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September 2010


Elected Board Of Directors

Jonaki Bose

Methodology Program Chair
Adam Safir

Representative at Large
Carol Joyce Blumberg
Michael Costello

Jane Li

We congratulate the winners and express our thanks to the other candidates.

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ASA Fellows

The following National Capital Area ASA/WSS members became ASA Fellows at the Awards Ceremony at the Joint Statistical Meetings on August 3, 2010 in Vancouver:

Carol Joyce Blumberg
Telba Irony
Jeri Mulrow
Nagaraj Neerchal
Estelle Russek-Cohen
Laura Zayatz

Congratulations to all!

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Jeanne E. Griffith 2010 Mentoring Award Winner: Deborah H. Griffin

By Beth Kilss, Jeanne E. Griffith Award Selection Committee

On the afternoon of June 23, Deborah H. Griffin of the U. S. Bureau of the Census was presented with the Jeanne E. Griffith Mentoring Award in the conference center of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The audience of approximately 50 attendees comprised colleagues, family, and friends of Jeanne Griffith and the awardee, the Census Bureau director, as well as members of the award selection committee and the Interagency Council on Statistical Policy.

The Honoree

The Griffin Family The Griffin Family—left to right: husband Mark, son Brian, Deborah, son Kevin

Deborah H. Griffin is a mathematical statistician at the U.S. Bureau of the Census, a position that she has held for nearly 33 years. Currently, she is special assistant to the Chief, American Community Survey Office. In this role, she serves as a program advisor and is responsible for special projects relating to both program evaluation and implementation.

Debbie received a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from the University of Connecticut and completed graduate level courses in statistics and survey methodology. She joined the Census Bureau's Statistical Methods Division in 1977 to provide operational analysis of multiple processing components of the 1980 Decennial Census. During the 1980's, Debbie was a branch chief in the Decennial Planning Division, supervising staff and overseeing project coordination of testing and planning of the 1990 Census. She received her first Bronze medal in 1987 for her role in developing the work flow for the 1990 Census. During the 1990 Census she was the chief of the Census Evaluation Branch, Decennial Statistical Studies Division, and was responsible to monitor census operations, design evaluation studies, and assist with the development of census experiments. This branch included many staff who worked part time while working on degrees in the Joint Program for Survey Methodology.

In 1999 Debbie became a part of the team charged with the implementation and evaluation of the American Community Survey (ACS). She established a staff to conduct important ACS research and evaluation projects. She was responsible for documenting critical research on the feasibility and quality of the ACS and overseeing the production of the ACS design and methodology report. In 2003 the ACS was moved into the Decennial Directorate and Debbie became a special assistant to the Assistant Director for Decennial Census and ACS. In 2006 she received her second Bronze medal as part of an interdivisional team that used ACS data to produce a special product for gulf coast areas affected by Hurricane Katrina.

When the American Community Survey Office (ACSO) was established she was reassigned to the ACSO chief. She has authored several papers and given numerous presentations on all aspects of the ACS. Recently she received a third Bronze medal for the development of a set of audience-specific educational materials for ACS data users. In 2009 she was named to the Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology.

Susan Schechter states in her nominating letter that "the ease with which Debbie approaches mentoring a wide variety of individuals results consistently in her teaching and improving their skill set and understanding of statistics, surveys, and data quality." Debbie "has a natural skill in simplifying very complicated issues and teaching to others how to approach and solve very thorny problems." Susan further praises Debbie's abilities by noting that "every single day she sets an outstanding example for those around her and it is a testament to her mentoring skills that so many people consider her their mentor..."

Others who work with Debbie have highlighted her amazing abilities to help junior staff grow. One states that Debbie "coaches them through the development of research plans, proposals, analysis and even the writing and presentation. Through Debbie's motivation and guidance, the staff is able to build the self-confidence needed for their projects and to continue to grow and develop professionally." Another colleague points out that Debbie doesn't just teach you how to do something; she encourages individuals to think and solve problems themselves which not only builds esteem and confidence, but surely strengthens skills and abilities. "Among the ways Debbie helped us grow was encouraging us to become more involved in the survey methodology community—attending conferences, making presentations, and sharing our results with as many people as possible."

Award Ceremony Left to right: Robert Groves, Beth Kilss, Deborah Griffin, Katherine Wallman, Andy Orlin, Susan Schechter, and Carol House (Photo by Tim Ware, Ideal Vision, LLC, idealvision@verizon.net)

In conveying her thanks, Griffin stated, "I get a lot of satisfaction when I see someone I've worked with get a promotion, give a great presentation, or complete an important project. It's clear to me that young staff that get the support they need will grow in skill and confidence and be able to take on the challenges of the upcoming decades."

She also stated that... "the support I have received has encouraged me to want to pass it on—by mentoring and supporting staff around me. To teach when that's needed and to always be aware of the example I'm setting. As I've gained confidence, and learned by both successes and failures, I felt in a position to advise others, to listen and give my honest opinions.

For mentoring to be successful it requires two things: Someone like myself (and so many of the people here today) who are willing to find the time to reach out to junior staff, to have an open door for colleagues and who care about the example they set, and someone who is willing to ask for help and listen to advice."

The Ceremony

Beth Kilss, Katherine Wallman, Andy Orlin, and Carol House conducted the awards ceremony. Kilss, formerly of the IRS and currently chair of the award selection committee, chaired the ceremony. Wallman, chief statistician at the Office of Management and Budget in the Executive Office of the President, and Chair of the Interagency Council on Statistical Policy, introduced the honoree and members of the audience. She also talked about the award during its early life.

Andy Orlin, Jeanne E. Griffith's spouse, congratulated the Debbie Griffin and expressed his appreciation to the award selection committee and to the Government Statistics Section of ASA for assuming direction and management of the award process and for further strengthening the program over the past 2 years. House, formerly of the National Agricultural Statistics Service and award selection committee member, presented Griffin's award and read her citation. Griffin's supervisor, Susan Schechter, Chief American Community Survey Office, U.S. Bureau of the Census, highlighted Griffin's extensive mentoring talents and her many contributions to the ACS Office, and noted on a personal level how she had benefited from Griffin's exceptional skills.

Census Bureau Director Bob Groves, who was a member of the first award selection committee, congratulated Griffin, whom he has known for over 20 years. He also spoke about the value of mentors by noting that while Human Resource staffs seek equity and consistency, they do not often express care and support, and as organizations grow, the humanity is threatened. Large Federal organizations are susceptible to this; hence, the value of mentors. Groves also noted that some of the qualities of a good mentor, among others include a love of people; they are unrushed and take time; few are flashy or "in your face"; they occupy all levels of the hierarchy; and they listen before talking.

The Jeanne E. Griffith award has honored mentors across the government since 2003:

Jeanne E. Griffith Jeanne E. Griffith
Jeanne E. Griffith Mentoring Award Winners
Rich Allen, National Agriculture Statistical Service 2003
Beth A. Kilss, Internal Revenue Service 2004
Renee Miller, Energy Information Agency 2005
Martin O'Connell, U.S. Bureau of the Census 2006
Stephanie Shipp, National Institute of Standards and Technology 2007
Rosemary D. Marcuss, Bureau of Economic Analysis 2008
Kevin Cecco, Internal Revenue Service 2009
Lillian S. Lin, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2009
Deborah H. Griffin, U.S. Bureau of the Census 2010

Transition to the Government Statistics Section

In 2007, Orlin and Elliott—two of the award's founders—approached the Government Statistics Section about managing the award. When they met with the section's board, there was no hesitation in taking on the leadership role; in fact, there was much enthusiasm and delight in being asked. Carol House was chair of the section at the time, and ASA Director of Operations. Steve Porzio and Sections Coordinator Monica Clark were instrumental in ensuring a smooth transition.

The Government Statistics Section will not only administer the award process from now on, but will—as a priority—raise the visibility of the award by emphasizing the importance of mentoring across the government and particularly the Federal, State, and Local Statistical communities.

Sponsoring the Award

Four organizations have joined the GSS in providing financial support for the award. The Award Committee would like to thank John Thompson of the National Opinion Research Center (NORC), Sol Pelavin of the American Institutes for Research, Ed Spar of the Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics (COPAFS), and Felicia Levine of American Educational Research Association (AERA) for their generous contributions. The Award committee would also like to thank Katherine Wallman of the Interagency Council on Statistical Policy (ICSP) for its continuing support of the program. GSS is seeking long-term corporate sponsors to help increase the amount of the honorarium and to allow for more awards to be given. The section will continue to raise funds each year until a sufficient amount is raised to make the award self-sustaining. Contact Stephanie Shipp at sshipp@ida.org if you would like to be a supporter. Individual contributions are welcome as well and can be sent directly to ASA, noting the contribution to the Jeanne E. Griffith award on the check. (American Statistical Association, 732 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314-1943.)

Nominations for the 2011 Award

Nominations for the 2011 Jeanne E. Griffith Mentoring Award will be accepted beginning in January. Look for an article in Amstat News toward the end of 2010 that will describe the nomination process. Also, check out the newsletters and listservs of the Government Statistics Section and the Washington Statistical Society for information.

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SIGSTAT Topics for Fall/Winter 2010-2011

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 p.m. 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.

October 20, 2010: Bootstrapping in SAS

The most common way that people use SAS to perform bootstrapping is very inefficient — usually involving a macro loop wrapped around some SAS code.

Making use of the by-processing available in SAS leads to much more efficient methods for any kind of resampling in SAS.

The talk is based on a paper given by David Cassell at the 2010 Global SAS Forum, "BootstrapMania!: Re-Sampling the SAS® Way" (see above link)

November 17, 2010: SAS/IML Studio 3.2: Part 1 - Introduction to SAS/IML Studio

The programming language in SAS/IML Studio, which is called IMLPlus, is an enhanced version of the SAS/IML programming language.

The "Plus" part of the name refers to new features that extend the SAS/IML language, including the ability to create and manipulate statistical graphs, to call SAS procedures, and to call functions in the R programming language.

SAS/IML Studio is intended for SAS programmers who want to implement algorithms that are not available in any SAS procedure, but SAS/IML Studio also provides a graphical user interface (GUI) to a number of standard statistical methods.

These notes are based on the document SAS/IML&rg; Studio 3.2 for SAS/STAT® Users - Second Edition by Rick Wicklin , 2010 (see above link)

December 15, 2010: SAS/IML Studio 3.2: Part 2 - Reading and Writing Data

SAS/IML Studio runs in a Microsoft Windows operating environment, but it can communicate with SAS software that runs on other computers.

The PC on which SAS/IML Studio runs is called the client. The computer on which the SAS system runs is called the SAS server.

Dynamically linked graphs require an in-memory DataObject that runs on the client PC.

Calling a SAS procedure requires a SAS data set in a library on the server.

Therefore, if you are graphically exploring data and decide to perform an analysis with a procedure, you must write data from a DataObject into a SAS data set in a server library.

After the analysis is finished, you might want to read results from an output data set and add one or more variables to the in-memory DataObject.

These notes are based on the document SAS/IML® Studio 3.2 for SAS/STAT® Users - Second Edition by Rick Wicklin, 2010. (See above link)

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Note From The WSS NEWS Editor

Items for publication in the October 2010 issue of the WSS NEWS will be accepted until September 30, 2010. Email items to Colleen S. Choi at wss.editor@ymail.com.

Please submit all materials in MS WORD or plain text.

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Click here to see the WSS Board Listing (pdf)
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