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

September 1999




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Letter from the President

I am very excited about this year in WSS. I have worked in various capacities in WSS over the years and have found the members of the Board to be dedicated and hard-working but most important fun to work with. Already, a number of interesting ideas have been proposed for this coming year.

Thanks to the efforts of last year's president, Dwight Brock, and his Board, WSS is in good shape financially and organizationally. With its unique position in the heart of a very large statistical community, WSS has been able to draw on local resources to present a variety of programs throughout the year. This is greatly augmented by the proximity and support of Federal statistical agencies which have generously provided support in the way of meeting rooms and professional release time for their employees. WSS is often able to capitalize on its proximity to the Federal statistical community by sponsoring seminars by important statistical talent when they are in the area to work with one of the statistical agencies. This has allowed WSS to present a truly impressive series of talks throughout the year. This year will be no exception with some very energetic program chairs with great ideas for talks. I look forward to an exciting year.

An area of emphasis this year will be programs involving students from elementary school through university levels. WSS is currently active in quantitative literacy in local elementary and secondary schools. I am making an expansion of this program a priority for this year. We will need lots of volunteers for that effort so I hope all of our members consider whether they can afford to spend an occasional afternoon working with an area school on statistics. In addition, we will be encouraging more schools to enter the Curtis Jacobs competition for secondary school statistics projects. And, of course, our involvement in science fairs has been strong for several years. Two years ago, the WSS started an effort to involve local college students in Board activities. This year I expect that we will see the results of those initial efforts in increasing involvement by students with programs and activities tailored to their needs and interests.

Before I close, I want to congratulate the newly elected Board members: Cynthia Clark, president elect; Ginny DeWolf, Methodology Program chair; Linda Atkinson and Glenn White, representatives at large; and Tom Mule, secretary.

Volunteer organizations only survive and grow as they meet the needs of their members. It is very important for such organizations that they continue to reach out to their members and also to consider the needs of potential members. Please help us by contributing your time if possible and definitely your ideas. We welcome suggestions for programs, short courses, and other activities. Getting involved is also a great way to network with your colleagues in the statistical community. Call me or another member of the Board if you are interested or have ideas. My number is 202-327-6773 and my email address is

Mary Batcher
President, WSS

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The WSS 1998-99 Year In Review


The WSS regular monthly seminar series continued as the cornerstone of our activities during the year. This year we sponsored and co-sponsored some 47 meetings of the chapter on a wide variety of topics. Three short courses were presented, one each in time series analysis, sampling and weighting, and exploratory data analysis.

The 8th Annual Morris Hansen Memorial Lecture was presented by J.N.K. Rao of Carleton University on the topic "Some Current Trends in Sample Survey Theory and Methods." Robert M. Groves introduced the speaker and James M. Lepkowski and Robert E. Fay were the discussants.

There were two Presidential Invited Addresses during the year. The first was a special visit to WSS by the 1998 President of the ASA, David Moore, who spoke on "Statistical Literacy and Statistical Competence in the 21st Century." The second was a presentation by Stephen Fienberg, from Carnegie Mellon University and President of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, and Margo Anderson, from the University of Wisconsin. Their presentation was entitled "To Sample or not to Sample, why is that the Question for Census 2000?" Ed Spar was the discussant.

The Quantitative Literacy program continued its conduct of workshops for Girl Scouts in the National Capital Area, including a return visit and demonstration at a large gathering of Girl Scouts at the National Air and Space Museum in the spring. WSS members also continued the long-standing tradition of providing judges at five regional science fairs this year.

The WSS News editors continued their excellent work in putting together and distributing the newsletter monthly, both as paper copies and via e-mail. The Employment column editor also continued the excellent work of providing information for potential matches among employers and persons seeking employment throughout the year.

Social Events

The 1998 Annual Holiday Party was held at the Capitol City Brewing Company in the Postal Square Building near Union Station.

The 1999 Annual Dinner was held at the Hyatt Hotel Arlington-Rosslyn. The keynote speaker was Paul D. Minton, from Virginia Commonwealth University, who treated the audience with his "Hitchiker's Guide to Famous Statisticians in the 1950's." The musically accomplished Professor Minton ended his presentation with a brief tribute to Bayesian statistics in song!

Board Activities

The Board continued deliberations regarding a policy to develop rapid responses to media presentations on statistical issues. Such a policy allowing the three presidents to make rapid responses was put in place this year. One such response was submitted to the Washington Post as a letter to the editor following an editorial on the use of sampling in the Census. A second issue that generated continuing discussions was that of improving ties with local universities. Thirdly, the Board has instituted a policy for accepting paid advertising in the newsletter.

The financial position of the Society has remained stable, and a decision was made not to increase dues in the coming year.


The 1999 Julius Shiskin Memorial Award for Economic Statistics was presented to Robert Parker of the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The 1999 WSS Presidents' Awards were presented to Wendy Rotz and Michael P, Cohen for their participation in a wide variety of WSS activities over a long period of time.

The Curtis Jacobs Memorial Prize for excellence in applying survey research methods to a school project was presented to Kristyn Martyn and Robin Lim for their project "Bioethics and Ovum Donation." They are students at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke, VA, and their adviser was Terry French.

The WSS Outstanding Graduate Student Awards went to Fang Fang, Catholic University; Ru Sun, George Mason University; Jennifer Guarino, JPSM , University of Maryland; Binbing Yu, George Washington University.

Science Fair Awards were made to a large number of elementary, junior high and high school students at five regional science fairs in the Washington area, for excellence in application of statistical methods in their research projects. Prizes were made available through a generous donation by the Gallup Organization.

Election Results

Congratulations to the winners of the election for 1999-2000 WSSofficers:

A Word of Thanks

The WSS is a large, vibrant organization, providing numerous services to its members. None of this could happen without the untiring efforts of the many people who make the organization run smoothly. The officers, Board members and committee chairs meet monthly to plan and activate all the programs from which we as WSS members benefit. Speakers, session chairs, discussants and other participants volunteer their time as well to make the programs valuable and meaningful. The newsletter editors do an outstanding job of producing an informative publication worthy of our time and attention, and the members contribute by their attendance and participation in all the activities of the Society. For all of those efforts, I sincerely thank all of you. In addition, I would like to extend special appreciation to Graham Kalton, Past President, for invaluable advice on many issues that came up during the year, and for reminding me what I was supposed to do next! And finally, I send my best wishes to incoming President, Mary Batcher, for continued success in the year to come. I am confident that under her leadership, the Society will continue to grow and prosper.

Dwight Brock
Past President, WSS

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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:

Cynthia Clark

Tom Clark

Methodology Section Chair
Virginia deWolf

Linda Atkinson
Glen White

A round of applause goes to the following individuals who were recently elected Fellows of the American Statistical Society (ASA). This honor goes to:


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Fall Herriot Award

On Wednesday, October 13, the Herriot Award will be presented to Tom Jabine. There will be several talks on his many innovative contributions in human rights, privacy and confidentiality, and quality profiles. The session will be in room 2990 at BLS but the time will be extended, beginning at 12:30 and ending at 2:30 since a reception will be held. Full details will be in the October newsletter.

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Morris Hansen Lecture

The 1999 Morris Hansen Lecture will be held at 3:30 pm on Tuesday, October 26 at the Jefferson Auditorium of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. A reception will follow the lecture. This year's speaker is Dr. David F. Findey, who will talk about seasonal adjustment. David has been leading the work in seasonal adjustment at the Census Bureau for almost 20 years. In case you wonder about the relationship between Morris Hansen and seasonal adjustment -- Morris Hansen hired Julius Shiskin -- a key leader in the development and implementation of seasonal adjustment. Look for more detail in the next issue!

Find out about previous Morris Hansen Lectures by visiting

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WSS Audit

The audit of the WSS financial statements for July 1, 1998 to May 28, 1999* has been completed. The statements were found to be in order. The auditor thanks Treasurer Jill Montaquila for providing copies of the necessary records. The closing balances (May 28, 1999) are as follows:

Unrestricted interest checking account
Interest checking account (Hansen Award Fund)
Interest checking account (Shiskin Award Fund)
Treasury money market fund*

* For the Treasury money market fund, the reported number is the market value on April 30, 1999.

Michael P. Cohen, WSS Auditor

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1999 FCSM Research Conference
November 15-17, 1999

The Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology will hold a research conference on November 15-17, 1999 at the Key Bridge Marriott in Arlington,Va. Features include papers and demonstrations on topics related to a broad range of government statistical research interests. It is sponsored by various government statistical agencies and hosted by the Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics.

Registration and other information may be obtained from: Ruth Detlefsen, Bureau of the Census Bureau, Room 2641-3, Washington, D.C. 20233; Phone: 301-457-2665, Fax: 301-457-1343, and E-mail: Additional information and periodic updates concerning the conference may be found on web site

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Epidemiology Seminars

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
School of Public Health and Health Services
The George Washington University

Time and location: All four seminars will be held from 4:00 to 5:30 PM in Ross Hall 116A. Directions: Ross Hall is located at 2300 I St. NW, Washington DC, immediately adjacent to the Foggy Bottom Metro station. Parking is available on 22nd Street between H and I.

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Note From The WSS NEWS Editor

Items for publication in the November 1999 WSS NEWS should be submitted no later than September 28, 1999. E-mail items to Michael Feil at FAX items to Michael Feil at (301) 443--4234.

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WSS People

Mary Batcher (202) 327-6740
Past President
Dwight Brock (301) 496-9795
Cynthia Clark (301) 457-2165
Tom Mule (301) 457-8322
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
Carolyn Shettle (301) 215-9100 x 166
Linda Atkinson (202) 694-5046
John Czajka (202) 484-4685
Glenn White (202) 327-6414

WSS Program Chairs
Agriculture & Natural Resources
Dwight French (202) 586-1126
Art Kennickell (202) 452-2247
Ginny deWolf (202) 395-7314
Stuart Scott (202) 606-7383
Public Health and Biostatistics
Paul Hshieh (301) 295-9762
Public Policy
Carolee Bush (202) 366-6946
Phil Ross (202) 260-5244
Quality Assurance
Amrut Champaneri (202) 690-3130
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
Michael Feil (301) 443-4234
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 September 3, 1999
Last modified September 7, 1999

Webmaster: Dan Jacobs, Maryland Sea Grant