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Consultant’s Corner: A New Column for Consultants

Wed, 03/01/2017 - 7:03am
This column is written for anyone engaged in or interested in statistical consulting. It includes articles ranging from what starting a consulting business would entail to what could be taught in a consulting course. If you have ideas for articles, contact the ASA’s Section on Statistical Consulting publication’s officer, Mary Kwasny.

Contributing editor Mary Kwasny is an associate professor in the department of preventive medicine and an active member of the Biostatistics Collaboration Center at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine. She has been enjoying the art of statistical consulting and collaboration for more than 20 years in academic medical centers and external non-profits.

What does a publications officer of a section do? Admittedly, there are differences in sections, and while most sections have a newsletter, many sections also have a newsletter editor in addition to a publication’s officer. This is true for the Section on Statistical Consulting.

So, when I was fortunate to be elected the publications officer of the Statistical Consulting Section, I was not really sure what the job entailed. The Section’s charter states the following:

The publication’s officer shall coordinate paper and electronic publications associated with the section including, but not limited to, section columns in Amstat News, proceedings of meetings, and other presentations, but excluding the section newsletter…. When requested by the editors, the publications officer shall assist in soliciting, reading, and editing articles on statistical consulting for publication in the association’s journals.

Sure enough, the institutional memory of the position seemed to allow a lot of leeway in my interpretation of the job—and anyone who knows me, knows I have a lot more faith in the spirit, if not the letter, of the law. So I thought if the function of the newsletter was to communicate the “goings on” of the section to the section, then the publications officer should be responsible for communicating those “goings on” to the greater ASA. So, what “goings on” would we communicate with the greater ASA and how?

Since ASA Connect launched, it has been clear to me that some sections are very active and some not so much. The Section on Statistical Consulting has an incredibly active discussion board; it was primarily that section that led me to ask how to change my settings to a daily digest, rather than real time. The discussions range from starting a consulting business to whether insurance for that business is a good idea, from how best to predict which clients might have projects that take much longer than the client or even the consultant might expect to advantages and disadvantages of billing at intervals or at project’s end. There was a very active debate when the definitions of consultants and collaborators were contrasted. Needless to say, I believe there are many “goings on” of the section that might appeal to the greater ASA audience.

I do not have a master’s degree, but I truly enjoy reading the Master’s Notebook. I was curious to see if there could be a corner of Amstat News concerned with “all things consulting,” akin to the Master’s Notebook. Chuck Kincaid, the current chair of the section, and I pitched the idea, and we got a go ahead to try it! So, be on the lookout for the Consultant’s Corner!

We are excited to launch this idea next month, with articles ranging from what starting a consulting business would entail to issues that could be taught in a consulting course to other issues that statistical consultants might face. My guess is there are many great ideas for best practices of consulting, as well as many great stories about consults that have made an impact on the world.

If you have ideas for articles (questions you would like answered about consulting practice or your own stories), please forward them to me at I will happily liaison between the readers and the section so this corner may be a great way to encourage, enlighten, and entertain.

ASA Statistics Poster Competition for Grades K–12

Wed, 03/01/2017 - 6:00am

The ASA/NCTM Joint Committee on Curriculum in Statistics and Probability and the ASA’s education department encourage students and their advisers to participate in its annual poster competition.

What is a statistical poster? A statistical poster is a display containing two or more related graphics that summarize a set of data, look at the data from different points of view, and answer specific questions about the data.


Posters must measure between 18 and 24 inches high and 24 and 30 inches wide.

Any weight of paper is permitted.

The best way to send the poster is flat, between taped sheets of cardboard. Do not send posters rolled in a tube. Between 200 and 400 posters are entered, so send posters using a method that lends itself to easy opening with a razor. No extra papers, “peanuts,” or other non-Earth-friendly packing materials should be included.


First Prize – $300, a plaque, and a plaque for the school
Second Prize – $200 and a plaque
Third Prize – $100 and a plaque
Honorable Mention – A plaque

If the submission is a collaborative effort, the prize money will be divided equally.

Also, first-place winners in grades 4–12 will receive Texas Instruments graphing calculators. First-place winners in grades 4–6 and their advisers will receive TI-73 Explorer Graphing Calculators. The winners in grades 7–12 and their advisers will receive TI-84 Plus Silver Edition Graphing Calculators.

Be sure posters are not wrapped so securely that opening them becomes a challenge. Do not use duct tape or large amounts of tape.

Any layers of paper on posters must be affixed securely.

Posters must be the original design and creation of the entrant(s).

Computer graphics may be used.

Subject matter is the choice of the participant(s) or their classmates.

An example of the original data and brief descriptions of the method of collection and purpose of the experiment must be taped securely to the back of the poster. (Cite references for published data.)

In submitting a poster, students agree that the poster may be displayed at the ASA’s Joint Statistical Meetings, featured in its publications, and included on its website.

All entries become the property of the ASA and cannot be returned.

Only first-, second-, and third-place winners and honorable mentions will be notified personally. The ASA website will announce winners in August.

Students may work individually or in teams. For those in the K–3 category, there is no restriction on the size of the team. For other categories, the maximum number of students per team is four. For teams with members from different grade levels, the highest grade determines the entry category.


Teachers and statisticians, whose decisions are final, will judge the posters on the following:

  • Overall impact of the display for eye-catching appeal, visual attractiveness, and its ability to draw the viewer to investigate the individual graphs (more than one graph is required for all but the K–3 category)
  • Clarity of the message’s demonstration of important relationships and patterns, obvious conclusions, and ability to stand alone, even without the explanatory paragraph on the back
  • Appropriateness of the graphics for the data
  • Creativity

There is no entry fee, but your poster must be postmarked by April 1 and sent to Poster Competition, 732 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314-1943.

For details, visit the ASA’s website.

Jerome Sacks Award

Wed, 03/01/2017 - 6:00am

The National Institute of Statistical Sciences (NISS) is seeking nominations for the 2017 Jerome Sacks Award for Outstanding Cross-Disciplinary Research. The prize recognizes sustained, high-quality cross-disciplinary research involving the statistical sciences.

An award of $1,000 will be presented during the NISS/Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute reception at the Joint Statistical Meetings in Baltimore, July 29 – August 3, 2017.

To nominate an individual, submit as one PDF document the following information to by May 1:

  1. Nomination letter (maximum two pages)
  2. Supporting letters from two individuals (other than nominator)
  3. The nominee’s CV

For more information and to see the list of previous winners, visit the NISS website.

Technometrics Highlights: Latest Issue Covers Design, Analysis, Anomaly Detection

Wed, 03/01/2017 - 6:00am

Volume 59, Issue 1 of Technometrics includes 11 articles covering topics ranging from design and analysis of complex, black-box computer simulations to algorithmic design approaches for customizing and enhancing key properties of physical experiments to anomaly detection in image and other high-dimensional data streams.

In the paper titled “Monotonic Metamodels for Deterministic Computer Experiments,” author Matthias Hwai Yong Tan explores the challenging goal of incorporating prior knowledge that the response is monotonic in some of the input variables in deterministic computer simulations. Although the Gaussian process (GP) models ubiquitously used for simulation response surface modeling are not monotonic, incorporating such information can substantially improve the accuracy and interpretability of the response predictions. Previous methods that project GP sample paths onto some space of monotonic functions fail to preserve important GP modeling properties such as the prediction uncertainty shrinking at locations close to the design points. This paper develops a weighted projection approach that more effectively uses information in the GP model, together with two computational implementations. The first is isotonic regression on a grid, while the second is projection onto a cone of monotone splines, which alleviates problems encountered in a grid-based approach. Simulations show the monotone B-spline metamodel gives particularly good results.

In “Sliced Full Factorial-Based Latin Hypercube Designs as a Framework for a Batch Sequential Design Algorithm,” Weitao Duan, Bruce E. Ankenman, Susan M. Sanchez, and Paul J. Sanchez develop a method for more efficiently fitting complex models such as finite element or discrete event simulations. To reduce experimental effort, sequential design strategies allow experimenters to collect data only until some measure of prediction precision is reached. The authors’ batch sequential experiment design method uses sliced full factorial-based Latin hypercube designs, which are extensions of sliced orthogonal array-based Latin hypercube designs. At all stages of the sequential design, their approach achieves good univariate projection properties, and the structure of their designs tends to produce uniformity in higher dimensions, which results in the excellent sampling and fitting properties the authors demonstrate with empirical and theoretical arguments.

In “Optimization of Multi-Fidelity Computer Experiments via the EQIE Criterion,” Xu He, Rui Tuo, and C. F. Jeff Wu address the problem of Gaussian process-based optimization for multi-fidelity deterministic computer experiments having tunable levels of accuracy. They propose an optimization scheme that sequentially adds new computer runs based on two sampling criteria. Their first expected quantile improvement criterion scores the desirability of candidate inputs for a fixed accuracy level of the simulator, and their second expected quantile improvement efficiency criterion scores the desirability of candidate combinations of inputs in conjunction with simulator accuracy level. The latter allows not only the inputs, but also the simulator accuracy level, to be strategically chosen for the next round of simulation. Their approach is shown to outperform the popular expected improvement criterion.

In “Calibration of Stochastic Computer Simulators Using Likelihood Emulation,” Jeremy E. Oakley and Benjamin D. Youngman combine simulation and physical experimental data in the so-called calibration problem, which involves modeling the difference or discrepancy between physical reality and its imperfect representation embodied by the simulation. Their focus is on stochastic computer simulation models in which each run takes perhaps one or two minutes. They combine a Gaussian process emulator of the likelihood surface with importance sampling, such that changing the discrepancy specification changes only the importance weights. One major benefit of this is that it allows a range of discrepancy models to be investigated with little additional computational effort, which is important because it is difficult to know the structure of the discrepancy in advance. The approach is illustrated with a case study of a natural history model that has been used to characterize UK bowel cancer incidence.

In “Design and Analysis of Experiments on Non-Convex Regions,” Matthew T. Pratola, Ofir Harari, Derek Bingham, and Gwenn E. Flowers present a new approach for modeling a response in the commonly occurring but under-investigated situation in which the design region is non-convex, for which current tools are limited. The authors’ new method for selecting design points over non-convex regions is based on the application of multidimensional scaling to the geodesic distance. Optimal designs for prediction are described, with special emphasis on Gaussian process models, followed by a simulation study and an application in glaciology.

In “Nonstationary Gaussian Process Models Using Spatial Hierarchical Clustering from Finite Differences,” Matthew J. Heaton, William F. Christensen, and Maria A. Terres consider the modeling of large spatial data having nonstationarity over the spatial domain, which is frequently encountered in science and engineering problems. The computational expense of Gaussian process modeling can be prohibitive in these situations. To perform computationally feasible inference, the authors partition the spatial region into disjoint sets using hierarchical clustering of observations with finite differences in the response as a measure of dissimilarity. Intuitively, directions with large finite differences indicate directions of rapid increase or decrease and are, therefore, appropriate for partitioning the spatial region. After clustering, a nonstationary Gaussian process model is fit across the clusters in a manner that allows the computational burden of model fitting to be distributed across multiple cores and nodes. The methodology is motivated and illustrated using digital temperature data across the city of Houston.

The next three papers develop tools that advance the design and analysis of physical experiments by harnessing modern computational capabilities. In “Benefits and Fast Construction of Efficient Two-Level Foldover Designs,” Anna Errore, Bradley Jones, William Li, and Christopher J. Nachtsheim further substantiate recent arguments that small foldover designs offer advantages in two-level screening experiments. In addition, the authors develop a fast algorithm for constructing efficient two-level foldover designs and show they have superior efficiency for estimating the main effects model. Moreover, their algorithmic approach allows fast construction of designs with many more factors and/or runs. A useful feature of their compromise algorithm is it allows a practitioner to choose among many alternative designs, balancing the tradeoff between efficiency of the main effect estimates vs. correlation and confounding of the two-factor interactions.

In “Two-Level Designs to Estimate All Main Effects and Two-Factor Interactions,” Pieter T. Eendebak and Eric D. Schoen investigate the related problem of designing two-level experiments large enough to estimate all main effects and two-factor interactions. The effect hierarchy principle often suggests that main effect estimation should be given more prominence than the estimation of two-factor interactions, and orthogonal arrays favor main effect estimation. However, recognizing that complete enumeration of orthogonal arrays is infeasible in many practical settings, the authors develop a partial enumeration procedure and establish upper bounds on the D-efficiency for the interaction model based on arrays that have not been generated by the partial enumeration. Their optimal design algorithm generates designs that give smaller standard errors for the main effects, at the expense of worse D-efficiencies for the interaction model, relative to D-optimal designs. Their generated designs for 7–10 factors and 32–72 runs are smaller or have a higher D-efficiency than the smallest orthogonal arrays from the literature.

In “Joint Identification of Location and Dispersion Effects in Unreplicated Two-Level Factorials,” Andrew J. Henrey and Thomas M. Loughin relax the assumption that the location effects have been identified correctly when estimating dispersion effects in unreplicated factorial designs, violation of which degrades the performance of existing methods. The authors develop a method for joint identification of location and dispersion effects that can reliably identify active effects of both types. A normal-based model containing parameters for effects in both the mean and variance is used and parameters are estimated using maximum likelihood with subsequent effect selection via a specially derived information criterion. The method successfully identifies sensible location-dispersion models missed by methods that rely on sequential estimation of location and dispersion effects.

“Anomaly Detection in Images with Smooth Background via Smooth-Sparse Decomposition,” by Hao Yan, Kamran Paynabar, and Jianjun Shi, tackles the emerging problem of how to analyze high-dimensional streams of image-based inspection data for process monitoring purposes. In manufacturing applications such as steel, composites, and textile production, anomaly detection in noisy images is of special importance. Although several methods exist for image denoising and anomaly detection, most perform denoising and detection sequentially, which affects detection accuracy and efficiency, in addition to being computationally prohibitive for real-time applications. The authors develop a new approach for anomaly detection in noisy images with smooth backgrounds. Termed smooth-sparse decomposition, the approach exploits regularized high-dimensional regression to decompose an image and separate anomalous regions by solving a large-scale optimization problem. Fast algorithms for solving the optimization model are also developed.

In “Estimation of Field Reliability Based on Aggregate Lifetime Data,” Piao Chen and Zhi-Sheng Ye present an approach for fitting distribution models to failure data that are aggregated (with substantial loss of information) in a particular way that is common in reliability databases for complex systems with many components. Instead of individual failure times, each aggregate data point is the sum of a series of collective failures representing the cumulative operating time of one component from system commencement to the last component replacement. This data format differs from traditional lifetime data and makes statistical inference challenging. The authors consider gamma and inverse Gaussian distribution models and develop procedures for point and interval estimation of the parameters, based on the aggregated data.

Biometrics Section News for March

Wed, 03/01/2017 - 6:00am
Edited by Zheyu Wang, Biometrics Section Publications Officer

    The Biometrics Section is looking for volunteers to help chair a session at this year’s JSM. Chairing a session is an important responsibility and a great way to meet your colleagues. If you are interested, contact our section’s 2017 Program Chair, Barbara Engelhardt.

    Interested in Getting More Involved?

    Want to get more involved in the Biometrics Section? Interested in contributing articles to the Biometrics Section newsletter? Contact the section’s publication officer, Zheyu Wang.

    Strategic Initiatives Grant Awardees

    The Biometrics Section is pleased to announce that the following three proposals have been funded as part of the section’s strategic initiative, “Developing the Next Generation of Biostatisticians”:

    • Stacia DeSantis, The University of Texas School of Public Health, “Developing the Next Generation of Biostatisticians: Leveraging NIH Training Grant Recipients to Perform Outreach in Texas”
    • Lillian Prince, Kent State University, “Biostatistics and Research Awareness Initiatives Network, Inc. (BRAIN)”
    • Kristen McQuerry, University of Kentucky, “Inspiring the Next-Generation Biostatistician”
    2017 Award Winners

    The David P. Byar Young Investigator Award is given annually to a new researcher in the Biometrics Section who presents an original manuscript at the Joint Statistical Meetings. The award commemorates David Byar, a renowned biostatistician who made significant contributions to the development and application of statistical methods during his career at the National Cancer Institute. In addition, the section gives travel awards. This year, we had 52 submissions to the paper competition. We are pleased to announce the following recipients:

    David P. Byar Young Investigator Award

    Edward Kennedy, Carnegie Mellon University, “Robust Estimation and Inference for the Local Instrumental Variable Curve”

    Travel Awards 
    • Joseph Antonelli, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, “Double Robust Matching Estimators for High-Dimensional Confounding Adjustment”
    • Qingpo Cai, Emory University, “Bayesian Variable Selection Over Large-Scale Networks via the Thresholded Graph Laplacian Gaussian Prior with Application to Genomics”
    • Anqi Cheng, University of Washington, “Monotone Distribution Function Estimation in Randomized Trials with Noncompliance”
    • Wenting Cheng, University of Michigan, “Informing a Risk Prediction Model for Binary Outcomes with External Coefficient Information”
    • Chanmin Kim, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, “Bayesian Methods for Multiple Mediators: Relating Principal Stratification and Causal Mediation in the Analysis of Power Plant Emission Controls”
    • Shelley H. Liu, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, “Lagged Kernel Machine Regression for Identifying Time Windows of Susceptibility to Exposures of Complex Metal Mixtures”
    • Krithika Suresh, University of Michigan, “Comparison of Joint Modeling and Landmarking for Dynamic Prediction Under an Illness-Death Model”
    • Guan Yu, State University of New York at Buffalo, “Optimal Sparse Linear Prediction for Block-Missing Multi-Modality Data Without Imputation”
    • Xiang Zhan, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, “A Fast Small-Sample Kernel Independence Test with Application to Microbiome Association Studies”

    2016–2017 Academic Salary Survey

    Wed, 03/01/2017 - 6:00am

    The 2016–2017 academic salary survey includes both faculty and nonfaculty statisticians and biostatisticians. We received responses from 59 institutions in the United States. The data included 1,034 faculty and 149 nonfaculty statisticians, with gender information. The quartiles and 90th percentile for relevant categories are provided in the summary tables.

    Note: The number of categories for “Professor” has been reduced this year to get more stable and reliable summary statistics. Those interested may request the tables using previous years’ categories.

    Faculty Data

    The faculty data set, comprised of 679 males and 355 females, included faculty members in 25 statistics departments (N=473), 20 biostatistics departments (N=412), and 17 math sciences departments (N=149).

    Table 1 summarizes salary information for full-time academic faculty in statistics departments by rank and years in rank, based on a nine-month salary. Table 2 provides similar information for full-time academic faculty in biostatistics departments, but is based on a 12-month salary. Table 3 summarizes salary information on full-time academic faculty in the mathematical sciences departments by rank, based on a nine-month salary. A few cases of statistics and mathematical sciences faculty with 12-month salaries were adjusted down by a factor of one-fourth, and a few cases of biostatistics faculty with nine-month salaries were adjusted up by a factor of one-third. Tables 4, 5, and 6 provide similar percentiles for the groups in Tables 1, 2, and 3, respectively, stratified by gender. Tables 8, 9, and 10 were added this year to provide salary information by tenure status.

    Nonfaculty Data

    The nonfaculty data set included 149 observations from 24 institutions, with 37 at the doctoral level and 112 at the master’s level. Of the 149 individuals, there were 120 from biostatistics departments, 28 from statistics departments, and one from mathematical sciences. Table 7 provides their salary distribution, stratified by highest degree (master’s or doctorate) and years since earning the highest degree.

    2018 ASA Board of Directors Candidates

    Wed, 03/01/2017 - 6:00am

    The ASA announces the selection of candidates for the 2017 election. The winning candidates’ terms will begin in 2018. Make sure to look for your ballots in your email inbox and vote early. Voting begins at 12:01 ET March 15 and ends at 11:59 p.m. PT on May 1. Complete candidate biographies can be read on the ASA website.

    Running for President-Elect
      David L. Banks

      Professor of the Practice, Department of Statistical Science, Duke University

      I have been fortunate to have had a checkered career. It has exposed me to a wide range of statistical activity, mostly at universities and federal agencies. But my first job out of college was doing statistical analyses for a government contractor, which is how I learned what I wanted to be.

      David L. Banks

      From graduate school forward, the ASA has been a presence in my professional life. I joined in 1980, attended my first Joint Statistical Meetings in 1982, and am happy to have been at every JSM since Philadelphia in 1984. The ASA is my community, and the friendships I have found within it have enriched my life.
      The American Statistical Association is 177 years old. It is a social machine built by generations of statisticians to achieve two purposes: to advance our profession and to advance our careers. In terms of the first goal, the ASA has had many successes—it has distinguished statisticians from mathematicians, enabled and empowered the federal statistical agencies, and brought statistical thinking into the high-school curriculum.

      But challenges change. I believe the hurdles ahead are to ensure that public policy is based upon data, rather than politics, that we strategically redefine our relationship with the emerging data science community, and that we help the general citizenship to see us as somewhat cooler and a bit more trustworthy then they presently do.

      In terms of the second goal, the ASA has been strikingly successful in fostering careers. Compared to many other fields, we are, on median, well compensated and enjoy high levels of job satisfaction. But we need to do more to raise the floor. And, since careers at different stages use the ASA’s assets in different ways, we need to clue in junior colleagues on how the ASA can help leverage professional growth.

      One of the joys of our profession is that, compared to other sciences, we are relatively diverse in gender and employment (besides academics and industry, we are prominent in government). We must work to build that out more. If elected as ASA president, I would use the office to further our field and to help others advance.

      Statistics has pivoted from mathematics toward applications (we are a big tent, and there will always be need for deep theory, but our world is bigger than that). We must provide capacity to support that change. For example, I believe MS and PhD students (and everyone else) should have easier opportunities to learn the modern heavy-lifting Big Data programming languages, such as Spark. The ASA can help that happen. Also, I believe that our publication system no longer efficiently serves our science—I have an extended rant on this that appeared in Amstat News #424—and I shall urge the ASA to modernize.

      Those who know me know that I would be an active president. The office is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work with some of the best people on the planet to make our profession stronger. I could never waste that “chance.”

      Karen Kafadar

      Chair and Commonwealth Professor, Department of Statistics, University of Virginia

      “… [A]s new discoveries are made, new truths discovered, and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

      Karen Kafadar

      I am pleased to run for ASA president at a time when our strategic plan goals—enhancing diversity and breadth of our association, increasing visibility of our profession, and ensuring our future—are as urgent as they have ever been. But the “circumstances” that drive our goals have changed: We face complex challenges and we “must advance also to keep pace with the times.”


      Our profession faces threats in many fields (data science, psychology, economics, bioinformatics) whose training may include casual brushes with statistics. This has created populations of self-proclaimed statisticians who can sideline us in critical research areas unless we actively change our approach to statistical education and our response to society’s needs to be more relevant to today’s demand for solutions to complex multifaceted problems.
      Complex problems—such as detecting emerging epidemics, ensuring food safety, protecting our communications, and establishing reliable standards—cannot be solved by single individuals. More urgently, we need to anticipate these needs before others capitalize on our delay and develop attractive, but flawed, approaches. These challenges require diverse talents that include domain scientists and the best statistical solutions from statisticians whom we attract to our field and prepare to face big problems.

      The ASA must create ways to forecast these tsunamis of change, identify our present and future statisticians to address them, and assist our members in developing data-based solutions that require our statistical expertise.

      Teams for Complex Problems

      These challenges present opportunities to promote our profession and to grow our field, both in numbers of statisticians and in the nature and quality of research solutions that define us. In my experience, statisticians have been critical components of teams that address problems in academe, industry (HP), and government (NIST, NCI). All too often, this involvement arises by serendipity. Two examples are the 2009 NAS [National Academies of Science] report on forensic science and the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] climate change reports; on both, the ASA reinforced statisticians’ roles by keeping the topics on congressional and media radar screens. We need to develop further mechanisms to both forecast areas of change and respond to them while we continue to build on our past successes.

      Engaging Our Sections and Chapters

      We can start by mobilizing the talent in our sections and chapters. In education, many ASA chapters have active connections with their local schools and universities. Our future ASA members will come from diverse populations only if they can identify with those they see today. The [ASA] Board and I can work with ASA chapters to support good role models on their outreach visits to local colleges, elementary [schools], and high schools. Next, experts in sections’ disciplines such as the sciences, health care, and computing can easily identify critical problems within their domains. The ASA can mobilize teams to match these problems with scientific and statistical expertise and initiate mechanisms to tackle them.

      The Next Statistical Frontiers

      The age of self-contained problems solved by analyzing a few data sets is rapidly being replaced by global challenges that span multiple disciplines whose diverse data demand a myriad of methodological approaches. We must design mechanisms so our engagement on important complex problems is more likely and timely than mere serendipity, and then deliver results. I am honored by the opportunity to serve the ASA as president, and will work with the diversity of expertise and talent in our association to develop ways to better enable us to identify, mobilize, support, and encourage our members to work on important problems and, in so doing, learn from all of you as well.

        Running for Vice President
          Lorraine Denby

          Principal, Murray Hill Data Science

          My history within the ASA has been that, when elected to an office, I have created initiatives that make a lasting mark on our profession, raised the funds as needed, and carried them out to fruition. Some of these initiatives are still in place today. I would be grateful to have this opportunity again as your vice president.

          Lorraine Denby

          For example, you may not know the history of As representative to the Council of Sections in the mid-90s, I decided that it was time for the ASA to have a web presence. I approached the board and got its approval, but no financial assistance. I then approached each section for a donation toward the project, raised over $30k, formed the committee, and voila! was born. By the way, our first URL choice ( was already taken. Many kudos to my great committee as I did not have the talents to do this on my own. Our design and initial server stayed in place for many years.

          As chair of the Graphics Section, I initiated the student poster competition where elementary and high-school students pose a question of interest, collect and analyze the related data, and display the results in a poster. I got the idea by attending an ISI conference in Tokyo. Such a contest was in place in Japan, where over 10k students submitted entries. The winning posters were displayed at JSM. I arranged an opening reception and invited the ambassador from Japan to attend. We were honored by the vice ambassador. The most recent poster winners were featured in August 2016 Amstat News.

          The first ASA Data Expo presented a data set for members to analyze and display their results in a poster session at JSM. It was an artificial data set that, when projected the right way, displayed the word eureka. I decided that it would be a more meaningful exercise if we used real data. Thus, for the next several years, I chaired the Data Expo and obtained real data to be analyzed: crab fishery data from Alaska Fish and Wildlife, places rated data from the Places Rated Almanac, and baseball salary data. I even arranged for crab legs to be donated from Alaska and put on a crab dinner for those who participated. The Data Expo continued for 30 years, until 2013, and featured the analysis of real data.

          But, these are examples from the past. What would I like to do in the future?

          Increase public and business awareness of statistics. Anyone who has a computer with some number crunching software feels that he/she can analyze data properly. My daughter worked at a business intelligence company. When she tried to convince them to hire someone with training in statistics, they felt there was no need for that since she could fill that bill with her two statistics courses in college. Yet, their business was based on the analysis of Big Data sets and advising clients about important business decisions based on this analysis. This situation is all too common. We need to develop a program to educate businesses about the need for trained statisticians and the benefits they could reap by hiring them.

          Sustainability of our society. Of the 7,000 JSM participants last year, about 1,500 were students. But, do the students continue to join the ASA upon reaching the business world? For the most part, not a large enough percentage does. We need to develop programs that will interest students in continuing their membership and becoming active members of our society. We can run focus groups for students at JSM. Doing so will give us ideas to implement so the ASA will better meet their needs. I will also work with our chapters to encourage and support them in sponsoring local meetups, targeting JSM first-timers or potential members.

          Webinars are a popular vehicle these days for conducting meetings and training. We could add more of them to our offerings. Be assured that, if elected, I will initiate one or more programs that will have lasting value to our society and profession. I hope you will provide me that opportunity.

          Katherine Monti

          Retired from Rho, Inc.

          I am indeed honored to be considered to be a vice president of the ASA. The field of statistics has come a long way since I joined the ASA in 1975 (two years before John Tukey formally introduced box and whisker plots in his Exploratory Data Analysis). The association has come a long way, too. Neither statistics nor the ASA will stop changing, and that’s a good thing.

          Katherine Monti

          The ASA is always changing as the membership grows. But the association not only needs new statisticians, the world needs more statisticians. Encouraging students to become statisticians has been a continuing goal for many of us. To this end, I have enjoyed giving talks at career nights, hosting career-oriented roundtables, and contributing to the Amstat News career-oriented series (A Day in the Life of a Statistician and STATtr@k).

          The Biopharmaceutical Section’s pharmaceutical statisticians video has demonstrated that outreach efforts really work to attract young folks to the field. Reaching out works! But we have to keep finding new and engaging ways to encourage students to play in all corners of our diverse professional sandbox, or to at least let them know about statistics, because even those who choose other careers need to know at least some statistics!

          Encouraging the appropriate application of statistics is another crucial challenge. I have seen a legal case partially derailed by a PhD nonstatistician with his own way of thinking about data, an MD nonstatistician achieve significance in a clinical trial by treating the three-month data and the six-month data on the same patients as independent results, and, well, we all have our horror stories. Even daily news reports can give us pause: Did that study in the headlines control for the covariates that bias the results if not taken into account? All too frequently, the answer is no.

          As our Big Tent for Statistics grows even wider, we need to work on “Big Education” and “Big Communication” regarding the principles of design, the methods of analysis, and the ethical and valid interpretation of results. What types of programs increase our numbers and expand the appropriate use of statistics in applications?

          Many academic programs now incorporate supervised consulting experience into interdisciplinary consulting labs, some of which contribute to training of statisticians in developing countries. The ASA has backed pro bono efforts such as the student-run StatCom (Statistics in the Community) and the outreach group Statistics without Borders. The newly instituted ThisIsStatistics campaign uses social media to encourage the exploration of statistics, and expanding the use of podcasts is one of the strategic initiatives of 2017 ASA President Barry Nussbaum. All of these efforts demonstrate our commitment to encouraging interest in the field and in the sound use of statistics. Tweets, podcasts, Facebook, Pinterest, K–12 online resources—the association is evolving with the times and will necessarily continue to do so. The ASA has a lot to tackle as it continues to evolve, so a broad perspective is valuable.

          The job portion of my (very rewarding) career has taken me from academia to non-pharma industry to devices to pharmaceuticals (at a sponsor and then at a CRO), with some additional consulting along the way. The equally rewarding service portion of my career includes diverse leadership roles in ASA chapters, committees, sections, and the board. If elected, I look forward to bringing all these perspectives to serve the ASA as it moves forward. Member input is always highly valued, so please share your ideas with any of those serving on the ASA Board. Remember: Voting in the ASA election is an important form of input!

            Running for COSGB Representative to the Board
              John L. Czajka

              Senior Fellow, Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.

              I would be honored to serve as one of the Council of Section’s representatives to the board of directors. As a recent chair of the Council of Sections, an earlier vice chair, and a former officer in three sections, I believe that I am well prepared to represent the sections on the ASA Board of Directors.

              John L. Czajka

              Under the first of three themes, “Fulfilling Our Role as ‘The Big Tent for Statistics,’” the ASA’s Strategic Plan observes that a strength of the association is its mix of members from education, business and industry, and government. Students have provided the largest source of growth in ASA membership for a number of years, but retention of student members once they complete their degrees has been low. Retaining members who leave academia may pose the greatest challenge, but is critical to maintaining the diversity of our membership and achieving other goals of the association. One of my priorities as a member of the board of directors would be to expand the ASA’s efforts to retain those former student members who have begun careers in business and industry and government. This must go hand-in-hand with continuing to support our strong academic membership.

              Under the second theme of “Increasing the Visibility of the Profession,” I strongly support the ASA’s efforts to “promote the value of sound statistical practice” in policymaking. The importance of increasing the visibility of our association and profession will undoubtedly grow in the next few years. I commend the ASA for its initiatives in this area, which include the preparation of white papers, advocacy in support of the federal statistical system and major research budgets, the release of policy statements, and the development of resources for policymakers. As a participant in the public policy arena professionally, I would work as a board member to enhance these activities.

              As one who has been active in sections from early on, I am puzzled that fewer than half of the ASA’s members belong to sections. We need to understand why this is so and whether greater participation in sections is a goal that the ASA should pursue. For starters, I would work with the ASA to determine how we could enhance our membership data to enable us to better address fundamental questions about participation in sections. For example, how many of those who do not belong to sections once did so—and for how long? More effectively serving our membership may very well involve an expanded role for the sections.

              The ASA has been a keystone of my professional life for more than 30 years. I would welcome the opportunity to share my extensive experience by serving on the association’s board of directors.

              Katherine Halvorsen

              Professor of Mathematics and Statistics, Smith College

              My primary concern for our profession is that we continue to promote awareness of the essential importance of statistics in natural and social science research, as well as in the public sphere, including government, industry, and education. The ASA’s strategic plan addresses my concern through its emphasis on membership growth in both numbers and diversity and on education from kindergarten through 12th grade, through post-graduate continuing education, and through outreach to special groups such as journalists and Capitol Hill staff. I strongly support the ASA’s work on the undergraduate curriculum, the statistical education of teachers, and outreach to K–12 teachers through Meeting Within a Meeting.

              Katherine Halvorsen

              Having served as chair of the Council of Sections, I have worked with groups applying to become new sections, as well as with the established sections, all of whom are concerned about having opportunities for their members to present invited sessions, panels, posters, and short courses at JSM. The proliferation of new sections fits neatly into the ASA’s goal of being “The Big Tent for Statistics,” encouraging a broadening and diversification of membership, but becomes unwieldy when we have to find opportunities for these groups to present at JSM. We need to find additional opportunities for members to present their work and network with others who share their interests. This might come through new specialized conferences (such as the Conference on Statistical Practice or Women in Statistics and Data Science), journals, webinars, or even newsletters. I would like to work with the board of directors to address these issues.

              I would be honored to serve as one of the Council of Section’s representatives to the ASA Board of Directors. I have been a member of the association since the 1980s and have served as chair and vice-chair of both the Council of Sections and the Advisory Committee on Continuing Education. I currently serve on the Leadership Support Council.

                Running for COCGB Representative to the Board
                  Donsig Jang

                  Vice President and Director, Center for Excellence in Survey Research, NORC at the University of Chicago

                  If elected to serve as a Council of Chapters representative to the board, I will work with other board members to support ASA to have a strategic plan (Enhancing the Diversity and Breadth of Our Association) well implemented. I strongly believe that this data-driven world brings us statisticians an exciting opportunity to bring our value to help improve every part of our lives. But it won’t happen without efforts.

                  Donsig Jang

                  As an applied statistician working in an environment with subject-matter researchers who are often highly quantitative, I strongly feel that real value statisticians should be able to bring to is not just statistical method, but statistical lens to solve problems. It requires understanding of fields we are working on, communications skills to converse with clients and collaborators in the field, and proactive leaderships to work together with team members.

                  I often made a joke that statistical value for a given project is not defined by a statistician, but by a project director or subject-matter expert. It’s largely true to many statisticians almost everywhere. I hope that the ASA provides necessary supports to members to help them have a right mindset as a statistician.

                  Another area I would like to work with other board members in is to help broaden statistics to embrace machine learning and other computation disciplines. In this Big Data era, it is our obligation to have statistical principles continue to be relevant in extracting right information from messy data. It needs an effort to have statistical methods bridged with computer science perspectives. I hope that the ASA will become a professional home for data scientists in coming years.

                  Last, ASA members have become diversified in many different ways in recent years. But there are many professionals who were trained in statistics or similar quantitative disciplines, but are not ASA members. I will work with the ASA Board to have ASA outreach to them, particularly those who are in nonacademic fields.

                  In closing, it is an honor and privilege to get nominated as a candidate for COCGB. I will continue to support ASA strategic plan and serve for whatever capacity I am allowed, regardless of this election outcome.

                  Alexander Cambon

                  Mathematical Statistician, U.S. Food and Drug Administration

                  “A strength of the ASA is the mix of members from business/industry, government, and education …” (From Theme 1, ASA Strategic Plan). It has been my good fortune to work in all three of these categories due to my involvement in the ASA.

                  Alexander Cambon

                  In 1996, when I joined the ASA, I was a statistician teaching and implementing statistical process control, experiment design, and reliability testing in an industrial/manufacturing setting. ASA meetings and JSM increased my awareness of the growing field of biostatistics and clinical trials. I eventually became a biostatistician at the University of Louisville (U of L) Statistical Consulting Center. My connections in the ASA Kentucky Chapter played a vital role in facilitating this career opportunity. I went to meetings because I enjoyed the talks, and I enjoyed getting to know statisticians and their different areas of work. This type of informal setting can be an important part of networking and career building.

                  Many of us can probably think of ways ASA involvement has influenced/enhanced our careers. The membership fee is definitely a high-return investment. In telling our stories, let’s get the word out to “make the value of long-term membership evident to all groups that are well represented or ought to be well represented among ASA membership.” Strategies in the plan include expanding “our market research capabilities to provide more and better data about the needs and interests of members and potential members.”

                  Diversity has been a key part of my life. My father was an immigrant from Italy, where I lived when I was very young. After college, I served as a water resource and health development engineer in a small village in Burkina Faso, West Africa, for 2.5 years. Later, work took me overseas to teach short courses in reliability engineering. I then went to a Chinese school in Louisville to attain an intermediate speaking level in Chinese. The University of Louisville was a very diverse environment and I had many opportunities to practice Chinese on the bus or at work.

                  As part of my role as a biostatistician at U of L, I often organized local ASA chapter meetings, scheduled speakers, and attended JSM to present topics and attend ASA meetings as a chapter representative. In 2010, with help from members of the Cincinnati and Kentucky chapters, I organized a joint traveling course for the Kentucky and Cincinnati chapters. Joint meetings such as this were very popular and provided additional opportunities to connect. Afterward, I served as District 2 vice chair, Council of Chapters Governing Board. In this capacity, I endeavored to help the chapters that were more isolated by utilizing resources from ASA headquarters, as well as resources from/connections with other chapters.

                  The strength of local chapters and JSM also enhances the ASA’s ability to invest in and support another theme in the strategic plan: “Increasing the Visibility of Our Profession.” In today’s climate more than ever, our profession has vital input into increasingly complex areas of data science and analytics. Tools such as and are two of many ways the ASA is using to elevate public awareness.

                  I am honored to be a candidate for the COCGB representative to the ASA Board of Directors. If elected, I will be an advocate for local chapters through my membership in the Council of Chapters and the COCGB. I will work to see that appropriate parts of the strategic plan (examples are highlighted above) are implemented to “make the value of long-term membership evident to all groups that are well represented or ought to be well represented among ASA membership.”

                    Running for Publications Representative to the Board
                      Scott Evans

                      Senior Research Scientist, Center for Biostatistics in AIDS Research/Department of Biostatistics, Harvard University

                      It is an exciting and important time for statistics and the ASA. Rapidly evolving access to data and advances in science and technologies create many challenges. But these challenges are also unprecedented opportunities to advance science, education, and policy through discoveries that can change the world to better serve society.

                      Scott Evans

                      Statistics is a common denominator for much of science. We must strengthen our relationships and communications with data experts in other disciplines and the broader scientific community, media, and public. We must evolve with the data science and Big Data revolutions, promoting statistics at the core of these progressions.

                      The need for statistical expertise and leadership has never been greater. The ASA plays an indispensable leadership role as the preeminent professional association for statistics. The ASA’s Strategic Plan outlines three foundational themes. The first is enhancing ASA diversity and strength through membership, professional development, and publications. The ASA has more than 19,000 members with increasing student and senior memberships. Effort is needed to attract regular members.

                      ASA publications have prestigious worldwide reputations and are a major asset to the profession and the ASA. But publications face modern challenges: transition to electronic/open access introducing financial viability issues with reduced individual subscriptions; an irreproducibility pandemic where statistics is often the scapegoat; journal proliferation threatening quality and citation rates; and slow review processes. The ASA must proactively address these issues. It is a time of great change and promise for publications. The ASA can modernize processes to maintain publication quality, utility, and relevancy with continued transitioning to electronic/open distribution while responsibly addressing the implications. New publication/peer-review models (e.g., living/collaborative documents) that exploit technology to increase access and improve functionality (e.g., rapid reviews) are emerging and can be evaluated. The ASA and social media can engage members in the process. The ASA must seek balance, providing a vibrant journal portfolio that serves the diverse needs of ASA members while protecting against journal proliferation to ensure quality and impact. ASA publications also have the opportunity and responsibility to provide leadership and infrastructure for scientific issue positioning (e.g., ASA’s statement on statistical significance and p-values).

                      A second theme is ensuring the future of our profession through education, leadership development, and sound fiscal strategy. It is critical that the ASA help lead the transformation of statistics education and teaching in the K–12 and college levels to improve the statistical literacy of society. We must also improve training of our future generations of statisticians, focusing not only on fundamentals, but also on leadership, supporting intangible skills, and creative thinking (i.e., thinking first and then researching and executing). Learning statistics is one thing, but learning to be a statistician is another.

                      The final theme is increasing the visibility and appreciation of our profession through public awareness, impact on policy, and contributions to interdisciplinary collaborations. The statistical ambassadors program that trains statisticians to communicate with the media plays a crucial role. Expanding our role and impact in science policy is paramount. The ASA now provides leadership and an infrastructure for impacting areas such as climate change and forensics. While interaction with other disciplines is natural for statisticians, we must better communicate with collaborators, engaging as thought leaders in addition to technical roles. The perception of statisticians as calculators, service providers, and data warehouses must evolve to innovative strategists and problem solvers that turn information into knowledge to improve decision making.

                      Richard Levine

                      Professor of Statistics, San Diego State University Department of Mathematics and Statistics

                      Over the past 20 years, we have been confronted by a seemingly continuous attempt to rebrand our profession. The buzzwords of metrics (e.g., biometrics, chemometrics, and environmetrics), data mining, informatics, analytics, and now data science hit the scientific community, if not mainstream media, as we grapple with the deluge and complexity of data generated in this information age. The ASA leadership and board of directors have positioned our profession to be at the center of this movement. Recent developments that exemplify these directions include the ThisIsStatistics public relations campaign, data science–oriented curricula guidelines in K–12 and undergraduate statistics programs, PStat and GStat accreditations, and the p-value statement on good statistical practice. The board, and particularly new directors, must stay on top of, and more importantly ahead of, these data science trends.

                      Richard Levine

                      At the heart of the data science evolution are digital technologies that have and will provide awesome new opportunities for ASA publications. These challenges present themselves through dynamic scholarly communication systems: peer review models with quicker turnarounds; open access portals with article/blog feedback and review mechanisms; and reproducible research via seamless dissemination of data, code, and methods. The board will be challenged to meet the diverse statistical needs of our readership and the public broadly while maintaining our reputation for scientific excellence and publications of the highest quality.

                      I would be honored and excited to continue my service to the statistics profession as a member of the ASA Board of Directors. I believe my experience and expertise ideally situates me to represent our publications on the board and collaborate with our membership to shape our initiatives and place statistics as the leader of the data science crusade.

                        ASA Election Candidates List
                          COCGB (Council of Chapters Governing Board)

                          Isaac Nuamah
                          Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical R&D
                          Andrew Reilly

                          Vice-Chair, Region 1, District 1
                          Lynn Sleeper
                          Boston Children Hospital and Harvard Medical School
                          Ofer Harel
                          University of Connecticut

                          Vice-Chair, Region 1, District 2
                          Chandan Saha
                          Indiana University School of Medicine
                          David Fardo
                          University of Kentucky College of Public Health

                          COSGB (Council of Sections Governing Board)

                          Natalie Rotelli
                          Eli Lilly and Company
                          Marlene Egger
                          University of Utah Department of Family and Preventive Medicine

                          Stephine Keeton
                          Pharmaceutical Product Development, Inc.
                          Philip Scinto
                          The Lubrizol Corporation

                          Bayesian Statistical Sciences Section

                          Steven MacEachern
                          The Ohio State University
                          Susan Paddock
                          RAND Corporation

                          Program Chair-Elect
                          Robert B. Gramacy
                          Virginia Tech
                          Christopher Hans
                          The Ohio State University

                          Publication Officer
                          Anirban Battacharya
                          Texas A&M University
                          Xinyi Xu
                          The Ohio State University

                          Biometrics Section

                          Sheng Luo
                          The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
                          Candidate withdrew

                          Council of Sections Representative
                          Dipankar Bandyopadhyay
                          Virginia Commonwealth University
                          Jay Bartroff
                          University of Southern California

                          Biopharmaceutical Section

                          Xiaohui (Ed) Luo
                          PTC Therapeutics
                          Richard C. Zink
                          SAS Institute

                          Program Chair-Elect
                          Margaret Gamalo-Siebers
                          Eli Lilly and Company
                          Judy Li
                          U.S. Food and Drug Administration

                          Ugochi Emeribe
                          AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals
                          Janelle K. Charles
                          U.S. Food and Drug Administration

                          Council of Sections Representative
                          Jennifer Gauvin
                          Novartis Pharmaceutical Corporation
                          Brian Millen
                          Eli Lilly and Company

                          Business and Economic Statistics Section

                          Peter Zadrozny
                          Bureau of Labor Statistics
                          Erika McEntarfer
                          U.S. Census Bureau

                          Program Chair-Elect
                          Marina Gindelsky
                          Bureau of Economic Analysis
                          Mariana Saenz
                          Georgia Southern University

                          Government Statistics Section

                          Michael Messner
                          Environmental Protection Agency
                          Elizabeth Mannshardt
                          U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

                          Program Chair-Elect
                          Jeffrey Gonzalez
                          Bureau of Labor Statistics
                          Jonathan Lyle Auerbach
                          Columbia University

                          Health Policy Statistics Section

                          Ofer Harel
                          University of Connecticut
                          Ruth Etzioni
                          Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

                          Medical Devices and Diagnostics Section

                          Zhen Zhang
                          Abbott Vascular
                          Beimar Iriarte
                          Abbott Laboratories

                          Program Chair-Elect
                          Gerry Gray
                          Data-Fi, LLC
                          Martin Ho
                          Center for Devices and Radiological Health

                          Mental Health Statistics Section

                          Booil Jo
                          Stanford University School of Medicine
                          Satesh Iyengar
                          University of Pittsburgh

                          Program Chair-Elect
                          Dulal Bhaumik
                          University of Illinois at Chicago
                          Ramzi Nahhas
                          Wright State University

                          Nonparametric Statistics Section

                          Piotr Fryzlewicz
                          London School of Economics
                          Dimitris Politis
                          University of California, San Diego

                          Program Chair-Elect
                          Richard Samworth
                          University of Cambridge
                          Bing Li
                          Penn State University

                          Limin Peng
                          Emory University
                          Yoonkyung Lee
                          The Ohio State University

                          Publications Officer
                          Naveen Naidu Narisetty
                          University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
                          Po-Ling Loh
                          University of Wisconsin at Madison

                          Quality and Productivity Section

                          Brian P. Weaver
                          Los Alamos National Laboratory
                          Peng Liu
                          JMP Division, SAS Institute

                          Program Chair-Elect
                          Abdel-Salam Gomaa
                          Qatar University
                          Shan Ba
                          Procter & Gamble

                          Physical and Engineering Sciences Section

                          Byran J. Smucker
                          Miami University
                          Ananda Sen
                          University of Michigan

                          Program Chair-Elect
                          Xinwei Deng
                          Virginia Tech
                          Brad Evans
                          Pfizer, Inc.

                          Jennifer Kensler
                          Shell International Exploration and Production
                          Matthew T. Pratola
                          The Ohio State University

                          Risk Analysis Section

                          Jing Zhang
                          Miami University
                          Susan Simmons
                          North Carolina State University

                          Program Chair-Elect
                          Aric LaBarr
                          North Carolina State University
                          Jiwei Zhao
                          SUNY at Buffalo

                          Piaomu Liu
                          Bentley University
                          Christopher Sroka
                          New Mexico State University

                          Publications Officer
                          Lingling An
                          The University of Arizona
                          Maria Barouti
                          American University

                          Council of Sections Representative
                          Alexandra Kapatou
                          American University
                          Edsel Pena
                          University of South Carolina

                          Social Statistics Section

                          Tim Liao
                          University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
                          Trudi Renwick
                          U.S. Census Bureau
                          Eileen O’Brien
                          U.S. Energy Information Administration

                          Program Chair-Elect
                          Stephanie Ewert
                          U.S. Census Bureau
                          Candidate withdrew

                          Yulei He
                          National Center for Health Statistics
                          Stephanie Eckman
                          RTI International
                          Jiashen You
                          Department of Homeland Security and The George Washington University

                          Statistical Computing Section

                          Wendy Martinez
                          Bureau of Labor Statistics
                          David Hunter
                          Penn State University

                          Program Chair-Elect
                          Usha Govindarajulu
                          SUNY Downstate Medical Center
                          Sebastian Kurtek
                          The Ohio State University

                          Matthias Katzfuss
                          Texas A&M University
                          Jared Murray
                          Carnegie Mellon University

                          Council of Sections Representative
                          David van Dyk
                          Imperial College London
                          Rajib Paul
                          Western Michigan University

                          Statistical Consulting Section

                          Jonathan Mahnken
                          University of Kansas Medical Center
                          LeAnna Stork

                          Mekibib Altaye
                          Cincinnati Children’s Hospital
                          Chris Barker
                          Statistical Planning and Analysis Services, Inc.

                          Council of Sections Representative
                          Hsin-Yi (Cindy) Weng
                          University of Utah
                          Hrishikesh Chakraborty
                          University of South Carolina

                          Executive Committee at Large
                          Jason Machan
                          Lifespan Hospital System
                          Wei-Ting Hwang
                          University of Pennsylvania

                          Statistical Education Section

                          Mine Çetinkaya-Rundel
                          Duke University
                          Roger Woodard
                          North Carolina State University

                          Council of Sections Representative
                          Matt Hayat
                          Georgia State University
                          Adam Sullivan
                          Brown University

                          Executive Committee at Large
                          Leigh Johnson
                          Capital University
                          Sharon Lane-Getaz
                          St. Olaf College
                          Weiwen Miao
                          Haverford College
                          Cassandra Pattanayak
                          Wellesley College

                          Statistical Graphics Section

                          Dianne Cook
                          Monash University
                          Kaiser Fung
                          Columbia University Program
                          Mahbubul Majumder
                          University of Nebraska at Omaha

                          Program Chair-Elect
                          Edward Mulrow
                          NORC at the University of Chicago

                          Publications Officer
                          Joyce Robbins
                          Columbia University and NBR
                          Abbass Sharif
                          University of Southern California

                          Statistical Learning and Data Science Section

                          Heping Zhang
                          Yale University School of Public Health
                          Tian Zheng
                          Columbia University

                          Program Chair-Elect
                          Ali Shojaie
                          University of Washington
                          Vincent Vu
                          The Ohio State University

                          Statistical Programmers and Analysts Section

                          Candidate withdrew
                          Jonathan Lisic
                          National Agricultural Statistics Service

                          Program Chair-Elect
                          William Coar
                          Axio Research
                          Richard Schwinn
                          U.S. Small Business Administration

                          Marianne Miller
                          Eli Lilly and Company
                          Pratheepa Jeganathan
                          Stanford University

                          Amy Gillespie
                          Merck & Co., Inc.
                          Michael Yingling
                          Washington University School of Medicine

                          Publications Officer
                          Enayetur Raheem
                          Carolinas HealthCare System
                          Tasneem Zaihra
                          SUNY Brockport

                          Statistics and the Environment Section

                          Christopher Wikle
                          University of Missouri – Columbia
                          Jarrett Barber
                          Northern Arizona University

                          Program Chair-Elect
                          Will Kleiber
                          University of Colorado, Boulder
                          Alexandra Schmidt
                          McGill University

                          Maria Terres
                          The Climate Corporation
                          Ying Sun
                          King Abdullah University of Science and Technology

                          Publications Chair-Elect
                          Oksana Chkrebtii
                          The Ohio State University
                          K. Sham Bhat
                          Los Alamos National Laboratory

                          Council of Sections Representative
                          Jenise Swall
                          Virginia Commonwealth University
                          Wendy Meiring
                          University of California, Santa Barbara

                          Statistics in Defense and National Security Section

                          Jane Pinelis
                          The Johns Hopkins University
                          Taps Maiti
                          Michigan State University

                          Program Chair-Elect
                          Erin Hodgess
                          University of Houston
                          Kassandra Fronczyk
                          Institute for Defense Analyses

                          Statistics in Epidemiology Section

                          Jing Cheng
                          University of California, San Francisco
                          Kathleen Jablonski
                          The George Washington University

                          Program Chair-Elect
                          Yingqi Zhao
                          Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
                          Veronica Berrocal
                          University of Michigan

                          Publications Officer
                          Yan Ma
                          The George Washington University
                          Colin Fogarty
                          MIT Sloan School of Management

                          Council of Sections Representative
                          Rebecca Yates Coley
                          Group Health Research Institute
                          Nandita Mitra
                          University of Pennsylvania

                          Statistics in Genomics and Genetics Section

                          Dan Nicolae
                          The University of Chicago
                          Dan Nettleton
                          Iowa State University

                          Program Chair-Elect
                          Hongkai Ji
                          The Johns Hopkins University
                          Li-Xuan Qin
                          Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

                          Council of Sections Representative
                          Pei Wang
                          Mount Sinai School of Medicine
                          Peng Wei
                          MD Anderson Cancer Center

                          Statistics in Imaging Section

                          Xi Luo
                          Brown University
                          Bin Nan
                          University of Michigan
                          Hernando Ombao
                          University of California at Irvine

                          Program Chair-Elect
                          Nicole Carlson
                          University of Colorado
                          Linglong Kong
                          University of Alberta
                          Ting-Ting Zhang
                          University of Virginia

                          Council of Sections Representative
                          Amanda Mejia
                          Indiana University
                          Dana Tudorascu
                          University of Pittsburgh

                          Statistics in Marketing Section

                          Lynd Bacon
                          Loma Buena Associates, Northwestern University, Notre Dame University
                          Victoria Gamerman
                          Boehringer-Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

                          Program Chair-Elect
                          Tim Trudell
                          Sarjinder Singh
                          Texas A&M University-Kingsville

                          Hiya Banerjee
                          Novartis Pharmaceuticals Inc.
                          Lihang Yin
                          Leaders Financial & Insurance Services, Inc.

                          Statistics in Sports Section

                          Luke Bornn
                          Simon Fraser University
                          Shane Reese
                          Brigham Young University

                          Program Chair-Elect
                          Sam Ventura
                          Carnegie Mellon University
                          Andrew Swift
                          University of Nebraska at Omaha

                          Council of Sections Representative
                          Stephanie Kovalchik
                          Tennis Australia/Victoria University
                          Kenny Shirley

                          Survey Research Methods Section

                          Kennon Copeland
                          NORC at the University of Chicago
                          Mansour Fahimi
                          GfK Custom Research

                          Program Chair-Elect
                          Asaph Young Chun
                          U.S. Census Bureau
                          Michael Sinclair
                          Mathematica Policy Research

                          Safaa Amer
                          RTI International
                          Bo Lu
                          The Ohio State University

                          Council of Sections Representative
                          Jamie Ridenhour
                          RTI International
                          Michael Yang
                          NORC at the University of Chicago

                          Teaching Statistics in the Health Sciences Section

                          Amy Nowacki
                          Cleveland Clinic
                          John McGready
                          Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

                          Member Spotlight: Mohammed Shayib

                          Wed, 03/01/2017 - 6:00am

                          I fled my home town—Alma, Safad, northern Palestine—with my family when I was only 5 years old.

                          This was during the first Arab-Israeli war, in 1948. I made the trip on a cow’s back to southern Lebanon.

                          For the next few years, my family moved from one village to another, seeking a place to make a living. It was then that I started my schooling.

                          It was my father who got me to love mathematics. He helped me memorize the multiplication tables, despite he and my mother never attending school. By the time I made it to sixth grade and was first in my class on the national exam, my family had settled in a village for Palestinian refugees.

                          It was in the village school. There were 30 students, from all grades, and we had one teacher. On my first day of school, I sat on a wooden step-stool, next to the teacher and near the door. Everyone started reading, one by one, and I could not take it. I ran next door to my parents. When my father saw me, he asked, “What are you doing here?” I said, “Everyone is reading except me.” He said I had to wait my turn to read and sent me back, instructing me to tell the teacher I had run to the restroom. I have been studying ever since.

                          It was my father who got me to love mathematics. He helped me memorize the multiplication tables, despite he and my mother never attending school. My half uncles did, so they helped me with reading and writing. By the time I made it to sixth grade and was first in my class on the national exam, my family had settled in a village for Palestinian refugees.

                          Throughout high school, I lived with my uncle and attended several schools in Sidon, Lebanon. During my last year, I went to the National Evangelical Institute, where I graduated among the top four in the class.

                          Thanks to a scholarship from the United Nationals Relief and Works Agency, I went to Ain Shams University in Cairo, Egypt, despite the six-days war in 1967 that interrupted the final exams. I earned my bachelor of science degree in special mathematics with first-class honors. After graduation, I became a full-time teaching assistant in the department of mathematics at the University of Riyadh, in Saudi Arabia. While there, I also earned my master’s degree at the University of Liverpool, UK, and AUB, Beirut, Lebanon.

                          I received my visa to go to the UK in 1970. On my way to buy my airplane ticket, a friend persuaded me to check with the American Friends of the Middle East State Department Agency in Beirut to see if I could get a scholarship to go to the United States. I did. They paid for my airplane ticket, my medical insurance, and my graduate degree for a year. I went on and finished my degree at AUB, Beirut, in August 1972. My thesis was titled “Number Theory: Gaussian Integers as Sums of Squares.” After I finished my master’s degree, I transferred to Texas Tech University and began work on my PhD in mathematics.

                          In early May of 1972, I met my future wife. It took a year to prepare for the wedding, but on August 18, 1974, she became my wife and joined me in El Paso, Texas. We have been married for almost 43 years now.

                          In the summer of 1976, I took a class in sampling theory. The course, instructed by Thomas Boullion, hooked me on statistics. The course was interesting; I like crunching numbers and making sense out of them. I wrote my dissertation on error rates in Poisson discrimination and graduated in 1979.

                          The week I earned my PhD, the chair of the department of mathematics at Texas Tech asked me if I was interested in working at Cottey College, a junior college for women in Nevada, Missouri. I said I was, but I had to go back to Maine and eventually back to Kuwait because of my visa. This was 1980.

                          By 1990, I had two daughters and two sons and had co-authored Applied Statistical Methods.

                          In August of 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait. Because our oldest son was born in America, we were able to evacuate to the United States. We went back to Lubbock, Texas, where I taught for two years before joining Texas Instruments. During my tenure there, I was certified by the American Society for Quality as a Certified Quality Engineer. In 1998, I was laid off, but found a job at Texas Tech as a systems analyst until 2004, when I went to teach at Prairie View A&M University.

                          I retired this past August, but still love to teach statistics. Currently, I am an adjunct faculty member in the department of mathematics at Lone Star College.

                          I contribute to the ASA in memory of my parents, who were committed to me staying in school regardless of our resources. Moreover, it allows the ASA to promote awareness of numbers and data in general. When they are used correctly based on solid procedures, they can lead to a better life.

                          It’s What They Say They Heard

                          Wed, 03/01/2017 - 6:00am

                          ASA President Barry Nussbaum records episode 20, “A Statistician Clears the Air,” of the Stats + Stories podcast. (Courtesy of Stats + Stories)

                            Oh, how I vividly remember bumping into an assistant administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency in the elevator. He was a bit irked that he would be late for an all-day retreat of one of his major offices. Somewhat cynically, I suggested that if he arrived at the one-third point of the day and remarked, “Well, this all seems to boil down to a problem in communications,” he would probably be right on target. By the look on his face, he did not appear any less irked by my wisdom.

                            Several weeks later, when he happened to see me in the hallway, he told me that just before the lunch break at the retreat, one of his division directors stood up and opined that the problem seemed to be one of communications. And yes, this time he had a smile on his face.

                            I even noticed a Washington Post headline on December 27, 2016: Obama Blames Democrats’ November Defeat on Failure to Communicate Effectively. Why is it that lack of proper communications seems to hold up progress on all fronts and throughout all time?

                            I think the problem is particularly serious in our profession. In a data-driven analytic world, there seems to be more and more desire to present conclusions, suggestions, and recommendations based on statistical analysis. In the recent presidential election, we were pelted with survey results, each careful to mention the poll accuracy within plus or minus three percentage points.

                            Even in colloquial talk, one sees statistical intrusions. The weekend before the rather contentious presidential election, Peggy Noonan tried to calm the hassled electorate in a Wall Street Journal opinion column. She noted, “Someone is going to win Tuesday and then, if trendlines that have proved reliable in the past continue, the sun will come up on Wednesday.” She added humorously, “We claim this with a 3% margin of error.”

                            It may be counterintuitive, but I find the polling results accuracy statement sad and Noonan’s comment uplifting. Why? Because, in the polling, I would guess the 3% number is based on the sample size. What about nonsampling error—all the other things that may contribute to the error? Concerns such as randomness, representativeness, sampling frame, wording of questions, order of questions, and so forth would certainly increase the error range. So, I doubt the true accuracy, and hence the correct information from the survey, is being communicated properly. This is not even mentioning the communication problem in trying to explain how most polling efforts got the winner wrong!

                            And conversely, why do I like Noonan’s tongue-in-cheek remark? Because it shows she is cognizant that statistical reasoning must be employed, communicated, and reported accurately at some major points.

                            This creeps up again in the refrain familiar to every one of us who has ever introduced himself or herself as a statistician: “Oh, statistics. That was my worst course.” I used to be mildly amused by this truly predictable response. But it finally dawned on me that you rarely hear a similar remark concerning complex variables or atomic physics. I’m sure the public is not crazy about imaginary numbers, nor do they get the differences between fission, fusion, and confusion. So why does statistics take it on the chin?

                            Because of its importance to every facet of life, many more people are exposed to statistical principles. OK, they all may not like it, but at least they know life is subject to variability and uncertainty. Thus, we have an opportunity, and indeed an obligation, to properly communicate statistical concepts and the rudiments of statistical reasoning. And we must strive to do it so people understand the basic logic.

                            So why is all this of concern? Many of you have heard my mantra: “It’s not what we said, it’s not what they heard, it’s what they say they heard.” With our increased use of data, proper analysis is crucial. I certainly believe we have qualified statisticians who can do that. Then we must tell somebody what the analysis is all about—its aims, its methods, its shortcomings, its downsides. Again, we usually do this quite adequately. The next step is that the recipient of the information should hear what we are saying and hear it accurately. They may or may not ask pertinent questions. They may have other topics on their mind. Here, the statistician has an obligation to lend insight and try to ascertain if the message is getting through. This is the part I am not sure we always do well.

                            But it is the third element that is crucial: “It’s what they say they heard.” This is where the rubber hits the road. Somewhere, there is a policy maker, a decision maker, a judge, a jury, an elected official, a doctor who must properly integrate the results into real plans, real actions, judicial decisions, regulations, proper medications, and so forth.

                            This is a difficult task for statisticians. I have been there. As an expert statistical witness in a trial, you usually have just a few seconds to answer the loaded question of an adversarial attorney. You hope the judge or jury understands you and then, most importantly, they integrate it properly into their decision making.

                            I hesitate to add that this difficulty in communication might be exacerbated by our use of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc., instead of full-fledged oral or written communication. Yes, I know this is old school. But I am concerned. While I am a true advocate of succinct explanations, I am not sure this can always be accomplished in 140 characters. Naturally, I am also concerned that we now seem to have a universe that allows alternative facts. If ever there were a time to describe our work effectively so as to integrate the true meaning into societal decisions, it is NOW.

                            I have given many talks in my career, and one of my main points has always been to encourage—even demand—that statisticians carefully review their raw data. I give examples of official data that are wrong. To lighten up a serious topic, I have for years shown a Dilbert cartoon in which Dilbert notes he didn’t have any accurate numbers so he just made up one. He further asserts that studies have shown that accurate numbers aren’t any more useful than the one you make up. Someone queries him as to how many studies have shown this and Dilbert answers, “87,” with absolute precision. Sadly, until this year, this was quite humorous.

                            So, what are we doing about all this? One of my initiatives is to make sure statistics are correctly giving the whole story. Here, the ASA is working with John Bailer and Richard Campbell at Miami University. John and his statistics colleagues have teamed up with Richard and his journalism counterparts to produce the series Stats + Stories. As John says, this is “the statistics behind the stories and the stories behind the statistics.” The idea, of course, is to tell the full story, accurately and forcefully, with the proper use of the statistical underpinnings.

                            I have had the pleasure of being interviewed for Stats + Stories in the context of environmental statistics. It was a terrific first-hand experience to learn the concerns and angles from both the statistical and journalistic sides of the table. To me, this goes a long way toward addressing the omnipresent communications problem.

                            Significantly forward,


                            What Do Statisticians Like to Do When They Are Not Being Statisticians?

                            Wed, 03/01/2017 - 6:00am

                            From left: Birthplaces of President John Adams (foreground) and President John Quincy Adams (background), in Braintree, Massachusetts; President Lyndon B. Johnson’s birthplace, near Stonewall, Texas; and President Bill Clinton’s first home in Hope, Arkansas. (Photos by Amy Nussbaum)

                            This column focuses on what statisticians do when they are not being statisticians. If you would like to share your pastime with readers, please email Megan Murphy, Amstat News managing editor. Who are you, and what is your statistics position?

                            My name is Amy Nussbaum and I am the science policy fellow at the American Statistical Association.

                            Tell us about what you like to do for fun when you are not being a statistician.

                            I’m an amateur historian, specializing in United States presidents. During high school, my mom and I stopped at Abraham Lincoln’s birthplace during a road trip—it is an incredibly peaceful place and we really enjoyed our time there. On various trips over the years, I saw many other birthplaces advertised on the side of the road or near my final destination and I started making a point to visit these sites.


                            Ultimately, I’m trying to visit each and every birthplace …. I’m lucky to have friends and family who indulge my hobby! So far, I’ve been to 13 birthplaces in nine states (unfortunately, none so far in Virginia, even though the ASA is headquartered in Alexandria and more presidents have been born here than in any other state). When I’m not traveling to the next site, I’ve been trying to read a biography of each man, as well.

                            What drew you to this hobby, and what keeps you interested?

                            Like many other ASA members, I love to learn. This is a great way to take a break from numbers every so often and educate myself on a new topic.

                            I also feel like it encourages me to visit places I otherwise wouldn’t have seen, especially those in rural areas. Most are commemorated in some way, and many are in beautiful locations and offer tours through the houses.

                            At first, I thought that the birthplaces might start to look similar after a while, but this endeavor is constantly surprising! By no means do U.S. presidents constitute a random sample of our shared history, but it’s definitely more representative than I thought. I’ve been to New York, the biggest city in the U.S. (Theodore Roosevelt), and I’ve been to towns so tiny I accidentally drove through them before locating my destination (Ronald Reagan). Some presidents are born into high society (such as Howard Taft), and some are born to very poor families (like Andrew Jackson).

                            There are also quite a few connections with statistics—it always surprises me when one pops up! For example, George Washington ran the first agricultural survey of the United States by writing letters to 40 neighbors and asking about their crop yields. James Madison was one of the first to add questions to the decennial census, since he recognized the importance of data on the education and occupations of U.S. residents. And, of course, who can forget the lessons pollsters learned during the election of Harry S. Truman in 1948?

                            A Note on Statistics Surveys

                            Wed, 03/01/2017 - 6:00am

                            Statistics Surveys is an online journal for expository papers about specific statistical methodology. It is an outlet for papers that are deep and magisterial reviews of subfields within statistics, such as bootstrap methodology for finite populations, spatial prediction with Big Data, or causal inference.

                            Editorial Board

                            David Banks IMS Editor
                            Richard Lockhart SSC Editor
                            Ranjan Maitra ASA Editor
                            Sara van de Geer Bernoulli Editor
                            Wendy Martinez Coordinating Editor

                            The journal is jointly owned by the American Statistical Association, Bernoulli Society, Institute of Mathematical Statistics, and Statistical Society of Canada. Access is free. Also, there is no publication fee.

                            To benefit readers and authors, the review process is swift. The journal’s editorial board deplores long delays and indecisiveness and is committed to quick and constructive feedback. Board members referee the papers they are sent, rather than the papers they wish had been written, and ties always go to the runner.

                            Statistics Surveys seeks more high-quality submissions. The first chapter of nearly every PhD thesis is a literature review. Generally, the effort spent in writing that chapter falls upon rocky ground, and does not lead to any publication. But with light editing, such a chapter could be an ideal submission for Statistics Surveys.

                            Statistics Surveys does not seek papers that show methodological novelty, but rather the distilled wisdom of prior publications.

                            If you have any questions or need more information, contact one of the editorial board members.

                            Biometrics Section News for February

                            Wed, 02/01/2017 - 6:00am

                            Want to get more involved in JSM? Consider volunteering to chair a session. Chairing a session is an important responsibility and a great way to meet your colleagues. If you are interested, contact our section’s 2017 program chair, Barbara Engelhardt.

                            NIH-Funded Short Course Planned on Causal Inference in Behavioral Obesity Research

                            Wed, 02/01/2017 - 6:00am

                            The University of Alabama will host an NIH-funded short course, titled “Strengthening Causal Inference in Behavioral Obesity Research,” at the University of Alabama at Birmingham July 24–28.

                            Identifying causal relations among variables is fundamental to science. Obesity is a major problem for which much progress in understanding, treatment, and prevention remains to be made. Understanding which social and behavioral factors cause variations in adiposity and which other factors cause variations is vital to producing, evaluating, and selecting intervention and prevention strategies.

                            The nine course modules are designed to provide rigorous exposure to the fundamental principles underlying an array of techniques. In addition, through guided discussion using real examples in obesity research, participants will gain experience in applying the principles and techniques.

                            Limited travel scholarships are available to young investigators. The deadline for applications is March 31. Apply online.

                            Joint Program in Survey Methodology: Launching in Fall: New Opportunities for Contemporary Survey Methodologist

                            Wed, 02/01/2017 - 6:00am
                            Jody Derezinski Williams

                            The Joint Program in Survey Methodology (JPSM)—with faculty from the University of Maryland, University of Michigan, and Westat—is introducing new programs to respond to the ever-increasing use of Big Data and the corresponding need for methods of analysis and inference. Whether one is seeking a graduate degree in survey methodology or additional training through professional development programs, JPSM offers the necessary tools to address the fast-paced changes in survey research.

                            Onsite Degree-Seeking Program – New Data Science Track

                            The JPSM onsite graduate degree program at the University of Maryland comprises both a PhD and master’s degree program. In addition to the existing emphases in survey statistics and social science, students can choose a third emphasis in data science starting in fall 2017. This new track includes computational aspects of survey methodology, data visualization, management and analysis of large and complex data sets, human-computer interaction in survey research, and machine learning algorithms.

                            Online For-Credit Program – New MPS Degree

                            In 2015, JPSM started offering training online. Graduate certificates in both survey methodology and survey statistics can now be earned entirely online. In fall 2017, a master’s degree in professional studies in survey and data science will be added to the online offerings. This new 30-credit degree program has an applied focus and will offer shorter, modular courses in a web-based learning environment, providing the necessary flexibility for working professionals.

                            Professional Development – New Data Analytics Training Program

                            In a collaborative effort, JPSM and the University of Maryland College of Information Studies, Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service at New York University, and University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy have created a first-of-its-kind nondegree training program in applied data analytics. This program provides professionals the opportunity to develop key computer science and data science skill sets to advance public policy. The goals of this include the following:

                            • Provide training in rigorous and modern computational data analysis methods and tools for decision making
                            • Develop new data products for government agencies
                            • Create new integrated data to address cross-agency challenges
                            • Establish new networks across agencies and geographies to address shared problems
                            Short Courses

                            For those who may be interested in taking one or two courses to boost their survey research understanding, nondegree-seeking options are also available. These short courses are taught by JPSM faculty and alumni, senior professionals in the field, members of the University of Maryland College of Information Studies, and a range of professors from international partner universities.

                            Future Generations of Survey Methodologists

                            This past summer, JPSM was a sponsor of the first-ever Data Detectives Summer Camp, conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics. This one-week STEM commuter day camp was designed for rising 6th–8th-grade students from DC-area middle schools, providing them the opportunity to learn about statistics through a variety of engaging, hands-on activities. This collaborative effort was supported by the American Statistical Association, University of Maryland School of Public Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Disease Detectives Camp. With more than 200 applications for 30 spots, there are plans to continue offering this camp every summer.

                            In the spring of 2017, the third annual ASA DataFest will be held at Summit Headquarters in Washington, DC, and organized by JPSM and Summit Consulting. ASA DataFest is a data analytics competition for teams of undergraduate students from area colleges and universities. Over the course of a weekend, teams attack a large, complex, and surprise data set from a well-known company. The competition provides students the opportunity to develop and improve upon analysis and critical thinking skills with hands-on, applied experience. Past participants have found the event to have a direct effect on their success in landing jobs after graduation.

                            JPSM encourages undergraduates to consider survey methodology and survey statistics in various ways. Celebrating its 19th year, the JPSM Junior Fellows Program continues to be a highly competitive and sought-after summer internship opportunity. This national competition offers students a paid research assistantship in a federal statistical agency in the Washington, DC, area supplemented by a weekly seminar.

                            In addition, JPSM offers an undergraduate minor in survey methodology, which draws on students from across the University of Maryland campus. Upon graduation, many have found the skills acquired through this minor program have given them a competitive edge in both employment opportunities and graduate school applications.

                            Frauke Kreuter, director of the Joint Program in Survey Methodology, during her remarks at the 2016 JPSM commencement ceremony, said, “Just last week, the City of New York and Facebook asked if we (JPSM) had any recent graduates that could be hired. I am asked this question every year right around graduation by different agencies, and every year, my reply is the same … ‘Sorry, they have already been spoken for.’”

                            Alabama Chapter Hosts Mini-Conference

                            Wed, 02/01/2017 - 6:00am

                            ASA President Barry D. Nussbaum speaks during a mini-conference at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The event was hosted by the Alabama Chapter of the ASA.

                            The Alabama Chapter hosted a mini-conference November 11 at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Approximately 50 current and prospective chapter members attended.

                            The participants came from Alabama and Mississippi, and were primarily affiliated with UAB, the University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa), Mississippi State University, and the University of Mississippi.

                            The keynote speaker was ASA President Barry Nussbaum, who gave a talk, titled “It’s Not What We Say; It’s Not What They Heard; It’s What They Say They Heard.” His primary premise was that even when we as statisticians carefully present our results and conclusions to decision makers, the message the recipients (decision makers) receive may not be what we thought we delivered or what we thought they heard. He illustrated what one should and should not do through examples used in court cases, executive documents, and material presented for the president of the United States. Nussbaum’s talk, given with a mix of seriousness and humor, was well received.

                            Student presenters and their topics included the following:

                            • Sheida Raihi, Mississippi State University, “Measuring and Testing Central Symmetry in Bivariate Settings”
                            • Yuliang Liu, UAB, “Comparison of Single Event, Competing Risk, and Frailty-Based Models for Competing Risks Data”
                            • Curry Hilton, University of Alabama, “Statistical Process Measurement (SPM) R Package”
                            • Yan Li, UAB, “Sample Size Re-Estimation for Confirmatory Multi-Arm Trials with Normal Outcomes”

                            The chapter also held a business meeting, during which members discussed the governing structure of the chapter—particularly writing an up-to-date chapter constitution—proposed activities for 2017—including another mini-conference—and brainstormed ways to promote the chapter and participation in chapter activities.

                            Are You Ready to Vote in the ASA Election?

                            Wed, 02/01/2017 - 6:00am

                            The 2017 ASA election opens March 15 at 12:01 a.m. ET and closes May 1 at 11:59 p.m. PT.

                            Please take a moment to visit the Members Only area of the ASA website and check whether your membership records are up to date. The ASA uses this information to generate the ballots and send them to you via email.

                            On the ASA home page, click on the “Login” link and enter your username and password to sign in. Please check the following:

                          • Membership expiration. If your membership expires at the time we are launching the election, you will not receive a ballot.
                          • Section membership. To vote for section officers, you must be a member of that section. If you have an interest in a particular section, be sure you are a member.
                          • Email address. All ballots are delivered via email. If the email address you have on file is incorrect, you will not receive your ballot.
                          • Whitelisting. Add to your safe list to ensure the proper delivery of key election information. Learn how to whitelist.
                          • CSP 2017 Award Winners Named

                            Wed, 02/01/2017 - 6:00am
                            Sara Burns, winner of the John J. Bartko Scholarship; Jami Jackson Mulgrave, winner of the Lester R. Curtin Award; and Jinyuan Liu, winner of the Lingzi Lu Memorial Award, will receive registration and travel support to attend the ASA Conference on Statistical Practice.

                            John Bartko Scholarship

                            John Bartko scholarship winner Sara Burns earned a master’s in biostatistics from Washington University in St. Louis in 2016. She is now employed by the Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care, and Pain Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. Her projects range from designing randomized controlled trials for new medical devices to analyzing data from objective studies that aim to reduce pain medicine prescriptions in light of the current opioid epidemic.

                            Burns is looking forward to attending lectures and taking a course at CSP to strengthen her R coding skills. She ultimately strives to become an expert in applying statistical techniques to answer meaningful questions in the medical field. She is passionate about improving the quality of research published in scientific articles, on which doctors base their clinical practice.

                            Lester Curtin Award

                            Jami Jackson Mulgrave earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Columbia University and a master’s degree in statistics (concentration in statistical genetics) from North Carolina State University. She is working toward a PhD, doing research on Bayesian nonparametric methods for graphical models of genetic data. She has a large set of programming and data visualization skills. Additionally, Mulgrave is involved in numerous student activities. She has been the NCSU chapter president of SACNAS and served as a science communicator for the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. She is also involved in a program to introduce the STEM fields to sixth- to eighth-grade students from under-represented populations. Her long-term goal is to be a professor of biostatistics.

                            Lingzi Lu Memorial Award

                            Jinyuan Liu earned an MA from the department of biostatistics and computational biology at the University of Rochester. She is currently employed as a research assistant in the VA San Diego Healthcare System in California, where she is working on two methodological projects on causal inference and social network data analysis and their applications to drug surveillance and depression. She is also working on several collaborative projects, including meta-analysis, variable selection, and intra-class correlation. Her ultimate career goal is to develop new statistical models and conduct statistical inference in complex studies in an academic environment to help improve the understanding of human illness and health.

                            Physical and Engineering Sciences Section News for February

                            Wed, 02/01/2017 - 6:00am
                            Greg Steeno, FTC Program Representative, and Greg Piepel, SPES Industrial Speakers Program Chair

                            The 60th Fall Technical Conference (FTC), cosponsored by the ASA and American Society for Quality (ASQ), was held October 6–7 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The conference was well attended, with sessions covering a range of topics in statistics and quality and providing ample opportunity to network with colleagues and peers.

                            The event began the day before, with four day-long short courses. Educational opportunities included “Methods for Designing and Analyzing Mixture Experiments,” “Beyond Split-Plot Design and Analysis,” “Analysis of Big Data Using R,” and “Design and Analysis of Experiments with R.”

                            The conference opened with a presentation by Lynne Hare, titled “Hahn Space.” The conference program invited sessions encompassed a variety of interesting and relevant topics. Selected presentations include the following:

                            • Bayesian and Statistical Engineering (ASA-SPES)
                            • Dimensional Data Analysis (ASQ-STAT)
                            • Statistical Methods for Data Science (ASA-Q & P)
                            • Case Studies: There Are No Answers in the Back of the Book (ASQ-CPID)

                            In addition, the Technometrics invited session focused on reliability, the Journal of Quality Technology session theme covered CUSUM charts, and Quality Engineering showcased statisticians as innovation leaders.

                            Contributed sessions topics ranged from advances in DOE/RSM to sequential experimentation to process control to case studies of industrial applications.

                            Joanne Wendelberger from the Los Alamos National Laboratory gave the W. J. Youden Memorial Address, titled “Understanding Today’s Complex World,” while 2016 ASA President Jessica Utts gave a lunchtime talk, “Communicating the Value of What Statisticians Do.” The conference concluded with a SPES-sponsored wine and cheese reception and special session, titled “Leadership Perspectives: A Multifaceted Panel Discussion.”

                            SPES is accepting papers for the 2017 Fall Technical Conference, to be held October 5–6 in Philadelphia. The conference theme is “Statistics: Powering a Revolution in Quality Improvement,” and the abstract submission deadline is February 28.

                            The 2017 conference will be held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Questions can be directed to Greg Steeno.

                            SPES Marquardt Memorial Speakers Program

                            The SPES Marquardt Memorial Speakers Program facilitates visits of experienced applied statisticians to colleges and universities to give a seminar and meet with students and professors. SPES reimburses the host institution up to $1,000 (previously $500) to cover the expenses of the speaker’s visit.

                            Speakers provide information to students about (1) what an applied statistician does; (2) how applied statisticians solve problems in science, engineering, technology, and business; and (3) what nontechnical skills are required to be successful as an applied statistician.

                            The Marquardt Industrial Speakers Program was established by SPES in the early 1990s to encourage careers in applied statistics. If you are an institution interested in having a speaker or a SPES member interested in being on the speakers list (or working directly with a local institution to set up a visit), contact Greg Piepel at (509) 375-6911.

                            Nominations for Gertrude M. Cox and Roger Herriot Awards Sought

                            Wed, 02/01/2017 - 6:00am
                            Gertrude M. Cox Award

                            The Gertrude M. Cox Award Committee is seeking nominations for the 2017 Gertrude M. Cox Award.

                            The award, established in 2003 through a joint agreement between the Washington Statistical Society (WSS) and RTI International, annually recognizes a statistician in early to mid-career (fewer than 15 years after terminal degree) who has made significant contributions to one or more of the areas of applied statistics in which Gertrude Cox worked: survey methodology, experimental design, biostatistics, and statistical computing.

                            The award is presented at the WSS Annual Dinner, usually held in June, with the recipient delivering a talk on a topic of general interest to the WSS membership before the dinner.

                            The honoree is chosen by a six-person committee—three each from WSS and RTI. This year’s committee consists of Mike Larsen (co-chair), Chris Moriarity, and Linda Young from WSS and Jill Dever, Phil Kott, and Karol Krotki (co-chair) from RTI.

                            Included in the award is a $1,000 honorarium, paid travel expenses to attend the WSS Annual Dinner, and a commemorative WSS plaque.

                            Past recipients include Sharon Lohr, Alan Zaslavsky, Tom Belin, Vance Berger, Francesca Domenici, Thomas Lumley, Jean Opsomer, Michael Elliott, Nilanjan Chatterjee, Amy Herring, Frauke Kreuter, Jerome Reiter, Jae Kwang Kim, and Bhramar Mukherjee.

                            Email nominations to Krotki by February 28 with a supporting statement and CV (or link). If you previously nominated a candidate and wish that nomination to be reconsidered, update the supporting materials.

                            The award is in memory of Gertrude M. Cox (1900–1978). In 1945, Cox became director of the Institute of Statistics of the Consolidated University of North Carolina. In the 1950s, as head of the department of experimental statistics at North Carolina State College, she played a key role in establishing mathematical statistics and biostatistics departments at the University of North Carolina. Upon her retirement from North Carolina State University in 1960, Cox became the first head of the statistical research division at the newly founded RTI. She was a founding member of the International Biometric Society (IBS) and, in 1949, became the first woman elected into the International Statistical Institute. She served as president of both the American Statistical Association (1956) and IBS (1968–1969). In 1975, she was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

                            Roger Herriot Award

                            Nominations are sought for the 2017 Roger Herriot Award for Innovation in Federal Statistics. The award is intended to reflect the characteristics that marked Roger Herriot’s career, including dedication to the issues of measurement, improvements in the efficiency of data collection programs, and improvements and use of statistical data for policy analysis.

                            The award is not limited to senior members of an organization, nor is it to be considered as a culmination of a long period of service. Individuals or teams at all levels within federal statistical agencies, other government organizations, nonprofit organizations, the private sector, and the academic community may be nominated on the basis of their contributions. As innovation often requires or results from teamwork, team nominations are encouraged.

                            The award consists of a $1,000 honorarium and a framed citation, which will be presented at a ceremony during the Joint Statistical Meetings in August 2017. The Washington Statistical Society may also host a seminar given by the winner on a subject of his or her choosing.

                            The recipient of the 2017 award will be chosen by a committee comprising representatives of the ASA Social Statistics and Government Statistics sections and the Washington Statistical Society. Herriot was associated with, and strongly supportive of, these organizations during his career.

                            Nominations should contain the following:

                            • A cover letter from the nominator that includes references to specific examples of the nominee’s contributions to innovation in federal statistics. These contributions can be to methodology, procedure, organization, administration, or other areas of federal statistics and need not have been made by or while a federal employee.
                            • Up to six more letters of support that show the innovativeness of each contribution.
                            • A current vita for the nominee with contact information. For team nominations, the vitae of all team members should be included.

                            The committee may consider nominations made for prior years, but it encourages resubmission of those nominations with updated information. Completed packages must be received by April 1. Electronic submissions sent to David Banks, chair of the 2017 Roger Herriot Award Committee, as Word or PDF files are strongly encouraged.

                            Roger Herriot was the associate commissioner of statistical standards and methodology at the U.S. National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) when he died in 1994. Previously, he held several positions at the U.S. Census Bureau.

                            For more information, contact Banks by email or phone at (919) 684-3743.

                            ASA Sponsors DSAA2017

                            Wed, 02/01/2017 - 6:00am
                            Elevates Impact of Statisticians in Data Science
                              Jill Talley, ASA Public Relations Manager

                                Recognizing that statistics is one of three foundational areas of data science, the ASA is sponsoring the 4th IEEE International Conference on Data Science and Advanced Analytics (DSAA2017) October 19–21 in Tokyo, Japan. Founded in 2014 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Computational Intelligence Society and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group on Knowledge Discovery from Data, the conference provides a premier forum for researchers, industry practitioners, and Big Data users to exchange ideas and participate in top-level discussions about best practices of applications and the latest theoretical developments in data science and analytics.

                                “Statistics, by nature, is interdisciplinary and—together with the expansive field of data science—can spur innovation and solve some of society’s most pressing challenges,” said Ron Wasserstein, executive director of the ASA. He continued, “The opportunity to collaborate with IEEE and ACM on DSAA2017 will drive discussion among some of the world’s foremost scientific leaders, business executives, and government officials, harnessing the power and possibilities of data-driven scientific discovery while showcasing and strengthening the expertise of statisticians in high demand all over the world.”

                                In 2017, the ASA will play an active role in planning the conference program, including identifying session topics and speakers and assisting with overall conference promotion to key target markets. The ASA sponsored the conference in 2016 as well, marking the first time statistical and computing/information science societies teamed up to conduct a data science conference and promote disciplinary development in data science.

                                “The healthy development of data science relies heavily on the effective dialogue between relevant disciplines, in particular, statistics, computing, management, and social science, as well as different domains and areas,” said Longbing Cao, chair of the DSAA Steering Committee. “DSAA is a unique global driver to enable and promote such transformative collaborations by initiating and continuously organizing strategic and high-profile activities, in particular, encouraging and underpinning the continuous engagement of ASA and statistics communities. Every year, DSAA supports prestigious keynote, tutorial, special sessions, and invited talks about data science trends by top leaders in statistics.”

                                View photos from DSAA2016.