News about activities of the Washington Statistical Society
A Chapter of the American Statistical Association

February 2000



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Herriot Award Nominations Sought

Nominations are sought for the 2000 Roger Herriot Award for Innovation in Federal Statistics

After the sudden death in May, 1994 of Roger Herriot, an Associate Commissioner for Statistical Standards and Methodology at the National Center for Education Statistics, the Washington Statistical Society, the Social Statistics and Government Statistics Sections of the American Statistical Association established an award in his memory to recognize individuals who develop unique approaches to the solution of statistical problems in federal data collection programs.

The award is intended to reflect the special characteristics that marked Roger Herriot's career:

The recipient of the 2000 Roger Herriot Award will be chosen by a committee of representatives of the Social Statistics Section and Government Statistics Section of the American Statistical Association and a representative of the Washington Statistical Society. Roger Herriot was associated with and strongly supportive of these organizations during his career. The award consists of an honorarium of $500 and a framed citation.

Joseph Waksberg (Westat), Monroe Sirken (National Center for Health Statistics), Constance Citro (National Academy of Sciences), Roderick Harrison (U.S. Bureau of the Census), Clyde Tucker (Bureau of Labor Statistics), and Tom Jabine (Consultant) are previous recipients of the Herriot Award.

The award is not restricted 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, from entry to senior, federal employees, private sector employees, or employees of the academic community, may be nominated on the basis of the significance of the specific contribution.

A nomination form can be obtained by contacting Fritz Scheuren at 202-261-5886, by fax at 703-549-1119, or e-mail

All nomination forms should be returned to the Roger Herriot Award Committee, c/o Fritz Scheuren, 1402 Ruffner Road, Alexandria, VA 22302. Completed nomination forms must be received by April 28, 2000.

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E-mail option, new phone number for seminar attendees at BLS

As seminar attendees are well aware, their names must be on "the list" to gain entry for seminars at BLS. Starting immediately, we are trying a new e-mail option. The current phone option will remain in place, but note below that the phone number has changed. So, to be placed on the visitor list at BLS, either:

  1. e-mail name, affiliation, and name of seminar to (underscore after 'wss') by noon 1 day ahead
  2. call Karen Jackson at 202-691-7524 at least 2 days ahead.

Finally, bring a photo ID. While problems sometimes arise, those of us arranging seminars at BLS really appreciate the efforts of BLS security to make the system work. Names will be accumulated on the list through June.

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An Open Letter to the WSS Membership
from the Chair of the WSS Fellows Committee

As I did last year, I give below an annotated set of notes addressing the ASA Fellows nomination and selection process.




  1. Nominations by ASA members & sections, chapters, etc.

  2. Selection by Committee on Fellows

  3. Nominee must have been full ASA member prior three years

  4. Number elected yearly may not exceed one third of 1% of full membership (which comes out to roughly 60 individuals each year; in the last few years the Committee has chosen the maximum allowable, but it has not always done so)


October to December: Call for nominations are placed--Amstat News, Web site, letters to past Fellows, committees, sections, etc. March 1 is the deadline for receiving nominations

Election process occurs from March to May. The ASA Fellows committee performs the evaluations: First mail ballot, Second mail ballot, and Meeting at ASA headquarters to make final decision.

Successful nominators/nominees are appraised. Unsuccessful nominators are also appraised (some with encouragement to re-nominate and suggestions).

Formal induction takes place at JSM.


Let the nominee help with the nomination form and have him (her) provide a list of potential writers of supporting letters. Nominator (not the candidate) should contact those individuals. Carefully review guidelines and state specifically (but briefly) how nominee stacks up.

Emphasize impact/quality of nominee's contributions; e.g., Effect of publications on targeted audience, Teaching awards, Innovations as Section or Chapter Chair, Evidence of leadership (and sustained work for profession)

Avoid over-emphasizing relatively routine contributions.

Letters of support should provide added insights. Reflect breadth of nominee's contributions (e.g., letters from managers, customer, past students, journal editors). Need not (all) be from statisticians. Be based on personal experience (don't just repeat info on nomination). Stress value of contributions. Letter can be sent directly to ASA but it is better to include them with the nomination package (so they don't get lost at ASA office).


Whereas the ASA Fellows Committee selects the new class of Fellows from among those candidates nominated, the WSS Committee serves as a catalyst in the nomination of WSS members. Our goal is to provide help for worthy candidates in whatever way we can. In a few cases, a Committee member prepares the nomination package for the candidate. In others, the Committee simply advises or provides editorial assistance. We prefer doing the latter, and we have considerable expertise to share. Nevertheless, we are often called upon to do the former. Committee members write more than a few nominating and seconding letters themselves. This in unfortunate because the more one writes, the less each letter is worth. The WSS Fellows Committee usually consists of no more than three or four people, although there is no formal size limit. The Committee never meets as such. We do a fair amount of conversing by phone and by e-mail. We try to identify deserving candidates who have not been nominated and push them forward. The results are spotty at best. We are not all knowing. We work in secret because when a candidate is rejected - and most candidates are rejected the first time they are nominated - (s)he may not want to share the bad news with everyone in WSS.

Any WSS member and ASA Fellow is welcome to join the WSS Fellows Committee, which is made up mostly of individuals who did not have the strength of will to turn down the President when asked to serve (many WSS committees are populated in this matter). Most importantly, THE COMMITTEE ACTIVELY ENCOURAGES YOU TO SHARE WITH US THE NAME OF ANY MEMBER YOU BELIEVE WORTHY OF A NOMINATION.

Phil Kott
703-235-5211 x 102

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SIGSTAT for February and March, 2000

SIGSTAT, the Special Interest Group in Statistics for CPCUG & WINFORMS, has resumed its monthly meetings on the 2nd Wednesday of each month. All meetings are from 12:30-1:30 in Waugh A, 1800 M St, NW. See See for directions to the meetings and a current schedule. First time attendees should contact Charlie Hallahan at 202-694-5051 or and leave their name for inclusion on the list left at the guard's desk.

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Note From The WSS NEWS Editor

Items for publication in the April 2000 WSS NEWS should be submitted no later than February 29, 2000. E-mail items to Michael Feil at FAX items to Michael Feil at (301) 443-4234.

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WSS People

Mary Batcher (202) 327-6740
Past President
Dwight Brock (301) 496-9795
Cynthia Clark (301) 457-2165
Tom Mule (301) 457-8322
Jill Montaquila (301) 517-4046

Vice Chair for District 2 of
Council of Chapters

Ron Fecso (703) 306-1780 ext. 6906
Council of Chapters Representative
Carolee Bush (202) 366-6946
Carolyn Shettle (301) 215-9100 x 166
Linda Atkinson (202) 694-5046
John Czajka (202) 484-4685
Glenn White (202) 327-6414

WSS Program Chairs
Agriculture & Natural Resources
Dwight French (202) 586-1126
Art Kennickell (202) 452-2247
Ginny deWolf (202) 395-7314
Stuart Scott (202) 606-7383
Public Health and Biostatistics
Paul Hshieh (301) 295-9762
Public Policy
Carolee Bush (202) 366-6946
Phil Ross (202) 260-5244
Quality Assurance
Amrut Champaneri (202) 690-3130
Short Courses
Robin Lee (202) 327-7575
Social & Demographic Statistics
Roberta Sangster (202) 606-7517
Manual de la Puente (301) 457-4997
Statistical Computing
Bob Jernigan (202) 885-3170
Mike Fleming (703) 235-5213 ext. 170
Data Collection Methods
Brad Edwards (301) 294-2021
Linda Stinson (202) 606-7528

Fotios Kokkotos (202) 414-4563
Michael Feil (301) 443-4234
Electronic Mail
Michael L. Cohen (202) 334-3765
Michael Greene (703) 247-1575
S.V. (Vince) Massimini (703) 883-5893
Renee Miller (202) 426-1117
Antionette Martin 202) 426-1110
Fritz Scheuren (703) 549-1120
Quantitative Literacy
Pat Doyle (301) 457-3822
Wendy Rotz (202) 327-7822
Science Fair
Lee Abramson (301) 415-6180
Video Librarian
Mel Kollander (202) 537-6700
Social Arrangements
Jeri Mulrow (202) 327-6772
Local Arrangement
Kevin Cecco (202) 874-0464
WSS Historian
Michael P. Cohen (202) 219-1917
WSS Committee on ASA Fellows
Phil Kott (703) 235-5211 x 102

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First posted January 27, 2000
Last modified June 2, 2000

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