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January 2012


Classes and Workshops
Workshops Sponsored by American University

Spring 2012 (March)
Information and Econometrics of Networks, March 30-31, 2012, Washington DC, USA
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Seeking Award Nominations
Herriot Award Nominations Sought

Nominations are sought for the 2012 Roger Herriot Award for Innovation in Federal Statistics. The award is intended to reflect the special characteristics that marked Roger Herriot's career including:

  • 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 2012 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 $1,000 honorarium and a framed citation, which will be presented at a ceremony at the Joint Statistical Meetings in August 2012. The Washington Statistical Society will also host a seminar given by the winner on a subject of his or her own choosing.

Past recipients of the Roger Herriot Award: 1995 - Joseph Waksberg (Westat)
1996 - Monroe Sirken (National Center for Health Statistics)
1997 - Constance Citro (National Academy of Sciences)
1998 - Roderick Harrison (U.S. Census Bureau), Clyde Tucker (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
1999 - Thomas Jabine (SSA, EIA, CNSTAT)
2000 - Donald Dillman (Washington State University)
2001 - Jeanne Griffith (OMB, NCES, NSF)
2002 - Daniel Weinberg (U. S. Census Bureau)
2003 - David Banks (FDA, BTS, NIST)
2004 - Paula Schneider (U.S. Census Bureau)
2005 - Robert E. Fay III (U.S. Census Bureau)
2006 - Nathaniel Schenker (National Center for Health Statistics)
2007 - Nancy J. Kirkendall (Office of Management and Budget)
2008 - Elizabeth Martin (U.S. Census Bureau)
2009 - Lynda Carlson (National Science Foundation)
2010 - Katharine Abraham (University of Maryland)
2011 - Michael Messner (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)

Nominations for the 2012 award will be accepted beginning in January 2012. Nomination packages should contain:

  • A cover letter from the nominator that includes 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 tosix additional letters in support that demonstrate the innovativeness of each contribution.
  • A current vita for the nominee with current contact information.

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

For more information, contact Jill A. Dever, Chair of the 2012 Roger Herriot Award Committee, at 202.974.7846 or jdever@rti.org. Completed packages must be received by April 1, 2012. Electronic submissions in MS-Word or as a pdf file are strongly encouraged.

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Seeking Award Nominations
2012 Julius Shiskin Award Nominations Sought

Nominations are invited for the annual Julius Shiskin Memorial Award for Economic Statistics.

The Award is givenin 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 2011 award recipient was Thomas L. Mesenbourg Jr., the Deputy Director of the U.S. Census Bureau, received the 2011 Shiskin Award for his contributions to developing and advancing economic statistics programs that meet the needs of a rapidly changing economy.

The award is in memory of Julius Shiskin, who had a varied and remarkable public service career. At the time of his death in 1978, Julie was the Commissioner for 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 2012 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 $1000 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 call 202-691-6147. Completed nominations must be received by March 15, 2012.

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Seeking Award Nominations
Jeanne E. Griffith Mentoring Award Nominations Sought

By Carol House, 2011 Chair, Griffith Award Selection Committee

It's time to start thinking about nominating an outstanding supervisor, technical director, team coordinator, or other member of a governmental statistical staff who encourages mentoring of junior staff in the Federal, State, or Local statistical system for the 2012 Jeanne E. Griffith Mentoring Award. Nominations must be submitted no later than April 2, 2012.

Jeanne Griffith
Jeanne Griffith

This year marked the 10th year that the award has been presented and the third time the ASA's Government Statistics Section oversaw the award selection process. Jenise L. Swall, Statistician, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Atmospheric Modeling and Analysis Division, National Exposure Research Laboratory located in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, received her award at a ceremony held on June 8, 2011, in Washington, D.C.

If you're not familiar with the award or would like more information about the current honoree and the history of the award, see the excellent article (including some pictures from the ceremony) in the August 2010 issue of Amstat News or go to http://magazine.amstat.org/blog/2010/08/01/governmentstataug10/.

The Jeanne E. Griffith Mentoring Award was established to honor Dr. Griffith who 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.

Nominations for 2012 will be accepted beginning in January 2012. The last date for submission of nominations is April 2, 2012, and the Award Committee will make its determination of the award winner by April 30, 2012. The award will consist of a $1,000 honorarium (to be split if there is more than one awardee), a citation, and a plaque, which will be presented at a ceremony arranged by the co-sponsors in June 2012.

Sponsors of the Award

The Government Statistics Section (GSS) of the American Statistical Association manages the award. GSS would like to thank our co-sponsors:

  • National Opinion Research Center (NORC),
  • Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics (COPAFS),
  • American Institutes for Research (AIR),
  • American Educational Research Association (AERA), and
  • Interagency Council on Statistical Policy (ICSP).

Please contact Stephanie Shipp (sshipp@ida.org), if you would like to contribute to the award.

The nomination packages are reviewed by a committee comprising six members who each serve a six-year term. Andy Orlin, Jeanne Griffith's husband, serves as emeritus member, thus providing continuity and historical perspective.

The recipients of the Jeanne E. Griffith Mentoring Award previous to this year's awardee are Rich Allen (National Agriculture Statistical Service), 2003; Beth Kilss (Internal Revenue Service), 2004; Renee Miller (Energy Information Administration), 2005; Martin O'Connell (U.S. Census Bureau), 2006; Stephanie Shipp (National Institute of Standards and Technology - at the time of the award), 2007; Rosemary D. Marcuss (Bureau of Economic Analysis), 2008; Kevin Cecco (Internal Revenue Service), Lillian S. Lin (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), 2009; Deborah H. Griffin (U.S. Bureau of the Census), 2010; and Jenise L. Swall (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency), 2011.

The winning mentor(s) will be selected for his or her efforts in supporting the work and developing the careers of junior 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.

Nominations should be prepared in the form of a letter or memorandum for the Award Selection Committee:

  • The letter or memorandum should summarize the nominee's actions that support and encourage junior staff in the Federal, State, or Local statistical community in developing their careers.
  • Nominations may be accompanied by up to six supporting letters. These should be attached to, and submitted with, the nomination.
  • The Award Selection Committee finds that descriptions of what nominees actually do are the strongest demonstration of candidate mentoring. Here are some examples: the mentor is a source of advice...counsels with long-term goals in mind...thought I was well qualified even though I had some doubts...encourages staff to seek out positions that will increase their visibility and stretch their professional capabilities. These are more explicit and unique to the mentor than generic statements such as: the mentor is a coach...a teacher.
  • Photo copies and email copies of support letters are acceptable.

For more information about the nominating process for the 2011 award, please go to: http://www.amstat.org/sections/sgovt/JEGform11.doc or http://www.amstat.org/sections/sgovt/JEGform11.pdf.

If you have questions about the award, please contact Rick Peterson at rick@amstat.org (703) 684-1221, and Carol House at housca@gmail.com 703-989-1334.

The nomination package may be mailed or emailed no later than April 2, 2012, to:

The Jeanne E. Griffith Mentoring Award Committee
c/o The American Statistical Association
732 N. Washington Street
alexandria, va 22314-1943

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Volunteers Needed

Volunteers are needed at different times between March and June 2012 — 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 and the WSS Statistical Poster Competition — and by awarding prizes at the annual regional high school science fairs.

Curtis Jacobs Award
The Curtis Jacobs Award program focuses on gathering information and analyzing data for making decisions. Entries are typically due in May; 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.

Regional High School Science Fairs
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 held on Saturdays in March. They need volunteers willing to devote one 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 meeting the students, talking with them, and seeing the widely diverse projects they have presented. Last year 30 of your fellow WSS members judged and awarded prizes to projects in Mathematical Sciences, Behavioral & Social Science, Environmental Management, Animal Sciences, Engineering: Materials and Bioengineering, Earth and Planetary Science, Microbiology, Physics, and Astronomy. If you are interested in being a science fair judge, contact Gloria Gridley at gridleyg@aol.com or 301-762-2618.

WSS Statistical Poster Competition
The WSS Statistical 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 Barnali Das at BarnaliDas@westat.com or 301-279-4593.

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Call for Proposals
Kauffman Firm Survey Data Extension and Matching

As the Kauffman Foundation nears the completion of its eight-year panel study on new firms in the United States, the Kauffman Firm Survey (KFS), we are seeking interested scholars who would like to extend the core survey data in ways that do not increase the burden on survey respondents. While more than 6,000 variables are included in the confidential version of the KFS microdata, we recognize that there are additional opportunities for research that become available by incorporating new sources of data to leverage the existing KFS survey information. Through this grant program we hope to accomplish the following:

  • Expand the community of experts involved with the KFS to include scholars with expertise in natural language processing, web scraping, and related approaches;
  • Create reusable infrastructure; and
  • Use the prototype/demo infrastructure to evaluate the effectiveness of the approach-- missingness, accuracy, utility--to expand our understanding of different approaches for matching to existing data sets.

Multiple projects are likely to be funded with individual project budgets up to $50,000 being preferred.

Full details available at www.kauffman.org/KFSProposals.

Deadline: January 15, 2012

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Student Column

Note from WSS Student Representative

Mu Sigma Rho is the national honorary society for statistics ( - the three most often used Greek letters in statistics). Its purpose is the promotion and encouragement of scholarly activity in statistics, and the recognition of outstanding achievement among the students and instructional staff in eligible academic institutions. involves graduate students at all levels, undergraduates, faculty and professional statisticians. Activities include outreach and service to the profession.

Several universities have chapters; in the DC area, only UMBC has a chapter (VCU and Virginia Tech a bit further way). Students at institutions without a chapter — the rest of us — can join an affiliate chapter sponsored by the WSS.

Membership qualifications for undergraduates are:

  • Have completed at least two years of coursework
  • Have at least 8 semester hours (12 quarter hours) of statistics, of which at least 5 semester hours (7 quarter hours) must be at the junior level or above
  • Have at least a 3.25 grade point average in all statistics courses taken
  • Rank in the top 1/3 of your class in all course work

For graduate students:

  • Have completed 12 semester hours (18 quarter hours) of graduate level courses in statistics
  • Have at least a 3.5 grade point average in all graduate level statistics courses, and
  • Be a graduate student in good standing

For more information, see http://www.stat.purdue.edu/~mccabe/msr/ or contact WSS Chapter Representative Michael P. Cohen at mpcohen@juno.com or (202) 403-6453.

Ari Houser
Student Representative

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Note From The WSS NEWS Editor

Items for publication in the February 2012 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.

Please do not submit your items in pdf.

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Click here to see the WSS Board Listing (pdf)
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