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My ASA Story: Maria Tackett, Assistant Professor

1 September 2022 No Comment

Maria Tackett

I’m delighted to share my ASA story about my involvement with the Section on Statistics and Data Science Education.

I joined the ASA in 2015 as a graduate student, but my involvement with SSDSE really began when I attended my first US Conference on Teaching Statistics at Penn State in May 2019. At that point, I had just completed my first academic year as a faculty member in the department of statistical science at Duke University and was looking forward to meeting more statistics educators and getting involved in the statistics education community.

The opening session had a series of five-minute talks, a tradition at USCOTS and its electronic counterpart, the Electronic Conference on Teaching Statistics. New and interesting ideas were presented in each short presentation, so I knew I was going to learn a lot during the conference.

I had the opportunity to present a poster about my undergraduate regression course; it was the first time I presented work in statistics pedagogy. Though I was nervous at the start of the session, I was quickly energized by the feedback, encouragement, and exchange of ideas.

These engaging conversations continued throughout the conference as I attended breakout sessions and discussions about a variety of topics, ranging from new pedagogies and innovative classroom technology to facilitating constructive classroom conversations on challenging topics. These types of discussions didn’t end at USCOTS, as SSDSE members regularly connect through events such as a recent webinar about mentoring undergraduate research and the section discussion forum.

Over the past three years, I have become more involved in SSDSE and am currently the communications chair for the section. In this role, I maintain the section blog with news, updates, and articles about topics of interest to members. I also implemented a new feature called “Meet a Member,” which periodically spotlights an SSDSE member.

In addition, I participate in the section’s mentorship program that pairs early-career educators with experienced educators and statistics education researchers. I was paired with Beth Chance from California Polytechnic State University in the most recent academic year. She mentored me as I wrote a paper about the pedagogy of a modern undergraduate regression course based on my experience teaching the same course I presented at my first USCOTS.

Through these and other experiences in SSDSE, I have been fortunate to meet statistics educators from K–12 and higher education institutions around the country. Though we teach different student populations, there is a common goal to continue researching and innovating to provide effective and engaging learning experiences for all students. I have been inspired by the members of SSDSE, and I look forward to being part of this community for years to come.

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