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Ann Arbor Chapter Gets Creative to Woo Members

1 October 2013 55 views No Comment
Anamaria Kazanis, Ann Arbor Chapter President

    The objective of the ASA Ann Arbor Chapter is to promote the science of statistics, provide statisticians and statistics practitioners the opportunity to network with likeminded individuals, and stimulate membership in the ASA. To fulfill this objective, the chapter produces educational seminars with local or national guest speakers, sponsors workshops on statistics applications, hosts business and social meetings, sponsors community service opportunities such as judging school science fairs, and holds membership drives.

    In May, the annual conference of the Michigan SAS Users Group (MiSUG) became the setting for a new kind of membership drive. Upon learning of a presentation of Bayesian procedures on SAS, Chapter President Anamaria Kazanis contacted the leadership of MiSUG to obtain table space in which to set up a continuously running computer presentation of the benefits of ASA membership. Printed copies of the membership application were provided, along with the link to individual membership options. Statistics practitioners were expected to attend a Bayesian presentation at the conference. Funds were obtained from the ASA to acquire three books on Bayesian statistics to be raffled off to those who joined the ASA before the end of the meeting. Past ASA President Robert Rodriguez, a speaker at the meeting, congratulated the Ann Arbor Chapter for the membership drive initiative.

    At the beginning of the academic year, graduate and undergraduate students in the department of statistics of the University of Michigan are invited to an ASA membership social. Table space is made available to place a computer that continuously runs the ASA Membership Highlight Presentation and printed copies of the membership application, as well as the link to individual membership for students. Participants are informed of the discounted membership fees.

    The Ann Arbor Chapter, under the leadership of Kazanis, sponsored a three-day seminar, “GAISEing into the Statistics Common Core,” for teachers of mathematics in Michigan, grades 6–12. Stephanie Casey, coordinating with statistics education professionals from the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University, produced and presented the event. The seminar used the ASA’s Guidelines for Assessment and Instruction in Statistics Education as a framework to help the participants learn how to teach the statistics standards of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics effectively.

    On the first day, the chapter president invited the teachers to become members of the ASA. On the second day, the chapter president described the Meeting Within a Meeting: A Statistics Workshop for K–12 Teachers and, once more, told the teachers about the benefits of ASA membership. At the end of the seminar, participants were reminded of their opportunity to take advantage of the free three-month membership for K–12 teachers sponsored by the ASA.

    The workshops presented by the Ann Arbor Chapter have become a magnet for statistics practitioners not only in Ann Arbor, but also as far as South Bend, Indiana. In 2008, members of the chapter, under the leadership of Barry De Cicco, created the “Up and Running” series of introductory workshops on the use of statistical software (JMP, R, SAS, SPSS, STATA) from start to regression in two hours. Since then, the workshops have taken place at the University of Michigan with the sponsorship of the department of statistics. Participants are invited to become members of the ASA and Ann Arbor Chapter.

    Communities of statisticians and statistics practitioners are the natural setting for conversation and networking between individuals of concurring ideas. The ASA promotes statistical discourse in formal and informal venues, as well as on electronic sites. Students and professionals in academia, government, business, and industry have to be informed of the opportunities derived from ASA membership. Groups of statisticians and statistics practitioners are continuously established to address the fast pace of advancement derived from increasing computational power. Virtual and in-person meetings can be addressed with information from the ASA.

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