Home » A Statistician's Life, Additional Features, Celebrating Women in Statistics

Mary Ellen Bock

1 March 2024 No Comment

Affiliation: Purdue University (emerita)

Educational Background: BA, German, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; PhD, Mathematics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Mary Ellen Bock began her academic career at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in German in 1967. She shifted her focus to mathematics for her graduate studies at the same university and earned her PhD under the guidance of Robert B. Ash.

In 1974, Bock became a statistics professor at Purdue University and, in 1995, made history as the first female full professor of statistics and inaugural female chair of the statistics department. She was instrumental in securing National Science Foundation funding to develop the Pathways to the Future workshops, which helped young female faculty succeed. Moreover, under her leadership, Purdue added courses in areas of application such as bioinformatics, genomics, massive data, machine learning, visualization, and computational finance.

Bock’s dedication to service extends beyond Purdue, as evidenced by the National Institute of Statistical Sciences Distinguished Service Award she received in August 2010. This recognition acknowledged her substantial contributions to the institute, including her service on the board of trustees and executive committee, her instrumental role in forming the affiliates program, and her awards committee leadership.

Bock also played a crucial role in the Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute, notably serving on the search committee for a new director. In 2010, she also served as a presidential advocate for ADVANCE-Purdue, a program dedicated to implementing systemic strategies to enhance the representation of women in STEM disciplines.

Bock is a fellow of the ASA and served as ASA president in 2007. She was honored with the ASA Founders Award in 2013.

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