Washington Statistical Society
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May 2011


Seeking Volunteers
Web Volunteers Needed

To communicate more effectively with our members, the Washington Statistical Society is developing a new web site. The design, major functions, and main pages of the new site will be created by our vendor using a content management system. We are looking for volunteers to help with other tasks. These include:

1. Use the new content management system to create additional web pages.

2. Help convert email functions to operate with Constant Contact®.

No special skills are needed — just good attention to detail and familiarity with web browsers. If you would like to help, or if you would like more information, please write to Phil Kalina at wssvolunteer@philkalina.com.

Thank you.

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Gertrude M. Cox Award Recipient Nilanjan Chatterjee

The Washington Statistical Society (WSS) and RTI International are pleased to announce that Nilanjan Chatterjee, Senior Investigator, Chief of the Biostatistics Branch, National Cancer Institute, has been chosen as this year's recipient of the Gertrude M. Cox Award. Since receiving his PhD in Statistics from the University of Washington, Seattle in 1999, Dr. Chatterjee has made noteworthy contributions in developing study designs and statistical methods for modern epidemiologic studies, in high-impact studies, and in gene-environment interactions and genome-wide association studies. He will receive the Award at the WSS Annual Dinner Meeting on Thursday, June 16, 2011 and will give the Keynote Address, "Estimating the "known-unknowns" from "known-knowns" in the search of missing heritability of complex trait".

The Award was established in 2003 through a joint agreement between WSS and RTI to recognize statisticians in early to mid-career who have made significant contributions to statistical practice. The award is in memory of Gertrude M. Cox (1900-1978), who in the 1950s, when Head of the Department of Experimental Statistics at North Carolina State College, played a key role in establishing Mathematical Statistics and Biostatistics Departments at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a Statistical Division at the then newly founded not-for-profit RTI. She served as president of the ASA in 1957.

This award is made possible by funding from RTI, and the recipient is chosen by a six person committee - three each from RTI and WSS. This year's committee from RTI consists of Marcus Berzofsky, Phil Kott, and Karol Krotki (Chair), and from WSS Jonaki Bose, Michael Brick, and John Eltinge. The award consists of a $1,000 honorarium, travel expenses to attend the WSS dinner, and a commemorating plaque containing the WSS logo. Past recipients have been Sharon Lohr, Alan Zaslavsky, Tom Belin, Vance Berger, Francesca Domenici, Thomas Lumley, Jean Opsomer, and Michael Elliott.

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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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Classes and Workshops
Five-Week Online SAS Training in Summer

The Department of Statistics, George Mason University will be offering a 5-week introductory course in SAS programming in Summer 2011 from 6/6/011 to 7/10/2011. This is a perfect opportunity to become facile with one of technology's leading software packages to perform data management and data analysis using modern statistical methodology, from the comfort of home or office.

Thecourse is offered completely online and does not require coming to campus. The course is taught by Dr. Linda Davis, Associate Professor of Statistics. Dr. Davis holds a Ph.D. in Statistics from Rutgers University and is an expert in data analysis and applied statistical methods.

There are two mechanisms to register for the training course:

STAT 501: a one credit graduate course; registration is through GMU Summer Programs registration; non-GMU students must apply as a non-degree student by April 22, 2011.

Continuing Education: not for credit, fee $500. Register at http://www.ocpe.gmu.edu/programs/seminars/sas_programming.php

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Classes and Workshops
Summer Statistics Courses at George Mason University

STAT 250 — Introductory Statistics I
STAT 250 (Distance Education) — Introductory Statistics I
STAT 344 — Probability and Statistics for Engineers and Scientists I
STAT 350 — Introductory Statistics II
STAT 501 (Distance Education) — SAS Language and Basic Procedures
STAT 789 — Bootstrapping Methods

William F. Rosenberger, Ph.D., Professor and Chairman
George Mason University, Department of Statistics, Volgenau School of Engineering
4400 University Drive, MS 4A7
Fairfax, VA22030-4444


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Student Column

In this issue, the Student Column includes testaments from several Georgetown University students and a profile of an emerging research center at UMBC.

Students Reflect on their Experiences at Georgetown University

"The master's program in mathematics and statistics at Georgetown University combines applied mathematics and statistics into a degree track that focuses on practical and professional applications. The curriculum is intended for individuals who have strong backgrounds, but not necessarily baccalaureate degrees, in mathematics. It is the only such program in the greater DC area, and it culminates in an MS degree in mathematics and statistics. The program derives its philosophy from government and industry organizations in the DC area and has placed graduates into government agencies, defense and financial firms and nonprofits. There is a flourishing internship program that has placed interns at organizations including the US Census Bureau, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Department of Energy, Department of Justice, Department of Agriculture, Controller of the Currency, Federal Reserve Board, Federal Aviation Administration and various financial consulting firms. The website is http://math.georgetown.edu/programs/graduate/, where additional information and contacts can be found.

Toni Blaslov, an international student from Croatia, reports that "I chose the program for its diversity in course offering, as well as the practicality of the topics offered. As an international student I find the faculty and the student community very helpful in integrating into a new lifestyle of the United States."

According to alumnus Mike Lal, "an internship was a very important component of my experience in the program. My search for an opportunity was largely aided by the growing list of contacts developed not only by the directors of the program but also the students. When I began my internship, two of my classmates had already completed the same internship and accepted full time positions; the possibility of a full time offer factored greatly into my choice for an internship. Furthermore, the skills and knowledge base learned in the classroom were directly applicable to a wide range of opportunities, which greatly benefited my internship search and interview process. Additionally, an internship can be a great source of ideas and resources for projects or independent studies done for credit."

Ben Petersen is a part-time student and working professional who remarks, "I began my career working as a research assistant and started exploring and teaching myself computer programming. Though I learned a lot from colleagues, reading books, and experimenting with various programs, to further develop my technical and professional skills, I decided to pursue a master's degree. After researching several local universities, I found Georgetown University's program in applied mathematics and statistics to best suit my needs. Not only did the program's curriculum incorporate topics that I knew I enjoyed, but it also required I take classes I was interested in trying out. Since I already had a background in mathematics, I was searching for a program that taught skills that I could put to practical use in the workforce and the combination of requirements in both applied mathematics and statistics seem to do just hat. Plus, the majority of courses were offered at night, which proved to be a huge benefit as I am working full-time and it fits my busy schedule. After joining the ranks, I discovered the community of faculty and students to be diverse and welcoming and found the program to be very fulfilling. I've gained a wide range of technical skills such as mathematical modeling and general linear regression and have also gained new interests in fields such as stochastic simulation and climate mathematics, two of my favorite courses. Prior to the program, I was unsure of what I wanted to do with my career; however, as I am completing my last semester, I realize how much I enjoy computer programming and plan to seek jobs that incorporate these new technical skills."

Report compiled by Ben Petersen.
Parisa Meisami
Student Representative

Interdisciplinary Research and Education through Consulting at UMBC

Themission of Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Consulting (CIRC) is to create learning opportunities for the graduate students of Department of Mathematics and Statistics at University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). While most statistics programs host consulting services, consulting centers are not very common among Applied Mathematics programs. Thus, CIRC, a joint venture between the Applied Mathematics and Statistics programs at UMBC, is unique in many respects. Dr. Nagaraj Neerchal, Professor of Statistics, and Dr. Matthias Gobbert, Professor of Mathematics, jointly established CIRC in 2003 to make the expertise of the department available to the growing needs of an increasingly interdisciplinary research focus of the campus, while providing extensive project experience for graduate students in both the Statistics and the Applied Mathematics programs. CIRC supports interdisciplinary research for both the UMBC campus community and the general public, providing a full range of consulting services from free initial consulting to long term support for research programs. Dr. Elizabeth Stanwyck is the CIRC Research Fellow, and Kyle Stern (Mathematics) and Xiao-Song Zhong (Statistics) are the Research Assistants for Spring 2011. Other students currently affiliated with CIRC include Andrew Raim, David Trott, Paula Borrego, and Merve Gurlu. CIRC website (www.umbc.edu/circ) provides a list of all past and present participants and the list of projects.

CIRC creates many opportunities for graduate students to apply their knowledge of statistical and mathematical methods and software to a wide variety of real-world problems and broaden their technical expertise. By participating in the consulting process, students also learn to communicate with researchers in other disciplines and improve their non-technical skills by observing experienced faculty members. There have been numerous CIRC projects that led to professional publications. One article, published in The Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery arose from a joint project with a long-time collaborator with CIRC: Dr. M. Didolkar of Sinai Hospital. CIRC-affiliated co-authors were Airong Yu, Dr. Nagaraj Neerchal, and Dr. Liz Stanwyck. Another article, published in Biopolymers, arose from collaboration with S. Ganguly (a student in the Chemistry and Biochemistry department at UMBC) and was co- authored by Dr. Liz Stanwyck.

CIRCoffers hands-on workshops on mathematical and statistical software packages including MATLAB, COMSOL Multiphysics, Microsoft Access, SAS, S-Plus, R, and SPSS. These workshops are part of a collaboration with the UMBC Division of Information Technology and provide subject matter expertise for software which are widely used and paid for by institutional site licenses. CIRC designs introductory workshops for first-time users as well as advanced workshops on more specialized features of the software packages. CIRC also collaborates actively with the UMBC High Performance Computing Facility (HPCF, www.umbc.edu/hpcf) by coordinating its user support. Equipment in HPCF includes a state-of-the-art parallel computing cluster that is maintained institutionally. The CIRC consulting structure allows an extension of system administration to individual user support. CIRC also supports the NSF-funded REU Site: Interdisciplinary Program in High Performance Computing (www.umbc.edu/hpcreu). This REU Site, unique nationally in its combination of mathematics, statistics, and parallel computing, combines the availability of the hardware in HPCF with the philosophy of consulting of CIRC to help several teams of undergraduate students experience interdisciplinary research. CIRC provides a weekly social hour where students and faculty can come together to network while enjoying free coffee, tea, and snacks. Weekly colloquium speakers also attend the event which gives the students and the faculty an opportunity to speak with well-known researchers and scientists. Dr. Garikai Campbell, Associate Vice President for Strategic Planning, Associate Professor of Mathematics, and Dr. Rafael Angel Zapata, Assistant Dean and Director, Intercultural Center, from Swathmore College, were among many speakers who attended the social hour.

CIRC atthe Department of Mathematics and Statistics at UMBC has been valuable for students, faculty, and researchers across a broad range of disciplines. The researchers benefit from the thorough and careful application of statistical and mathematical methods, whereas students affiliated with CIRC benefit from being exposed to tangible problems. CIRC creates an environment where interdisciplinary cooperation between mathematicians/statisticians and scientists improves quality in scientific research.

Merve Gurlu
Statistics Graduate Student
CIRC Consultant of the year 2011
Department of Mathematics and Statistics
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

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Note From The WSS NEWS Editor

Items for publication in the June 2011 issue of the WSS NEWS will be accepted until the 15th day of the preceding month.

Email items to 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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