WSS NEWS--News about activities of the Washington Statistical Society - a Chapter of the American Statistical Association

March 1997


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Herriot Award Nominations Sought

Nominations are sought for the 1997 Roger Herriot Award for Innovations in Federal Statistics.

After the unexpected death in May, 1994 of Roger Herriot, an Associate Commissioner for Statistical Standards and Methodology at the National Center for Educational Statistics, the Washington Statistical Society, the Social Statistics and Government Statistics Sections of the American Statistical Association established an award in his memory to recognize individuals who develop unique approaches to the solution of statistical problems in federal data collection programs.

The award is intended to reflect the special characteristics that marked Roger Herriot's career:

The award is not restricted 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, from entry to senior, federal employees, private sector employees, or employees of the academic community, may be nominated on the basis of the significance of the specific contribution.

The recipient of the 1997 Roger Herriot Award will be chosen by a committee of representatives of the Social Statistics Section and Government Statistics Section of the American Statistical Association and a representative of the Washington Statistical Society. Roger Herriot was associated with and strongly supportive of these organizations during his career. The award consists of an honorium of $500 and a framed citation.

A nomination form can be obtained by contacting Daniel Kasprzyk at 202-219-1588, 202-219-1325 (fax), or e-mail All nomination forms should be returned to the Roger Herriot Award Committee c/o Daniel Kasprzyk, 4906 Colonel Contee Place, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772-2875.

Completed nomination forms must be recieved by May 12, 1997.

Girl Scouts Eating Up Statistical Analysis

So you think the hallmark of Girl Scouting are camping and selling cookies. Think again. Today's Girl Scout program offers learning experiences in topics ranging from peaceful conflict resolution to physics from etiquette to one of this fall's newest offerings--statistical analysis.

While girls learning probability by constructing and interpreting a box plot, discovering quartiles, and plotting data on a bar graph may seem a far cry from planning how the troop will handle its cookie sale, it's not. The same principles--tackling new challenges, working as a team, and applying new skills to cope with life's lessons--are at work.

In collaboration with the Washington Statistical Society, GSCNC added "Exploring Data" to its fall line-up of math, science, and technology offerings believing that girls could enjoy learning basic statistical concepts if they were presented in an entertaining and informative way. With a volunteer team of statisticians from the Society as instructors, workshops were developed to meet the different needs of Brownies (elementary school age); Juniors (middle school); and Cadettes and Seniors. During the age-specific two-hour workshops, the girls collect, organize and display data; make and check predictions; and experiment with concepts of chance. In the process, they learn how to combine quantitative and communication skills to make practical decisions in their life.

Response to the program has been good, with nearly 500 girls boosting their understanding of statistics and how they can be used. Noted Shatl J. Butani, Chief of Statistical Methods Division of Employment and Unemployment Statistics and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, " The girls are having fun. In fact, I couldn't get one group of Brownies to go home-- they loved what they were learning! We've also found that the girls particularly like the probability experiments, which center around Girl Scout cookies or candy, as these are projects where they can eat the data."

Butani and her team of 40 volunteers have taken workshops to 10 locations in our jurisdiction so far. In between workshops, they fax and e-mail tips and suggestions to one another, and constantly seek ways to make the program even more appealing. Butani said, "Our goal is to create role models who can encourage girls to enjoy math and statistics. We're not expecting everybody to major in math, but we do want them to understand that being able to read, use, and understand numbers is vital to any profession."

Another series of "Exploring Data" workshops will be offered January through April of 1997.

From "GIRL SCOUTS: Newsletter for the Business Community of the Washington Metropolitan Area" (Winter 1997)

SIGSTAT Meetings

SIGSTAT is the Special Interest Group in Statistics for the Capital PC User Group (CPCUG) and WORMSC, Washington Operations Research and Management Science Council. All meetings are from 12:30 - 1:30 in Room 1208, 1301 New York Ave, NW. First-time attendees should contact Charlie Hallahan at 202-501-6928 or Further information is at http://www.ers.usda.govsigstat or the Members/Sigs page of

March 12, 1997: MathCad 6.0 for Windows combines numeric and symbolic calculations, graphic and visualization tools, functions for statistical and data analysis, differential equations and advanced matrix operations, as well as WYSIWIG document preparation. Online information for Mathcad 6.0 is available at

Changes at Energy Information Administration

On February 1, 1997, Dr. Yvonne Bishop retired from the Federal government. Dr. Bishop was Director of the Office of Statistical Standards (OSS), Energy Information Administration (EIA) at the Department of Energy. She was clearly instrumental in establishing high quality standards for the EIA's products. The statistical standards and innovative quality programs she has developed at EIA now serve as models for other agencies. Her statistical expertise and stature in the statistical community have been tremendous assets for EIA. We owe Dr. Bishop a debt of gratitude for the significant role she has played in the credibility that EIA enjoys today. We at EIA wish her the very best in her retirement and future endeavors.

Dr. Lynda Carlson is now the new director of OSS. Dr. Carlson is the former Director of Energy End Use and Integrated Statistics Division, Office of Energy Markets and End Use within EIA. She has worked closely with OSS for many years on statistical and methodological issues, and values the contributions of this office. She is also active in the statistical community. We know that she will bring great enthusiasm to this position and a strong commitment to the high quality principles that have been established over the years.

Making Hypothesis Tests and Confidence Intervals Easier via Resampling/Simulation.

Are you currently teaching statistics at the high school level or are you thinking of starting such a course? Do you incorporate statistics and probability into your mathematics and science courses? This one-day workshop will help you. Statistics, especially statistical inference, and probability are difficult concepts, often regarded by students as onerous and confusing. Resampling, an extension of the simulation approach the NCTM advocated in its Standards, makes life easier for students and teachers alike. Learn this powerful method for teaching statistical inference and probability and network with other teachers seeking to infuse statistics into their curricula.

The workshop will be held on Friday, April 11, 1997 from 8:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m. at The George Washington University Alexandria Graduate Education Center at 1775-B Duke Street in Alexandria, Virginia, conveniently located directly across the street from the King Street Metro station. Cost: $25, includes notes and refreshment breaks. Parking at adjacent Embassy Suites Hotel is $8 per day; lunch not provided. To register call Sue Kulesher at 703-684-1221x150, E-mail her at, or write to the above address by March 31. (Checks...alas, no purchase orders...may be made payable to the American Statistical Association.)

New Software Release: S-PLUS 4.0

Be the first to see the new and exciting features of S-PLUS 4.0. Mark your calendar to attend a free demonstration in your area. This demo will take you through the features of the new graphical user interface, highlight new statistical functionality and show how you can use S-PLUS 4.0 to customize data analysis for your projects, your department or even your whole company. Easily import SAS data. Create a revealing Trellis graphic. Point-and-click to edit the features of your graphic. Customize your menus and toolbars. S-PLUS 4.0 is designed for technical and business professionals of all levels. A special promotional offer will be extended to everyone who attends a demo session. Call (800) 569-0123 to sign up today. A morning and afternoon session is offered at each location. Space is limited, so don▀t delay!

Date             Location                  Facility

7-May            Boston, MA                TBD
8-May            New York, NY              The Algonquin Hotel
9-May            New Jersey                Woodbridge Hilton (tentative)
12-May           Washington, DC            Sheraton City Center
13-May           RTP, NC                   Radisson Governor's Inn
14-May           Atlanta, GA               Westin Peachtree
16-May           Dallas, TX                Hyatt Regency Dallas at Reunion
19-May           Chicago, IL               Sheraton Chicago
21-May           Los Angeles, CA           Marriott Marina Del Rey
22-May           San Francisco, CA         Park Hyatt San Francisco

WSS People

President                         Past President
Phillip Kott (703) 235-5211       Ron Fecso (703) 235-5211
                   ext. 102                       ext. 142

Graham Kalton (301) 251-8253

Secretary                          Treasurer
Elizabeth Sweet  (301) 457-4865    Carolyn Shettle  (703) 306-1780

WSS Program Chairs

Agriculture & Natural Resources    Economics
Mike Steiner     (202) 690-2486    Linda Atkinson   (202) 219-0934
Robert Latta     (202) 586-1385    Art Kennickell   (202) 452-2247

Methodology                        Public Health and Biostatistics
Julia Bienias    (301) 457-2696    Vance Berger     (301) 594-5756
Karol Krotki     (202) 944-5243    Julie Legler     (301) 493-6832

Public Policy                      Quality Assurance
Carolee Bush     (202) 366-6946    Harold Johnson    (202) 606-7758
Phil Ross        (202) 260-5244    Amrut Champaneri  (202) 268-2299
                                   Paul L. Zador     (301) 294-2825

Social & Demographic Statistics    Statistical Computing

Michael Horrigan (202) 606-5905    Bob Jernigan      (202) 885-3170
Myron Katzoff    (703) 670-8917    Mike Fleming      (703) 235-5213
                                                           ext. 170

Short Courses                      Data Collection Methods
Fritz Scheuren   (703) 549-1120    Brad Edwards      (301) 294-2021
                                   Linda Stinson     (202) 606-7528


Bill Arends          (202) 720-6812

WSS NEWS Editors
Mike Feil            (301) 443-1330
Fran Chevarley       (301) 436-7093
                           ext. 153
Antionette Martin    (202) 426-1110
Renee Miller         (202) 426-1117
Fritz Scheuren       (703) 549-1120

Mel Kollander        (202) 973-2820

Quantitative Literacy
Shail Butani         (202) 606-6347

Local Arrangement
Robie Sangster       (202) 606-7517