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My ASA Story: Claire Kelling, PhD Candidate

1 April 2022 No Comment
This series features ASA members who share their ASA stories. Our mission is to collect authentic and meaningful accounts of member experiences. If you have a story you would like to share, email the ASA’s marketing and communications coordinator, Kim Gilliam.

Claire Kelling

I am a dual PhD candidate in statistics and social data analytics at Penn State. I joined the American Statistical Association to learn from experienced statisticians and mentor younger students in statistics. I also hoped to learn more about different applications and methodological tools in statistics, introduce statisticians to the use of statistics in problems involving criminology, and increase interest in this area. My main substantive areas of research are criminology and policing, and I always encourage more conversation and dialogue in the statistics community in these areas.

[At WSDS] … the atmosphere is always electric, and the passion for statistics is contagious.

I became involved with the ASA in graduate school, and I chose to become more active due to the Women in Statistics and Data Science (WSDS) conference and community. My first semester in graduate school was difficult for personal and professional reasons. I was fortunate to have an opportunity to present my research early in my graduate school career, after only a couple of months, at the WSDS conference. I presented a poster on my preliminary research and received great feedback and valuable encouragement from other conference attendees.

I attended many of the workshops at the conference and learned about different strategies for success as a woman in statistics and data science. Unlike at other conferences, I noticed people at WSDS are always invited openly and enthusiastically to join tables at meals and conversations between sessions. The atmosphere is always electric, and the passion for statistics is contagious.

Photo shows Claire Kelling explaining her poster to another woman at WSDS in 2017.

Claire Kelling attends the Women in Statistics and Data Science conference in 2017, which spurs her to be more active in the ASA.

This experience at WSDS in 2017 was invaluable to me, after a discouraging experience during my first semester in graduate school. When I returned to my first semester, I had a new set of tools to tackle the next months and years. I have attended the WSDS conference every year since and have received incredibly valuable experience both as a mentee and mentor. I look forward to this opportunity to recharge and reflect every year!

During the WSDS conference in 2019, the faculty and students from Penn State met for dinner. We talked about our experiences at the conference and the invigorating environment. From this dinner, a few of us decided we wanted to bring part of this community back to Penn State, so we formed the Women+ in Statistics and Data Science group.

Although it has been difficult to find momentum thus far because of COVID-19, we look forward to the opportunity to continue organizing a mentorship program and hosting inspirational speakers to talk about their journeys in statistics and data science. We are just getting started, but there is so much energy around this group, and this community has been such a rewarding part of my experience at Penn State and in the ASA community.

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