Student Profile of Trish Shewokis

We’re trying to make it easier for patients to get their prosthetic arms to do exactly what they want them to do. I’ve applied what I’ve learned through my courses, such as Baysian statistics, computing techniques, biostatistics, clinical trials, analysis and sensitivity software, bioavailability, probability distributions, data mining, and designing experiments to map brain impulses to muscle movement, which ultimately will help make prosthetics work on thought impulses.

Dr. Patricia A. Shewokis
Drexel University

I have always been interested in continuing education

Dr. Patricia A. Shewokis is, like many students, an experienced professional in her field. She is a tenured professor, movement scientist, and biostatistician at Drexel University. She has joint appointments in the College of Nursing and Health Professions and the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems. She’s also a member of a collaborative research team from four U.S. universities working to develop potentially life-changing technology for millions of prosthetic-dependent people. The team is combining information from electroencephalographs with real-time data about blood-oxygen levels in the brain’s frontal lobe by using functional near-infrared (fNIR) technology that the Drexel Optical Brain Imaging Team developed.


What was your incentive to take a course?

I have always been interested in continuing education and expanding my knowledge base. I wanted a convenient, contemporary format for topic-specific online statistics courses to add skills for my research work. I wanted to extend myself and see what is developing in the field. 
My first course, Design of Experiments, was about 5 years ago. Now I’ve taken over 50 hours in courses. I really enjoy the courses, and the format works well with my teaching and research responsibilities. While I’m not available as much as I would like, the online format gives me the flexibility to go back and review the material when it works best with my schedule. That’s how I can fit these courses in with my job demands.
I found the format so workable that I integrated some concepts from courses that I have taken at into a graduate-level course for Drexel on interpretation of data. I also cite to my students as a good resource to gain specific knowledge and insight into different ways to look at a project. 
I incorporate material I’ve studied in the courses like bootstrapping in my classes. Without that course, I probably would not have brought that application into my teaching. I now work with colleagues in different ways, using more applications, such as Baysian statistics, to approach research from different perspectives.


What was your experience with online, remote learning?

It’s a challenge, a real juggling act to meet all my teaching and research responsibilities and my non-work interests while I’m taking a course. I study nights, early mornings, and weekends. All my responsibilities compete for prioritization, and I need to be very organized. 
I’ve found the instructors and teaching assistants are of a high caliber. They offer diverse approaches, and their replies to questions are comprehensive, opening new ways of looking at problems. I appreciate learning from other students through the multidisciplinary exchanges, which help me see other applications and ways to solve problems. The system is superb; it works!


Do you have advice for other students considering taking courses through

Definitely take the courses! They’re exceptionally high in quality, and taking courses through is a convenient way to enhance your skills without high costs.


What are your hobbies or special interests?

I have many interests! In addition to my continuing education courses, every year I try to learn a new motor skill. A couple of years ago, I took up kettlebells; this year, I’ve taken up boxing for fitness. I also do woodworking and I like to cook. I like learning and expanding my skills.

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