Washington Statistical Society
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January 2007


Ph.D. Program In Statistical Science

The Department of Statistics, George Mason University, Fairfax, is currently accepting applications for its new Ph.D. program in Statistical Science, starting Fall 2007. The new program replaces the former Ph.D. program in Information Technology concentration Statistical Science. Competetive teaching and research assistants are available for talented full-time students. All graduate classes are taught after 4:30 p.m. one night per week.

Details can be found on the Department website: http://statistics.gmu.edu

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The Jeanne E. Griffith Mentoring Award

On receiving the Roger Herriot Award in June 2001, Jeanne E. Griffith said:

One of the most rewarding aspects (of Federal statistics) for me was the opportunity to promote creative activities and energies among my staff When I have had the blessing to mentor young people in their careers, I have tried to emphasize (that) only they, themselves, can make the most of (the) .chances that life presents.

Dr. Griffith died in August 2001 after working for more than 25 years in the Federal statistical system. Throughout her career, and especially in her latter senior management positions at the National Center for Education Statistics and the National Science Foundation, one of Jeanne's highest priorities was to mentor and encourage younger staff at all levels to learn, to grow, and to recognize and seize career opportunities as they came along.

The Jeanne E. Griffith Mentoring Award has been established to encourage mentoring of younger staff in the Federal statistical system. It is presented annually, beginning in 2003, to a supervisor who is nominated by co-workers and supervisors, and chosen by the Award Selection Committee.

The award is co-sponsored by the Interagency Council on Statistical Policy, the Council for Excellence in Government, the Washington Statistical Society, the Social Statistics and Government Statistics Sections of the American Statistical Association, and the Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics.

Nominations for 2007 will be accepted beginning in February 2007. The last date for submission of nominations is March 30, 2007, and the Award Committee will make its determination of the award winner by May 4, 2007. The award will consist of a $1000 honorarium and a citation, which will be presented at a ceremony arranged by the co-sponsors in June 2007.

The winning mentor will be selected for his or her efforts in supporting the work and developing the careers of younger staff. Examples of typical mentoring activities include:

  • Advising junior staff to help them create career opportunities, networking skills, and contacts for growth and development;

  • Counseling junior staff and providing resources to help develop their technical writing, analysis, presentation and organizational skills and knowledge;

  • Encouraging junior staff growth and career development through attendance and oral presentations at meetings with higher level officials, staffs of other agencies, professional associations, training courses, and conferences;

  • Motivating junior staff and building self confidence through feedback on their efforts, being a listener when that is needed, and creating a caring and supportive environment;

  • Serving as a role model for junior staff through professional expertise, information and insights, balancing collegial and personal roles, and including everyone across rank, race, ethnicity, and seniority.

For further information on the award, contact Ed Spar, Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics (COPAFS) by phone: 703-836-0404; fax: 703-836-0406; or by e-mail at copafs@aol.com. The nomination cover sheet and guidelines form-or a photocopy of it-should be attached to a nomination memorandum or letter. Forms can be obtained by contacting Ed Spar, or by downloading from the COPAFS website at http://www.copafs.org. All nominations should be returned to the Jeanne E. Griffith Mentoring Award Committee, c/o COPAFS, 2121 Eisenhower Avenue, Suite 200, Alexandria, VA 22314 no later than March 30, 2007.

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Nominations Sought for 2007 Julius Shiskin Award

Nominations are invited for the annual Julius Shiskin Memorial Award for Economic Statistics. The Award is given in recognition of unusually original and important contributions in the development of economic statistics or in the use of statistics in interpreting the economy. Contributions are recognized for statistical research, development of statistical tools, application of information technology techniques, use of economic statistical programs, management of statistical programs, or developing public understanding of measurement issues. The Award was established in 1980 by the Washington Statistical Society (WSS) and is now cosponsored by the WSS, the National Association for Business Economics, and the Business and Economics Statistics Section of the American Statistical Association (ASA). The 2006 award recipient was J. Steven (Steve) Landefeld, Director of the Bureau of Economic Analysis, for his leadership in improving the U.S. economic accounts and related statistics through effective management, collaboration with domestic and international users, and scholarly research.

Because the program was initiated many years ago, it is little wonder that statisticians and economists often ask, "Who was Julius Shiskin?" At the time of his death in 1978, "Julie" was the Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and earlier served as the Chief Statistician at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the Chief Economic Statistician and Assistant Director of the Census Bureau. Throughout his career, he was known as an innovator. At Census he was instrumental in developing an electronic computer method for seasonal adjustment. In 1961, he published Signals of Recession and Recovery, which laid the groundwork for the calculation of monthly economic indicators, and he developed the monthly Census report Business Conditions Digest to disseminate them to the public. In 1969, he was appointed Chief Statistician at OMB where he developed the policies and procedures that govern the release of key economic indicators (Statistical Policy Directive Number 3), and originated a Social Indicators report. In 1973, he was selected to head BLS where he was instrumental in preserving the integrity and independence of the BLS labor force data and directed the most comprehensive revision in the history of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which included a new CPI for all urban consumers.

Nominations for the 2007 award are now being accepted. Individuals or groups in the public or private sector from any country can be nominated. The award will be presented with an honorarium of $750 plus additional recognition from the sponsors. A nomination form and a list of all previous recipients are available on the ASA Website at or by writing to the Julius Shiskin Award Committee, Attn: Monica Clark, American Statistical Association, 732 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314-1943.

Completed nominations must be received by April 1, 2007. For further information contact Steven Paben, Julius Shiskin Award Committee Secretary, at paben.steven@bls.gov.

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Judges For The 2007 Science Fairs

Volunteers are needed to represent the Washington Statistical Society next spring as judges in five regional science fairs in Northern Virginia, suburban Maryland, and the District of Columbia. Since 1986, WSS has provided special awards at these fairs to students whose projects demonstrate excellence in data analysis or the application of statistical methods. Those who have participated in this activity have very much enjoyed the opportunity to interact with the students and to observe the widely diverse projects which are presented. The fairs are held on Saturday mornings in mid-March to mid-April. The only time required is that one Saturday morning, plus one weekday lunchtime meeting to discuss judging strategy.

If you would like to be a science fair judge next spring, please e-mail Robert Clickner at Robertclickner@westat.com by February 2, and include your e-mail address, work and home phone numbers, your fax number and your mailing address. If you judged last spring, there is no need to contact Bob unless your e-mail address or phone number has changed. If you have any questions, please call Bob at 301-294-2815.

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Georgetown Univeristy
MATH 503: Mathematical Statistics (Spring 2007)
Course Information and Syllabus

Dr. Kimberly Sellers
Room 340, St. Mary's Hall

Lecture: Thursdays, 6:15-8:45pm (St. Mary's 110)
Office hours: Thursdays, 4-6pm (St. Mary's 340)
Required Text: Hogg, McKean, Craig (2005) Introduction to Mathematical Statistics, Sixth Edition.

Course Overview:
This is a course in the mathematical theory of statistical inference. The emphasis is on frequentist methods, with appropriate attention also to Bayesian methods. Topics include principles of data reduction (sufficiency and sufficient statistics, likelihood, invariance), construction of point estimates (method of moments, maximum likelihood, Bayes estimators), criteria for point estimation (mean squared error, unbiasedness, consistency), construction of hypothesis tests, some asymptotic properties of point estimators, criteria for hypothesis tests (error probabilities and power, most powerful tests, bias), asymptotics of some large sample tests, construction of and criteria for interval estimates, elements of decision theory and applications to statistical inference (Bayes rules, minimax), elements of the analysis of variance (one-way ANOVA, F-test, contrasts), elements of linear regression (least squares, tests for model parameters, pointwise and simultaneous estimation and prediction. If time permits: More on asymptotic of estimators, exact and approximate tests for contingency tables, some nonparametric tests (sign test, rank sum test), more on ANOVA.

Course Organization:
  1. Lecture: Class time will include concepts from the textbook (Introduction to Mathematical Statistics, 6th edition) in lecture format and discussion of SAS where appropriate. You will be expected to learn the concepts found in both the lectures and assigned/associated readings.

    Lecture notes are to be downloaded and printed in advance of the scheduled lecture. This will aid you in following the lecture presentation. Copies of lecture notes will not be supplied in class; therefore, it is your responsibility to come prepared. Note that you will not be able to truly benefit from the lecture notes merely by downloading them from the web. The notes are designed to be interactive during class time.

  2. Homework: There will be weekly homework assignments that include mathematical problems, proofs, and data analysis. Some assignments will make use of the computer package, SAS. The assignments will be found on the web and usually due on Thursdays at the beginning of lecture, unless otherwise noted on the website. You are allowed and even encouraged to discuss the assignments with each other, but the work that you hand in MUST BE YOUR OWN. This means that each student must perform all analyses on his/her own computer, and must independently write up the analysis. Plagiarism will be swiftly dealt with to the full extent allowed under Georgetown policies on cheating and plagiarism (see http://gervaseprograms.georgetown.edu/hc/standards_of_conduct.ht ml).

  3. Exams: There are two midterm exams and a final exam. The examinations will be closed book and closed notes.

  4. Web page: The course outline, lecture notes, necessary data, homework assignments and solutions, labs, and supplementary material for this course can be found on Blackboard (located at http://campus.georgetown.edu). Lecture notes are to be downloaded and copied prior to class lecture so that you may easily follow the discussion. Homework assignments will be available for retrieval at least one week prior to their due date. Any additional announcements that are made over the course of the semester will also be found/updated on the website.

  5. Grading:
    Homework: 30% total
    Midterm exam 1: 20%
    Midterm exam 2: 20%
    Final exam: 30%
    Total: 100%
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SIGSTAT Topics for January 2007 - February 2007

January 17, 2007: SAS/LE (SAS Learning Edition 4.1)

The SAS Learning Edition is an inexpensive ($199.00) and easy-to-use (comes with the Enterprise Guide menu-based interface) version of SAS with an impressive array of features from SAS Base 9,1,3, SAS/STAT, SAS/GRAPH, SAS/QC, SAS/ETS and SAS Enterprise Guide 4.1. For statisticians, some of the included PROCS are MIXED, GENMOD, ARIMA, GLM, REG, LOGISTIC, and PHREG. See http://support.sas.com/training/le/ for more information.

SAS/LE will read datasets of any size, but will only process the first 1,500 observations. There is no limitation on the number of variables. Charlie Hallahan will be the speaker.

February 21, 2007: Demo of SPSS Complex Samples

SPSS Complex Samples, an add-on module for SPSS for Windows , provides the specialized planning tools and statistics you need when working with sample survey data. It enables you to make more statistically valid inferences for a population by incorporating the sample design into survey analysis. You can more accurately work with numerical and categorical outcomes in complex sample designs using two new algorithms for analysis and prediction. This presentation will demo the software and analysis wizards using tutorials and sample data sets provided with the module.

See http://www.spss.com/complex_samples/ for more information. Linda Atkinson will be the speaker.

SIGSTAT is the Special Interest Group in Statistics for the CPCUG, the Capital PC User Group, and WINFORMS, the Washington Institute for Operations Research Service and Management Science.

All meetings are in Room S3031, 1800 M St, NW from 12:00 to 1:00 (note new time). Enter the South Tower & take the elevator to the 3rd floor to check in at the guard's desk.

First-time attendees should contact Charlie Hallahan, 202-694-5051, hallahan@ers.usda.gov and leave their name. Directions to the building and many links of statistical interest can be found at the SIGSTAT website, www.cpcug.org/user/sigstat/

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Note From The WSS NEWS Editor

Items for publication in the March issue of the WSS NEWS should be submitted no later than January 30, 2007. E-mail items to Michael Feil at michael.feil@usda.gov.

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Click here to see the WSS Board Listing (pdf)
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