Undergraduate Research Program

Harper Zhu

Harper in front of the water smilingMajor: Biochemistry and International Studies
Mentor: Anna Neufeld, Department of statistics

Contact: zrj0201@uw.edu

Current research project: Infectious Disease Modeling


Harper is a senior in Biochemistry and International Studies at the University of Washington. She is very interested in using data science and statistical modeling to solve social science and life science problems. Since September of 2020, she has been working with Dr.Neufeld to develop a mathematical model based on the SIR epidemiology modeling to predict the number of infection cases in UW. She has also been involved in the CoronaNet project, aiming to compile a database on government responses to the coronavirus. As for her personal interests, Harper loves to cook, watch Netflix, and play with her cat.


Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
By using large datasets and statistical modeling, we can get a view of the overview situation and find out the best strategy given by the situations. In the case of modeling the infection inside UW, we can estimate how far the virus can spread within campus if only one person contacted the other one. We can also predict whether our classes can be in-personal next quarter.


When, how, and why did you get involved in undergraduate research?
I started participating in research in my sophomore year through emailing professors. At the time, I was really interested in Middle East Civilization and want to learn more about how we research using historical text.


What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research?
It’s never too early and never too late to get into research. Start now!