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For the Thanksgiving Season, Thank Someone with an Award Nomination

1 November 2016 134 views No Comment
Jessica Utts

Jessica Utts

John F. Kennedy once said, “We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.” The Thanksgiving holidays, in mid-October in Canada and in late November in the United States, make this the ideal season to reflect on and thank the people who have supported us in our careers and lives. And it also happens to be the season to make nominations for awards given by the ASA, COPSS (Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies), and other professional organizations.

Therefore, I am devoting this month’s column to encouraging you to take the time to thank someone who has been influential in your life by nominating them for an award!

I have served on many award committees and am often disheartened by how so few people take the time to nominate others. Most of the awards given by the ASA and COPSS require a CV, nomination letter, and possibly a few additional letters of support, which means nominating someone is not an onerous task. So, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, think of a professional colleague, mentor, mentee, or friend who is important to you and take the time to nominate them.

Finding an Appropriate Award

The awards given by the ASA and COPSS vary. Some come with the “honor” of giving an invited lecture at the Joint Statistical Meetings (JSM), so it’s best to find out if your potential nominee is comfortable with that requirement before you make the nomination. Some include a cash honorarium for the winner, ranging from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, while others do not include a monetary award. Some are awarded for a specific paper or accomplishment, or for work in a specific area of statistics, while others are more general. A few have restrictions based on age and/or years since degree, gender, membership in the ASA or a specific section, or being enrolled in a particular type of degree program.

Details are provided on the various award websites, but in the interest of encouraging and facilitating nominations, I have provided information here that should help you decide which award(s) to pursue for the person (or people) you have chosen to honor with a nomination.

Most of the awards here are presented by the ASA, but a few are given by COPSS and supported by the five COPSS societies: the ASA; Institute of Mathematical Statistics; Statistical Society of Canada; and Eastern and Western North American Regions of the International Biometric Society.

Three of the five COPSS awards are given in alternating years, while the Fisher Lecture and Award and the Presidents’ Award are given annually. The Elizabeth L. Scott Award is not being given in 2017 and thus is not described in this article.

I have tried to classify the awards in a way that makes it easiest to find an appropriate award based on the skills, interests, and accomplishments of your nominee. Except for the student awards and scholarships presented at the end, the categorizations proceed (loosely) from the most specific to the most general criteria.

Awards for Specific Areas of Statistics

The Monroe G. Sirken Award in Interdisciplinary Survey Methods Research recognizes contributions to theory and methods of interdisciplinary survey research. The honoree gives the Sirken Lecture at JSM and receives a $5,000 honorarium, plaque, and reimbursed travel expenses. Nominations require a nominating letter, three supporting letters, and a CV. Deadline is December 15.

There are two Gottfried E. Noether Awards, the Senior Scholar and Young Scholar. Both are given for accomplishments in nonparametric statistics. Both honorees are invited to deliver a lecture at JSM, and each is awarded an honorarium. Nominations include a nominating letter, three supporting letters, and a CV. Deadline is December 15.

The COPSS George W. Snedecor Award honors an individual who was instrumental in the development of statistical theory in biometry. The award is for a noteworthy publication in biometry within three years of the date of the award and is given in odd-numbered years. Deadline is January 15.

The W.J. Dixon Award for Excellence in Statistical Consulting is given for demonstrated excellence in statistical consulting or for new methods, software, or ways of thinking that improve statistical practice in general. The award includes a $500 honorarium and a certificate. Nominations include a nominating letter and CV. Deadline is February 1.

The W.J. Youden Award in Interlaboratory Testing recognizes authors of publications that make outstanding contributions to the design and/or analysis of interlaboratory tests or describe ingenious approaches to the planning and evaluation of data from such tests. The publication must have appeared or been accepted for publication in English-language, professionally refereed journals or monograph series during the given year or the two preceding years. The award includes a $1,000 honorarium. A nomination letter and copy of the relevant publication are required. Deadline is February 15.

Awards for Education, Mentoring, and Service

There are two Waller Awards for excellence and innovation in statistical education. Those eligible for the Waller Education Award are early in their career (10 or fewer years of full-time teaching), including graduate teaching assistants, and have full responsibility for teaching an introductory statistics course. Those eligible for the Waller Distinguished Teaching Career Award have 20 or more years of statistics teaching experience and have had an effect on statistics education beyond the awardee’s home institution. Nominations include a nominating letter of at most four pages, up to four supporting letters (at most two pages each), and a CV. Deadline is February 15.

The Causality in Statistics Education Award is given to a person or team that enhances the teaching and learning of causal inference and includes a $5,000 honorarium. Nominations include a cover letter that provides information about the nominee, type of material suggested as an important contribution, the intended audience, and an abstract of why the material is nominated, along with the nominated work. Deadline is February 15.

The ASA Mentoring Award honors ASA members who are recognized for having sustained efforts supporting the work and developing the careers of statisticians. A nominating letter outlining why the nominee deserves the award is required and supporting letters are welcome. Deadline is March 1.

The ASA Founders Award recognizes ASA members who have provided extended and varied distinguished leadership service to the ASA. The Founders Award is the only one for which the winners are not notified in advance of the award presentation at JSM. Nominations should include a list of individuals who can be contacted to provide information about the nominee’s credentials for the award. Deadline is March 15.

Awards for a Specific Paper or Collaboration, but Not Limited to a Specific Topic

The Outstanding Statistical Application Award recognizes the authors of papers that demonstrate an outstanding application of statistics in any substantive field. Eligible work includes papers, monographs, reports, and other evidence appearing no more than two years prior to the presentation of the award. The work must have been subject to external peer review and, preferably, formal refereeing. An honorarium of $1,000 is split among the authors. Nominations include the nominated paper and a letter describing its significance and effect on the substantive field. Deadline is March 1.

The Statistics in Physical Engineering Sciences (SPES) Award is given for innovative use of statistics to solve a high-impact problem in the physical and engineering sciences. In odd-numbered years (such as 2017), the award is presented for a paper published in a refereed statistics, physics, chemistry, or engineering journal during the previous two years. In even-numbered years, the award is presented for distinguished work performed during the previous two years by a collaborative team of statisticians and practitioners in an industrial, manufacturing, or research organization. At least one of the awardees must be a member of the ASA and the Section on Physical and Engineering Sciences when nominated. Nominations include a letter and a copy of the publication. Deadline is February 20.

The Statistical Partnerships Among Academe, Industry, and Government (SPAIG) Award, sponsored by the ASA SPAIG Committee, recognizes collaborations between at least two of the three sectors. There is a specific nomination form for this award. Deadline is March 1.

The Excellence in Statistical Reporting Award is presented to a member of the media for either a single piece on or sustained contributions to the science of statistics and its role in public life. There is a specific nomination form for this award. Deadline is March 1.

Memorial Awards in Honor of a Distinguished Statistician

The Deming Lecturer Award honors an individual who has either made significant contributions in fields related to those in which W. Edwards Deming devoted his career or has made significant contributions through effective promotion of statistics and statistical thinking in business and industry. As suggested by the title, the awardee presents an invited lecture at JSM and receives a $1,000 honorarium and reimbursed travel expenses. Nominations consist of a specific nomination form, a nomination letter, and names of two additional references. Deadline is November 15.

The COPSS Fisher Award and Lecture honors both the contributions of Sir Ronald Aylmer Fisher and the work of a present–day statistician for their advancement of statistical theory and applications. The recipient presents the Fisher Lecture at JSM and receives a cash award. Nominations include a nominating letter, three supporting letters, and a CV. Deadline is December 15.

The Florence Nightingale David Award, sponsored jointly by COPSS and the Caucus for Women in Statistics, is granted in odd-numbered years to a female statistician who serves as a role model to other women by her contributions to the profession through excellence in research, leadership of multidisciplinary collaborative groups, statistics education, or service to the professional societies. Nominations include a letter, three to five supporting letters, and a CV. Deadline is January 15.

The Karl E. Peace Award for Outstanding Statistical Contributions for the Betterment of Society is awarded for substantial contributions to the statistical profession that have led in direct ways to improving the human condition. Nominations include a letter, at least two additional letters of support, and a CV. Deadline is February 1.

The Harry V. Roberts Statistical Advocate of the Year Award was initiated by the Chicago Chapter and awards an individual (not necessarily a statistician) who has inspired respect for data and the effective use of statistical reasoning in areas where such respect and use were lacking. The recipient receives a $500 honorarium and reimbursed travel expenses to give a presentation at a meeting of the Chicago Chapter. Nominations include a letter and CV. Deadline is February 15.

The Samuel S. Wilks Memorial Award is given to an individual who has made statistical contributions to the advancement of scientific or technical knowledge, ingenious application of existing knowledge, or successful activity in the fostering of cooperative scientific efforts that have been directly involved in matters of national defense or public interest. A cash award is given. Nominations consist of a nominating letter and CV. Deadline is February 15.

General Awards

The COPSS Presidents’ Award is given annually to a young member of the statistical community in recognition of outstanding contributions to the profession of statistics. It is awarded for a single contribution of extraordinary merit or an outstanding aggregate of contributions. The recipient must be under age 41 throughout the award calendar year, or under age 46 throughout the award calendar year if they received a terminal statistically related degree no more than 12 years prior to that year. Nominations consist of a nominating letter that includes the nominee’s date of birth, up to five additional letters of support, and a CV. Deadline is January 15.

ASA Fellows must have an established reputation and have made outstanding contributions to statistical science, with broadly defined areas that qualify as important contributions. Nominees must have held continuous membership in the ASA for the three years ending on February 28, 2017. There is an online nomination form that must be used, and up to four letters of support can be included. No individual can participate in more than two nominations in a given year (as nominator or letter writer) so it is important to start early to get commitments from letter writers before they commit to other nominations. Deadline is March 1.

Awards and Scholarships for Students

More than half the ASA sections sponsor a student paper competition. Students may submit papers to no more than two sections and accept only one section’s award. In most cases, the deadline is December 15, but a few are earlier.

The Gertrude M. Cox Scholarship is cosponsored by the ASA and Caucus for Women in Statistics. Two $1,000 scholarships are presented each year, one to a woman near the start of her graduate career and one to a more advanced female graduate student. Only citizens or permanent residents of the United States or Canada are eligible. There is a self-nomination form, and three letters of recommendation must be included with the application. Deadline is February 23.

The Edward C. Bryant Scholarship for an Outstanding Graduate Student in Survey Statistics is a $2,500 scholarship presented to a student with the potential to contribute to survey statistics. There is a self-nomination form and three letters of recommendation must be included with the application. Deadline is March 1.

The Government Statistics Section Wray Jackson Smith Scholarship Award is awarded jointly with the ASA’s Social Statistics Section. It supports work toward a career in government statistics. The scholarship encourages promising young statisticians to consider a future in government statistics by providing up to $1,000 for use in exploring any of a broad number of opportunities. There is a self-nomination form and two letters of recommendation must be included with the application. Deadline is April 1.

There are also three awards for students or recent graduates to travel to the Conference on Statistical Practice, held in February. They are the John J. Bartko Scholarship Award, Lingzi Lu Memorial Award, and Lester R. Curtin Award. However, the deadline for these awards is October 15, and thus they are not described here.

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