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Educational Ambassadors Hail from Pakistan, Thailand

1 October 2018 No Comment

Saleha Habibullah of the Kinnaird College for Women in Lahore, Pakistan, and Seksan Kiatsupaibul of Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand, attended the Joint Statistical Meetings in Vancouver, BC, as the ASA’s 2018 educational ambassadors. While there, they attended several continuing education courses, including the following:

  • Master the Tidyverse: An Introduction to R for Data Science
  • Prediction in Event-Based Clinical Trials
  • Data Science for Statisticians
  • Nonparametric Regression and Classification for Modern Data Scientists
  • Deep Learning, Prediction, and Validation: Innovations in Statistical Modeling and Applications to Medical/Health Big Data

The Educational Ambassador Program is an ASA outreach effort launched by the late Martha Aliaga and the Committee on International Relations in Statistics to foster international collaboration and enhance statistics education worldwide. The program subsidizes two ambassadors from developing countries to attend JSM and take CE courses. It also provides a one-year ASA membership.

From left: Geert Molenberghs, chair of the ASA Committee on International Relations; Saleha Habibullah, 2018 educational ambassador from Pakistan; Seksan Kiatsupaibul, 2018 educational ambassador from Thailand; and David Williamson, an ASA Board member, meet at the Committee on International Relations in Statistics Meeting during JSM in Vancouver.

Candidates are required to have a PhD in statistics, have an interest in teaching, and be open to study in new research areas. After attending CE courses in emerging areas of research, the educational ambassadors return to their respective countries and teach the subject matter covered in the CE course(s) within the next year to at least 10 students.

“The Educational Ambassador Program significantly expanded my perspective on statistics in the global setting, especially in [a] time when we have to work with computer scientists and engineers to effectively execute data science techniques to solve new problems,” said Kiatsupaibul. “Taking courses and meeting people helped me gain new ideas relevant to statistics today that I will bring to my classroom at home. I would like to thank all involved in making this wonderful program happen. I believe this program makes [a] difference in emerging countries, and I hope it is continued in the future.”

Geert Molenberghs, chair of the Committee on International Relations in Statistics, commented, “The ASA is a truly international statistical society, showing brilliantly through its successful educational ambassador program!”

Since the program launch in 2005, the Committee on International Relations in Statistics has chosen educational ambassadors from Argentina, Ethiopia, Vietnam, Morocco, Armenia, Costa Rica, Botswana, Colombia, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Namibia, Pakistan, and Thailand.

These educational ambassadors have taught the material learned in JSM short courses in numerous academic courses and workshops carried out in their home countries. Juan Carlos Salazar Uribe, 2014 educational ambassador from Colombia, described his experience as follows:

The challenges and possibilities of being an educational ambassador are endless, so I focus my attention on promoting novel methodologies on applied longitudinal data among young researchers and promoting statistical thinking and good statistical practices among high-school teachers from different educational institutes here in my city. I think I have completed successfully these two tasks. It [was] an honor to serve as the 2014–2015 ASA educational ambassador; I could not be prouder.

The committee is seeking 2019 educational ambassador applications from those in Cuba, Mexico, Nepal, and Vietnam.

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