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June 2011


2011 WSS Election Candidates

The 2011 WSS election will be held online. Instructions on voting will be sent to members. Below are the candidates for this year's election. All WSS members are urged to vote once the balloting begins. The results will be announced in early July.

Candidates for President (select one)

Michael Larsen, George Washington University

Michael Larsen received a PhD in statistics from Harvard University. He joined The George Washington University Department of Statistics as Associate Professor in 2009. Besides teaching survey sampling and advising PhD students in statistics, he is a faculty member at GW's Biostatistics Center, which coordinates multi-center clinical trials and runs long-term observational studies. Before joining GW, Dr. Larsen was on faculty at four universities, most recently Iowa State University, where he earned tenure. He has consulted for and collaborated with researchers at a number of government agencies (including the Census Bureau and NCHS), research organizations (including Gallup, NORC, and Westat), and academic departments. His interests include survey sampling, missing data, record linkage and administrative records, disclosure limitation and confidentiality, Bayesian statistics, hierarchical and mixture models, statistical modeling of complex data, and statistics education. From 2008-2010 Michael was Executive Editor of CHANCE Magazine. Currently he is associate editor for three journals and serves on a National Academies of Sciences Panel on Census 2010. Previously he was on the ASA professional advisory committee to the Census Bureau and has served on review panels for NIH and NSF. In 2010, he became an elected member of the International Statistical Institute and the program chair-elect/program chair of the American Statistical Association's Survey Research Methods Section for 2011/2012. Previously he has been a council of sections representative and education officer for ASA SRMS. He joined WSS in 2009 and is a member of IMS and AAPOR.

Keith Rust, Westat and JPSM

Keith Rust is a Vice President and Associate Director of the Statistical Staff at Westat, and a Research Professor at the Joint Program in Survey Methodology at the University of Maryland at College Park. He holds a Ph.D. in biostatistics from The University of Michigan. Keith has extensive experience in sampling methods, the design and specification of large-scale sample surveys, and the analysis of survey data. He has applied his research and knowledge to a variety of education research projects over the past 25 years, both national and international. He has directed work on government surveys related to education, health, and social issues. He teaches survey methods at the Joint Program in Survey Methodology. Keith is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association, and has held elected positions in the Survey Research Methods and Social Statistics Sections. He was Methodology Section/Program Chair of the Washington Statistical Society in 2008-09, and is currently a member of the Hansen Lecture Committee. He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences' Committee on National Statistics during the 1990s.

Candidates for Methodology Program Chair (select one)

Dan Beckler, USDA-NASS

Dan Beckler is a supervisory mathematical statistician at the National Agricultural Statistics Service, United States Department of Agriculture. He has worked in several areas of NASS, including Field Operations, Sample Design, and Research and Development. Dan is currently responsible for handling administrative data NASS receives from other agencies and NASS's Data Laboratory. He received his Masters from the Joint Program in Survey Methodology (statistical concentration) at the University of Maryland.

Charles Day, IRS-SOI

Charles Day is a statistician for the Statistics of Income Division of the Internal Revenue Service (1983 - 1992, 2004 - 2011). He previously worked for the National Agricultural Statistics Service (1992 - 2004). He has served on FCSM's subcommittee on data editing, and on FCSM's working group on privacy. Charles received Master's Degrees in Statistics (1998) and Computer Science (2003), both from George Mason University. His primary areas of interest and experience are automated record linkage, classification of satellite imagery, optimal survey design, and evolutionary computation.

Candidates for Representative-at-Large (select two)

Safaa Amer, NORC

Safaa Amer is a multi-lingual Senior Statistician at NORC with wide-ranging experience in statistical analysis, survey sampling, impact evaluation, missing data analysis and imputation, time series analysis, and data mining. She has been working on international projects with focus on poverty reduction and social development in the fields of education, health, water, and agriculture. Dr. Amer is also an Adjunct Professor at George Washington University. She received her Bachelor from the Faculty of Economics and Political Sciences at Cairo University-Egypt. She then completed her Masters and PhD in Statistics from Oregon State University in addition to a professional degree in GIS. Dr. Amer is a member of several national and international statistical associations. She is a referee at the Journal of Official Statistics and the Arab Journal of Administrative Sciences. She also contributed in several graduate level theses. She is dedicated to building capacity within the international community in Statistics and Survey research, adapting international standards to specific cultural settings, and raising awareness on human rights, data confidentiality, and professional ethics within the youth. She is a member of the ASA committee on Scientific Freedom and Human Rights as well as the Egyptian American Cultural Association.

Mel Kollander, Consultant

Mel Kollander is an internationally known survey methodologist with more than 40 years of extensive experience in the public and private sectors. Currently, Mel is a consultant to the federal government and private companies. During his professional career, he held positions at Temple University as the founder and director of the Institute for Survey Research's Washington, D.C.office, the Environmental Protection Agency as the principal survey methodologist, Advisor to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Government of Kuwait. Mel is very active in the statistics community notably as a long time board member of the Washington Statistical Society (WSS) and currently co-chair of WSS's Agriculture and Natural Resources Program. In 2006, he received the WSS President's Award for his service to the Society. Mel is an elected member of the International Statistical Institute (ISI).

Dan Liao, RTI International

Dan Liao is a research statistician at RTI International. Prior to joining RTI in 2010, she received her doctoral degree from the Joint Program in Survey Methodology at University of Maryland-College Park and master's degree from the Survey Research and Methodology Program at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She has also worked for National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the Gallup Research Center. Her survey research interests include multi-phase survey designs, combining survey and administrative data, survey data visualization, latent class analyses, mixture models, and, most recently, regression diagnostics for complex survey data through her dissertation. Dan has served as leader and committee member for multiple graduate student associations.

Van Parsons, NCHSt

Van Parsons received his PhD in mathematical statistics at the University Iowa, and has spent his professional career in academia and government. For the past 26 years he has been a Mathematical Statistician in the in the Office of Research and Methodology at the National Center for Health Statistics. His prior working experience has been at SUNY-Binghamton, University of Cincinnati and the U.S. Bureau of the Census. Van is interested in statistical applications involving complex survey data and has focused much of his efforts on design and analysis issues related to the National Health Interview Survey. His current primary research interests are in Bayesian methods, small area estimation and order-restricted inference. He has recently coauthored papers in JASA (2007) and Statistics in Medicine (2011).

Candidate for Secretary (select one)

Darryl V. Creel, RTI International

Darryl V. Creel is a Senior Research Statistician at RTI International and has worked there for six and a half years. Prior to working at RTI, he worked at Mathematica Policy Research. In 1997, he received an M.S. in Statistical Science from George Mason University and became a member of the Washington Statistical Society. His general research interest is the survey process. His specific research areas of interest are imputation, nonresponse adjustments, and the analysis of survey data.

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Classes and Workshops
Forthcoming Info-Metrics Workshops and Summer Classes:
Announcements and Call for Papers

Info-Metrics Institute
American University, Washington, DC

Registration and additional information about activities, reports, etc., see:

Spring 2011 Info-Metrics Across the Sciences, May 2, 2011, Washington DC, USA
Fall 2011 (October) Philosophy of Information, October 3, 2011, Washington DC, USA
Fall 2011 (November) Information Theory and Shrinkage Estimation, November 12, 2011, Washington DC, USA
Spring 2012 (March) Information and Econometrics of Networks, March 30-31, 2012, Washington DC, USA
Summer Program:
May 9-13, 2011 Info-Metrics: Theory and Practice
Instructor: Amos Golan (American U)
May 23-27, 2011 Spatial Econometrics: Theory and Practice
Instructor: Ingmar Prucha, U. of Maryland College Park
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Classes and Workshops
Five-Week Online SAS Training in Summer

The Department of Statistics, George Mason University will be offering a 5-week introductory course in SAS programming in Summer 2011 from 6/6/011 to 7/10/2011. This is a perfect opportunity to become facile with one of technology's leading software packages to perform data management and data analysis using modern statistical methodology, from the comfort of home or office.

Thecourse is offered completely online and does not require coming to campus. The course is taught by Dr. Linda Davis, Associate Professor of Statistics. Dr. Davis holds a Ph.D. in Statistics from Rutgers University and is an expert in data analysis and applied statistical methods.

There are two mechanisms to register for the training course:

STAT 501: a one credit graduate course; registration is through GMU Summer Programs registration; non-GMU students must apply as a non-degree student by April 22, 2011.

Continuing Education: not for credit, fee $500. Register at http://www.ocpe.gmu.edu/programs/seminars/sas_programming.php

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Classes and Workshops
Summer Statistics Courses at George Mason University

STAT 250 — Introductory Statistics I
STAT 250 (Distance Education) — Introductory Statistics I
STAT 344 — Probability and Statistics for Engineers and Scientists I
STAT 350 — Introductory Statistics II
STAT 501 (Distance Education) — SAS Language and Basic Procedures
STAT 789 — Bootstrapping Methods

William F. Rosenberger, Ph.D., Professor and Chairman
George Mason University, Department of Statistics, Volgenau School of Engineering
4400 University Drive, MS 4A7
Fairfax, VA22030-4444


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Student Column

Probability and Statistics Day at UMBC

Every spring semester at UMBC, the department of Mathematics and Statistics organizes the Probability and Statistics day. This event is organized with the aid of students and faculty members; students participate in the event with either a poster or an oral presentation and are involved in the logistics. The person orchestrating the whole event is our very own Dr. Bimal Sinha who is an inexhaustible source of energy and enthusiasm for his students and his colleagues at UMBC. He always encourages everyone to participate and by doing so ensures the event is a resounding success.

Probability and Statistics day is a weekend conference. This year the conference began on Friday April 22nd with a workshop on Synergistic Statistics and Graphics in Safety Reviews of Clinical Trials presented by Dr. Russ Wolfinger, Director of Scientific Discovery, SAS Institute, and assisted by Dr. Kelci Miclaus from SAS Institute too.

On Saturday, we started with a welcome by Dean Philip Rous, Dean of the College of Natural and Mathematical Sciences at UMBC, Dr. Nagaraj Neerchal, Chair of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at UMBC and Dr. Bimal Sinha, Conference Chair. Then we had three keynote speakers: Professor Jun Shao of the University of Wisconsin- Madison, Professor Dennis Cox of Rice University and Professor Marie Davidian of North Carolina State University. In addition, poster presentations were held in the lobby throughout the day.

We also had three parallel sessions: two graduate students' oral presentations and one international invited session with speakers from Canada, Germany, Poland and Portugal. The last presentation was given by the top three UMBC alumni: Inna Perevozskaya (PhD, 2000) from Pfzier, Justin Newcomer (PhD, 2009) from Sandia National Lab and Martin Klein (PhD, 2009) from US Census Bureau. The conference ended with a banquet and a speech by Dr. Larry Cox, Assistant Director of the National Institute of Statistical Sciences.

For alumni and statisticians in general, this conference provides an excellent opportunity to keep in touch with colleagues and get updates as well as new insights on interesting topics. For current students, this is an opportunity to meet role models and of course, do some internship hunting. Registration is free for students and also student's top oral and poster presentations receive certificates and cash prizes. Next year, Probability and Statistics day will be on April 20th and 21st, save the date and be sure not to miss this unique event.

Paula Borrego
Statistics Graduate Student
Department of Mathematics and Statistics
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

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Seeking Volunteers
Web Volunteers Needed

To communicate more effectively with our members, the Washington Statistical Society is developing a new web site. The design, major functions, and main pages of the new site will be created by our vendor using a content management system. We are looking for volunteers to help with other tasks. These include:

1. Use the new content management system to create additional web pages.

2. Help convert email functions to operate with Constant Contact®.

No special skills are needed — just good attention to detail and familiarity with web browsers. If you would like to help, or if you would like more information, please write to Phil Kalina at wssvolunteer@philkalina.com.

Thank you.

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Tom Mesenbourg to Receive 2011 Julius Shiskin Award

Thomas L. Mesenbourg Jr. Thomas L. Mesenbourg Jr., the Deputy Director of the U.S. Census Bureau has been selected to receive the 2011 Julius Shiskin Memorial Award for Economic Statistics. This award recognizes unusually original and important contributions in the development of economic statistics or in the use of statistics interpreting the economy. The award recognizes Tom for his contributions to developing and advancing economic statistics programs that meet the needs of a rapidly changing economy. He is the 38th recipient of the award and will be honored at events hosted by the three sponsors of the award: The Washington Statistical Society, the National Association for Business Economics, and the Business and Economics Section of the American Statistical Association.

Prior to his appointment as Deputy Director of the U.S. Census Bureau in 2008, Tom served as Associate Director for Economic Programs (2005 to 2008), Assistant Director for Economic Programs (1994 to 2005), and Chief of the Economic Census and Surveys Division (1991 to 1994). In 2004, Tom was the recipient of a Presidential Rank Award for Distinguished Senior Executives, the government's highest award for career executives. Most recently as Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer of the Census Bureau, he played a critical role in the 2010 Decennial Census that was completed under budget and on-time.

Tom's major contributions to economic statistics have been meeting the needs of a rapidly changing economy and include expanding coverage of services, introducing innovative classification systems of economic activity, and providing new data on the impact of technology. Although the direct impact of these contributions shows up as Census Bureau programs, he developed and implemented them by working with other Federal statistical agencies. Through this interagency cooperation, he was able to greatly enhance the usefulness of the new programs to other agencies. Thus, Tom has been a key leader in efforts to better integrate and improve statistics across statistical agencies, in particular the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Census Bureau. His leadership and collaborative efforts have not only enhanced the usefulness of new Census Bureau programs, but also has significantly improved the consistency, coverage, and accuracy of the data compiled by these three agencies.

Expanding coverage of services — As the services sector was playing an increasingly important role in the economy, it became evident to users and producers of economic statistics that services were not being well covered in the United States and abroad. During his tenure at Census, he successfully led efforts to expand coverage of the services sector and improve the timeliness of data on the sector. He directed the implementation of a major expansion of the coverage of service industries in the 1987 Economic Census and further expansions in subsequent censuses. Also for the 2002 and 2007 economic censuses, he initiated a major expansion of the collection of product detail, adding almost 2000 types of services. To improve timeliness of the data on services, he carried the expansion of service industries from economic census years into the Services Annual Survey, completing this effort in 2008. He established the Quarterly Services Survey in 2004 and in 2005 expanded coverage of Annual Wholesale Trade Survey to include manufacturers' sales branches and offices as well as wholesale electronic markets and agents and brokers. Tom's work on the new quarterly survey and the additional data on wholesale trade provided critical source data for the estimates of GDP, which are prepared by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The Quarterly Services Survey provided for the first time quarterly estimates of service industry output giving BEA quarterly information for almost 20 percent of GDP.

Introducing innovative classification systems of the industrial activities — Tom played a pivotal role in the interagency development and implementation of the landmark North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). NAICS not only updated the old classification system to reflect the expanded importance of services and technology, but also was jointly developed by partnership with Mexico and Canada. Tom began his involvement with NAICS by planning and organizing the 1991 International Conference on Classification in Williamsburg, VA, which laid the groundwork for NAICS. Then, during the implementation, maintenance, and revision phases of NAICS, he served as the Census Bureau representative on the interagency Economic Classification Policy Committee. His main contribution to NAICS was his strong leadership of the Census Bureau as the first federal statistical agency to incorporate NAICS into its statistical programs beginning with the 1997 Economic Census followed by the related annual and monthly surveys. Tom continued his role in improving classification systems though his efforts to develop a companion product classification system - the North American Product Classification System (NAPCS). He began directing the Census Bureau's participation in the development of this system in 1999, with NAPCS data on service products first collected in the 2002 Economic Census and more fully implemented in the 2007 Economic Census.

Providing new data on the impact of technology — In addition to his contributions to modernizing the industry classifications used by federal statistical agencies, he also developed and implemented a number of new data collections at the Census Bureau that provided critical information on the impact of changes in technology. In the second half of the 1990s, private sector analysts issued estimates that showed that an unexpectedly large proportion of business activity was being conducted over the internet or other electronic channels. Tom took the lead in putting the federal government into the business of measuring electronic commerce. In 1999, the Census Bureau began to collect quarterly data of retail e-commerce sales, followed in 2002 by annual estimates of e-commerce activity for manufacturing, wholesalers, selected service industries, and retail trade. These data showed that that although e-commerce sales were increasing rapidly, the levels published by the private analysts were grossly overstated. Another example, of Tom's developing new data on technology was the rapid growth of business expenditures for information and communication technology equipment and computer software, In 2004, Tom served on an interagency committee to look at filling this gap, and with his leadership, the Census Bureau launched the annual Information and Communications Technology Survey (ICTS) to collect data on non-capitalized and capitalized spending for information and communication technology equipment and computer software by U.S. nonfarm businesses. Data from this survey assist BEA in constructing the investment component of GDP; The Federal Reserve Board and the BLS also make use of these data to study the implications on technology for growth and productivity, measurement. Most recently, Tom facilitated the efforts by the National Science Foundation to develop a new survey of innovation that covers both research and development and a broad range of managerial, design, and creative innovations.

These improvements demonstrate his effectiveness in mobilizing the resources to develop new information in a timely manner. Working with other federal statistical agencies, the Department of Commerce, the Office of Management of Budget, and the Congress, he showed an exceptional ability to navigate the budget process with great success. In addition to obtaining funding for the improvements described above, another example of Tom's advocacy of new programs is the Bureau's innovative Local Employment Dynamics (LED) program and its Quarterly Workforce Indicator reports. Through his recent efforts, this program not only has received the necessary funding but also established the LED as an ongoing Bureau program.

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Note From The WSS NEWS Editor

Items for publication in the July 2011 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.

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Click here to see the WSS Board Listing (pdf)
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