Yixuan Cheng, MIPA, MPH ’21

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Undergraduate education

Bachelor’s degrees in East Asian Studies and Japanese, UW–Madison



Job title

Data Scientist

Start date

September 2021

Primary job responsibilities

My current job responsibilities include data wrangling and cleaning, automating projects for data preparation and analysis, supervising undergraduate students on data entry, and contributing to survey design.

Which experiences and skills helped you get your job?

I was able to get my job due to my knowledge and experience in the following areas:

  • population health, health disparities, and health policies
  • economics and statistical analysis
  • coding and statistical packages

Why a master’s degree in public affairs?

My undergraduate training was humanities-focused, but I wanted to integrate quantitative skills and cultural and historical understanding into public health to address policy challenges.

Why the La Follette School?

I was drawn to La Follette’s accelerated program and also the MPH dual degree option. The small class size and ability to gain quantitative skills also drew me to the La Follette School since I had limited experience with them as an undergraduate.

What impact did your client-based projects have on your career?

The client-based projects I did really helped me advance my data analysis and writing skills.

Helpful alumni, faculty, friends, others

I got a lot of useful advice from other La Follette alumni who pursued the MPH dual degree option while looking for jobs.

Anything else?

I love how bike-friendly Madison is.

People would be surprised to know that…

I stayed in Madison from 2014-2021 as an international student, and now I work for UW. I don’t know if I am ever going to leave!