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ASA Welcomes Lynn Palmer, Director of Programs

1 March 2013 254 views No Comment
Melissa Gotherman, ASA Graphic Designer/Production Coordinator
    ASA Director of Programs Lynn Palmer is busy at work at the ASA office in Alexandria, Virginia.

    ASA Director of Programs Lynn Palmer is busy at work at the ASA office in Alexandria, Virginia.

    The ASA is pleased to announce that J. Lynn Palmer has joined its staff as director of programs.

    Palmer earned her BS and MS in sociology from Oklahoma State University in 1976 and 1978, respectively. While completing her MS, she was required to take two graduate-level courses in statistics. “I loved them, and they seemed to click with what I wanted to do with my career,” Palmer said. That led her to complete an MS in statistics from Oklahoma State University in 1980 and a PhD in biometry from The University of Texas Health Science Center in 1988.

    Her career in statistics began at the Department of Vocational and Technical Education, Research Unit, in Stillwater, Oklahoma, while she was still a statistics graduate student. There, she analyzed data for reports and eventually was able to take the lead on a project in which she designed, conducted, analyzed, and wrote the entire report.

    Prior to arriving at the ASA, Palmer was employed as an associate professor at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC) in Houston, Texas, for more than 22 years. While at MDACC, her research focused on investigating the effects of estimating or ignoring missing data that was not missing at random. She also developed a Bayesian population model to determine optimal timing for blood stem cell collections in breast cancer patients scheduled for high-dose chemotherapy. Her collaborations with medical researchers focused on treatment, care and concerns of palliative care patients, and integrative medicine. She also spent time collaborating with researchers in the behavioral sciences and, in the past five years, has been on 25 grants (most through NIH/NCI).

    Palmer is starting at the ASA at an exciting time. It’s the International Year of Statistics, and next year the ASA will celebrate its 175th anniversary. “I am looking forward to learning about the many ways the profession of statistics is being practiced in the U.S. and internationally and how our profession can improve society on a local and global level.”

    When asked what attracted her to the position of director of programs, Palmer said she liked the “big picture” of being able to contribute on a larger level through the ASA. Her current vision for the position is to design, develop, and implement new programs geared toward serving ASA members in areas such as career development and for promoting the practice and profession of statistics.

    In particular, she wants to consider new programs for students, younger statisticians, applied statisticians, women, minorities, and international members. “Some of these programs are already in place, and some could be strengthened, and new programs could be developed,” she said. She also wants to provide leadership for existing programs to ensure their continued success and is keeping her options open to contribute to the ASA in a more creative and meaningful way.

    On a Personal Note

      What was the last book you read?
      SEND: Why People Email So Badly and How to Do It Better, by David Shipley and Will Schwalbe. The authors have a great sense of humor, and this information may come in handy in my new position.

        What book are you most looking forward to reading?
        My Beloved World, by Sonia Sotomayer, the supreme court justice who came from poverty in Puerto Rico to summa cum laude at Princeton and who writes about her passion for life, law, and serving as a judge.

          What is the favorite place you have traveled to?
          I’ve traveled to more than 150 countries. It is hard to pick a favorite.

            Do you have any hobbies?
            Running (jogging). I’ve completed 44 marathons in 23 states and six continents (plus three-quarters of one on the seventh continent).

            Palmer has been an ASA member since 1980. She served as secretary (1996–1998) then president (1999–2000) of the Houston Area Chapter. From 2002–2004, she served on the ASA Board of Directors as Council of Chapters representative. During that time, she was also chair of the Committee on Career Development and a member of the Committee on Women in Statistics. In 2007, she served as chair of the Council of Chapters. From 2008–2010, she was chair of the Journal of Computational and Graphical Statistics Management Committee. In 2008 and 2009, Palmer served as a member of the Founders Award Committee, and, in 2009, was chair of the ASA Nominations Committee, serving the previous year as a member. In 2010, she became a Fellow of the ASA.

            Palmer also has attended most JSMs since becoming a member. This year, she is looking forward to attending as a staff member. “It will be great to see how JSM is organized from the other side of the mirror. I look forward to meeting new people on the committees to which I am a liaison and having more opportunities to meet and learn more about the great diversity of the members of the ASA.”

            Palmer is also active outside of the ASA. In 2012, she served as president of the Caucus for Women in Statistics and is currently past president. She is one of the four original organizers for a proposed conference, Celebrating Women in Statistics 2014: Know Your Power, and a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society. She was recently elected to membership in the International Statistical Institute and is a long-time member of the International Biometric Society and International Society for Bayesian Analysis. Over the course of her career, Palmer has authored or co-authored more than 175 journal articles.

            In her free time, Palmer likes to run, read, and travel. She has traveled to many parts of the globe with her husband, Paul Maley, who is a dedicated amateur astronomer. Maley has been organizing eclipse tours since 1970, and they have been fortunate to see approximately 20 solar eclipses together.

            Have a question for Lynn? Please contact her at palmer@amstat.org.

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