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

Jeri Mulrow

1 March 2019 No Comment


Educational Background:
BS, Mathematics, Montana State University
MS, Statistics, Colorado State University

About Jeri
I loved math in school. I still remember two things from early elementary school in Denver, Colorado: math classes learning multiplication, division, and fractions and creative writing class where we had to write a story about a still-life or impressionist painting. I continued to love math in middle and high school in Helena, Montana. In high school, I took all of the math, science, and computer science classes I could squeeze into my schedule. Anything math related, I took part in, including math club and eating lunch in the math teacher’s classroom so I could play math games.

For some reason, I decided to major in chemical engineering and received a scholarship to Montana State University. After one semester of engineering courses, I knew that was not the area for me. I switched to mathematics. For my junior year, my adviser insisted I take applied mathematics courses such as statistics, computer science, and accounting. I dropped accounting after two weeks. Computer programming classes were okay. I promptly turned in my first statistics book after the semester thinking it was boring, just a bunch of formulas and not challenging. My adviser insisted I take more statistics classes, including regression, analysis of variance, and design of experiments. Well, statistics had me after that. I took as many statistics courses as I could pack into my senior year at MSU and applied to graduate school in statistics.

I accepted the offer from the Colorado State University (CSU) Statistics Department. It was challenging and fun. I met a lot of great people, both professors and students, and my husband. I wrote a master’s thesis and passed my qualifying exams before deciding to work at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colorado, in their statistical engineering division. My husband and I recently set up a scholarship fund in statistics and data science at CSU.

I now have more than 30 years of work experience in applied statistics. I taught undergraduate mathematics and statistics for two years at Southern Illinois University. I spent two years at NORC learning about surveys and variance estimation. I worked for Ernst & Young for nearly five years, helping to develop their statistical sampling practice. Up until now, most of my career has been with the federal government, working in three principal statistical agencies: Statistics of Income Division at the Internal Revenue Service, the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics at the National Science Foundation, and the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). At BJS, I served as the acting director for almost two years. I just retired from the government and am joining Westat as a vice president and director of their statistical sciences unit. Onto the next exciting chapter, in which I plan to continue expanding my statistical knowledge and skills.

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