Washington Statistical Society
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January 2014


Seeking Nominations For WSS Board of Directors

Later this spring, the WSS will hold its annual election for several important positions on its Board of Directors.

For the 2014 elections the open positions include:

President-Elect (at least two nominees)

  • for July 2014 to June 2015
  • to serve as President July 2015 to June 2016 and Past-President July 2016 to June 2017

Communications Officer (at least two nominees)

  • for July 2014 to June 2016 Treasurer (at least one nominee)
  • for July 2014 to June 2016

Treasurer (at least one nominee)

  • for July 2014 to June 2016

Two Representatives-at-Large (at least four nominees)

  • for July 2014 to June 2016

Methodology Program Chair (at least two nominees)

  • for July 2014 to June 2015
  • to serve as Methodology Section Chair July 2015 to June 2016

In recent years, nominations for the President-Elect position have alternated between the government and non-government sectors. For the 2014 election, nominees for President-Elect will be from the government 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 Keith Rust (KeithRust@westat.com) by March 1, 2014.

Continuing Board members for 2014-15 will be:

  • President: Diane Herz, Mathematica
  • Past-President: Nancy Bates, US Census Bureau
  • Secretary: Andrew Keller, US Census Bureau
  • At-large: Jaki McCarthy, NASS, and Steve Paben
  • BLS Methodology Section Chair: Mike Fleming, NHTSA (retired)
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Seeking Award Nominations
Gertrude M. Cox Award Committee Seeking Nominees for the 2014 Gertrude M Cox Award

February 28, 2014

The Gertrude M Cox award was established in 2003 through a joint agreement between the Washington Statistical Society (WSS) and RTI International.

The award annually recognizes a statistician in early to mid-career (less than 15 years after his/her terminal degree) who has made significant contributions to one or more of the areas of applied statistics in which Gertrude Cox worked: survey methodology, experimental design, biostatistics, and statistical computing.

The award is in memory of Gertrude M. Cox (1900-1978), American Statistical Association President (1956) and a founder of modern statistics. In 1945, Dr. Cox became director of the Institute of Statistics of the Consolidated University of North Carolina. In the 1950's, as Head of the Department of Experimental Statistics at North Carolina State College, she played a key role in establishing Mathematical Statistics and Biostatistics Departments at the University of North Carolina. Upon her retirement from North Carolina State University in 1960, Dr. Cox became the first head of Statistical Research Division at the newly founded RTI. She was a founding member of the International Biometric Society (IBS) and in 1949 became the first woman elected into the International Statistical Institute. She served as president of both The American Statistical Association (1956) and the IBS (1968-69). In 1975 she was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

The award is presented at the WSS Annual Dinner, usually held in June, with the recipient delivering a talk on a topic of general interest to the WSS membership before the dinner.

This award is made possible by funding from RTI International, and the recipient is chosen by a six-person committee — three each from WSS and RTI. This year's committee consists of WSS President Nancy Bates (co-chair), Past President Keith Rust, and President-Elect Diane Herz; and Safaa Amer, Phil Kott, and Karol Krotki (co-chair) from RTI.

The award includes a $1,000 honorarium, travel expenses to attend the WSS Annual Dinner, and a commemorative WSS plaque. Past recipients, in chronological order: Sharon Lohr, Alan Zaslavsky, Tom Belin, Vance Berger, Francesca Domenici, Thomas Lumley, Jean Opsomer, Michael Elliott, Nilanjan Chatterjee, Amy Herring, and Frauke Kreuter. Please email your nominations to Karol Krotki (kkrotki@rti.org) by February 28, 2014 with a supporting statement and CV (or link).

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Seeking Award Nominations
2014 Julius Shiskin Award

March 15, 2014

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 can be in development of new statistical measures, statistical research, use of economic statistics to analyze and interpret economic activity, development of statistical tools, management of statistical programs, or application of data production techniques. 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 2013 award recipients were John C. Haltiwanger, Distinguished University Professor of Economics at the University of Maryland, and Maurine Haver, President and founder of Haver Analytics Inc. for their initiatives to educate users and producers of key federal economic statistics.

The award is in memory of Julius Shiskin, who had a varied and remarkable public service career. 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 2014 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, 2014.

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Seeking Award Nominations
2014 Roger Herriot Award

April 1, 2014

Roger Herriot was the Associate Commissioner of Statistical Standards and Methodology at the U.S. National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) when he died in 1994. Prior to his service at NCES, he also held several positions at the U.S. Census Bureau, including Chief of the Population Division. Soon after his death, the Social Statistics and Government Statistics Sections of the American Statistical Association (ASA) along with the Washington Statistical Society (a chapter of ASA) established the Roger Herriot Award for Innovation in Federal Statistics. The award is intended to recognize individuals or teams who, like Roger, develop unique and innovative approaches to the solution of statistical problems in federal data collection programs.

Nominations are sought for the 2014 Roger Herriot Award for Innovation in Federal Statistics. The award is intended to reflect the special characteristics that marked Roger Herriot's career including:

  • 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 or teams 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. As innovation often requires or results from teamwork, team nominations are encouraged. Team innovations often are more lasting, resulting in real paradigm shifts, not just one-off improvements. For an example, see the 1998 Herriot (team) and the 2013 project awards.

The recipient of the 2014 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 2014. The Washington Statistical Society will also host a seminar given by the winner on a subject of his or her own choosing.

Past recipients of the Roger Herriot Award: 1995 - Joseph Waksberg (Westat)
1996 - Monroe Sirken (National Center for Health Statistics)
1997 - Constance Citro (National Academy of Sciences)
1998 - Roderick Harrison (U.S. Census Bureau), Clyde Tucker (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
1999 - Thomas Jabine (SSA, EIA, CNSTAT)
2000 - Donald Dillman (Washington State University)
2001 - Jeanne Griffith (OMB, NCES, NSF)
2002 - Daniel Weinberg (U. S. Census Bureau)
2003 - David Banks (FDA, BTS, NIST)
2004 - Paula Schneider (U.S. Census Bureau)
2005 - Robert E. Fay III (U.S. Census Bureau)
2006 - Nathaniel Schenker (National Center for Health Statistics)
2007 - Nancy J. Kirkendall (Office of Management and Budget)
2008 - Elizabeth Martin (U.S. Census Bureau)
2009 - Lynda Carlson (National Science Foundation)
2010 - Katharine Abraham (University of Maryland)
2011 - Michael Messner (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)
2012 - Paul Biemer (RTI International)
2013 - 1973 Exact Match Project

Nominations for the 2012 award will be accepted beginning in January 2014. Nomination packages should contain:

  • A cover letter from the nominator that includes 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 demonstrate the innovativeness of each contribution.
  • A current vita for the nominee with current contact information.

The committee may consider nominations made for prior years, but it encourages resubmission of those nominations with updated information.

For more information, contact John Dixon, Chair of the 2014 Roger Herriot Award Committee, at 202-691-7516 or dixon.john@bls.

> Completed packages must be received by April 1, 2014. Electronic submissions in MS-Word or as a "pdf" file are strongly encouraged.

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Seeking Award Nominations
2014 Jeanne E. Griffith Mentoring Award

Nominations are sought for the 2014 Jeanne E. Griffith Mentoring Award to encourage the mentoring of junior staff in the statistical community in the Federal, State, or Local government. It is awarded annually to a supervisor, technical director, team coordinator, or other member of the Federal, State, or Local government statistical staff who is nominated by a supervisor and co-workers for his or her efforts in supporting the work and developing the careers of junior staff.

The Jeanne E. Griffith Mentoring Award was established to honor Dr. Griffith who died in August 2001 after working for more than 25 years in the Federal statistical system. Throughout her career, and especially in her latter senior management positions at the National Center for Education Statistics and the National Science Foundation, one of Jeanne's highest priorities was to mentor and encourage younger staff at all levels to learn, to grow, and to recognize and seize career opportunities as they came along.

Nominations for 2014 will be accepted beginning in January 2014. Nominations should be prepared in the form of a letter or memorandum for the Award Selection Committee. The letter or memorandum should summarize the nominee's actions that support and encourage junior staff in the Federal, State, or Local statistical community in developing their careers. Nominations may be accompanied by up to six supporting letters.

The last date for submission of nominations is April 4, 2014, and the Award Committee will make its determination of the award winner by April 30, 2014. The award will consist of a $1,000, a citation, and a plaque, which will be presented at a ceremony arranged by the co-sponsors in June 2014.

For more information about the nominating process for the 2013 award, please go to: http://www.amstat.org/sections/sgovt/JEGform14.doc or http://www.amstat.org/sections/sgovt/JEGform14.pdf.

If you have questions about the award, please contact Rick Peterson at rick@amstat.org (703) 684-1221, and Deborah Griffin at Deborah.h.griffin@census.gov (301) 763-2855.

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Be Informed And Get Involved!
Washington Statistical Society's Spotlight on Members Program

The WSS Board of Directors has established a program to highlight members who have made or are making notable contributions to the work of their organization or their professional field of expertise. We know that WSS members are doing interesting work in the fields of statistics, survey methodology, and the social sciences. Through this program, we hope to spotlight the accomplishments of our fellow WSS members.

This is our first request for nominations, to be featured in an upcoming issue of WSS News. We are interested in featuring members at all levels of the employment spectrum including recent graduates, mid-career employees, and those seasoned veterans.

Please feel free to nominate more than one person or a team working together. You may also nominate yourself as well. The nominees must be members of the WSS and not currently affiliated with the Board.

Please provide us with the following information about your nominee or nominees.

  1. Your name, email address, and telephone number
  2. Name or names of nominee(s)
  3. Organizational affiliation
  4. Job title
  5. Their contact information including email address and telephone number
  6. A brief narrative describing the reasons for your nomination
  7. A photo of the nominee, although not required, would be great be greatly appreciated

Please submit your nominations or direct any questions to, John Finamore (jfinamore@nsf.gov), member of the WSS Board.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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Be Informed And Get Involved!
Latest News on International Year of Statistics

Announcing the International Prize in Statistics

As we come to the close of 2013, the Statistics2013 Steering Committee is pleased to announce an on-going venture to greatly increase media and public awareness of the growing importance of statistics to modern life and promote understanding of the myriad and diverse ways that statistical science is impacting the well-being of billions of people.

The five statistical societies that launched the International Year of Statistics have formed an organization called the International Prize in Statistics Foundation. The foundation will provide the framework that will ultimately lead to the annual presentation of a "Nobel-like" prize in statistical science, to be called the International Prize in Statistics. The award will recognize the major achievement of an individual or team in the field of statistics.

The primary objective of this major honor is to call public attention to the important role that statistics, data analysis, probability and understanding of uncertainty have played in the past and are playing today in the advancement of society, science, technology and human welfare with a decided focus on current developments. Another leading objective is to identify extremely penetrating and valuable insights and advancements in statistics that can help achieve the primary objective.

The International Prize in Statistics Foundation is seeking the financial commitment of individuals, businesses and organizations that would significantly advance the establishment of this new award and help to create an aura to match that of other prestigious scientific awards.

The initial members of the Foundation are Susan Ellenberg (appointed by the American Statistical Association), Xuming He (International Statistical Institute), Neils Keiding, (International Biometric Society), Richard Laux (Royal Statistical Society), David Madigan (Institute of Mathematical Statistics), and Ron Wasserstein (interim secretary of the foundation; Wasserstein is executive director of the ASA and a member of the Statistics2013 Steering Committee).

— Donsig Jang, WSS Liaison for the International Year of Statistics

Introducing The World of Statistics!

To continue carrying the key messages of statistics to the world's population, the Statistics2013 Steering Committee has selected a new name for the movement. That new name is: The World of Statistics!

The mission of The World of Statistics will be to further advance the goals of the Statistics2013 campaign. As a reminder, those objectives are:

  • Increase public awareness of the power and impact of statistics on all aspects of society
  • Nurture statistics as a profession, especially among young people
  • Promote creativity and development in the sciences of probability and statistics

The "The World of Statistics" will come with a new website and related communications mediums.

By late January, the Statistics2013 website will become www.worldofstatistics.org.

All other news are available in the latest International Year of Statistics newsletter, at http://www.statistics2013.org/files/2013/12/December-16-2013.pdf.

Past newsletters can be reviewed at http://www.statistics2013.org/participant-newsletter- archive/.

— Donsig Jang, WSS Liaison for the International Year of Statistics

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Be Informed And Get Involved!
Wanted: Short course topics and instructors

It has been some time since the WSS offered a short course to its membership. We want to change that! WSS short courses are typically 1-2 day courses offered at a central location near a metro stop. WSS member price of enrollment is usually lower than similar courses offered by universities or private vendors. Additionally, a number of slots are reserved for students at an even deeper discount.

The WSS Board is seeking instructors willing to teach short courses of interest to our members. You do not have to be a WSS member to teach the course. Additionally, the Society can provide a small honorarium and will handle the logistics.

If you are interested in teaching, can suggest potential teachers, OR simply have class topics you want to suggest, please contact Nancy Bates, WSS President or WSS Short Course Committee Chair, Brian Meekins at: nancy.a.bates@census.gov and meekins.brian@bls.gov. Thanks!

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Student Column

UDC Graduate Statistics Program Closing

Normally I like to keep the tone of the Student Corner upbeat and humorous, but this month I have to relay bad news: the University of the District of Columbia, where I am a student, has decided to terminate the Masters of Science in Applied Statistics (MSAS) program. Those of us currently enrolled in the program will be allowed to graduate, but no new students will be admitted.

Prior to the decision being finalized, both the Washington Statistical Society and the American Statistical Association gave their strongest support by providing a letter to the Program Director. The letter encouraged UDC to reconsider its decision, offered the help of WSS and ASA in making any improvements needed to the program, and explained the high demand for Statisticians in the Washington, DC area. Indeed, the Bureau of Labor Statistics website states that the Washington, DC area has the highest concentration of Statisticians in the United States. This, combined with the fact that tuitions at other DC area universities are generally double the cost of the program at UDC, made UDC an excellent option for many future statisticians, particularly lower-income students.

I brought up these points in a public meeting with the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. April Massey (amassey@udc.edu). She explained to me that the decision to cut the UDC MSAS program was based on low internal demand; that is, UDC undergraduates had not signed up for the MS in Applied Statistics program at a high enough level. I gave my view that this was an indicator of a marketing problem on the part of the University, as the reasonably priced option for studying in a high-demand field offered by UDC should have generated high admissions, and revenue, for the University. She told me that for the time being, the program would remain closed, with the possibility of reconsideration in 2019.

While it is encouraging that the program may re-open six years from now, I believe it makes sense to re-open the program immediately, and for UDC to redouble its efforts to recruit and admit students to the program. To do otherwise would be disservice, particularly to disadvantaged future statisticians in the DC area. I hope you and other areas statisticians join me in encouraging UDC to re-open its MS in Applied Statistics program. Thank you.

On a lighter note, congratulations to Glenn Springer of the BLS for acing last month’s statistics crossword puzzle! If you have not completed it yet, avert your eyes! He correctly answered:

Across: 1. Cox, 2. Fourier, 9. Covariance, 11. Gosset, 13. Venn, 14. Turing, 16. Pearson, 17. Median, 18. Unbiased

Down: 1. Chebyshev, 2. Forgetfulness, 3. Euler, 4. Cauchy, 5. Tukey, 6. Fortytwo, 7. Fisher, 8. Kolmogorov, 10. Nightingale, 12. Uniform, 15. RAND

– Tim Allen, WSS Student Representative (timothychenallen@gmail.com)

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Note From The WSS NEWS Editor

Items for publication in the February, 2014 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 or include them in the body of an email.

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Click here to see the WSS Board Listing (pdf)
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