Washington Statistical Society
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May 2012


Time for WSS Elections!
Annual Election of Board Members for WSS

Every spring since the Washington Statistical Society was formally organized in 1926, the members of the Society are asked to vote for members who will represent them on the Board of Directors. The slate of candidates who have generously volunteered to stand for election for the 2012-2013 year is included in this edition. We urge you to exercise your right to vote and chose the candidates that you believe will best serve the Society. After having served on the Board for three years, it is very clear to me that the WSS as a volunteer organization is steered by the good efforts of those people who are willing to serve either as elected members or appointed members to various committees. I would like to thank each of the candidates for running for office despite the many other responsibilities they have.

I would also urge each of you to consider whether you could serve the statistical community in the Washington area by volunteering for some activity with the WSS. If you are willing to serve in any capacity, please email the incoming President Keith Rust at KeithRust@westat.com and let him know. There are always a host of activities that need volunteers.

All members eligible to vote, those who have paid their WSS dues as of March 31, 2012, should receive an email with instructions on voting electronically around May 1, 2012. Voting will be open until May 25, 2012. Please vote.

Past-President and Chair of the Nomination Committee
J. Michael Brick

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Time for WSS Elections!
2012 WSS Election Candidates

The 2012 WSS election will be held online. Instructions on voting will be sent to members by email. Below are the candidates for this year's election. All WSS members are urged to vote once the balloting begins on May 1. Voting will close on May 25. The results will be announced by early June.

Candidate for President (Select One)

Nancy Bates, Census Bureau

Nancy Bates is the Senior Researcher for Survey Methodology at the U.S. Census Bureau. She has spent over twenty years in survey methods research working as a survey methodologist and survey statistician. Nancy currently works on a variety of research projects including survey measurement issues within the GLBT community, public opinion around Census's use of administrative records, and data collection and analysis of survey paradata. Nancy is currently the Co-Chair of the 2012 International Conference on Hard-to-Reach Populations. She has a B.A. in public administration and M.A. in applied sociology both from the University of Oklahoma. Nancy has served previously as a Representative-at-Large board member of the WSS. She is a member of the Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology and an Associate Editor for Journal of Official Statistics. She has published in journals such as Survey Methodology, Survey Practice, Journal of Economic and Social Measurement and Journal of Official Statistics.

To better understand the current needs and issues of the WSS, Nancy would use her in-coming year as President-elect to re-acclimate herself to the Society, Board, and members. She will make it a priority to support and encourage WSS seminars and other educational offerings as a way to keep WSS members abreast of recent developments in statistical methods and applied survey research. She is also interested in strengthening ties with local university students pursuing careers in the statistical and social survey sciences.

Eileen O'Brien, EIA

Eileen O'Brien is the Team Leader of Buildings Surveys Statistics in the Office of Energy Consumption and Efficiency Statistics at the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Prior to serving at EIA, Eileen worked as the lead survey methodologist on housing surveys and censuses in the Statistical Research Division of the Census Bureau (1998-2005) and on environmental and economic surveys at the National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA (1987-1998). She received her Masters from the Joint Program in Survey Methodology, University of Maryland in 1996. Her research interests include the role of sociolinguistics in understanding the influence of respondent-interviewer interactions on survey participation and data quality; methods to measure and reduce interviewer error; and the role of organizational and employee behaviors on response processes in business surveys.

Eileen is committed to increased interagency coordination of federal information collections and research to ensure system integrity, budget efficiency, and reduction of respondent burden. A member of the American Statistical Association (ASA) and Washington Statistical Society (WSS) since 1994, she has participated in interagency working groups with WSS members to improve survey methods (the Interagency Response Error Group, the Interagency Group on Establishment Nonresponse, and the Interagency Household Survey Nonresponse Group) as well as conducted several collaborative research efforts across agencies. She organized and supported joint WSS/DC-AAPOR workshops and seminars while serving as Program Chair then President of the DC Chapter of the American Association of Public Opinion Research (DC-AAPOR). Eileen is completing her third term on the Survey Review Committee of the ASA.

Candidate for Methodology Program Chair (Select One)

Julie Gershunskaya, BLS

Julie Gershunskaya is a statistician at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. She received her doctoral degree from the Joint Program in Survey Methodology at the University of Maryland-College Park under the direction of Partha Lahiri. Her research interests include survey sampling, robust estimation and identification of influential observations in complex surveys, small area estimation methods, mixture models.

Dan Liao, RTI International

Dan Liao is a research statistician at RTI International. Prior to joining RTI in 2010, she received her doctoral degree from the Joint Program in Survey Methodology at University of Maryland. She has also worked for National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and the Gallup Research Center. Her survey research interests include multi-phase survey design and estimation, combining survey and administrative data, latent class analyses, calibration weighting, editing and imputation, and regression diagnostics for complex survey data. Dan is an active member of the American Statistical Association and WSS. She has served as chair for contributed and invited sessions in national statistical meetings.

Candidate for Representative-at-Large (Select Two)

Safaa Amer, NORC

Safaa Amer is a multi-lingual Senior Statistician and Project Director at NORC for the past 8 years (soon to join RTI). Dr. Amer has a wide-range of experience in statistical analysis, complex survey sampling, impact evaluation, missing data analysis and imputation, and data mining. Her work included data analysis, complex survey design, advanced sampling, design and implementation of impact evaluation studies, questionnaire design, defining survey data requirements and quality control procedures; programming using statistical software. She has been also involved in analyzing survey operations problems; conducting literature reviews and research to adapt surveys to international contexts; developing new sampling techniques and definitions specific to the international community; developing and refining training material; training and building international statistics and survey research capacity; communicating with Institutional Review Boards and Ethics committees locally and internationally, conducting respondent disclosure risk analysis to protect respondents confidentiality; preparing reports for management and project directors. Her experience includes both quantitative and qualitative analysis in interdisciplinary studies across a wide range of countries.

In addition, Dr. Amer is an Adjunct Professor at George Washington University and has held several academic positions. Dr. Amer is a member of several national and international Statistical Associations. She has refereed several papers for international journals and contributed in several graduate level theses.

John Finamore, NSF

John Finamore is a survey statistician at the National Science Foundation's National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES). In this position, he serves as the project officer for the National Survey of College Graduates and oversees the statistical and survey methodological research agenda for the Human Resources Statistics Program within NCSES. Prior to NCSES, Mr. Finamore spent 14 years as a Mathematical Statistician at the U.S. Census Bureau working on sampling, weighting, and variance estimation issues for multiple demographic surveys. His research interests include survey sampling, mixed-mode survey design, examining the impact of data collection mode on survey response and survey estimation, and nonresponse bias analysis.

Mr. Finamore holds a B.S. in Mathematics from James Madison University and a M.S. in Statistics from the University of Connecticut. He previously held the position of WSS Treasurer (2004-2006) and currently serves as the Publications Officer for the ASA Survey Research Methods Section (SRMS).

Donsig Jang, Mathematica Policy Research

Donsig Jang is director of the department of Statistical Services at Mathematica Policy Research. He has about 20 years of experience in survey sampling and statistical research, directing and implementing the statistical applications required by many Mathematica projects. His primary research interests include nonresponse bias analysis; survey quality measures; paradata; integrated and streamlined survey data processing; multiple frame estimation; disclosure avoidance methods; and variance estimation. He has published several peer review journal articles and given about 40 presentations at conferences, workshops, and other meetings. He has also referred for the Journal of Official Statistics, Survey Methodology, Statistics in Medicine, and Journal of Statistical Planning and Inference. He has served as an adjunct professor in the Department of Statistics at George Mason University and George Washington University for past several years. He has a Ph.D. in statistics from Texas A&M University.

Brian W. Sloboda, US Dept of Labor

Brian W. Sloboda is an economist in the Assistant Secretary of Policy in the US Department of Labor, where he moved recently from his position as a pricing economist at the US Postal Service (USPS). Prior to USPS, he was an economist in the Bureau of Transportation Statistics in the US Department of Transportation examining the role of national accounts and transportation as well as doing some forecasting work. He was an economist at the Bureau of Economic Analysis in the US Department of Commerce in the Industry Economics Division (IED) doing the benchmark input-output model of the US. Brian is also a board member for the Federal Forecasters Consortium (FFC). In addition, he served as president, vice president, and treasurer for the Society of Government Economists (SGE). He has served as a referee for numerous peer-reviewed journals, i.e., Journal of Transportation and Statistics, Journal of Regulatory, Economics, Annals of Regional Science, Transportation and other journals. He also was one of the guest editors for the Annals of Regional Science.

Candidate for Treasurer (Select One)

Jane Li, Westat

Jane Li is a senior statistician at Westat. She holds a Ph.D. in Survey Statistics from the the Joint Program in Survey Methodology at the University of Maryland. During her Ph.D. study, she had completed internships at the National Center for Health Statistics, the National Cancer Institute, and Mathematica Policy Research. She has experience in many aspects of survey research, including sample design, nonresponse adjustment, imputation, variance estimation, and data confidentiality and disclosure prevention. She was Treasure of the Washington Statistical Society in 2008-12.

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Seminars, Conferences, Symposia & Call For Papers
Summer Conference Preview/Review 2012
June 21-22, 2012
Bureau of Labor Statistics Conference Center, Washington DC

DC-AAPOR and WSS are teaming up to bring you a sample of the many amazing talks taking place this year at the National conferences. We know that you can't travel to every conference, so we want to give you the opportunity to join your local colleagues, share the ground-breaking work that you are doing, and hear what they have been presenting in far-off locales.

We are seeking speakers who will be presenting at the following 2012 conferences:

Please submit your abstracts (that have already been prepared, submitted and accepted to a 2012 Survey Methodology-related conference) by midnight (EST) April 30, 2012 to DCAAPORconference@gmail.com.

WPlease include the following with your submission:

  • Title
  • Abstract (no longer than one page) Conference your talk has been accepted to
  • Co-authors and/or co-presenters
  • Length of talk

Registration for this two-day conference will be open to everyone, but speakers will get approximately half-off the cost of their registrations ($65 instead of $125). Students also will get approximately half-off their registration fee, so students who are speakers get to register for free! We hope that this will especially encourage students to submit their abstracts and join us.

Registration will open at the beginning of May. Stay tuned for details!

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Classes and Workshops
Graduate Courses at Johns Hopkins University/Applied and Computational Mathematics (ACM) Program

Classes will be offered in the summer 2012 semester online or at locations in the Baltimore-Washington area (Howard and Montgomery Counties, Maryland).

Subject to meeting admission criteria, a non-degree candidate may register as a special student to take one or more courses to enhance mathematical and statistical skills. These courses are scheduled at times convenient for the working adult. Registration and general information is at ep.jhu.edu. Information specific to the ACM Program is at ep.jhu.edu/graduate-degree-programs/applied-and-computational-mathematics.

Further information related to academic requirements and course content is available from Dr. James Spall, Program Chair (240-228-4960). Courses offered in summer 2012 are listed below. Detailed information for all courses listed below is available at the course webpages ep.jhu.edu/course-homepages/.

625.201 General Applied Mathematics (This online course is designed for students who wish to take a refresher course in calculus and elementary differential equations; this course does not count for graduate credit) Instructor: Cleon Davis Time & location: 05/29/2012 - 08/03/2012 online Prerequisites: Differential and integral calculus. 625.403 Statistical Methods and Data Analysis Instructor: Barry Bodt Time & location: 05/29/2012 - 08/03/2012 online Prerequisites: Multivariate calculus. 6625.409 Matrix Theory Instructor: Daniel Rio Time & location: Tuesdays, 4:40 - 7:55 p.m., 06/05/2012 - 08/21/2012, Montgomery County Campus (Rockville, MD) Prerequisites: Multivariate calculus. 625.436 Graph Theory Instructor: Jason DeVinney Time & location: Mondays and Wednesdays, 5:00 - 7:40 p.m., 06/04/2012 - 07/18/2012, Applied Physics Laboratory (southern Howard County) Prerequisites: Linear algebra. 6625.703 Functions of a Complex Variable Instructors: J. Miller Whisnant and Michael Weisman Time & location: Wednesdays, 5:00 - 8:05 p.m., 05/30/2012 - 08/15/2012, Applied Physics Laboratory (southern Howard County) Prerequisites: Real analysis and ordinary differential equations. 625.714 Introductory Stochastic Differential Equations with Applications Instructor: John Burkhardt Time & location: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 7:20 - 10:00 p.m., 06/05/2012 - 07/17/2012, Applied Physics Laboratory (southern Howard County) Prerequisites: Multivariate calculus and a graduate course in probability and statistics. Exposure to ordinary differential equations. 625.725 Theory of Statistics I Instructor: Mostafa Aminzadeh Time & location: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:30 - 7:35 p.m., 05/29/2012 - 07/05/2012, Applied Physics Laboratory (southern Howard County) Prerequisites: Multivariate calculus and a graduate course in probability and statistics. Return to top

Please Join Us!
Washington Academy of Science Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet
Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Academy's Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet is one of the premier events of the year, featuring:

  • A program that typically includes a world class speaker. This year we will have Dr. David Hunt of the Smithsonian Institution's Anthropology Department talking about the science of Mummies.

  • An awards ceremony that on more than one occasion has anticipated a later Nobel prize (Note: Bob Groves will be a recipient for Social and Behavioral Sciences and Rod Little for Mathematics and Computer Sciences)

For registration information, see http://www.washacadsci.org/Banquet/Reservation%20Form2012.pdf

For additional information, contact Michael P. Cohen at mpcohen@juno.com or 202-403-6453. Mike is the WSS representative to the Academy.

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WSS Volunteers As Science Fair Judges
2012 Washington Regional Science Fairs

WSS Volunteers judged at four regional science fairs in March 2012. March 3, 2012 our Northern VA judges were Michael Fay (lead judge), Mark Otto, Jurate Landwehr and Jennifer Pegegoy. They awarded first prize to Tyler Laredo of Washington Lee HS and second prize to Valentina Lohr of Williamsburg HS. March 17 there were three regional science fairs. Montgomery County judges were Michael Messner (lead judge), Michael Proschan, Ruey-Pyng Lu, John Rogers, and Laura Lee Johnson. They awarded first prize to James Shepherdson of Blair HS and second prize winners were Pavleen Thukral of Poolesville HS and Ron Yutin of Roberto Clemente Middle School. Prince George's Area Science Fair judges were Promod Chandhok (lead judge), Kathy O'Connor, Arnold Reznek and Lorie Wijntjes. First prize winner wasYoucef Moumena of Eleanor Roosevelt HS and second prize winners were Allexan Miner of Oxon Hill HS and Jaelyn Gibbs of Greenbelt Middle School. Fairfax Science and Technology Fair judges were Sidney Schwartz (lead judge), Shail Butani, Bill Cleveland, Justin Smith and Jeff Bailey. First prize winner was Yash Bhatnagar of Thomas Jefferson HS and second prize winners were Darwin Li and Andrea Li, both also from Thomas Jefferson HS.

First prize winners received $100 and a one-year subscription to Significance Magazine. Second prize winners received a book titled Statistics: A Guide to the Unknown by Roxy Peck and a one-year subscription to Significance Magazine. The books were donated by Cengage Learning of Boston MA. At each science fair honorary awards were given to up to ten students. All prize winners received award certificates (8X10 certificates).

WSS has always judged at the DC STEM fair in the past, and our judges were prepared to go this year as well, however this year DC had a new format (announced at the last moment) which made it logistically difficult for us to participate. Hopefully we will be able to participate again next year. Also in the past, for many years, Gallup very generously donated $1000 per year to help us fund our first prize winners (in those years we gave our first prize winners $150 each) and our numerous magazine subscriptions (we were also giving magazine subscriptions to the schools). Last year Gallup informed us that they could no longer afford to fund our science fair endeavor, so we are looking now for new corporate supporters.

Respectfully submitted by Gloria Gridley WSS Science Fair Coordinator

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Note From The WSS NEWS Editor

Items for publication in the June 2012 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.

Please do not submit your items in pdf.

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Click here to see the WSS Board Listing (pdf)
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