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March 2009


Wray Jackson Smith Scholarship

The Government Statistics Section (GSS) and the Social Statistics Section (SSS) of the American Statistical Association (ASA) are pleased to announce the availability of a scholarship in memory of Wray Jackson Smith, a 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.

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 under-stand 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, 2009:

  • A completed WJSS Application Form (form is available at: http://www.amstat.org/sections/ssoc/wrayjacksonsmith.html)
  • A proposal of activity to be funded
  • Academic transcript (for current/recent students) or job performance reviews for the past 2 years (fornonstudents) or equivalent proof of superior academic and/or professional performance
  • Two letters of recommendation.

Activities may relate to any level of government, including Federal, state, and local Please send materials to:

Wray Jackson Smith Scholarship Committee c/o Robert A. Kominski electronically to: Robert.A.Kominski@census.gov.

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. 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

Selection will be made by June 1, 2009.


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 Robert A. Kominski by e-mail: Robert.A.Kominski@census.gov.

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Herriot Award Nominations Sought

Nominations are sought for the 2009 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; 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 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 2009 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 2009. 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), Nancy Kirkendall (EIA) and Elizabeth Martin (Census Bureau).

Nominations for the 2009 award will be accepted beginning in February 2009. 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 document how each contribution demonstrates innovation.
  • 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 2008 award, but it encourages resubmission of those nominations with updated information.

For more information, contact Dwight Brock, Chair, 2009 Roger Herriot Award Committee, at 301-517-4026 or dwightbrock@westat.com. Completed packages must be received by April 1, 2009. 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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New Graduate Certificates in Biostatistics and Epidemiology at Georgetown University

Are you interested in genetics, bioterrorism, international health, bioinformatics, epidemiology or health policy? Get the analytic tools to meet the demands of the 21st century!

Georgetown University's Department of Biostatistics, Bioinformatics and Biomathematics is now offering a graduate certificate program in Biostatistics or Epidemiology! The purpose of this program is to supplement and build on the knowledge of working professionals who desire additional training in Biostatistics and Epidemiology. Designed especially to fit within one academic year for students who wish to immerse themselves into the field in preparation for other graduate of professional degrees.

The certificate program will provide integrated training in computational, quantitative, and biomedical sciences to support health-related research performed in academia, government and industry. Students will acquire hands-on experience with quantitative and computational tools. They will also be challenged to implement what they have learned in class in the computational laboratory and daily homework.

Deadlines for Fall 2009 admission:
Overseas Applicants: June 1
Domestic Applicants: June 30

For more information, visit:
http://dbbb.georgetown.edu/certificate/ or e-mail Caroline at ctw26@georgetown.edu.

Apply now for Fall 2009 at: http://grad.georgetown.edu/pages/apply_online.cfm

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Save the Date
An All-Day Symposium in Honor of Dr. Edmund Gehan
April 27, 2009

The Department of Biostatistics, Bioinformatics, and Biomathematics at Georgetown University and the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center invite you to an all-day symposium in honor of Dr. Edmund Gehan, Professor Emeritus of Biostatistics. Invited speakers are Dennis Dixon, Jonas Ellenberg, Susan Ellenberg, Emil J. Freireich, Stephen George, J. Jack Lee, Aiyi Liu, Karen Messer, Peter Thall, and Marvin Zelen.

For more information and to register online, visit http://dbbb.georgetown.edu/News/gehansymposium/ or contact Caroline Wu, Department of Biostatistics, Bioinformatics, and Biomathematics, Georgetown University, Suite 180, Building D, 4000 Reservoir Road NW; (202) 687-4114; ctw26@georgetown.edu

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Nominations Sought for 2009 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 2008 award recipients were William R. Bell and Robert M. Groves. Dr. Bell was recognized for his innovative statistical research that led to improved economic statistics through important contributions to the theory and practice of seasonal adjustment, small area estimation, and time series modeling; Dr. Groves was recognized for his innovative statistical research that led to improved economic statistics through important contributions to the theory and practice of survey methods for the conduct of sample surveys of both households and establishments.

Because the program was initiated many years ago, 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 2009 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 $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. For questions or more information, please contact Steven Paben, Julius Shiskin Award Committee Secretary, via e-mail at paben.steven@bls.gov or phone at 202-691-6147. Completed nominations must be received by April 1, 2009.

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Nominations Sought for the 2009 Gertrude M. Cox Award

The Gertrude M. Cox Award Committee is seeking nominees for the 2009 Gertrude M Cox Award. The award was established in 2003 through a joint agreement between the Washington Statistical Society (WSS - the Washington DC area chapter of ASA) and Research Triangle Institute (RTI International). The award annually recognizes a statistician in early to mid-career (roughly less than 12 years after 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). In 1945 she became director of the Institute of Statistics of the Consolidated University of North Carolina and in 1947 she was a founding member of the Biometrics Society. In the 1950Ős, 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 at Chapel Hill, and a Statistical Division at the newly founded RTI. In 1949 she became the first woman elected into the International Statistical Institute, in 1956 she was elected President of the American Statistical Association, and 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 the keynote address on a topic of general interest to the WSS membership.

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 yearŐs committee consists of Paul Biemer, Nabil El-Khorazaty, Phil Kott (RTI Chair) from RTI and Michael P. Cohen, John Eltinge, and Karol Krotki (WSS Chair) from WSS. It consists of a $1,000 honorarium, travel expenses to attend the WSS Annual Dinner, and a commemorative WSS plaque. Past recipients have been Sharon Lohr, Alan Zaslavsky, Tom Belin, Vance Berger, Francesca Domenici, and Thomas Lumley.

Please email your nominations to Karol Krotki (kkrotki@rti.org) by March 31, 2009.

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American Statistical Association (ASA) Committee on Law and Justice Statistics
Small Grants Research Program for Analysis of Crime and Justice Data

The American Statistical Association (ASA) Committee on Law and Justice Statistics announces a small grant program for the analysis of Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) and other justice-related data. This program is designed to encourage the creative and appropriate use of these data to inform substantive and methodological issues. Awards are generally to be completed within a two-year period and are typically in the range of $25,000 to $40,000.

Proposals must be postmarked by April 20, 2009. More information can be found at: http://www.amstat.org/careers/pdfs/BJSsolicitation.pdf

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Students' Corner

On the birthday problem

Several weeks ago, I was sitting in a meeting with about 50 people of all ages. There are about 75 members of the group, but only about 50 people usually show up to the periodic meetings. At the end of the meeting, we decided to sing a birthday song to all members who had a January birthday. So, someone asked who had a birthday in January.

Immediately, the mother of a 14 year old girl raised her hand and pointed to her daughter, who was turning 15 on Saturday. Then an older gentleman said that his birthday was on the same day. I was shocked because my birthday was on the same Saturday. I thought it was quite remarkable to be in a room of 50 people where two other people shared my birthday. Perhaps I'm easily amazed. Like many others in the room, I wondered what the probability that three people in a group of 50 would have the same birthday. I thought I would pose the problem in this month's student corner to see how fellow students would answer the question. If you have a solution to the problem, please send it to me at tkennel@survey.umd.edu by March 8. Feel free to be creative with your solution and your assumptions. I'll try to summarize the most interesting solutions in next month's student corner.

Tim Kennel

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March 18, 2009: What's New in SAS 9.2

Someof the enhancements in the latest release of the SAS System include new language features and procedure options, ODS Statistical Graphics (previously experimental), which are now in production; a new family of SAS/GRAPH procedures that use ODS Graphics to create standalone plots; new procedures in SAS/STAT software; jackknife and BRR variance estimation and domain analysis provided by the survey data analysis procedures; the PANEL procedure in SAS/ETS which expands the estimation capability of the TSCSREG procedure in the time-series cross-sectional framework; and SAS Stat Studio, new software for data exploration and analysis, providing a flexible programming environment in which you can run SAS/STAT or SAS/IML analyses and display the results with dynamically linked graphics and data tables.

April 15, 2009: GeoDA - Part 4

GeoDa is the latest incarnation in a long line of software tools developed by Dr. Luc Anselin's Spatial Analysis Laboratory (SAL) in the Department of Geography at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. It is designed to implement techniques for exploratory spatial data analysis (ESDA) on lattice data (points and polygons). The free program provides a user friendly and graphical interface to methods of descriptive spatial data analysis, such as spatial autocorrelation statistics, as well as basic spatial regression functionality. The latest version contains several new features such as a cartogram, a refined map movie, parallel coordinate plot, 3D visualization, conditional plots (and maps) and spatial regression.

Continuing the February discussion, this month will cover: Distance-Based Spatial Weights, Spatially Lagged Variables, Global Spatial Autocorrelation, Local Spatial Autocorrelation, and Spatial Autocorrelation Analysis for Rates.

May 20, 2009: GeoDA - Part 5

GeoDa is the latest incarnation in a long line of software tools developed by Dr. Luc Anselin's Spatial Analysis Laboratory (SAL) in the Department of Geography at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. It is designed to implement techniques for exploratory spatial data analysis (ESDA) on lattice data (points and polygons). The free program provides a user friendly and graphical interface to methods of descriptive spatial data analysis, such as spatial autocorrelation statistics, as well as basic spatial regression functionality. The latest version contains several new features such as a cartogram, a refined map movie, parallel coordinate plot, 3D visualization, conditional plots (and maps) and spatial regression.

Continuing the April discussion, this month will cover: Bivariate Spatial Autocorrelation, Regression Basics, Regression Diagnostics, Spatial Lag Model, and Spatial Error Model

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 April issue of the WSS NEWS should be submitted no later than March 16, 2009. 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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