Beta Theta Pi - MIT

Fall 2020 Newsletter

Beta Upsilon Chapter of Beta Theta Pi Fraternity at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

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2 W hen COVID-19 was officially declared a pandemic in March, data scientist Youyang Gu '15 began looking at various projection models of the virus over the next few months. When he saw that one of the models most cited by the White House showed COVID-19 deaths dropping to zero by June, he decided to do statistical analysis of his own—a model that has vastly different projections and is now referenced by the CDC. "I looked at data and did not see how that was possible, so I wanted to build my own model just to see what I would get if I made some projections," he said. "My background is in statistical modeling, and this problem is in itself more of a statistics problem rather than an infectious disease problem. Once you understand the basics, the more technical part is the modeling." From there, he researched epidemiology and developed the first iteration of his own projection model in three days before launching a website three days later. ree weeks aer he created his website and shared it via Twitter, he was able to get his model onto the CDC website. Now, he works with Reich Lab at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, which consolidates projections from different teams and sends weekly updates to the CDC. Statistical modeling is something Youyang has been doing his entire career, but the pace of this project has been the biggest challenge. With new data every day and different reasons for outbreaks, he's learning how the outbreaks are happening with limited time and resources. "I only have 24 hours a day—less because I have to sleep—and my resources are limited to my laptop to compress all of that data into something manageable," he said. "e benefit of that challenge is that you're really forced to figure out what's important and what's not." Youyang's model takes him less than 30 minutes to run projections for all 50 states and 70 countries. He added that his model only uses COVID- related deaths and not positive cases. Another important factor of his model is that it's making a difference during the pandemic. "It's rewarding to know that my work is being recognized by so many people," he shared. "I've had many researchers in academia and industry reach out and say that they're using the model to aid in their own research. It's encouraging and motivating that my contributions are being used to help further the understanding and mitigation of COVID-19." He emphasized that it's important that people look at these projections from an unbiased perspective. As a scientist, it's Youyang's job to look at things objectively and scientifically. "I don't have an agenda and neither does the virus," he said. "I'm just trying to predict most accurately what is going to happen in the future." Several Beta Brothers have reached out to Youyang to congratulate him, and he credits the foundation they built together as refounding fathers for his ability to create something with limited time and resources. "It taught me how to build a brotherhood, how to build a community, and that is similar in the sense of building my COVID model." Youyang lives in New York City, where he enjoys running and learning about electronic music whenever he can find the time. You can see his projections model at and connect with him at with at Making a Difference During the Pandemic Youyang Gu '15 Creates Renowned COVID-19 Projections Model Donn W. Barber '42* Louis J. Lee '52 David L. Vogel '54 John P. Seagle '55* R. Gordon Black '56 Robert C. Brigham '56 Ward D. Halverson '56 Robert A. MacDonald Jr. '56 Robert L. Malster '56 Lawrence R. Hoover '57 Robert E. Kersey '57 Henry C. Young Jr. '57 Samuel R. Fryer Jr. '59 Stephen J. Yeretsky '59 Allan J. MacLaren '60 Richard H. Oeler '60 Gary W. Bickel '61 Richard C. Williamson '61 Dr. James S. Draper '62 Richard L. Horttor '62 Robert A. Grant '64* Michael J. Monsler '64 William T. Stewart '69 Bruce A. Lautenschlager '70* Jeffrey C. Murray '71 In memory of Ken Gerber '71 Paul J. Shapiro '74 Simeon Chow, Ph.D. '77 Robert D. Knecht '78 omas A. Hauer '79 Roger W. Lacy '79 John C. Kerins '80* Michael G. Feinstein '82* In memory of Dave Bedrosian '81 David A. Krall '82* Alan L. Laves '82* David A. Milich '82* Patrick K. Fowler '83 William T. Maimone '84* Richard C. Steines '84* Dimitri N. Kazarinoff '85 Kenneth J. Shine '85 Bob Struble '85* In memory of Rob Boye '88 Anthony P. DiPesa Jr. '86* Alexander A. Romeo '86 Lei H. Tung '86* Ken Bryan '88* Robert E. Mentle '88* James S. Cureton '89 Michael P. McGovern '89 Michael D. Rechtin Jr. '89 Bennett J. Silverman '89 Daniel T. Moriarty '90 Godard K. Abel '93* Frank J. Leibly III '93 Andrew Mutch, III '98* Andrew V. Martinez '03* Ryan P. Luersen '09 Jacob Wachlin '16 Yaseen S. Alkhafaji '21* Colin P. Chaney '21* Benjamin D. Richards '21* Tyler M. Schoulte '21* Swochchhanda Shrestha '21* Kyle A. Markland '22* Keith G. Mokry '22* Samuel Sesena '22* Ashar Farooq '23* Justin D. Schiavo '23* Thank You, Loyal Brothers, for Donating to Beta Upsilon's Annual Fund B eta Upsilon sends its sincere thanks to the generous Brothers who have contributed to the Chapter's annual campaign. Our Brotherhood would not be where it is today without their dedication to the Chapter. ose who donated to the Beta Upsilon Association in 2020 are listed below. If an error has been made in recording your name, we sincerely apologize. If corrections to your giving record are needed, please contact the campaign coordinator at (785) 843-1661. ank you, again, for your loyal support. *Thank you to those brothers who participated in Beta Theta Pi's Day of Giving! With their sup- port, Beta Upsilon finished #8 in overall giving!

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