Washington Statistical Society on Meetup

Welcome to the Washington Statistical Society

If you work with statistics in the metropolitan Washington DC area, you owe it to yourself to belong to the Washington Statistical Society (WSS).

The WSS is the largest, most active chapter of the American Statistical Association (ASA) with about 900 members. Our members work in the government, academic, and private sectors, spanning many disciplines. Members' interests and expertise cover an extensive range of areas in applied and theoretical statistics, data collection, survey methods, and allied subjects.

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Upcoming Events

Please visit the WSS Seminars page and the Short Courses page, and join us at MeetUp@WashStat.

28 Apr 2015
4-5 May 2015
18-22 May &
25-29 May 2015
28-29 May 2015


WSS Scholars & Statisticians Happy Hour at Kramerbooks

Come meet your fellow DC Area Statistics students as well as professional Statisticians from Government, Industry, and Academia. We meet at Kramerbooks on the 1st Wednesday of each month from 6-8pm.

Add your name to the list!

When: 6 May 2015, 6:00pm-8:00pm
Where: Kramerbooks bar, 1517 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC
How Much: Free (pay your own food & drink)
More details on Meetup


Janet Norwood Dies at 91; Led Labor Statistics Bureau

Reprinted from The New York Times, 31 March 2015

Janet L. Norwood, who ran the Bureau of Labor Statistics throughout the 1980s and maintained objectivity when politicians wanted her to interpret jobs data in a way that furthered their parties’ agendas, died on March 27 in Austin, Tex. She was 91.

The cause was Alzheimer’s disease, her son Stephen said.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is part of the Labor Department, is the federal agency charged with measuring and disseminating information on the state of America’s economy, including the unemployment rate and the Consumer Price Index.

Dr. Norwood ascended through the bureau and was appointed commissioner by President Jimmy Carter in 1979. She was the first woman to hold the position, which she retained until 1991. .

“Objective, methodical, unflappable under sometimes hostile congressional questioning, Norwood measures our prosperity and tells the man on the street whether the next line he stands in is likely to be at the bank-teller window or the unemployment office,” a 1983 profile in The Washington Post Magazine said.

As commissioner, Dr. Norwood explained the bureau’s findings in a report to Congress every month, striving to present her data in a nonpartisan fashion.

“I find it a stimulating challenge,” Dr. Norwood said in an article in The New York Times in 1982. “There are always a variety of innovative senators and representatives who raise questions that I have to be very careful to answer in a completely objective framework.”

Dr. Norwood also asserted the bureau’s independence from the rest of the Labor Department, pressing for autonomy on personnel issues and on the scientific contents of the bureau’s news releases. She arranged for the bureau to take over the National Longitudinal Survey when the Employment and Training Administration planned to discontinue it, updated the bureau’s data-gathering process and helped develop the Employment Cost Index, a quarterly measure of the changes in labor costs for businesses in the United States.

“Simply put, all U.S. policy makers, businesses and families can make better decisions every day because of Janet Norwood’s work at B.L.S.,” Erica L. Groshen, the bureau’s current commissioner, wrote in a statement.

Janet Sonya Lippe was born on Dec. 11, 1923, in Newark and grew up in Irvington, N.J. She received a bachelor’s degree in government from the New Jersey College for Women (now Douglass College, part of Rutgers University) in 1945. She received her master’s degree in 1946 and her doctorate in 1949 from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

She married Bernard Norwood in 1943. He survives her, as do her son Stephen; another son, Peter; and three grandchildren.

Dr. Norwood taught economics at Wellesley College while her husband completed his doctorate, then left the work force when he got a job with the foreign service in Belgium. She did not start working for the Bureau of Labor Statistics until her 40s.

After retiring, Dr. Norwood joined the Urban Institute, where she published papers and testified before Congress on political issues. She was also the president of the American Statistical Association. The School of Public Health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham named an annual award for outstanding achievement by a woman in statistical sciences after her.


2015 Curtis Jacob Memorial Award for Outstanding Statistics Projects

The Curtis Jacobs Award for outstanding statistics project is an opportunity for fun, experience, and recognition – great for college applications and teacher development. It aims to encourage middle school and high school students to gain an understanding of the design of statistical studies and their uses. One of the intents of the award is to bring awareness and reward to school teachers. Nominations for the Curtis Jacobs Award are now being accepted. Deadline is Friday, 22 May 2015.

…Please click here for more details


Newsletter Deadline is the 20th of the Month!

The deadline to get articles into the next newsletter is the 20th of each month. Please send your input in MS Word or plain text to the WSS Newsletter Editor, Colleen Choi. Please do not submit your items in pdf or in the body of an email.

The Current edition of the WSS Newsletter is available. Click here to read it. WSS members receive our monthly newsletter, which includes announcements and descriptions of forthcoming technical programs, short courses, and social events. It also provides an employment column, publicizing job openings and describing credentials of members seeking employment.


WSS Participant Photo: ICES-IV Presentations, 4 Feb 2015

Mary Mulry, Morgan Earp, Darcy Miller, Richard Sigman, Jenny Thompson, Daniell Toth, MoonJung Cho, Polly Phipps, Vanessa Torres van Grinsven

WSS Mentoring Program

The Washington Statistical Society has recently started a mentoring program. Both sides of mentoring can be enriching at any point in your career. If you are interested in acting as a mentor or in seeking a mentor, please sign up for the WSS Mentor/Mentee program here.

University Students: Be a Science Fair Judge!

Local University Statistics students who are interested in serving as judges should contact Frank Yoon (609.945.6616) or Dhuly Chowdhury. Upcoming science fairs in March need judges. Click here for a list of Science Fairs that need judges.

Note that the Prince George's Area Science Fair on 21 March 2015 especially needs judges.

…Please click here to read more


WSS K-12 Poster Competition Announcement

The Washington Statistical Society, in collaboration with The American Statistical Association runs a Statistical Poster Competition for school children in grades K-12 in the Washington DC metro area. This is part of the Poster competition run by ASA with the WSS judging and awarding prizes to local children. There are four age groups and children may work singly or in small groups under the supervision of a teacher or guide.

Winning entries of the WSS competition are automatically advanced to the second round of the national competition where they may win addition prizes and recognition. Local area winners and their guides/teachers are invited to attend the WSS annual dinner as guests to receive their prizes. Our aim is to encourage a new generation of children to explore the exciting world of math and statistics. The deadline for entries is April 1 2015. For additional information or questions please contact Barnali Das.

...Please click here to view the flyer.


Call for Papers: Big Data and Public Policy

The Journal of Policy Analysis and Management (JPAM) invites the submission of manuscripts for a special symposium on “Big Data and Public Policy.”. Initial submissions for this symposium will be accepted until May 15, 2015.

Please visit The Journal of Policy Analysis and Management (JPAM) for details on submissions, and The JPAM Big Data and Public Policy Workshop page for details on the workshop.


American University Info-Metrics Institute Training/Tutorial Short Classes

18-22 May & 25-29 May 2015

May 18 - 22, 2015
Nonparametric Kernel Methods for Practitioners across the Sciences
Jeffrey S. Racine (McMaster University)

May 25 – 29, 2015 Interdisciplinary Applications of Microeconometrics
William Greene (New York University)

For specific topics studied in these classes see the AU web page

Registration opens soon. Space is limited. To register in advance or for more information on these courses, please visit our Info-Metrics Summer Program web page, or contact Yang Liu at info-metrics@american.edu
Info-Metrics Institute
American University
4400 Massachusetts Ave NW, Kreeger 104
Washington, DC 20016-8029
http://www.american.edu/info-metrics


2015 Morris Hansen Lecture

Danny Pfefferman, John Czajka, Larry Brown, John Eltinge

The 2015 Morris Hansen lecture took place on 20 January 2015. Danny Pfeffermann spoke on "Methodological Issues and Challenges in the Production of Official Statistics". Discussants were Lawrence Brown, Professor of Statistics, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and John Eltinge, Associate Commissioner for Survey Methods Research, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Diane Herz, Nancy Bates, Joanne Pascale, Joy Sharp, Jaki McCarthy


Nominations Sought for 2015 Herriot Award

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2015 Roger Herriot Award for Innovation in Federal Statistics until 1 April 2015. The award is intended to reflect the special 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.

Please click here for information on the award and how to nominate.


2014 Gertrude Cox Award

Former WSS President Nancy Bates with 2014 Gertrude Cox Award winner, Jerome Reiter


WSS Video: Doug Tyson on Statistics Education as Part of the Common Core