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What Does George Milliken Do When He Is Not Being a Statistician?

1 August 2017 2 Comments
This column focuses on what statisticians do when they are not being statisticians. If you would like to share your pastime with readers, please email Megan Murphy, Amstat News managing editor.

Photos courtesy of George A. Milliken
George A. Milliken grew up on a farm and is an avid gardener. He finds that having a shop with tools and tractors keeps him busy.

    George Milliken

      Who are you, and what is your statistics position?

      I am George A. Milliken, emeritus professor of statistics at Kansas State University. I also have a small consulting business where I help research groups design studies, analyze their data, and write statistical reports. The consulting keeps me “doing” statistics as well as solving problems. I keep active in the ASA, my sections, and my local chapter. I have also continued writing. Dallas Johnson and I wrote a second edition of Analysis of Messy Data: Designed Experiments Vol 1 and now a third edition of SAS for Mixed Models that will be out later this year. I also try to give a presentation or two to the statistical community.

      Tell us about what you like to do for fun when you are not being a statistician.

      George A. Milliken grows pumpkins, as well as peppers, tomatoes, watermelon, cantaloupe, sweet corn, popcorn, luffa, and zucchini.

      I have several hobbies that have evolved over the years. My first hobby is “statistics.” I am fortunate to have statistics as my hobby and my profession. I love playing golf with my wife, as we plan most of our travels around being able to play golf.

      I am an avid gardener. We have a little more than a half hectare of garden where we plant tomatoes, peppers, watermelon, cantaloupe, pumpkins, sweet corn, popcorn, luffa, and zucchini. We also have a small strawberry patch. We eat some of our produce, but we give away most to our friends and neighbors. In past years, I have given a truck load of pumpkins to the children of our church and provided popcorn for a local charity auction. It is great to see their eyes as they try to select the pumpkin that is best for them.

      I also like to build things from wood and metal. I have a shop with wood-working tools and metal fabrication tools. I make simple things from time to time. I find it relaxing to plan a garden or project and then carry it out to the end.

      What drew you to these hobbies, and what keeps you interested?

      Gardening came from growing up as a farm kid. I helped feed and care for pigs and dairy cows, and I helped with tilling, planting, and cultivation by driving a tractor. As they say, “You can take the kid off the farm, but you can’t take the farm out of the kid.”

      I greatly enjoy the gardening process and watching the plants grow to maturity. Some of the luffa we grow we send to our daughter in San Diego, who puts it into bars of soap she makes.

      I was a member of 4-H and FFA as a youth, which is how I learned to run power tools and weld with a torch and sticks. I got welders after being out of high school for more than 40 years. But with a book and YouTube, you can recall and or learn to do most anything as long as you have proper tools.

      I am a person who needs to be doing something. Having a shop with tools and tractors provides activities for me, whether it is gardening or making something.

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      • Dallas Johnson said:

        All true! We have enjoyed George’s sweet corn, tomatoes, pumpkins, cherries, etc.

      • April Milliken MacKinnon said:

        Love this article! My lucky kids get to benefit from such an awesome Grandpa. 🙂