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People News for March 2013

1 March 2013 No Comment

Mary Batcher, Robert Rodriguez, Karen Kafadar, Fritz Scheuren, Tim Hesterberg, and Mary Ellen Bock

The National Institute of Statistical Sciences (NISS) elected Mary Batcher and Robert Rodriguez to the board of trustees for three-year terms beginning July 1. Karen Kafadar and Fritz Scheuren also were elected for a second three-year term beginning July 1.

Tim Hesterberg will complete the term of long-time trustee Mary Ellen Bock, who resigned from the board. The board of trustees approved the slate at its 2012 annual meeting, which was held November 2–3, 2012, in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

Batcher is executive director of quantitative economics and statistics at Ernst & Young LLP, in Washington, DC. She is responsible for all aspects of statistical sampling used in tax filings, including the technical merits of firm samples, review of IRS proposed samples, and review of samples developed by other firms for our audit clients.

Rodriguez is senior director of R&D for SAS Institute, in Cary, North Carolina. He has long been active with the NISS affiliates program, of which SAS is an original member. Rodriguez has been with SAS Institute since 1983, after spending six years as staff research scientist at General Motors. He also served as ASA president in 2012.

Hesterberg has worked at Google since 2008 as a senior ads quality statistician. Previously, he was senior research scientist at Insightful Corp., assistant professor at Franklin and Marshall College, and operations research analyst at Pacific Gas & Electric Co.

Ayman Bakleezi



The winners of the Islamic Countries Society of Statistical Sciences (ISOSS) Gold Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Statistics in Islamic Countries are Dato’ Wira, Jamil Bin Osman, Saleh Omer Badahdah, and Ayman Bakleezi of Qatar University.

The awards were presented at the biennial Islamic Countries Conference on Statistical Sciences at the Qatar University, which took place December 19–22, 2012.

The keynotes at ISOSS were delivered by Munir Ahmed, Edward Wegman, Ehsan Soofi, Mohammad Hanif Mian, Abdelhameed El-Shaarawi, Aman Ullah, Shahjahan Khan, and Mohammad Al Saleh.

Conference delegates re-elected Ali S. Hadi of the University in Cairo, Egypt, as the ISOSS president.

As with previous ISOSS conferences, the electronic version of the proceedings is accessible from the ISOSS website.

Sourav Chatterjee and Sudipto Banerjee

At its recent International Conference on Statistics, Science, and Society in Chennai, India, the International Indian Statistical Association (IISA) announced the winners of its young researcher awards for 2012–2013.

The Theory and Methods Award went to Sourav Chatterjee, associate professor of mathematics at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences of New York University.

These awards are co-sponsored by IISA and Elsevier. For information about IISA, visit their website.

Shahjahan Khan



The Bangladesh Statistical Association (BSA) recently recognized the scientific contributions of Bangladeshi statistics professor Shahjahan Khan by awarding him the Q. M. Hossain Gold Medal. Kahn is professor of statistics in the department of mathematics and computing at the University of Southern Queensland, Australia, and served as president of Islamic Countries Society of Statistical Sciences from 2005–2011.

Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith presented the award to Khan at an international statistics conference organized by the BSA at the Senate Building of the University of Dhaka.

The award was given in recognition of Khan’s outstanding fundamental research, world-class international professional leadership, and organization of many international conferences, including the Islamic Countries Society of Statistical Sciences.

Kahn is the youngest to receive the award, which was established in 1990.

Stefano Castruccio

Stefano Castruccio, a PhD candidate in the department of statistics at The University of Chicago, won first place in the 2012 Environmental Statistics Student Paper Competition for his entry, “Global Space-Time Models for Climate Ensembles,” co-authored with Michael Stein, a professor at The University of Chicago. The student paper competition/travel award, sponsored by the American Statistical Association, gives students the opportunity to attend and present their paper at the annual Joint Statistical Meetings in August.
Castruccio’s paper, which develops a statistical model for analyzing climate models, is part of his dissertation, which aims to provide geophysicists with statistical tools for better understanding climate change.

“Statistical models for global processes are a topic that was largely ignored by statisticians until about 10 years ago,” says co-author Stein. “Part of what makes the problem hard is capturing how most global processes look very different at different latitudes.”

“The paper by Castruccio and Stein addressed a major issue in environmetrics in that it focused on global climate modeling,” said Medical University of South Carolina Professor Andrew Lawson, who chaired the selection committee. “Hence it scored highly from that viewpoint. It was also highly innovative and received most votes overall across relevance and innovation categories.”

This work was motivated by the problem of providing fast approximations to the output of complex climate models as part of RDCEP, the Center for Robust Decision Making on Climate and Energy Policy, an NSF-supported partnership established by The University of Chicago with several universities and national laboratories.

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