Washington Statistical Society
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February 2009

Contents:



Herriot Award Nominations Sought

Nominations are sought for the 2009 Roger Herriot Award for Innovation in Federal Statistics. The award is intended to reflect the special characteristics that marked Roger Herriot's career:

  • 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 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.

The recipient of the 2009 Roger Herriot Award will be chosen by a committee comprising representatives of the Social Statistics and Government Statistics Sections of the American Statistical Association, and of the Washington Statistical Society. Roger Herriot was associated with, and strongly supportive of, these organizations during his career. The award consists of a $1000 honorarium and a framed citation, which will be presented at a ceremony at the Joint Statistical Meetings in August 2009. The Washington Statistical Society will also host a seminar given by the winner on a subject of his or her own choosing.

The previous recipients of the Roger Herriot Award are Joseph Waksberg (Westat), Monroe Sirken (NCHS), Constance Citro (CNStat), Roderick Harrison (Census Bureau), Clyde Tucker (BLS), Thomas Jabine (SSA, EIA, CNStat), Donald Dillman (Washington State University), Jeanne Griffith (OMB, NCES, NSF), Daniel Weinberg (Census Bureau), David Banks (FDA, BTS, NIST), Paula Schneider (Census Bureau), Robert E. Fay III (Census Bureau), Nathaniel Schenker (NCHS), Nancy Kirkendall (EIA) and Elizabeth Martin (Census Bureau).

Nominations for the 2009 award will be accepted beginning in February 2009. Nomination packages should contain:

  • A cover letter from the nominator that should include 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 additional letters in support that document how each contribution demonstrates innovation.
  • A current vita for the nominee, including contact information.

Both individual and group nominations may be submitted. The committee may consider nominations made for the 2008 award, but it encourages resubmission of those nominations with updated information.

For more information, contact Dwight Brock, Chair, 2009 Roger Herriot Award Committee, at 301-517-4026 or dwightbrock@westat.com. Completed packages must be received by April 1, 2009. Electronic submissions in MS-Word or as a "pdf" file are strongly encouraged. Please contact the chair if you need to make arrangements to fax or mail a nomination.

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The Caucus for Women in Statistics Poster Project
Competition for Girls in Grades K-12

The goal of the competition is to interest girls in grades K-12 in statistics and motivate them to participate in science competitions by submitting poster projects that incorporate statistics. Entries may be submitted in the following grade categories: K-3, 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12. The winner of each category will receive $100 and a certificate of recognition. Eight additional finalists, two from each category, will receive certificates of recognition.

Any girl attending a high school, middle school or elementary school at the K-12 level is eligible. Home schooled girls need to provide a verification of grade level.

Entries for K-6 students may be submitted by a coed group or a class, but a girl representing the group or class should submit the project. The advisor-teacher should select the representative.

Posters submitted to other competitions are eligible for submission to this competition, if allowed by the rules of the other competition.

Deadline for all submissions: February 28th 2009.

For more information, including application forms, types of projects, and submission instructions, go to: http://caucusforwomeninstatistics.com/19.html. Return to top


VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!

Volunteers are needed at different times between March and June 2009 -- to judge entries in the Curtis Jacobs Memorial Prize for Outstanding Statistics Project; to judge entries in the WSS Statistical Poster Competition; and to judge science fair projects at the regional science fairs in Northern Virginia, suburban Maryland and the District of Columbia. The WSS needs you to volunteer now for any one or all three!

The WSS has a longstanding and active program of reaching out to elementary and secondary school students to encourage them to gain an understanding and appreciation of Statistics. We do this in part by sponsoring two annual competitions - the Curtis Jacobs Memorial Prize and the WSS Statistical Poster Competition - and by awarding prizes at the annual regional high school science fairs.

Since 1986, WSS has provided special awards at the five regional science fairs to students whose projects demonstrate excellence in data analysis or the application of statistical methods. The fairs are held on Saturdays in March. They need volunteers willing to devote one Saturday morning to interact with students, judge their projects, and give them some guidance and encouragement. Those who have participated in these activities have very much enjoyed meeting the students, talking with them, and seeing the widely diverse projects they have presented. Last March, 27 of your fellow WSS members judged and awarded prizes to projects in Behavioral and Social Sciences, Engineering: Materials and Bioengineering, Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy, Environmental Management, Medicine and Health Sciences, and Animal Sciences. If you are interested in being a science fair judge, contact Bob Clickner at Robertclickner@westat.com, or 301-294-2815.

The Curtis Jacobs Award program focuses on gathering information and analyzing for making decisions. Entries are typically due in May; judges review and score the entries at their convenience and transmit their evaluations and scores by late May. If you are interested in volunteering to judge the entries, contact Tom Krenzke at TomKrenzke@westat.com or 301-251-4203.

The rposter competition is open to students in grades K-12 and entries may be in any area of statistics. Judging is typically in May or June. If you are interested in judging, contact Cammy Fine at Cammy.Fine@ey.com or 202-327-7730, or Ryan Petska at Ryan.Petska@EY.com or 202-327-7245.

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Save the Date
An All-Day Symposium in Honor of Dr. Edmund Gehan
April 27, 2009

The Department of Biostatistics, Bioinformatics, and Biomathematics at Georgetown University and the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center invite you to an all-day symposium in honor of Dr. Edmund Gehan, Professor Emeritus of Biostatistics. Invited speakers are Dennis Dixon, Jonas Ellenberg, Susan Ellenberg, Emil J. Freireich, Stephen George, J. Jack Lee, Aiyi Liu, Karen Messer, Peter Thall, and Marvin Zelen.

For more information and to register online, visit http://dbbb.georgetown.edu/News/gehansymposium/ or contact Caroline Wu, Department of Biostatistics, Bioinformatics, and Biomathematics, Georgetown University, Suite 180, Building D, 4000 Reservoir Road NW; (202) 687-4114; ctw26@georgetown.edu

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Nominations Sought for 2009 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 2008 award recipients were William R. Bell and Robert M. Groves. Dr. Bell was recognized for his innovative statistical research that led to improved economic statistics through important contributions to the theory and practice of seasonal adjustment, small area estimation, and time series modeling; Dr. Groves was recognized for his innovative statistical research that led to improved economic statistics through important contributions to the theory and practice of survey methods for the conduct of sample surveys of both households and establishments.

Because the program was initiated many years ago, 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 2009 award are now being accepted. Individuals and 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 www.amstat.org/sections/bus_econ/shiskin.html. For questions or more information, please contact Steven Paben, Julius Shiskin Award Committee Secretary, via e-mail at paben.steven@bls.gov or phone at 202-691-6147. Completed nominations must be received by April 1, 2009.

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Students' Corner

Earlier this year, I went to the American Statistical Association (ASA) website (www.amstat.org) to find a dataset for a simulation study when I found that the ASA had changed their website. The updated website is attractive and continues to provide links to valuable resources for statistically minded students. It appears that the primary navigation and much of the content of the website has not drastically changed, but the aesthetics of the site are easily noticed. Since the website is large, and serves many purposes, in this student's corner I would like to highlight some of the pages that may be of interest to students.

Many of the applied statistics classes I have taken require students to find and analyze a dataset. Finding, editing, and formatting an appropriate dataset for a homework assignment or a major project can take significant effort. The Journal of Statistics Education (JSE) maintains an archive of over 70 datasets. These datasets can easily be downloaded and record layouts as well as value descriptions of the files are easily available. One of the nice things about the JSE archive is the amount of metadata that accompanies each dataset. Many have been analyzed in publications, giving students the possibility of recreating and extending the analysis of journal articles. Navigating to the JSE archive of datasets doesn't appear to be any easier with the new layout, so I would recommend searching the ASA website for "JSE datasets" or directly going to (http://www.amstat.org/publications/jse/jse_data_archive.html)

The Education section of the ASA website contains information on internships, scholarships, fellowships, and awards for graduate students. There are also a number of opportunities publicized for undergraduate students. The Career section contains information for graduates and those looking for employment. I have always been fascinated by the salary reports under the career section. The ASA publishes salary information for statisticians in a variety of sectors and industries.

The ASA also offers many valuable sources of information for research. Students can subscribe to journals online at discounted prices through the ASA website. I highly recommend the Chances magazine which never ceases to have fascinating articles on a wide range of topics. Publications can easily be found from the ASA home page. Unfortunately, it still requires quite a few clicks to navigate to Joint Statistical Meetings proceedings papers published on the Survey Research Methods Section site. When doing research for class, I often browse through the proceedings papers which can be found at (http://www.amstat.org/sections/SRMS/index.html).

Although Imentioned it in last month's corner, I must also mention again that thousands of statisticians will descend upon Washington DC this summer as part of the Joint Statistical Meetings (JSM). The deadline for submitting an abstract for a poster or paper is February 2, at 3:00 p.m. I highly recommend participating in the conference with a paper or poster. More information on the JSM can be found at (http://www.amstat.org/meetings/jsm/2009/index.cfm)

Tim Kennel (tkennel@survey.umd.edu)

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SIGSTAT Topics

January 21, 2009: GeoDA Part 2
(https://www.geoda.uiuc.edu/)

GeoDa is the latest incarnation in a long line of software tools developed by Dr. Luc Anselin's Spatial Analysis Laboratory (SAL) in the Department of Geography at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. It is designed to implement techniques for exploratory spatial data analysis (ESDA) on lattice data (points and polygons). The free program provides a user friendly and graphical interface to methods of descriptive spatial data analysis, such as spatial autocorrelation statistics, as well as basic spatial regression functionality. The latest version contains several new features such as a cartogram, a refined map movie, parallel coordinate plot, 3D visualization, conditional plots (and maps) and spatial regression.

Continuing the December discussion, this month will cover:

  • Spatial Data Manipulation
  • EDA Basics, Linking
  • Brushing Scatter Plots and Maps
  • Multivariate EDA Basics
  • Advanced Multivariate EDA

February 11, 2009: GeoDA Part 3
(https://www.geoda.uiuc.edu/)

GeoDa is the latest incarnation in a long line of software tools developed by Dr. Luc Anselin's Spatial Analysis Laboratory (SAL) in the Department of Geography at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. It is designed to implement techniques for exploratory spatial data analysis (ESDA) on lattice data (points and polygons). The free program provides a user friendly and graphical interface to methods of descriptive spatial data analysis, such as spatial autocorrelation statistics, as well as basic spatial regression functionality. The latest version contains several new features such as a cartogram, a refined map movie, parallel coordinate plot, 3D visualization, conditional plots (and maps) and spatial regression.

Continuing the January discussion, this month will cover:

  • ESDA Basics and Geovisualization
  • Advanced ESDA
  • Basic Rate Mapping
  • Rate Smoothing
  • Contiguity-Based Spatial Weights

March 18, 2009: What's New in SAS 9.2
(http://support.sas.com/documentation/whatsnew/index.html)

Someof the enhancements in the latest release of the SAS System include new language features and procedure options, ODS Statistical Graphics (previously experimental), which are now in production; a new family of SAS/GRAPH procedures that use ODS Graphics to create standalone plots; new procedures in SAS/STAT software; jackknife and BRR variance estimation and domain analysis provided by the survey data analysis procedures; the PANEL procedure in SAS/ETS which expands the estimation capability of the TSCSREG procedure in the time-series cross-sectional framework; and SAS Stat Studio, new software for data exploration and analysis, providing a flexible programming environment in which you can run SAS/STAT or SAS/IML analyses and display the results with dynamically linked graphics and data tables.

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. 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 & many links of statistical interest can be found at the SIGSTAT website, http://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 February 12, 2009. 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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