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Mission Impossible

2 January 2023 416 views No Comment

Dionne Price

The time surrounding the end of one year and the beginning of another is often used to reflect on the year gone by and plan for the year ahead. In that spirit, I spent the latter part of 2022 admiring our activities, many of which were highlighted by Katherine Ensor in her December President’s Corner. My thanks to Kathy for her leadership, and thanks to all of you for your continued commitment to our professional community.

In this issue of Amstat News, you will read a retrospective article about the International Day for Women in Statistics and Data Science and meet Alex Piquero, who was appointed by President Joe Biden to serve as the director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics. We also celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the Advisory Committee on Forensic Science and, in the JEDI Corner, we learn how statisticians and data scientists are making graphics more accessible. We have much to be proud of and, working together, I am confident we will build on our foundation and move the ASA forward.

Throughout last year, I met many in our community who asked, “What will be the focus in 2023?” I often answered with a question, “Do you have any ideas or thoughts as it pertains to ASA activities?” I appreciated all who shared ideas. As I thought about them, I also thought about what motivates me as a professional and active ASA member. I have been employed by the US Food and Drug Administration since beginning my career as a statistician, and the reason for the longevity is simply my belief in the FDA’s mission. Similarly, I believe in the mission of the ASA, which is promoting the practice and profession of statistics. Thus, 2023 will be a mission-driven year informed by ideas shared by our community.

Promoting the Profession

As part of the ASA Leadership Institute, we have an opportunity to establish Stats Forward, a professional development program for early-career statisticians and data scientists. Working with our phenomenal chapters and sections, approximately 15–18 early-career professionals across academia, business/industry, and government will be selected to participate in this year-long program. Stats Forward will begin at JSM and conclude at JSM the following year. Throughout the year, the cohort will participate in workshops and benefit from mentoring provided by the ASA Leadership Institute. More to come as we work to build this program.

Promoting the Practice

We have more than 16,000 members from 90+ countries who work across various sectors. The research and daily work of statisticians and data scientists are instrumental in every aspect of society. However, many external to our community are unaware of the value we bring to scientific discoveries and decisions. Moreover, within our community, everyone may not be as familiar with exciting opportunities within the ASA for collaboration, leadership, and career development.

We can increase awareness by further enhancing and refining our communication outlets. We will engage sections and chapters and review our communication outlets to ensure we are actively and effectively communicating our accomplishments and value proposition. As part of our communication strategy, I envision an ASA with a significant presence on professional social media platforms, as recommended by several members.

Promoting the Practice and Profession of Statistics

As a community, we are aware of the vast opportunities that await statistics and data science students. We have activities and resources for K–12 students, as well as undergraduate and graduate students. As we continue to promote statistics and data science, it will be beneficial to ensure students attending two-year colleges have a seamless transition to a statistics or data science program at a four-year college or university. We plan to convene state-level academic leaders with a goal of influencing state-wide articulation agreements and establishing a mechanism for ongoing collaborations through the ASA Leadership Institute and in collaboration with the Education Council, Caucus of Academic Representatives, and Caucus of Industry Representatives.

Let me end with a personal story. I fell in love with biostatistics during a summer internship as an undergraduate. I was an applied mathematics major searching for a direction, and an internship at the National Institutes of Health ignited my passion for statistics. The rest as we say, “is history.” My passion for the “practice and profession of statistics” has grown stronger because I am fortunate to work with a talented group of statisticians and other professionals and able to serve our community. I am excited about working with the ASA Board of Directors and you all to continue to advance our mission-driven goals. This year will be a mission possible year!

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