PHutures – 100 Alumni Voices »

Jacob Fiksel

“If you think that someone wants something for you, if they’re a good mentor or supporter of you they’ll want what makes you happy, I think, and it’s always good to keep stock of that.”

Bloomberg School of Public Health

Biostatistics, PhD 2020

Senior Research Statistician at Vertex Pharmaceuticals

Jacob’s Podcast Episode

In this episode, we discuss the impact of mentorship on Jacob’s decision to pursue a PhD in biostatistics and on his job search, his advice for finding a career that satisfies your interests, values, and needs, and the different skills that he applies to his current work in the pharmaceutical industry.

Learn More About Jacob’s Story

This is me with the two most important people in my life–my fiancée Emily, and our dog Lenny. The picture on the left was taken when Lenny was 8 weeks old, and the picture on the right was taken one year later. Raising a rambunctious and large puppy while also remotely starting my first job in industry after the PhD and in the middle of a pandemic was one of the most challenging things I’ve done and taught me a lot about myself. You can see from the picture on the right that Lenny is hard to handle! After putting in the time to train Lenny, he is now a (mostly) well-behaved dog that joins Emily and I on our hikes, which is one of our favorite activities, or will hang out near the kitchen to beg for treats while Emily and I cook together.

This image actually shows 3 critical aspects of my identity. The most obvious is the bread (sourdough cranberry-walnut bread to be exact). I started baking bread in 2016 as a way to relieve stress during the first year of my PhD. I’ve continued baking both bread and pizza since then, and my love for baking grew during 2020 as I joined everyone in the sourdough craze. My (flour covered) sweatpants show that I went to Pomona College, where I was first introduced to Biostatistics, and also where I met many of my closest friends. Finally, although you can’t see it, my shirt has the Green Bay Packers logo. I grew up in Wisconsin and it’s impossible not to be a Packers fan as a Wisconsinite. I still watch the Packers every Sunday during football season, and have now convinced Emily (and Lenny) to watch with me.