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January 2008


Nominations Sought for 2008 Gertrude M. Cox Award

The Gertrude M. Cox Award Committee is seeking nominees for the 2008 Gertrude M Cox Award. Established in 2003 through a joint agreement between the Washington Statistical Society (the Washington DC chapter of ASA) and the statistician in early to mid-career (roughly no more than 12 years after terminal degree) who has already made significant contributions to statistical practice. It is presented at the Washington Statistical Society (WSS) Annual Dinner (generally held in June) with the recipient delivering the keynote address at that dinner on a topic of general interest to the WSS membership.

The award is in memory of Gertrude M. Cox (1900-1978), who in the 1950's , when Head of the Department of Experimental Statistics at North Carolina State College, played a key role in establishing Mathematical and Biostatistics Departments at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a Statistical Division at the newly founded not-for-profit Research Triangle Institute (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 6 person committee-3 each from RTI and WSS. This year's committee from RTI consists of Nabil El- Khorazaty, Moshe Feder, with Paul Levy (RTI Chair), and from WSS consists of Karol Krotki, Michael P. Cohen (WSS Chair), and Jill Montaquila. It consists of a $1000.00 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, and Francesca Domenici.

Please email your nominations to Michael P. Cohen (mpcohen@juno.com) and Paul S. Levy (levy@rti.org) by Feb 15, 2008.

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2008 Wray Jackson Smith Scholarship

Applications due by April 15, 2008! The Government Statistics Section (GSS) and Social Statistics Section (SSS) of ASA are pleased to announce the availability of a scholarship in memory of Wray Jackson Smith, a founding member of the GSS and long-time contributor to Federal statistics. The Wray Jackson Smith Scholarship (WJSS), co-sponsored with the Washington Statistical Society, the Caucus for Women in Statistics, Harris-Smith Institutes, Mathematica Policy Research, and Synectics for Management Decisions, Inc., is intended to reward promising young statisticians for their diligence, thereby encouraging them to consider a future in government statistics. Everyone is encouraged to seek out promising candidates and to urge them to apply.

Type of Project

The WJSS Award provides funding of $1,000 for use in exploring any of a broad number of opportunities for furthering the development of a career related to government statistics. Applicants are encouraged to be creative in seeking support for a wide variety of uses, including:

  • Tuition, board, and books for courses or short courses
  • Conference attendance
  • Purchase of books, software, data sets, or other supporting materials for research projects related to government statistics.
Activities may relate to any level of government, including Federal, state, and local governmental units. They must be statistical in nature, focusing on data, methodology, analysis, or data presentation. Recent award winners have used the WJSS to fund attendance at the Joint Statistical Meetings, support continued public policy research, and to take short courses to better understand and analyze data for current research.


To apply for a WJSS Award, the following information must be sent to the Wray Jackson Smith Scholarship Committee by April 15, 2008:

  • A completed WJSS Application Form
    (see: http://www.amstat.org/sections/sgovt/) for current year's form and click on the format you want to use)
  • A proposal of activity to be funded
  • Academic transcript (for current/recent students) or job performance reviews for the past 2 years (for non-students) or equivalent proof of superior academic and/or professional performance
  • Two letters of recommendation.

Please send materials to:

Wray Jackson Smith Scholarship Committee
&nsp;   c/o Michael P. Cohen
&nsp;   1615 Q Street NW #T-1
&nsp;   Washington DC 20009-6310 USA

or electronically to: mpcohen@juno.com

Selection Process

The WJSS Committee, consisting of a total of three GSS and SSS members, will review each proposal, based on an established rating scheme, and select the awardee. Each application will be judged based on the following criteria:

  • Stage in Career
  • Past Performance
  • Quality of the Proposed Activity
  • Relevance of Activity to Government Statistics
  • Innovation/Ingenuity of the Proposed Project
  • Feasibility of Completion of Activity
  • Two Letters of Recommendation

Announcements of the awardees are made by June 1, 2008. All applicants are notified by e-mail.


The WJSS is targeted at students and persons early in their career in government statistics. Applicants must have a Bachelor's degree or equivalent level of education. Membership in the Government Statistics Section, Social Statistics Section, or in the ASA is not required. For more information, contact Mike Cohen by e-mail: mpcohen@juno.com

Wray Jackson Smith Scholarship Committee

The Committee for 2008 consists of Michael P. Cohen (Chair) [mpcohen@juno.com], Robert A. Kominski [Robert.A.Kominski@census.gov], and Stephen Campbell [Stephen.Campbell@nist.gov]. The Committee members thank Juanita Tamayo Lott for her invaluable advice and assistance.

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Herriot Award Nominations Sought

Nominations are sought for the 2008 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;
  • 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 2008 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 $1000 honorarium and a framed citation, which will be presented at a ceremony at the Joint Statistical Meetings in August 2008. 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), and Nancy Kirkendall (EIA).

Nominations for the 2008 award will be accepted beginning inebruary 2008. Nomination packages should contain:

  • 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.
  • Up to six additional letters in support that demonstrate the innovative nature of each contribution.
  • A current vita for the nominee, including contact information.

Both individual and group nominations may be submitted. The committee may consider nominations made for the 2007 award, but it encourages resubmission of those nominations with updated information.

For more information, contact Brian Harris-Kojetin, Chair, 2008 Roger Herriot Award Committee, at 202-395-7314, or bharrisk@omb.eop.gov. Completed packages must be received by April 1, 2008. 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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The Jeanne E. Griffith Mentoring Award

On receiving the Roger Herriot Award in June 2001, Jeanne E. Griffith said:

One of the most rewarding aspects (of Federal statistics) for me was the opportunity to promote creative activities and energies among my staff When I have had the blessing to mentor young people in their careers, I have tried to emphasize (that) only they, themselves, can make the most of (the) .chances that life presents.

Dr. Griffith 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.

The Jeanne E. Griffith Mentoring Award has been established to encourage mentoring of younger staff in the Federal statistical system. It is presented annually, beginning in 2003, to a supervisor who is nominated by co-workers and supervisors, and chosen by the Award Selection Committee.

The award is co-sponsored by the Interagency Council on Statistical Policy, the Council for Excellence in Government, the Washington Statistical Society, the Social Statistics and Government Statistics Sections of the American Statistical Association, and the Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics.

Nominations for 2008 will be accepted beginning in January 2008. The last date for submission of nominations is March 28, 2008, and the Award Committee will make its determination of the award winner by May 9, 2008. The award will consist of a $1,000 honorarium and a citation, which will be presented at a ceremony arranged by the co-sponsors in June 2008.

The winning mentor will be selected for his or her efforts in supporting the work and developing the careers of younger staff. Examples of typical mentoring activities include:

  • Advising junior staff to help them create career opportunities, networking skills, and contacts for growth and development;

  • Counseling junior staff and providing resources to help develop their technical writing, analysis, presentation and organizational skills and knowledge;

  • Encouraging junior staff growth and career development through attendance and oral presentations at meetings with higher level officials, staffs of other agencies, professional associations, training courses, and conferences;

  • Motivating junior staff and building self confidence through feedback on their efforts, being a listener when that is needed, and creating a caring and supportive environment;

  • Serving as a role model for junior staff through professional expertise, information and insights, balancing collegial and personal roles, and including everyone across rank, race, ethnicity, and seniority.

For further information on the award, contact Ed Spar, Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics (COPAFS) by phone: 703-836-0404; fax: 703-836-0406; or by e-mail at copafs@aol.com. The nomination cover sheet and guidelines form-or a photocopy of it-should be attached to a nomination memorandum or letter. Forms can be obtained by contacting Ed Spar, or by downloading from the COPAFS website at http://www.copafs.org. All nominations should be returned to the Jeanne E. Griffith Mentoring Award Committee, c/o COPAFS, 2121 Eisenhower Avenue, Suite 200, Alexandria, VA 22314 no later than March 28, 2008.

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Nominations Sought for 2008 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 2007 award recipient was Arthur Kennickell, Senior Economist and Head of the Microeconomic Surveys Unit at the Federal Reserve Board, for his leadership of the Federal Reserve's Survey of Consumer Finances and his achievements as an international expert on the design and implementation of household economic surveys.

Because the program was initiated many years ago, it is little wonder that statisticians and economists often ask, "Who was Julius Shiskin?" At the time of his death in 1978, "Julie" was the Commissioner of 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 2008 award are now being accepted. Individuals or groups in the public or private sector from any country can be nominated. The award will be presented with an honorarium of $750 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 or by writing to the Julius Shiskin Award Committee, Attn: Monica Clark, American Statistical Association, 732 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314-1943. Completed nominations must be received by April 1, 2008. For further information contact Steven Paben, Julius Shiskin Award Committee Secretary, at paben.steven@bls.gov.

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Seminar on Survey Respondent Incentives: Research and Practice

L'Enfant Plaza Hotel
Washington, DC

Hosted by the Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics

Incentive payments to survey respondents have been used extensively for many years to improve response rates. Considerable research evidence supports the value of monetary incentives to increase cooperation and improve the speed and quality of response in a broad range of data collection efforts. In 1992, a Symposium on Providing Incentives to Survey Respondents, hosted by the Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics (COPAFS), brought together a broad spectrum of survey research professionals from government, business, academia, and research organizations to focus on these issues in detail to review the "state-of-the art." (To read the report go to: www.members.aol.com/copafs/incentives.htm). Since that time, the use of respondent incentives in survey practice has increased dramatically across all sectors. Yet there has been no professional forum since the 1992 symposium that has sought to bring survey professionals together with a specific focus on these issues. The purpose of the proposed seminar is to fill that void.

The first session of the seminar will describe current practices in the use of respondent incentives across the three major domains of surveys: 1) surveys sponsored by federal agencies; 2) surveys conducted by academic investigators, including those funded by federal or other grants; and 3) surveys sponsored and conducted by private sector organizations and commercial establishments. Session two will be a panel discussion bringing together survey research professionals who have conducted and are knowledgeable of major research, practices and trends on the use of respondent incentives in government, academic, commercial surveys. The theme of this session is: who, what, where, when, why and how do we pay? The panelists will focus in detail on what we are doing and what we know about the use of respondent incentives.

The concluding session will bring together a panel of survey researchers who have had considerable experience in the design and implementation of sample surveys. They will attempt to consolidate and synthesize the seminar discussion, identify common elements/themes, and suggest future directions for implementation and research.

Seminar Registration: $125.00. For a copy of the program and registration information contact COPAFS at copafs@aol.com or call COPAFS at 703-836-0404 and ask for Edward Spar or Lee Ann Sklar. The program and registration form are also available at the COPAFS site at: http://www.copafs.org

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Volunteers Needed!

Volunteers are neededat different times between March and June 2008 - 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 for Outstanding Statistics Project and the WSS Statistical Poster Competition - and by awarding prizes at the annual regional science fairs.

The Curtis Jacobs Award program focuses on gathering information and analyzing for making decisions. Entries are typically due in May and are distributed to judges; 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 Stacey Chan at Stacey.Chan@EY.com or 202-327-5914, or Ryan Petska at Ryan.Petska@EY.com or 202-327-7245.

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 generally held on Saturday mornings in March. The fairs require volunteers willing to devote a 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 the opportunity to interact with the students and to observe the widely diverse projects they have presented. If you would like to be a science fair judge, please e-mail Robert Clickner at Robertclickner@westat.com by February 12, and include your e-mail address, work and home phone numbers, your fax number and your mailing address. If you have any questions, please call Bob at 301-294-2815.

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SIGSTAT Topics for Spring 2008

January 16, 2008: Survival Models in SAS: PROC LIFEREG Part 2

Continuing the series of talks based on the book "Survival Analysis Using the SAS System: A Practical Guide" by Paul Allison, in November we'll start Chapter 4: Estimating Parametric Regression Models with PROC LIFEREG. Topics discussed are:

  1. Categorical variables and the CLASS statement
  2. Maximum likelihood estimation
  3. Hypothesis tests
  4. Goodness-of-Fit tests with the likelihood ratio statistic
  5. Graphical methods for evaluating model fit

February 13, 2008: Survival Models in SAS: PROC LIFEREG Part 3

Continuing the series of talks based on the book "Survival Analysis Using the SAS System: A Practical Guide" by Paul Allison, in November we'll start Chapter 4: Estimating Parametric Regression Models with PROC LIFEREG. Topics discussed are:

  1. Left censoring and interval censoring
  2. Generating predictions and hazard functions
  3. The piecewise exponential model

March 12, 2008: Rasch measurement using SAS procedures

The Rasch measurement model is a latent-trait item response theory model that is being used increasingly to assess and develop multiple-indicator measures of social, psychological, and other phenomena outside of the educational testing field where most of the development of such models has occurred. Specialized software exists to fit response data to Rasch and related models, but for some applications, SAS procedures can also be used. Joint (or unconditional) maximum likelihood models (JML) can be estimated using SAS PROC LOGISTIC. A new STRATA option in PROC LOGISTIC makes it possible to estimate conditional maximum likelihood (CML) models. Marginal maximum likelihood (MML) models can be estimated using PROC NLMIXED. The talk will be presented by Mark Nord.

April 16, 2008: Survival Models in SAS: PROC PHREG Part 1

Continuing the series of talks based on the book "Survival Analysis Using the SAS System: A Practical Guide" by Paul Allison, in November we'll start Chapter 5: Estimating Cox Regression Models with PROC PHREG. Topics discussed are:

  1. The proportional hazards model
  2. Partial likelihood
  3. Tied data

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

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, http://www.cpcug.org/user/sigstat/.

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Note From The WSS NEWS Editor

Items for publication in the February issue of the WSS NEWS should be submitted no later than January 10, 2007. E-mail items to Michael Feil at michael.feil@usda.gov.

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Click here to see the WSS Board Listing (pdf)
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