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Iowa State Student Wins Jackson Smith Scholarship

1 August 2020 No Comment
Submitted by David Banks

    Sepideh Mosaferi, a PhD student in the department of statistics at Iowa State University, is the winner of the 2020 Wray Jackson Smith Scholarship.

    Sepideh Mosaferi

    Sepideh Mosaferi

    After completing her BS and MS at Allameh Tabatabai University in Tehran, Iran, she earned a second MS degree at the University of Maryland College Park and then joined the department at Iowa State. She also completed a summer internship at the National Cancer Institute, working on record linkage problems associated with cancer data sets. This experience inspired her to apply her extensive technical skills to the field of statistics with applications in public policy.

    The technical strength and generality of Sepideh’s research on fine stratification designs make it applicable to many federal agencies that employ complex sampling protocols. For instance, the multi-stage, one-per-stratum design has been conducted by a variety of agencies, including the US Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Current Population Survey. The National Crime Victimization Survey conducted by the US Census Bureau on behalf of the Bureau of Justice Statistics and National Survey of Family Growth are also based on fine stratification designs. This breadth of impact aligns with the spirit of Wray Jackson Smith.

    Sepideh’s work focuses on the standard errors of point estimates from fine stratification designs, which perhaps have only one or two sampling units per stratum. This is a popular design since it permits the extensive stratification, but the standard error of its estimators can be biased or impractically large. Sepideh has successfully addressed that problem through hierarchical Bayesian modeling. Her contribution links the problem with more familiar capture-recapture methodology.

    Sepideh intends to use the $1,000 award to support her travel to the Manitoba Statistical and Health Sciences Collaborating Centre, one of the newly designated Canadian Statistical Sciences Institute’s Health Science Collaborating Centres.

    Members of the 2020 Wray Jackson Smith Scholarship Committee are Jenny Guarino (Chair), David Banks, and William Cecere.

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