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.

18-22 May &
25-29 May 2015
28-29 May 2015


WSS Board Candidates

Candidate for President
MICHAEL D. LARSEN, George Washington University

Michael Larsen is associate professor in the Department of Statistics, faculty member of the Biostatistics Center, and liaison to the Graduate Certificate Program in Survey Design and Data Analysis at George Washington University. He has been elected to four positions in the American Statistical Association’s Survey Research Methods Section, including program chair and section chair. He has served as executive editor of CHANCE magazine, associate editor for a number of journals, and reviewer for many journals and granting agencies, and on ASA’s Census Advisory Committee. He is a member of NIH’s Biostatistical Methods and Research Design Study Section, an elected member of the International Statistical Institute, a fellow of the American Statistical Association, and a member of the ASA Fellows Committee. At the National Research Council, he served on the National Academy of Sciences’ Panel to Review the 2010 Census and a Steering Committee for a Workshop on Surveying Nonprofit Organizations. Currently he belongs to a Standing Committee on Reengineering Census Operations. Dr. Larsen received his B.A. degree in mathematics and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in statistics from Harvard University. He has consulted for and collaborated with researchers at a number of government agencies, research organizations, and academic departments. Projects have involved research at the Census Bureau, National Center for Health Statistics, National Institutes of Health, and Departments of Agriculture, Education, and Homeland Security. His interests include survey sampling, missing data, record linkage and administrative records, disclosure limitation and confidentiality, Bayesian statistics, mixture models, and statistics education. The Washington Statistical Society can play a very important and exciting role by facilitating connections across the region, supporting students of statistics, promoting important developments and showcasing outstanding achievements, and working to enhance public awareness and understanding of statistics and statistical issues.


Candidate for President
MICHAEL SINCLAIR, Mathematica Policy Research

Michael Sinclair is a Senior Fellow at Mathematica Policy Research who has spent more than 28 years in survey methods and statistical research in various roles at the U.S. Census Bureau, the Department of Labor, the Department of Justice and as a Senior Fellow for NORC. Mike served as WSS representative-at-large in 2004-2006 and served as the program chair and chair elect of the Social Statistics Section of the American Statistical Association in 2013-2014. Mike also served as the president of the Princeton-Trenton chapter of the American Statistical Association (ASA) 2000 - 2001, and served on the ASA Committee on Survey Review from 1997 - 2004. Mike is currently serving as a member of the program committee for the Fifth International Conference on Establishment Surveys Establishment Surveys and has been a member of the ASA since 1989. Mike’s research interests include complex survey sample design, variance estimation, adaptive or responsive design, non-probability samples and data linkage. Mike has published in journals such as the Journal of the American Statistical Association, Public Opinion Quarterly, Survey Methodology, Law, Probability and Risk, Archive of Internal Medicine, Drug Information Journal, International Journal of Cancer, Health Affairs and Jurimetrics. He received a Ph.D. in Statistics from The George Washington University in 1994.


Candidate for Representative-at-Large
Wendy Barboza, National Agricultural Statistics Service

Wendy Barboza is the Deputy Division Director for Management and Development within the Research and Development Division at the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). In this position, her main responsibility is to provide administrative and technical direction in moving completed research projects into the operational environment. Wendy began her professional career with the U.S. Census Bureau in 1988 and moved to NASS in 1997, the same year that the agricultural census moved agencies. Wendy has been involved in several intergovernmental initiatives such as serving on the Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology (FCSM) Research Conference planning committee multiple times, as a member of the FCSM Confidentiality and Data Access Committee, and as the NASS representative on the interagency government panel for the National Science Foundation’s Methodology, Measurement, and Statistics Program. Wendy is an elected member of the International Statistical Institute as well as a member of the American Statistical Association, Washington Statistical Society, Survey Research Methods Section, and Government Statistics Section. Outside of work, Wendy enjoys volunteering for the Centreville Moose Lodge and the Saint Vincent de Paul Society’s food pantry in Centreville, VA.


Candidate for Representative-at-Large
Dhuly Chowdhury, RTI International

Dhuly Chowdhury is a research statistician at RTI International, and has more than 13 years of experience in survey research, randomized trials, and clinical epidemiology. Dhuly has had the opportunity to be involved with the WSS community since 2012 as chair of the Quantitative Literacy Committee and promotes statistics as a profession. She is also actively involved with the inception of the WSS mentoring program. Dhuly serves as an abstract reviewer for the Applied Statistics section of the American Public Health Association (APHA) annual conference since 2012. Dhuly’s current work activities include multiples studies about the effect of prescription drug advertisements in the US; and blood transfusion studies in the US, Brazil, China, and South Africa to influence the direction of future research of blood transfusion, transfusion related transmission of infectious diseases, and policies. Dhuly is a member of ASA, and WSS since 2007.


Candidate for Representative-at-Large
Erin Tanenbaum, NORC at the University of Chicago

Erin R. Tanenbaum is a Senior Statistician for NORC at the University of Chicago, and has responsibility for sample design and estimation methodology for government and public interest surveys. She has over 15 years’ experience in quantitative analysis, survey design and analysis, and quality control design and implementation. Prior to joining NORC, Erin worked at the Nielsen Company, PricewaterhouseCoopers, the U.S. Bureau of the Census, and Ernst and Young. She received her M.A. in Applied Statistics from the University of Michigan and her B.A. in Economics from Kalamazoo College. She is currently Chair of the Committee for Applied Statistics and served on organizing committees for ASA mentoring initiatives, Career Success Factors, and the Classification Society.

Candidate for Representative-at-Large
Chris Chapman, National Center for Education Statistics

Mr. Chris Chapman began his work as a sample survey statistician and researcher over 20 years ago at The Ohio State University’s Polymetrics Laboratory (now the Center for Survey Research). Mr. Chapman earned his master’s degree in political science from Ohio State in 1996. While there, he worked closely with academic researchers, and state and local government officials to develop effective surveys and efficient samples to address pressing research and policy questions. After leaving Ohio State, Mr. Chapman worked at the American Institutes for Research on the then new Education Statistical Services Institute (ESSI). His work at ESSI focused on providing statistical and survey methods advice to survey study directors at the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Mr. Chapman joined NCES in 1997 primarily to help manage their household surveys including the National Household Education Surveys (NHES), and to develop as needed studies such as a fast response survey about service-learning programs in public schools. Since that time, Mr. Chapman has become the Associate Commissioner for NCES’ Sample Surveys Division. Studies in his division cover a comprehensive set of education topics ranging from the cognitive development of preschool children to the labor market experiences of college graduates. They employ an extensive array of different survey methodologies and study approaches. Studies under his management include or have included studies based on Random Digit Dialing (RDD) techniques, studies based on vital statistics sampling frames and in-person interviewing, studies beginning with institutional membership lists and concluding with web-based student surveys, mail surveys using augmented Master Address File frames, and multi-mode adaptive study designs. Much of Mr. Chapman’s more recent technical work has focused on the ever challenging topic of increasing survey response rates and other strategies for reducing survey nonresponse bias. Apart from his role at NCES, Mr. Chapman is a member of the Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology and is a member of the Interagency Committee for the American Community Survey.

Candidate for Methodology Program Chair
Pamela McGovern, National Agricultural Statistics Service

Pamela McGovern is a Mathematical Statistician in the Methodology Division at the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). She has worked approximately 20 years in survey methods and statistical research on both household and establishment surveys. Prior to joining NASS, Pam worked at the U.S. Census Bureau in the Demographic Statistical Methods Division, Decennial Statistical Studies Division, Statistical Research Division, and the Planning, Research, and Evaluation Division. Her areas of interest include measurement error, nonresponse error, data quality, and survey methodology. She received her M.S. in Statistics from the University of Connecticut. She currently serves on the American Statistical Association (ASA) Statistical Partnerships among Academe, Industry and Government (SPAIG) Committee. Since 2005, she has served on the program committee for the Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology (FCSM) Research Conference and served as Program Chair for two years. She also was a member of the Interagency Household Survey Nonresponse Group (IHSNG) FCSM subcommittee in 2002-2004. She is a current member of the ASA, WSS, Survey Research Methods Section (SRMS), Government Statistics Section (GSS), and DC-AAPOR.


Candidate for Methodology Program Chair
Michael Yang, NORC at the University of Chicago

Dr. Michael Yang is Senior Statistician at NORC at the University of Chicago, with 20 years’ experience in study design, survey sampling, post-survey data adjustments, variance estimation, survey data analysis, and technical reporting. He leads statistical research and provides technical support to management and clients regarding complex survey design and estimation issues. He served as senior statistician and senior methodologist at the Gallup Organization in the 1990’s. He has also served as Chief Statistician at the Survey Research Center at ICF International. Dr. Yang has designed the sampling and estimation procedures for a large number of complex surveys including general population surveys, school-based surveys, establishment surveys, and surveys of special populations such as doctoral degree recipients, arrestees, racial and ethnic minorities. These surveys encompass a wide range of subject areas such as healthcare, substance abuse, education, program evaluation, business finance, economics, and criminal justice. These surveys also feature the full range of data collection modes including Random Digit Dial (RDD) telephone surveys, address-based surveys, web-based surveys, mail surveys, and in-person interview surveys. Dr. Yang has a Masters in Statistics and Ph.D. in sociology. He is member of the American Statistical Association, the Washington Statistical Society (WSS), and the American Association for Public Opinion Research.


Candidate for Secretary
Darcy Miller, National Agricultural Statistics Service

Darcy Miller is a mathematical statistician at the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and has worked in NASS’s Research and Development Division for eight years. Her research focus is on editing and imputation methodologies. She currently serves on the organizing committee and program committee for the Fifth International Conference on Establishment Surveys and the American Statistical Association (ASA) Committee on Gay and Lesbian Concerns. She is a member of ASA, Government Statistical Section, Survey Methodology Research Section, and the Washington Statistical Society. Darcy is also a lecturer at George Washington University, teaching the second statistics course for business and economics students.


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.

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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.

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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.


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


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