Washington Statistical Society
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September 2007

Contents:



Congratuations!

The following were elected to the WSS board of directors:


President-elect
Karol Krotki

Methodology Program Chair
Keith F. Rust

Representative at Large
Brian A. Harris-Kojetin
Jeri Mulrow

Secretary
Chris Moriarity

We congratulate the winners and express our thanks to the other candidates.

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Washington Statistical Society 2006-07 Annual Report

The 2006-07 program year for the Washington Statistical Society was again a very active one! Some highlights of the year include:

  • The WSS membership continued to hover around 900.
  • Subscribers to the electronic distribution list, which include both WSS members and building/agency representatives and contacts, surpassed 1,000 for the first time.
  • The Short Course Committee sponsored a very successful short course on "R and Analysis of Complex Surveys" given by Thomas Lumley (University of Washington, Seattle).
  • There were 37 regular technical sessions scheduled, and most of these were transmitted via video feed to remote sites. For the first time, slides from some technical sessions were posted to the WSS website.
  • The WSS Human Rights program forged a partnership with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), which led to WSS/AAAS co-sponsorship of several seminars. The WSS/DC-AAPOR partnership also led to co-sponsorship of several seminars as well as a full day workshop on nonresponse.
  • The Morris Hansen Memorial Lecture was held at the Jefferson Auditorium of the Department of Agriculture and featured Professor Michael F. Goodchild from the University of California, Santa Barbara, speaking on "Statistical Perspectives on Spatial Social Science." The discussants were Sarah Nusser (Iowa State University) and Linda Pickle (National Cancer Institute). This lecture was made possible by the co-sponsorship of Westat, the National Agricultural Statistics Service, and WSS.
  • The 2006 Roger Herriot Award, co-sponsored by WSS and the Government and Social Statistics sections of ASA as an award for innovation in Federal statistics, was presented to Nathaniel Schenker at the 2006 Joint Statistical Meetings. A special WSS session, followed by a reception, was held in April to honor Nat.
  • A special President's Invited Panel held a technical discussion of finite population correction, followed by a reception.
  • This year's Holiday Party was held at Gordon Biersch and featured a special visit from Santa.
  • The Quantitative Literacy committee submitted a strategic initiative proposal to ASA and was awarded a grant for planning and needs assessment in advance of preparation of a set of "Design of Experiments Interactive CD/DVD Instructional Materials." The QL committee also continued its tradition of sponsoring workshops for Girl Scouts.
  • This year's student representative provided valuable feedback to the WSS Board as to student concerns and needs, and initiated a regular WSS News column geared toward students.
  • Thanks to persistent, enthusiastic outreach by the respective committee chairs, WSS received a generous set of entries for Curtis Jacobs Award, the Poster Competition, and the Science Fair competition. The Gallup Organization continued to provide funding for the Science Fair awards for outstanding projects in statistics and/or mathematics. At the 2007 Joint Statistical Meetings, ASA is initiating a "Meeting within a Meeting" workshop for middle school teachers, and WSS is sponsoring a teacher's attendance.
  • A "WSS Board Officers' and Committee Chairs' Handbook" was compiled to list the duties and activities of each officer and committee.
  • The Annual Dinner was held at China Garden Restaurant in Rosslyn. In keeping with the tradition of the past five years, this year's speaker was the recipient of the Gertrude Cox Award, Francesca Dominici. The Gertrude Cox Award is made possible by funding from RTI International.
  • The Julius Shiskin Award winner, presented at the Annual Dinner, was Arthur B. Kennickell of the Federal Reserve Board.
  • The Chapter Service Award was presented at the Annual Dinner to John Czajka in appreciation of many years of dedicated support to the WSS, for leadership in the development of Web-based voting and refined membership lists, and for promoting statistics on a regional level.
  • The WSS President's Award was presented at the Annual Dinner to John Dixon, for continuing support and dedicated service to the WSS as Videoconference Coordinator; to Tom Broene, for outstanding, dedicated service to the WSS as Secretary; to Glenn White, in recognition of extensive, unselfish, and dedicated service to the WSS in many roles and capacities; and to Polly Phipps and Nancy Bates, in recognition of the tremendous effort put forth as Representatives-at-Large in compiling the WSS Officer's and Committee Chairperson's Handbook.
  • WSS again presented awards at the Annual Dinner to Outstanding Graduate students attending area universities.

Sincere appreciation is extended to everyone who contributed to the success of the organization this year. The WSS Board, including officers, program chairs, and committee chairs, worked diligently to bring fruition to these efforts. Thanks also to the technical session speakers, chairs, and discussants who gave generously of their time to keep us abreast of new developments in their areas of expertise. I would encourage all who are interested to take an active role in the WSS. There are many opportunities available, both long-term and short-term, and these opportunities provide volunteers with a chance to stay connected to the local statistical community.

One challenge for next year and the coming years is to remain a community while taking advantage of technology. With the ability to videoconference seminars, we are able to reach out to a larger audience, but we must find other ways and opportunities to bring people together. If you have suggestions in this regard, or feedback on any other WSS matters, please contact any Board member.

I would like to personally thank Clyde Tucker (Past President, 2006-07) and Michael P. Cohen (President-Elect, 2006-07) for their invaluable input and guidance over the past year. I have truly enjoyed serving you over the past year, and look forward to continued participation in the WSS.

Jill Montaquila
Past President

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17th Annual Morris Hansen Lecture
October 30, 2007

Joe Sedransk, Professor of Statistics (Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio), will give the 17th Annual Morris Hansen Lecture "Assessing the Value of Bayesian Methods for Inference About Finite Population Quantities" on Tuesday October 30 at 3:30 P.M. in the Jefferson Auditorium of the Department of Agriculture's South Building (Independence Avenue SW, between 12th and 14th Street). The Hansen Lecture Series is sponsored by the Washington Statistical Society, Westat, and the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

The USDA South Building (Independence Avenue SW) is between 12th and 14th Streets at the Smithsonian Metro Stop (Blue Line). Enter through Wing 5 or Wing 7 from Independence Ave. (The special assistance entrance is at 12th & Independence). A photo ID is required.

Please pre-register for this event to help facilitate access to the building. After September 1, pre-register on line at http://www.nass.usda.gov/morrishansen/. Additional information will appear in the October issue.

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Graduate Certificate in Survey Design and Data Analysis
The George Washington University

The Graduate Certificate in Survey Design and Data Analysis, offered by The George Washington University, provides the framework to prepare professionals, from both public and private sectors, for a variety of career opportunities in the survey research field. This invaluable program focuses on the skills needed in today's changing survey environment, introducing students to all phases of survey research designing and pretesting the questionnaire, sampling cases, collecting and compiling data, computing estimates and margin of errors, and writing reports, as well as managing the entire survey process. Two of the four courses are offered each semester on weekday evenings at The George Washington University's Alexandria Graduate Education Center.

Please join us for an Information Session at the Alexandria Graduate Education Center to learn more about this program and meet the Academic Program Coordinator.

  • Wednesday, September 19, 6:30pm
  • Wednesday, November 14, 6:30pm

RSVP for a session today www.nearyou.gwu.edu/survey or call 202-973-1130. For more information please contact Helen Forner 703-299-9147 hforner@gwu.edu

Fall courses:

Stat 183: Statistical Computing Packages
This course covers the major statistical packages, particularly SAS and SPSS, and how to employ them to solve both simple and complex real-life data problems including one-, two-, and k-sample statistical problems. Basic concepts include data preparation, modification, analysis, and interpretation of results with particular emphasis on a case study approach.

Stat 238: Survey Management
The goal of this course is to describe the modern tools used in the management of a survey operation from the initial customer contacts through training, field work, data processing, data analysis, report writing, and presentation of results. Practical issues in budgeting and scheduling are covered with hands-on projects. Modern quality management ideas will be emphasized.

Spring Courses:

Stat 187: Applied Sampling Techniques
This class introduces the major approaches now applied in sampling: how to decide on what type of sample to draw, how to select the sample, and how to analyze the results. Included are simple random, stratified, systematic, cluster, and multistage designs. Ways to control sampling errors are emphasized and efforts to reduce non-sampling errors are discussed.

Stat 233: Questionnaire Design
This course covers questionnaire development from the perspective of modern cognitive techniques. Included are a range of questionnaire, issues from choosing the mode of data collection (mail, telephone, or in-person) to selecting the respondent, to the differences between asking attitude and factual questions even how to pretest the instrument chosen.

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Students' Corner

Let me introduce myself. I am the new student representative to the WSS board, succeeding Hiro Hikawa for the coming year. He will be a difficult act to follow writing gracefully each month on statistical issues pertinent to students.

If you are a student and reading this, the conditional probability that you're already a student member of the American Statistical Association may be rather high. If you are not a member of the American Statistical Association, I strongly recommend that you obtain student membership in the ASA for only $10. You can join online at: https://www.amstat.org/membership/index.cfm?fuseaction=onlineapp Scroll down to the section entitled "STUDENT". Please encourage your classmates to do the same.

The main reason why I'm recommending this is that you automatically get a subscription to STATS magazine along with the student membership. I'm a new student member of the ASA myself, and the latest issue of STATS arrived earlier this summer. It had several very interesting articles, including an article on how to determine which came first, the chicken or the egg (the cover story); a short piece on the use of permutation testing on data from the 1986 space shuttle Challenger disaster; and an interview with Dr. Sallie Keller-McNulty, a past president of the ASA. Some of the questions and answers in this interview are of special interest to students of statistics since Dr. Keller-McNulty answers one question about what skills she thinks might be helpful for students to develop while in school.

If you do get around to signing up for a student membership in the ASA, consider subscribing to CHANCE magazine. This magazine presents interesting statistical concepts in an easy-going, informal style similar to STATS.

Please also consider student membership in our local group, the Washington Statistical Society. You can join online at: http://wws.scs.gmu.edu/~wss/join.html.

If you have any feedback on this column or ideas of topics for future issues, please email me at jmm97@georgetown.edu. Your thoughts will be greatly appreciated!

Joe Maisog
Georgetown University

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Note From The WSS NEWS Editor

Items for publication in the October issue of the WSS NEWS should be submitted no later than September 12, 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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