Programmer/Analyst, PhD Student at Harvard University

Zach WardProgrammer/Analyst, PhD Student at Harvard University


Global Health Management (Self-Designed) major 2009

As a programmer/analyist, Ward focuses on simulation modeling of disease for policy research in areas such as maternal mortality in developing countries, childhood obesity, and gastric cancer. He is also currently a doctoral student in health policy at Harvard University, concentrating in decision science. Between work, school, and being father of three, he volunteers at his local parish and enjoys playing music at home.

How does your time at SPU connect to the work you’re doing today?

At SPU, I studied a mix of computer science, management, and sociology, which gave me a good foundation of technical skills and an introduction to research methods. Minoring in French also helped me attend graduate school in Paris where I completed my master’s in public health.

Who made a difference in your SPU education?

The primary advisor for my self-designed major at SPU was Phil Prins, one of my computer science professors. He helped me receive academic credit for a semester spent in Tanzania and Malawi developing health-information systems.

What advice do you have for students about life after graduation?

In real life, it’s important to focus on what matters. You still have to do the other stuff, but choose what to highlight — in a research paper, or a Facebook post — and quietly do the rest.


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