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ASA GivesBack: Stories of Giving Back

1 March 2024 No Comment

Inspired by the holidays—the season of giving—the ASA GivesBack group chose to focus their first project of 2024 on the generosity of ASA members. Throughout December and January, the group asked members to share their stories of volunteerism and giving back to their communities. Following is a selection of the stories submitted from ASA members about how they chose to give back.

Arinjita standing in front of a sign that reads NABC 2023. She is wearing a headdress and a lace covering over her shoulders.

Arinjita Bhattacharyya

Arinjita Bhattacharyya is an associate principal scientist at Merck & Co. She volunteers for activities such as chairing committees, organizing sessions at conferences such as the Joint Statistical Meetings, judging competitions for the ASA, serving as a journal editor, and mentoring. She is a member of a nonprofit organization in Pennsylvania called Pragati, where she volunteers to organize charity events, writes for the magazine, and participates in dance and cultural activities to uphold Indian culture and heritage.

Mentoring and serving professionally comes naturally to Bhattacharyya, as she has benefitted from several mentors who gave their valuable time and energy to help her get to where she is now. She plans to continue these activities to support future students and professionals.

Jamie is sitting on a couch, with a dog in her lap

Jamie Joseph

Jamie Joseph is a PhD candidate in the Vanderbilt University Department of Biostatistics who spends her free time volunteering as a disaster action team caseworker with the American Red Cross. As a caseworker, she assists people who have lost their homes due to fires or natural disasters by disbursing financial assistance, finding referrals and resources for specific needs, and assisting with recovery however possible.

Joseph loves Nashville but recognizes housing is a huge issue there. One way she has become familiar with resources and organizations that can help is by working with Hands On Nashville, which connects people who want to volunteer with open projects. She found out about the need for Red Cross caseworkers through Hands On Nashville and highly encourages anyone interested in giving back to give their website a look.

ASA GivesBack Group Members
Caroline Birdrow
Hasika Wickrama Senevirathne
Figaro L.
Loresto Jr.
Xiaoxia Champon
Arinjita Bhattacharyya
Colleen McKendry

Linda Pickle is a biostatistician who has for the past three years volunteered as a mentor for the Gaithersburg Beloved Community Initiative, a competitive program for low-income families that pairs students with older college graduates who can help them learn and gain confidence about the college experience.

Pickle served as a mentor for high-school juniors who would be first in their families to attend college. Linda’s own experience served as motivation. “As a first-generation college student myself 50 years ago, a biostatistics professor took an interest in me as an undergraduate and helped me prepare for grad school,” said pickle. “I am paying it forward to help other students who don’t have family members who can encourage and guide them into college.”

Group standing in front of boxes, Man in middle holds sign that reads Raleigh Branch.

Colleen McKendry (back row 4th from left) and members of the JMP Statistical Development Team

Colleen McKendry is a senior statistical writer at JMP, a statistical software company based in Cary, North Carolina. All JMP employees receive 20 hours of paid volunteer leave per year. Last December, McKendry organized a volunteer week for members of the statistical development team, who participated in a variety of volunteer activities.

Off-campus events included a shift at the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina and a trail clean-up at a local park. On campus, employees colored pictures for the organization Color a Smile and wrote letters to elderly people who were nominated through the program Love for Our Elders. They also contributed to a local animal shelter’s Amazon wish list. The volunteer week was well received, and McKendry plans to make it a yearly tradition.

Be on the lookout for ASA GivesBack activities this year, as the group members look forward to engaging and serving the ASA and beyond. You can learn more about ASA GivesBack on Facebook and LinkedIn.

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