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Arnold School of Public Health

  • 2022 Commencement

2022 Student Awards

The Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics is proud to announce the recipients of their 2022 Student Awards. These four students were selected for their outstanding performance both academically and outside the classroom.

Anja Zgodic

Outstanding Biostatistics Doctoral Student: Anja Zgodic

Anja Zgodic worked in industry as a data scientist before joining the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in 2018. Since then, Zgodic has published 10 papers. Her research focuses on fitting linear mixed models to high-dimensional data with much of this work examining issues experienced by women, minorities and rural residents. She spends her free time advocating for these groups, serving as a member of USC’s Provost Advisory Committee for Women’s Initiatives and leading the Committee on Statistics and Disability of the American Statistical Association as chair. After graduating, the Ellis R. Ott Scholar (American Society for Quality Statistics Division) plans to return to her role as a data scientist.

Hope Bercaw

Outstanding Epidemiology Master’s Student: Hope Bercaw

Hope Bercaw has worked with the SEARCH Food Security (SFS) Cohort Study team since joining the Master of Science in Public Health in Epidemiology program in 2020. She played a key role in analyzing and disseminating SFS data as well as helping with data collection tasks (i.e., recruiting participants, developing newsletters, assembling kits for remote data collection etc.) and has written three first-authored manuscripts based on this research. She is working on additional two manuscripts unrelated to SFS – all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA. After graduating in May, she joined Syneos Health – a North Carolina-based organization that specializes in helping companies with late-stage clinical trials – as a clinical research associate.

Amanda Elmore

Outstanding Epidemiology Doctoral Student: Amanda Elmore


Amanda Elmore will graduate later this year after defending her dissertation research on the association between maternal opioid use disorder and hospital readmission over time for both the mother and the infant to assess long-term morbidity outcomes. The NIH T32 pre-doctoral fellow has published six papers and is a Graduate Scholar with the USC MCH Catalyst Program. Elmore served as secretary-treasurer and the chair of the annual meeting committee and is currently a board member of the National Birth Defects Prevention Network (NBDPN). She is also the treasurer for the USC Maternal and Child Health Student Association and has served on the departmental curriculum committee as the student representative.

Sabrina Karim

Outstanding Epidemiology Doctoral Student: Sabrina Karim


Sabrina Karim graduates this year with a 4.0 GPA and six papers published or under development. Her research focuses on maternal/child health and mental health issues after battling depression and losing a child to sudden infant death syndrome. Karim is the founding president of the Maternal and Child Health Student Association and the cultural secretary for USC’s Bangladesh Student Association. After completing her degree, she plans to continue her research on mental health, particularly perinatal depression and its impact on infant well-being. After graduation, she will join Institute for Families in Society as a postdoctoral fellow and continue to contribute to research focusing on maternal and child health.

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