and its treatment," she described.
Before securing this position with Dr. Fingeret, Chua also worked as an intern for the Department of Health Disparities at MD Anderson using data management and analysis to estimate the prevalence and change of cancer risk among African-Americans in a specific section of the Greater Houston area.
Chua attributes her success to a strong confidence in her education and ability.
"The selection process for the graduate research assistant position was competitive, but my boss was very fond of my eagerness to learn. Honestly, I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare before I came in for the interview, less than a day in fact. Nevertheless, I was confident that I could do the job," Chua said.
Chua plans to graduate from University of Texas Health Science Center in December 2013 with her master’s degree and is considering pursuing a Ph.D.
"I’m very grateful for where I am today," Chua said. "I truly believe that without University of the Ozarks, I would not have made it this far. My advice for other students is never give up on anything you do. You never know what lies ahead of you."