News about activities of the Washington Statistical Society
A Chapter of the American Statistical Association

September 1998



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The balloting results are in and the following people were elected to the Board of Directors of the Washington Statistical Society (WSS):

President Elect
Mary Batcher

Jill Montaquila

Methodology Program Chair
Stuart Scott

Representatives at large
Carolyn Shettle
John Czajka

A round of applause also goes out to WSS members who were recently elected Fellows of the American Statistical Society (ASA). This honor goes to:

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Letter from the President

In the past several years the incoming president of the WSS has kicked off the new program year for the Society by including a few remarks to the membership regarding the state of the Society and plans for the upcoming year. Continuing that tradition, I am happy to report that, thanks to the dedication and hard work of the WSS Board, in particular outgoing President Graham Kalton, and the support of the membership, the state of the Society is very good. Membership is stable, finances are improving, thanks to so many of you who have taken advantage of the e-mail version of the Newsletter, and the programs, courses and seminars continue to provide a diversity of topics and areas of interest to statisticians in the Washington area. It is our goal to maintain these activities and provide improved services to the membership wherever possible. Please help us do this by letting us know your thoughts, comments and suggestions.

Statistics and the statistical profession play an important role in many aspects of life in our society. This is reflected in the theme of the recently completed Joint Statistical Meetings in Dallas, Texas, namely, "Statistics: A Guide to Policy." The WSS has been participating in the area of this theme for some time with the creation of our own public policy program committee to complement programs in subjects as diverse as agriculture, computing, demographics, economics, engineering, methodology, public health, and quality assurance. The program chairs listed at the end of the newsletter are responsible for arranging seminars and other programs in these areas of interest. They are receptive to ideas for topics and speakers for the seminar series and welcome your suggestions and participation in these activities.

In addition, the WSS is continuing its outreach to the community in the form of quantitative literacy activities in local school systems and for organizations such as the Girl Scouts. Our volunteers continue to strive to make the appropriate contacts with officials at all levels in Washington area school systems to initiate and maintain programs in which statisticians visit schools to make career day presentations, work with faculty on appropriate statistics curricula, participate in QL workshops for teachers, and provide mentoring for students' science fair projects. Also, our volunteers have continued a longstanding tradition of judging science fair projects to encourage and reward improved statistical content.. Finally, we will continue to stimulate additional participation in statistical projects through the annual Curtis Jacobs Memorial Award to the student project submitted to the competition which best utilizes survey research methods.

Throughout the upcoming program year we will be continuing several initiatives which were recently begun. First, we strongly urge members who have access to e-mail and who have not already done so, to accept the e-mail version of the newsletter, since this not only helps the Society's finances but also provides the member with information in a more timely manner. Secondly, the Board has instituted a process for defending statistics in the press. The need for such a response mechanism has become more and more apparent with the increasing number of articles concerning the 2000 Census in particular. A third initiative, which has implications for the future of the Society, is the development and encouragement of participation in WSS activities by university students. During the 1998-99 program year we will invite a student representative to attend Board meetings on a regular basis, and new emphasis will be placed on planning programs especially suited to students.

I would like to close by congratulating the newly elected members of the Board: Mary Batcher, President-elect; Stuart Scott, Methodology Program Chair; Carolyn Shettle and John Czajka, Members-at-large; and Jill Montaquila, Treasurer. I look forward to their ideas and input in maintaining the vitality of the Society. I also urge each of you to come forward with your ideas, comments and suggestions. Please contact any Board member or me. I can be reached at (301)496-9795 or By working together, we can take an already vibrant organization to new heights!

Dwight Brock
President, WSS

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1997-98 Annual Report


The WSS had a very active program during 1997-98. Program Chairs organized a total of 59 seminars and 7 short courses.

The 7th Annual Hansen Memorial Lecture was presented by Norman Bradburn of the National Opinion Research Center and the University of Chicago on "Statistics in the Information Age." Katherine Wallman introduced the speaker and TerriAnn Lowenthal was the discussant.

The Presidential Invited Address was a panel presentation on "Enhancing Communication and Collaboration: Pathways to Improving Federal Statistical Programs." The panelists were Katherine Abraham, Jeanne Griffith, Jay Hakes, Martha Farnsworth Riche, and Katherine Wallman. The discussant was Robert Groves.

The Quantitative Literacy program conducted a number of well-attended workshops for Girl Scouts and also gave a demonstration at a Girl Scout event at the Air and Space Museum. WSS members also assisted teachers in a number of counties. In addition, many WSS members served as judges at regional science fairs.

The WSS Newsletter was distributed to members on a monthly basis, either by regular mail or e-mail. Job announcements were also distributed to members throughout the year.


The 1997 December Holiday Party was held at The Brickskeller near Dupont Circle. The 1998 Annual Dinner took place at the Athenian Plaka Restaurant in Bethesda. The keynote speaker was Leslie Kish, of the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, who spoke on "57 Years and Varieties of Sampling."


Among the matters addressed by the Board during the year were issues of recruitment, encouraging members to receive the Newsletter by e-mail, improving ties with local universities, and responding to the news media on statistical issues.

The financial position of the Society remains good, and no change of fees is proposed.


The 1998 Julius Shiskin Memorial Award for Economic Statistics was presented to Eva Jacobs, retired from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Joseph Gastwirth of George Washington University.

The 1998 ASA Chapter Service Recognition Award went to Glenn White, in recognition of many years of outstanding service to the Washington Statistical Society, particularly in the organization of short courses.

WSS Presidents' Awards were presented to Elizabeth Nichols and Carolyn Shettle for dedicated service to the WSS as secretary and treasurer, respectively.

The Curtis Jacobs Memorial Prize was awarded to Rachel Cavanaugh, Erin Legge and Ashley Roseberry of Rocky Run Middle School, Chantilly, VA. Their advisor was Mark Bolt.

The WSS Outstanding Graduate Students Awards went to: Shea Burns, Howard University; Romain D. Parsad, George Mason University; Michael Spaeder, George Washington University; Gang Zheng, George Washington University; Yi Ting Hwang, University of Maryland; and William Bell, JPSM, University of Maryland.

Science Fair Awards were made to 54 Washington area students at five regional science fairs for projects demonstrating excellence in application of statistical methods.


The election results for the 1998-99 Board are as follows:


I would like to thank the members of the 1997-98 WSS Board, committee members and others whose dedicated efforts contributed to a successful year. Running as extensive a program of activities as WSS does each year involves a great deal of work by many people. It has been my pleasure to work with these willing volunteers and I leave office with a deep respect for all that they do for the Society. I would like to thank Past President Phil Kott for generously giving of his time to give me advice when needed. I wish Dwight Brock, the current WSS President, every success in the coming year.

Graham Kalton
Past President, WSS

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November 15-17, 1999: FCSM Research Conference

The Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology, which is composed of the senior statisticians from several federal statistical agencies and is sponsored by the Office of Management and Budget, is planning a research conference to be held November 15-17, 1999 in the Washington, DC area. The conference will consist primarily of contributed papers, most of which will receive formal discussion at the conference. The conference will feature papers and demonstrations on topics related to a broad range of government statistical research interests. Papers and demonstrations may address methodology, empirical studies, or relevant issues. Final papers will be due prior to the conference. Papers and demonstrations must be original and not previously published or disseminated.

To have a paper or demonstration considered for presentation, an abstract of at least one page will be required by December 1, 1998. Submit both a hard copy and an ASCII text file by Internet or on a 3 " IBM-PC compatible disk. Limit columns to 7" or less. Include the presenter's name, affiliation, mailing address, telephone and fax numbers, and E-mail address, if available. To submit abstracts or obtain additional information, contact:

Ruth Detlefsen
Bureau of the Census Bureau
Room 1182-3
Washington, D.C. 20233

Phone: 301-457-3390
Fax: 301-57-3396

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George Mason University Graduate Courses in Statistics Spring 1998

The Department of Applied and Engineering Statistics at George Mason University offers a graduate certificate program in Federal Statistics and a Masters degree program in Statistical Science. In addition, the department participates in two interdisciplinary doctoral programs which can have a concentration in statistics. These are the Ph.D. in Information Technology and the Ph.D. in Computational Sciences and Informatics. All courses are offered in late afternoon or evening. The following statistics courses will be offered in the Fall Semester of 1998.

Course Title Faculty Day/time (pm)
STAT 544
Applied Probability
STAT 554
Applied Statistics
STAT 574
Survey Sampling I
STAT 658
Time Series Analysis & Forecasting
STAT 662
Multivariate Statistical Methods
J. Miller
STAT 663
Statistical Graphics & Data Exploration
STAT 682
Computational Methods in Engineering & Statistics
STAT 751
Computational Statistics
STAT 789
Statistics Colloquium (1 credit)
F/10:30-11:45 a.m.
INFT 877
Geometric Methods in Statistics
CSI 763
Statistical Methods in Space Sciences
CSI 776
Stochastic Calculus
CSI 778
Real Analysis and Statistics

For more information on these courses and programs offered visit our web site at, call (703) 993-3645 or email to

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Letter to the Editor

Clyde Tucker's paper on methodological issues surrounding CASM (Cognitive Aspects of Survey Methodology), presented at the June 24 meeting of the WSS, takes to the CASM movement to task for failing to pay sufficient attention to certain (largely Popperian) scientific principles during the first decade of its existence. Cases are cited in which difficulties inherent in the application of cognitive methods to surveys were dealt with in ways which circumvented the rules of good science. While few in the movement would disagree with the paper's contention that CASM would be strengthened more rigorous observance of high scientific standards, rigid adherence to a set of preordained principles is not always the way science actually works and can, in the case of strange new undertakings, be fatal. Given the strictures imposed upon an enterprise deeply embedded in governmental, commercial, and academic bureaucracies, had CASM come upon the scene cloaked in scientism rather than practicality, the movement would have died aborning.

Cognition is currently the dominant paradigm in mainstream psychology, but as I note in Cognitive and Survey Methods Research (John Wiley & Sons, forthcoming), neuroscience may be waiting in the wings. My conjecture recently received some support from a statistical examination of the literature assessing the influence and discussing the future of major theoretical trends (Robins, Gosling, & Craik. Psychological science at the crossroads. American Scientist, vol. 86, July-August 1998). Should discoveries and methods of neuroscience come to permeate the discipline which, apart from statistics, provides survey research with its methodological underpinnings, a new "movement" may be in the offing. If so, I hope its pioneer practitioners will follow the lead of their CASM forebears and, with respect to the observance of scientific principles, resist the temptation to become more Catholic than the Pope.

Murray Aborn, National Science Foundation (Retired)

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Fall LearnSTAT Courses

LearnSTAT is sponsoring two courses this fall. The first course is titled "Multiple Imputation for Missing Data" and the instructors are Donald B. Rubin, John Barnard, and Bob Hill. It will be held in Alexandria from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on September 14 and 15 (Monday and Tuesday). The second course is titled "Multivariate Dependencies: Graphical Markov Models and Their Role in Statistical Analysis" and the instructors are David Cox and Nanny Wermuth. It will be held in Alexandria on October 19 and 20.

Tuition for both courses is $700 plus the cost of the textbooks. Attendees will receive comprehensive notes, refreshments, and 1.2 Continuing Education Units.

For more information visit the Web site,, or e-mail Sue Kulesher at

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SIGSTAT Schedule 1998/1999

SIGSTAT is the Special Interest Group in Statistics for CPCUG, the Capital PC User Group, and WORMSC, the Washington Operations Research and Management Science Council.

All SIGSTAT meetings are held in Waugh A, 1800 M St, NW. Directions can be found on the SIGSTAT website, Links to the above products are on the SIGSTAT Schedule page. First time attendees should contact Charlie Hallahan, 202-694-5051 or and leave their name.

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Note From The WSS NEWS Editor

Items for publication in November 1998 WSS NEWS should be submitted no later September 29, 1998. E-mail items to Michael Feil at FAX items to Michael Feil at (301) 443-4045.

WSS NEWS: 1998 - 1999 Submission Dates
Article Submission
Due Date

Issue to Printer
September 1998
July 28, 1998
August 15, 1998
October 1998
August 25, 1998
September 15, 1998
November 1998
September 29, 1998
October 15, 1998
December 1998
October 27, 1998
November 16, 1998
January 1999
November 24, 1998
December 15, 1998
February 1999
December 29, 1998
January 15, 1999
March 1999
January 26, 1999
February 15, 1999
April 1999
February 23, 1999
March 15, 1999
May 1999
March 30, 1999
April 15, 1999
June 1999
April 27, 1999
May 17, 1999

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WSS People

Dwight Brock (301)496-9795
Past President
Graham Kalton (301)251-8253
Mary Batcher (202) 327-6740
Elizabeth Nichols (301) 457-4865
Jill Montaquila (301) 517-4046

Vice Chair for District 2 of
Council of Chapters

Andrew A. White (202) 334-2511
Council of Chapters Representative
Ron Fecso (703) 306-1780 ext. 6906.
John Czajka (202) 484-4685
David Marker (301) 251-4398
Carolyn Shettle (301) 215-9100 x 166
Sandra West (202) 606-7384

WSS Program Chairs
Agriculture & Natural Resources
Bill Iwig (202) 720-3895
Dwight French (202)586-1126
Linda Atkinson (202) 219-0934
Art Kennickell (202) 452-2247
Brenda Cox (202) 484-4231
Stuart Scott (202) 606-7383
Public Health and Biostatistics
Trena Ezzati-Rice (301) 436-7022 ext. 133
Rene Gonin (301) 517-8084
Public Policy
Carolee Bush (202) 366-6946
Phil Ross (202) 260-5244
Quality Assurance
Amrut Champaneri (202) 690-3130
Glenn White (202) 327-6414
Short Courses
Roberta Sangster (202) 606-7517
Fritz Scheuren (703) 549-1120
Social & Demographic Statistics
Michael Horrigan (202) 606-5905
Edith McArthur (202) 219-1442
Statistical Computing
Bob Jernigan (202) 885-3170
Mike Fleming (703) 235-5213 ext. 170
Data Collection Methods
Brad Edwards (301) 294-2021
Linda Stinson (202) 606-7528

Fotios Kokkotos (202) 414-4563
WSS NEWS Editors
Michael Feil (301) 443-4234
Fran Chevarley (301) 436-7093 ext. 153
Electronic Mail
Michael L. Cohen (202) 334-3765
Michael Greene (703) 247-1575
S.V. (Vince) Massimini (703) 883-5893
Renee Miller (202) 426-1117
Antionette Martin 202) 426-1110
Fritz Scheuren (703) 549-1120
Quantitative Literacy
Carolyn Carroll (703) 352-1712
Science Fair
Lee Abramson (301) 415-6180
Video Librarian
Mel Kollander (202) 973-2820
Social Arrangements
Jeri Mulrow (202) 327-6772
Local Arrangement
Wendy Rotz (202) 874-0969
WSS Historian
Michael P. Cohen (202) 219-1917
WSS Committee on ASA Fellows
Phil Kott (703) 235-5211 x 102

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First posted August 24, 1998
Last modified August 31, 1998

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