Home » A Statistician's Life, Celebrating Women in Statistics

Rachel M. Harter

1 March 2018 2 Comments

RTI International

Educational Background
Iowa State University: PhD, Statistics (1983)
Iowa State University: MS, Statistics (1981)
Wittenberg University: BA, Mathematics (1979)

About Rachel
Rachel Harter joined RTI International as a senior research statistician in 2011; she is now also the director of the Behavioral Statistics Program in the Division for Statistics and Data Sciences.

Growing up in Indiana, Rachel had excellent math teachers. She attended Wittenberg University in Ohio, where she received solid mathematics preparation for graduate school. A summer internship at Oak Ridge National Laboratory first introduced her to statistics. She attended Iowa State University for graduate school in statistics, where she studied small area estimation under Wayne A. Fuller.

An academic position was not her calling, so she was thrilled to take a job in survey statistics with the A.C. Nielsen Company. Highlights of her Nielsen experience included 1) helping to build a prototype expert system for finding notable changes in Nielsen data reports and 2) overseeing the statistical processes of repackaging historical data to help clients manage a planned trend disruption.

Rachel then joined the not-for-profit NORC at the University of Chicago, where her knowledge of survey statistics (especially sampling, weighting, and imputation) and her managerial experience grew dramatically. While at NORC, she managed a project to build a production system for small area estimates of employment. She also managed teams of statisticians on complex survey designs and statistical data processing.

She found a similarly enriching culture and social mission at RTI International. Currently she oversees the statistical work on RTI’s largest survey project, and she works with RTI experts in address-based sampling and small area estimation.

Rachel is a Fellow of the ASA and has held offices in the ASA’s Section on Survey Research Methods. She participated in two expert panels for the redesign of federal survey programs, as well as a National Academies panel. She chaired the AAPOR Task Force on Address-Based Sampling.

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  • Tim Gabel said:

    I’m very pleased Rachel was included in this profile. She is a great exemplar of “Women in Statistics” but also as a quintessential statistical leader. Congrats Rachel!

  • Charles K. Bayne said:


    Congratulation as a “Women in Statistics and Data Science” featured in the March issue of AMSTATNEWS.

    Best wishes,
    Chuck Bayne