Home » Member News, Section News, Statistical Consulting

What Does the ASA Section on Statistical Consulting Mean to You?

1 September 2019 No Comment

LeAnna Stork, chair of the ASA Section on Statistical Consulting, asked members on the ASA Community to unlock the “secret sauce” and answer a few questions about what the section means to them. Following are some of the responses she received.

Allison Grove

Owner/Statistician and Scientific Writer, AG Research LLC

Why did you join this section?
I’m a new member of ASA and the Statistical Consulting Section. It was recommended to me by a member of ASA. I have an MS in animal science and worked in this research area for 20+ years. Ten years ago, I started a business that provides research support on a freelance basis, primarily statistical analysis and scientific writing (agresearchllc.com). I often help a researcher take a thesis or summary report and turn it into a manuscript for submission to a peer-reviewed scientific journal. This has involved redoing the statistics and learning new techniques. I discovered the part I enjoyed most in this process was analyzing and interpreting the data. I’d like to shift my business more toward statistical analysis and thought this section would be a good way to network and learn.

What value do you get from being a member?
I just joined in the last month, but have already found the discussion threads and blog posts very helpful. My next task is to create a listing in the ASA Directory of Statistical Consultants.

What else would you like to see the section provide as a member service?
Networking and/or mentoring opportunities and marketing assistance. Anthony Carra’s blog posts on building a successful consulting business have been great, but would I find a marketing resource that understands this kind of consulting work? My desire to focus my business more toward statistics is somewhat of a career shift, and I could use some guidance along the way. I’ve recently begun taking online stats courses toward obtaining a graduate certificate and/or MS in statistics.

Michael Schell

Senior Member, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Moffitt Cancer Center

Why did you join this section?
Keith Muller advised me to join. When we were both biostatistics faculty at UNC, he said this was a great section for people who cared about statistical practice, which I do. I had thought that this section was really for statisticians in consulting or business only. Thank you, Keith!

What value do you get from being a member?
While I don’t post very often to this online message group, I enjoy seeing the various issues, both statistical problems and consulting business issues. The JSM Statistical Consulting Section meetings are also good for meeting others who care about similar issues.

What else would you like to see the section provide as a member service?
Translation of good ideas from theory to practice remains a major problem for our profession. Whatever this section can do to help facilitate that translation will be beneficial.

Deborah Dawson

Professor of Biostatistics, Iowa Institute for Oral Health Research, University of Iowa

Why did you join this section?
I joined quite a while ago, basically out of an interest in the consultatory aspect of being a statistician. This was despite the initial impression that I also shared that this section was primarily intended for those in consulting or business only. I am an academic and collaborate with many groups and individuals, but do little other consulting. But it has turned out to be one of the sections most helpful to me and one that always keeps my interest.

What value do you get from being a member?
I have enjoyed and benefited from the discussions—whether they were about business aspects of consulting, consulting relationships, or specific issues related to statistical practice. I have learned a great deal from other members of this section. I particularly appreciate the helpful and respectful tone of the discourse.

What else would you like to see the section provide as a member service?
Besides more of the same great discussions, I would agree with Michael Schell’s wonderful comments about the translation from theory to practice.

Ronald Mowers

Senior Statistician

Why did you join this section?
I wish to do some consultancy work. I did stat consulting work for a private ag startup the past two years (my only client), after a 30+-year career with a major seed company (and six years of teaching math and statistics at major universities). Would like to do more part-time statistical consultant work for seed or ag product companies, or for cognitive decline research (AD, Bredesen-type intervention research). The ag economy has been down this year, and I have not had additional customers; this is an example of the ups and downs of a private consulting business.

What value do you get from being a member?
I get some good pointers from the blog, especially interactions of experienced consultants with “newbies” who are asking questions. I am still wanting to be active in statistics, even after a long and (dare I say) productive career.

What else would you like to see the section provide as a member service?
Networking in specific topic areas. For example, would like to connect with some individuals or a group who are currently working in either the world food production area or in the area of Alzheimer’s disease/cognitive-decline research. Thanks for the opportunity for giving feedback.

Isabella R. Ghement

Ghement Statistical Consulting Company Ltd.

Why did you join this section?
When I took a consulting course in grad school, I was the least likely candidate to become a statistical consultant. I had a passion for teaching, but consulting seemed terrifying and I remember crying for a whole weekend because I just didn’t know how to write a consulting report. But then I graduated and needed to find a job option that allowed me to stay in Vancouver, which is how I ended up considering starting my own training and consulting business. At the time, I tried to get some support and guidance on how to do so via the Statistical Society of Canada, but didn’t get very far, so I somehow stumbled upon the ASA Section on Statistical Consulting and was impressed with the level of engagement and support I found within this section. ASA has provided a welcoming professional home for me and given me a sense of belonging. I am grateful in particular to two local consultants, Dr. Carl Schwarz and Dr. Jonathan Berkowitz, for offering guidance and support when I first started. And to my former professor, Dr. John Petkau, who is an outstanding teacher and mentor of aspiring consultants.

What value do you get from being a member?
I’ve met many wonderful colleagues by being a member of this section. I also tried to give back to the section by working with some of these colleagues to organize JSM sessions such as Communicating Statistical Findings to Consulting Clients Operating in a Decision-Making Climate: Best and Worst Practices and Secrets to Effective Communication for Statistical Consultants.

What else would you like to see the section provide as a member service?
I would like to see that the section does more to support consultants such as myself who are professionally isolated. There have been some attempts to do this in the past, but they didn’t pan out long-term.

Jackie Szymonifka

PhD Candidate, NYU School of Medicine, Department of Public Health, Division of Biostatistics (with 11 years of experience in academia/consulting)

Why did you join this section?
I’ve been consulting for about a decade now, but only recently rejoined the ASA, so when I was looking at the various section options, this one seemed very appropriate.

What value do you get from being a member?
As others have said, it’s been very educational to read responses to technical questions. It’s also helpful, and at times cathartic, to read about others’ experiences, both positive and negative.

What else would you like to see the section provide as a member service?
I think we have a fairly diverse set of interests and a range of experience. It might be neat to set up mentoring relationships so that more junior consultants have some guidance as we venture out into the consulting world. Someone else also mentioned special interest groups, which likely could accomplish the same goal in a group setting.

It also might be nice to set up an online “library” of sorts that has consulting-related documents for others to refer to. Again, given our range of experience, items like consulting agreements, invoices, proposed budgets, etc. all could be really useful to have sample documents to refer to, as well as general tips and guidelines for consulting relationships. A previous thread was posted by someone looking for advice on how to approach initial consultations, questions to ask, etc., and I think having a summary of that type of information in one place would be extremely valuable.

There also have been a few threads about administrative/logistical details (obtaining insurance, what type of company to form, etc.) that I think would be useful to have in a single document to refer back to.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading...

Comments are closed.