Mengyao Hu

PhD '17

I have worked on a lot of different projects throughout the years. Right now, I am working with Brady West. Our project is with USDA and the survey is called the National Food Acquisition Survey. Basically, what I’m doing is analyzing the data and writing papers and getting things published. I have been working on this project for about two years and it’s been a great experience. The other project that I’m working on is with Sunghee Lee. It’s a project with the Nielsen Company. It’s about evaluating the hierarchy on their TV rating. My dissertation was using a specific method called anchoring to correct for response errors in self-assessment questions. In order to succeed, it’s important to take the opportunities to work with the faculty members and also collaborate with students. Also, to communicate with the faculty regularly and ask for their suggestions and work on as many papers as possible. I was doing a Master’s at the School of Public Health and my roommate at the time was doing her Master’s at the Survey Program. Because of her, I started by taking a sampling course when I was still at the School of Public Health. At that time, I asked the teacher, who was the previous director of the Program, about the program and I told him that I was interested in applying. He encouraged me to apply. I joined the Master’s program and after that, I continued on with my PhD. Before that, I had no idea what survey methodology was. One thing I really like is the Research Assistant job that they provide for all the students. Not many programs have that. This is one of the reasons I applied because it not only helps financially, but I learned a lot from all my research assistant work and we had papers published. Also, in other programs, the students need to find internships by themselves, which can be difficult to do and most of the internships are not paid. Here, the program really helps the students find internships and everyone finds an internship. If you don’t find an internship in the industry, they will connect you with the Survey Research Operations center here, so everyone gets a job in the summer. And, they have a minimum requirement for the salary. Outside of classes, I play with my two kids. Many people don’t know about this field and the career opportunities. My friends went to Google, Facebook and Apple.