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February 2011


In The Spotlight
Nominations Sought for WSS Board Positions

John L. Eltinge, Past President, WSS
Darryl Creel, Secretary, WSS

As we move toward the spring, the WSS will hold its annual elections for several important positions on its Board of Directors. For the 2011 elections, the open positions include:

  • President-Elect
    • for July, 2011 to June, 2012
    • to serve as President July, 2012 June, 2013 and Past President July, 2013 to June, 2014
  • Secretary
    • for July, 2011 to June, 2013
  • Two Representatives-at-Large
    • for July, 2011 to June, 20113
  • Methodology Program Chai
    • for July, 2011 to June, 2012
    • to serve as Methodology Section Chair July, 2012 to June, 20013

In recent years, nominations for the President-Elect position have alternated between the government and non-government sectors. For the 2011 election, nominees for President-Elect will be from the non-government (academic and private) sector. For any other position, nominations may come from either the government or non-government sectors. For all of the positions listed above, we heartily welcome nominations from any member of the Washington Statistical Society. Please e-mail your nominations to Past President John Eltinge (Eltinge.John@bls.gov) by March 15, 2011.

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Seeking Award Nominations
2011 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 2010 award recipient was Dr. Dale W. Jorgenson for for his contributions to the measurement of productivity, innovation, capital, human capital, poverty, and for his leadership in the integration of the U.S. National Accounts.

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 for 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 2011 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 $1000 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 call 202-691-6147. Completed nominations must be received by March 15, 2011.

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Seeking Award Nominations
Jeanne E. Griffith Mentoring Award

It's time to start thinking about nominating an outstanding supervisor, technical director, team coordinator, or other member of a governmental statistical staff who encourages mentoring of junior staff in the Federal, State, or Local statistical system for the 2011 Jeanne E. Griffith Mentoring Award. Nominations must be submitted no later than March 25, 2011.

Nominations for 2011 will be accepted beginning in January 2011. The last date for submission of nominations is March 25, 2011, and the Award Committee will make its determination of the award winner by April 22, 2011. The award will consist of a $1,000 honorarium (to be split if there is more than one awardee), a citation, and a plaque, which will be presented at a ceremony arranged by the co-sponsors in June 2011.

For more information about the nominating process for the 2011 award, please go to: http://www.amstat.org/sections/sgovt/JEGform11.doc or http://www.amstat.org/sections/sgovt/JEGform11.pdf.

If you have questions about the award, please contact Rick Peterson at rick@amstat.org (703) 684-1221, and Carol House at housca@gmail.com 703-989-1334.

The nomination package may be mailed or emailed no later than March 25, 2011, to:

The Jeanne E. Griffith Mentoring Award Committee
c/o The American Statistical Association
732 N. Washington Street
alexandria, va 22314-1943

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Seeking Award Nominations
Herriot Award

Nominations are sought for the 2011 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 2011 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 $1,000 honorarium and a framed citation, which will be presented at a ceremony at the Joint Statistical Meetings in August 2011. 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), Elizabeth Martin (Census Bureau), Lynda Carlson (NSF), and Katharine G. Abraham (JPSM, University of Maryland).

Nominations for the 2011 award will be accepted beginning in February 2011. Nomination packages should contain:

  1. 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.

  2. Up to six additional letters in support that demonstrate the innovativeness of each contribution.

  3. A current vita for the nominee, including contact information.

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

For more information, contact Robert Fay, Chair, 2011 Roger Herriot Award Committee, at 240-314-2318 or BobFay@Westat.com. Completed packages must be received by April 1, 2011. 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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Classes and Workshops
Forthcoming Info-Metrics Workshops and Summer Classes:
Announcements and Call for Papers

Info-Metrics Institute
American University, Washington, DC

Registration and additional information about activities, reports, etc., see:

Spring 2011 Info-Metrics Across the Sciences, May 2, 2011, Washington DC, USA
Fall 2011 (October) Philosophy of Information, October 3, 2011, Washington DC, USA
Fall 2011 (November) Information Theory and Shrinkage Estimation, November 12, 2011, Washington DC, USA
Spring 2012 (March) Information and Econometrics of Networks, March 30-31, 2012, Washington DC, USA
Summer Program:
May 9-13, 2011 Info-Metrics: Theory and Practice
Instructor: Amos Golan (American U)
May 23-27, 2011 Spatial Econometrics: Theory and Practice
Instructor: Ingmar Prucha, U. of Maryland College Park
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Seeking Volunteers

Volunteers are needed at different times between March and June 2011 — 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 year 30 of your fellow WSS members judged and awarded prizes to projects in Mathematical Sciences, Behavioral & Social Science, Environmental Management, Animal Sciences, Engineering: Materials and Bioengineering, Earth and Planetary Science, Microbiology, Physics, and Astronomy. 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 poster 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 Amelia Vogel at Vogel.Amelia@bls.gov or 202-691-6138.

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Student Column

Here three students from University of the District of Colombia tell us about the Masters of Science in Applied Statistics program which they are enrolled in.

Niraj Sapkota:

"University of the District of Columbia (UDC) is the only public University in DC offering higher education including Bachelors, Masters, and PhD programs in several fields of study. UDC recently added the Masters of Science in Applied Statistics to the Program. This Program is rapidly growing, catering the needs and wants of students from the Tri state area and more. I joined UDC for the Masters of Science in Applied Statistics in the spring of 2010. In the beginning, when I had ample concerns regarding the program, the faculty members were always available to help me out. I was relieved to find out that The Department of Mathematics faculty members have a remarkable working experience and an outstanding helping personality. With many other financial aids, The Department of Mathematics also offers graduate assistantship and teaching assistantship to any qualified student. This award helps student not only financially but also to gain professional experience that adds value to a student's education. I've been enjoying my education experience at UDC, and look forward to enriching myself in such a wonderful environment.

Sophia Parker:

"I am a current graduate student in the Applied Statistics Master's program at the University of the District of Columbia. I would love to tell you a little bit about the program and my experience thus far.

The Applied Statistics Master's program at the University of DC is a rigorous two-year curriculum by which students can follow one of two paths toward attaining a graduate degree. Both tracks provide an intimate in-class learning experience with exceptional students from all around the world. The Professional Science Master's degree program is an interdisciplinary track which provides the opportunity to attain work experience through an internship in any related field of interest to the student. The standard Master of Science degree program offers the guidance and resources for ongoing thesis research. While each student's work is ultimately a product of independent research, students meet periodically to receive feedback from their peers and thesis advisers who, together, cover a wide range of expertise which fosters many interesting discussions.

Classes are small, which provides a fantastic atmosphere for enhancing the students' learning of core concepts, such as probability theory, bayesian methods, regression analysis, data mining practices, experiment design, survey and sampling theory, and statistical software computing. The program remains flexible enough that students also flourish in their selected areas of interest, preparing them for unique post-graduate careers.

In my personal experience in the program I have had many opportunities to collaborate on projects with my classmates as well as with graduate students from the Linguistics, English, and Water Resource Management departments. I have made so many wonderful, intelligent friends at UDC who continue to challenge and support me in my academic pursuits. Every day I grow more interested in the topics I'm learning and in the research that I am conducting here. I am continuously grateful for the many opportunities that this program and the University provide."

Fredric D. Ratliff:

"The MSAS (Master's of Science of Applied Statistics) is a brand new, two-year program headed by Dr. Valbona Bejleri. This program, though focused on applied statistical analysis, allows students of any discipline to explore and learn and grow along with the knowledge of statistics. The classes are small allowing for many points of views to be heard and utilized. The professors, though disciplined, allow flexibility and remain aware of students' needs and concerns. Many students with little to no knowledge of statistics can graduate from the program with great confidence in the field. The best part however is students that join the program not only become part of a group with very bright people, they become part of a family. My experience at UDC has been quite memorable. I have met many influential people and have made many friends. I can still remember when UDC wasn't much to talk about when it came to schools to attend. Not very many people even fathom going to UDC to continue their higher education. Schools like Howard, American U, Georgetown and George Washington University were the schools of choice in DC. However during my time at UDC working on my bachelor's in mathematics, I have witnessed the school's growth. UDC is now building a reputation of having top notch professors and producing career-ready students. The school certainly has taken a positive direction in contributing thought-provoking and well-educated students to the world. Because of this, UDC will become a school that everyone knows. Not just in the city but in the nation as well. Now that I am in the MSAS program, I have been watching it grow as well. Here I am, learning through the program's first four semesters and already has expanded quite significantly. I am one of the first students of the program. This program has certainly pushed further my interest in research as well as analysis. Being a graduate of the Math department, I was eager to show and apply my knowledge. The MSAS has allowed me to do just that. I am currently working with professors on two research projects. One project is for my thesis for graduation. That is the nature of this school and the program. It truly allows you to showcase your skills on a real-world platform.

Parisa Meisami
Student Representative

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SIGSTAT Topics for Fall/Winter 2010-2011

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 p.m. Enter the South Tower & take the elevator to the 3rd floor to check in at the guard's desk.

Point of Contact:
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.

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Note From The WSS NEWS Editor

Items for publication in the March 2011 issue of the WSS NEWS will be accepted until the last day of the preceding month.

Email items to Colleen S. Choi at wss.editor@gmail.com.

Please submit all materials in MS WORD or plain text.

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Click here to see the WSS Board Listing (pdf)
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