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Educational Ambassador Program Advances Collaboration Between ASA and World

1 September 2017 52 views No Comment
Geert Molenberghs

    To welcome new international members to the American Statistical Association, to create a network for cooperation, and to serve the non-US-based ASA membership, the Educational Ambassador Program was launched in 2005 to annually recruit an educational ambassador from foreign countries. The program was developed to advance lasting collaboration between the ASA and other international statistical societies and local communities for permanent exchanges of knowledge.

    Someone holding a PhD in statistics or biostatistics who is open to studying a new area of research and who has an interest in teaching this new area of research is qualified to be an educational ambassador.

    The ASA’s Educational Ambassador Program was founded by the late Martha Aliaga, former ASA director of education. Aliaga was passionate about statistical education and international outreach.

    Every year, the Committee on International Relations in Statistics selects the country that will host the educational ambassador and typically identifies a liaison for that country. The ASA then launches a call for nominations and applications via Amstat News and other channels.

    When possible, a local liaison supports the identification process of valuable candidates. Such a liaison is, for example, a prestigious statistician native to the country who works in the United States or someone who knows the country well.

    Once the deadline for applications has passed, the Committee on International Relations in Statistics selects an educational ambassador.

    Educational ambassadors are subsidized to attend the Joint Statistical Meetings. At JSM, the chosen educational ambassador will attend several continuing education (CE) courses in an emerging area of research and of importance to their country and broader region. The ambassador also receives ASA full membership for one year. The educational ambassador will then return to his or her home country and—within the next year—teach classes, give workshops at conferences, and undertake other dissemination activities based on the knowledge and skills acquired at JSM.

    The educational ambassador reports back to the Committee on International Relations in Statistics about his or her experiences.

    The majority of educational ambassadors go far beyond the minimal requirements. For example, some have started teaching classes in topics studied at JSM not just once, but as part of a regular master curriculum. As such, they disseminate the knowledge for years on end.

    Current Educational Ambassador

    2017 – Honoré Mitonga Kabwebwe

    As the 2017 ASA educational ambassador, Honoré Mitonga Kabwebwe—senior lecturer at Windhoek, Namibia—attended the Joint Statistical Meetings in Baltimore, Maryland, and completed continuing education courses.


    Past Educational Ambassadors

    2016 – Adedayo Adepoju, Nigeria

    As the 2016 ASA educational ambassador, Adedayo Adepoju—senior lecturer and former acting head at the department of statistics, University of Ibadan, Nigeria—attended the Joint Statistical Meetings in Chicago, Illinois, and completed courses on Bayesian methods, bootstrap and permutation methods, and ordinal categorical responses.


    2015 – Mohammad Shafiqur Rahman, Bangladesh

    As the 2015 ASA educational ambassador, Mohammad Shafiqur Rahman—associate professor of applied statistics at the University of Dhaka—attended the Joint Statistical Meetings in Seattle, Washington, to participate in continuing education courses.


    2014 – Juan Carlos Salazar, Uribe, Colombia

    As the 2014 ASA educational ambassador, Juan Carlos Salazar Uribe of the Universidad Nacional de Colombia attended the Joint Statistical Meetings in Boston, Massachusetts, to participate in continuing education courses. He was particularly interested in a course on applied longitudinal analysis.


    2012–2013 – Keamogetse Setlhare, Botswana

    The 2012 educational ambassador was Keamogetse Setlhare from the University of Botswana Department of Statistics in Gaborone. She attended the 2012 Joint Statistical Meetings in San Diego, California, and the 2013 Joint Statistical Meetings in Montréal, Québec, Canada. Setlhare took courses in Bayesian methods and computation, simulation and sampling of data, and analysis of univariate and multivariate extremes, as well as several computer technology workshops.


    2010–2011 – Eiliana Montero, Costa Rica

    In 2010, the educational ambassador was Eiliana Montero of the University of Costa Rica. In 2011, Eiliana presented “A First-Time Course in Modern Causal Inference at the University of Costa Rica” during the JSM contributed session From Courses to Majors, sponsored by the Section on Statistical Education.


    2009 – Tatevik Zorhrabyan and Alexan Simonyan, Armenia



    There were two educational ambassadors in 2009: Tatevik Zorhrabyan and Alexan Simonyan, from Armenia. Both took several CE courses and plan to teach what they learned in Armenia. They also created the Armenia Statistical Association.


    2008 – Idir Ouassou, Morocco

    The 2008 educational ambassador was Idir Ouassou from Marrakech, Morocco. He teaches at the Universit Cadi Ayyad Ecole Nationale des Sciences. During JSM 2008, in Denver, Colorado, he attended the course Generalized Linear Mixed Models: Theory and Applications and the computer technology workshops An Introduction to Stat Studio for SAS/STAT Users, Introduction to Bayesian Analysis Using SAS Software, Nonparametric Regression Modeling in SAS Software, and Structural Analysis of Time Series Using the SAS/ETS UCM Procedure.


    2007 – Loan Le, Vietnam

    The 2007 educational ambassador was Loan Le, from Ho Chi Minh City. She is the vice director of the government statistics office and chose to attend three classes during JSM 2007 in Salt Lake City, Utah: Latent Class Analysis of Survey Error, Modeling and Data Analysis for Complex Surveys, and Categorical Data Analysis.


    2006 – Eshetu Wencheko, Ethiopia

    The 2006 educational ambassador was Eshetu Wencheko, from Ethiopia. Wencheko, president of Alpha University College in Addis Ababa, took two classes during JSM 2006 in Seattle, Washington: Generalized Linear Mixed Models and Generalized Linear and Latent Mixed Models. He then taught a class in generalized linear mixed models to 14 graduate statistics students in Ethiopia.


    2005 – Diana Kelmansky, Argentina

    The first educational ambassador was selected in 2005 from Argentina. Diana Kelmansky teaches at the University of Buenos Aires. She selected the continuing education course Analysis of Gene Expression Data, presented by Terrence Speed and colleagues at JSM 2005 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The title of her invited presentation in 2006 was “Building Statistical Capacity in Developing Countries.” Kelmansky presented her class at the University of Buenos Aires and repeated the class in Ecuador and Spain. She also co-taught the class with Speed in Mexico. After that experience, she wrote the class notes in Spanish and was invited to make presentations at three conferences in Argentina and one in Chile.

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