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Section to Celebrate 20th Anniversary

1 February 2010 957 views No Comment

This year, the Section on Statistics and the Environment (ENVR) turns 20. ENVR’s vision now, as it was in 1990, is to be a dynamic national resource that actively influences the following:

  • Development and application of statistical methods for addressing environmental problems
  • Interpretation and communication of environmental data and findings
  • Identification, study, and resolution of statistical problems leading to cogent policies addressing public health and ecological, economic, and other consequences of environmental contamination and change
  • Advancement of research and education in environmental statistics

With more than 800 members, ENVR members conduct a number of activities and initiatives to realize the section’s vision. One of these is to put together a consistently exciting, timely program of technical sessions on environmental statistics at the annual Joint Statistical Meetings. Last year’s program was more popular than ever, as every one of our invited sessions was standing room only.

The 2010 ENVR invited program will include presentations on topics as diverse as testing for climate change-caused shifts in forest fire ignitions, modeling of environmental extremes, statistical inference for food webs, and analysis of global warming data. If history is any guide, the invited program will be complemented by a number of interesting ENVR-sponsored contributed and topic-contributed sessions.

Another ENVR activity that fits squarely within the section’s vision is sponsoring periodic workshops, which have focused on hierarchical modeling (2000), spatial statistics and GIS (2002), computational environmetrics (2004), multivariate spatial statistics (2006), and environmental monitoring (2008).

In keeping with the section’s bottom-up—rather than top-down—organizational philosophy, proposals are being sought for the next workshop, to be held in 2011. The National Center for Atmospheric Research has offered to be the workshop site, but proposals are welcome for a venue anywhere in North America. Contact Dale Zimmerman, section chair, at dale-zimmerman@uiowa.edu with ideas.

Section Officers
Dale Zimmerman, chair
Jennifer Hoeting, chair-elect
Gretchen Moisen, past chair
Joel Reynolds, secretary
William Christensen, treasurer
Jun Zhu, publications chair
Margaret Short, publications chair-elect
Petrutza Caragea, program chair
Devin Johnson, program chair-elect
Alix Gitelman, Council on Sections representative
Don Stevens, liaison officer

    Gretchen Moisen, chair
    Dale Zimmerman, chair-elect
    Lance Waller, past chair
    Sarah Nusser, secretary
    Joel Reynolds, treasurer
    Jun Zhu, publications chair
    Petrutza Caragea, program chair
    Alix Gitelman, Council on Sections representative
    Ron McRoberts, newsletter editor
    Don Stevens, liaison officer
    Jean Opsomer, webmaster

    Looking Forward

    Two initiatives Zimmerman will be working on this year are forming a climate change policy advisory committee with the ASA’s Section on Risk Analysis and Director of Science Policy Steve Pierson that will advise Congress on climate change issues and increasing the section’s student membership.

    Although the section’s overall number of members is healthy, it lags behind most other sections in its percentage of student members. The ASA recently began an online social network that operates similarly to Facebook. Zimmerman wonders if ENVR members, particularly students, would find a dedicated ENVR online community useful for posting information and exchanging ideas. He also will be making a number of personal contacts with students to espouse the benefits of section membership.

    This year, the section will continue making several awards, including the Student Paper Competition Award, JSM Presentation Award, Young Investigator Award, and Distinguished Achievement Award.

    In addition to communicating to section members via this monthly Amstat News article, ENVR publishes an annual newsletter. From now on, this newsletter will be distributed electronically. When each issue is published, an email will be sent out to members with a link to the section’s web site, where all issues can be found.

    Award Nominations Wanted

    Nominations are being sought for the Distinguished Achievement Award and the new Young Investigator Award. Both are given in recognition of outstanding contributions to the development of methods, issues, concepts, applications, and initiatives of environmental statistics. The Young Investigators Award is meant to encourage and recognize younger members of the environmental statistics community.

    The section uses a broad definition of environmental statistics—from theoretical/foundational through applications and policy—and seeks to recognize the full range of activities of academic, government, and industrial statisticians and scientists engaged in statistics and the environment. Environmental statistics is interdisciplinary, and outstanding contributions may occur outside of traditional niches defined by disciplines.

    To be eligible for a Distinguished Achievement Award, nominees must have made distinguished contributions to environmental statistics; joined ENVR at least three years prior to June 1, 2009; and not have received the award in a previous year.

    Criteria for the Young Investigators Award include having made distinguished contributions to environmental statistics, being a current member of ENVR, not being a recipient of the Distinguished Achievement Award from a previous year, and not having reached his or her 41st birthday during the calendar year of the award. (In the special case of an individual who has received his or her terminal degree in statistics fewer than 12 years prior to the nomination deadline, a nominee will be eligible who has not yet reached his or her 46th birthday during the calendar year of the award.)

    For both awards, the committee considers only those members for whom nominations are submitted. Committee members do not offer nominations, but encourage members to make a thorough search for good candidates.

    Nomination materials should consist of a nomination letter featuring the nominee’s contributions to environmental statistics, a CV of five or fewer pages for the nominee, up to three supporting letters, and a clear statement for which of the two awards the nominee should be considered. If being considered for the Young Investigators Award, submit the birth date of the nominee. The committee will use the “Jonathanian” method of calculating the age of the nominee.

    Nominations must be received by March 15 as a PDF document (preferred) or Word file. If submitted as hard copy, send the original and five copies. Submit nominations to Stephen L. Rathbun at rathbun@uga.edu or Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, 132B, Coverdell Center, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602.

    The awards committee will make the selection, and successful nominees will receive their awards at the ENVR business meeting and reception during the Joint Statistical Meetings in Vancouver in August of 2010. Questions regarding the award should be addressed to Rathbun at rathbun@uga.edu.

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