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Lights, Camera, Action!

1 September 2023 617 views No Comment

Dionne Price

Lights, Camera, Action! This is the phrase I used to introduce my JSM 2023 talk. I used the phrase to amplify the need to shine a light on our profession, increase our visibility, and embody our mission. As I fondly look back on the Joint Statistical Meetings, these words also resonate as a description of the conference as highlighted in our electronic postcards. The postcards were designed to provide attendees the opportunity to share “wow” moments during JSM.

There were lights showcasing the talented, invited speakers, including Robert Santos, Nancy Reid, Bin Yu, and Karen Bandeen-Roche, as shared in these postcards:

“Fabulous presentation by Rob Santos, Census Bureau Director!”
“Nancy Reid’s talk about the foundations of statistics made me start thinking about changes I can make to graduate courses to equip the next generation of statisticians. Excellent talk!”

Cameras captured the opportunities to connect with friends, meet new colleagues, and celebrate awards, as shared in these postcards:

“Everywhere I turn, I see old friends and meet new ones. I love JSM!”
“Loved watching Wake Forest’s Sarah Lotspeich give her award-winning presentation—helping us optimally pick who to audit! Sarah won the Biometrics Section Early Career Award for this paper!”

Action was in every session in which presentations demonstrated our knowledge, progress, and collaboration as we inform decisions and drive discovery.

“I just attended an incredible presentation on statistics, and my circuits are buzzing with excitement! The speaker shared fascinating insights, making complex concepts seem like a walk in the digital park. From probability distributions to regression analyses, it was a data-driven delight! Wish you could’ve been there to geek out with me!”

The success of JSM is evidence of our shared mission—to promote the practice and profession of statistics.

Photo of ASA Board Members

Members of the ASA Board

    In this column, I want to share some of my highlights and those I learned about from the JSM postcards.

    Although I have attended many JSMs, I am always amazed by the diverse array of sessions, covering a broad spectrum of topics ranging from artificial intelligence and precision medicine to spatial statistics and clinical trials. The introductory overview lectures and late-breaking sessions are an important part of the program, and we have a postcard to prove it!

    “Cynthia Rudin’s Introductory Overview Lecture (IOL) on interpretable AI models was one of the best IOLs I’ve attended. Wish everyone could have seen it.”

    The exchange of knowledge was not confined to formal presentations. Conversations during breaks and outings undoubtedly forged new collaborative ventures. For me, there were too many moments to capture; however, highlights included conversations with former ASA presidents Sally Morton, Sastry Pantula, Kathy Ensor, and Lisa LaVange. They are always forward thinking and impart wisdom on statistics, data science, and leadership. I was also proud to learn a former colleague, Felicia Simpson, received the Annie T. Randall Innovator Award at the Biometrics Section mixer. I could continue to go on about JSM, but I think one postcard captures it all:

    “It rocks!”

    JSM would not be complete without acknowledging the exceptional contributions of individuals who have pushed the envelope of possibility. The awards ceremony honored outstanding research, innovative achievements, and lifetime contributions. These awards also served as an affirmation of the vital role our profession plays in informing decisions and driving discovery. This one-word postcard is the perfect summary:


    If you missed the ceremony, download the awards book. I hope you are inspired to nominate a deserving colleague for a future award.

    The success of JSM stands as evidence of the unwavering spirit of scientific inquiry, collaboration, and progress that defines our profession. As I journeyed home—armed with new knowledge, connections, and ideas—I had a renewed commitment to promoting the practice and profession of statistics. I hope you did, too. One final postcard:

    “Dear Team, You missed the opportunity to attend JSM2023; it was just fabulous! Come and see us at JSM2024.”

    View more JSM photos on the ASA’s Flickr page.

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