Giving to Duke

Seeing the big picture, from diseases to football

tags: none | See all tags
Header Image

Daniel Heard is a big-picture guy. The Ph.D. candidate in statistical science is researching computational models that can simulate various phenomena, such as how diseases spread. From these models, scientists can predict how medical interventions might slow or even stop disease transmission.

But Daniel’s statistics research isn’t all work and no play. The lifelong football fan noticed that there existed no objective measure of NFL running backs like the quarterback rating, so he designed his own. By plugging in career stats for dozens of players, Daniel determined that Jim Brown was the greatest pro running back of all time, and Marshall Faulk had the best single season in 2000.

A Dean’s Graduate Fellowship, which provides full support for two years and partial support for two more, has allowed Daniel to concentrate on his doctoral studies. At the same time, the Graduate School’s Certificate in College Teaching professional development program is preparing him well for classroom work.

“The certificate program has been helpful for me in exploring teaching methods,” Daniel says. “It’s led me to examine how I can be more effective as a teacher and serve the students better.”