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February 23, 2022

Statistics Ph.D. Student Isaac Goldstein Receives La Verne Noyes Fellowship

Isaac Goldstein stands on a rocky beach with trees in the background. He is smiling, with dark hair, glasses, and fair skin. He is wearing a maroon v-neck t-shirt.

On Feb. 10, 2022, a La Verne Noyes Fellowship was awarded to third-year statistics Ph.D. student Isaac Goldstein of the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS). Named in honor of inventor La Verne Noyes, the fellowship provides a $4,000 stipend to graduate students who demonstrate outstanding academic achievement and are descendants of World War I U.S. Army or Navy veterans.

“I’m very honored to have received the award and grateful to my advisor for assisting in the application process, and my family for tracking down the discharge papers needed to apply,” says Goldstein, who is advised by Professor Vladimir Minin. While three of Goldstein’s great-grandfathers were WWI veterans, the family was able to track down the necessary paperwork for his mother’s grandfather, James Higgins, who served in the U.S. Navy from 1915-1918.

Goldstein’s research focuses on improving methods for modeling the spread of infectious diseases. “I mainly work on improving methods for estimating the effective reproduction number, which is the average number of people a newly infectious person is going to infect,” he explains. “When it is above one, we expect an epidemic to continue growing, and below one we expect the epidemic to die out, so policymakers often look at it when making decisions about public health policies.”

Goldstein was a member of the UCI COVID-19 response modeling team led by Minin in 2020 and 2021, and he is also currently collaborating with Minin and Associate Professor of Nursing Sanghyuk Shin on characterizing drivers of tuberculosis transmission in Botswana. After earning his Ph.D., Goldstein hopes to continue working as a researcher, either in academia or industry.

“I love working with Isaac because he is passionate about both mathematics/statistics and scientific applications,” says Minin. “I am looking forward to working with him on challenging and important statistical and stochastic modeling problems during his dissertation research.”

Shani Murray