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Staff Spotlight: New Science Policy Fellow Amy Nussbaum

1 July 2016 468 views No Comment
Amy Nussbaum

Amy Nussbaum
Photo by Sara Davidson

The ASA is excited to welcome Amy Nussbaum to the ASA as the inaugural science policy fellow. Nussbaum started May 31 in her work to amplify the ASA’s science policy efforts to raise the profile of statisticians in policy making and advocate on behalf of the statistics community. Initially, Nussbaum will work on a variety of ongoing projects—from STEM education to forensic science—while also exploring new science policy activities.

Originally from Illinois, Nussbaum completed her PhD in statistical science from Southern Methodist University. Her graduate research was on the statistical challenges of analyzing personality assessment data within the greater field of psychology and culminated in her dissertation, Analysis of Longitudinal Latent-Variable Models with Two Sources of Measurement Error. Her PhD adviser is Cornelis Potgieter.

Nussbaum spent the 2016 spring semester teaching Introduction to Statistical Methods in the statistical science department at SMU and Experimental Statistics I and II for SMU’s MS in Data Science program.

Crediting SMU’s statistical sciences department’s emphasis on the ability to communicate statistical concepts and results in a clear and concise manner, Nussbaum expressed her interest in, qualifications for, and beliefs around the ASA science policy fellowship position, saying, “As statisticians, we have a responsibility to present analyses objectively and ethically, and we should be held accountable for abusing our skills or misleading others. We also have a duty to tell a story of our results in such a way that anyone could understand without getting bogged down in complicated terminology or trivial minutiae. Complicated examples are rarely helpful, and it is a skill to present illustrations that paint a picture of the concepts without burdening people with unnecessary complexities.” Nussbaum has a particular interest in public policy regarding statistical literacy and encouraging young women in STEM fields.

She began her academic career at Wheaton College, a small liberal arts school in suburban Chicago, where she studied mathematics and psychology while always keeping a career in statistics in mind. She realized as an undergraduate that combining ideas from separate arenas almost always resulted in a deeper understanding of complex concepts and stronger solutions to difficult problems, and that collaborating with others brings out the best in herself.

In her free time, Nussbaum enjoys traveling, trying new restaurants, and reading—especially presidential biographies. She is particularly glad to be living and working in the Alexandria area, since it has such a rich history.

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