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Celebrating Black History Month

A Statistician's Life, Celebrating Black History Month »

[1 Feb 2023 | Comments Off on Ronnie Sebro | 925 views]

Ronnie Sebro grew up in Tobago, a small Caribbean Island, the third of six children. He was the first student from Tobago to receive a National Scholarship in the Sciences from the Government of Trinidad and Tobago. He graduated summa cum laude with a degree in biology and minor in mathematics from Morehouse College. He was also the first student at Morehouse to receive the Howard Hughes Medical Institute predoctoral fellowship. Sebro’s career differs from most statisticians because he decided to go to medical school during graduate school. He spent his junior faculty years at the University of Pennsylvania and joined the Mayo Clinic in December of 2020. Recently, he was promoted to professor of biostatistics and professor of musculoskeletal radiology. He was humbled to learn he is one of a handful of Black male biostatistics professors and simultaneously one of few Black male radiology professors in the United States. This was one of the proudest moments in his life, second only to the birth of his son and marrying his wife.

A Statistician's Life, Celebrating Black History Month »

[1 Feb 2023 | Comments Off on Andrea Roberson | 1,074 views]

Born in Brooklyn, Andrea Roberson grew up in the suburbs of Long Island, New York. When she was a child, her father would tell her bedtime fairy tales. Her favorite, the tale of the African Princess of Mapungubwe—who was given the superpower of mathematics—could always compute the right solutions, earning her freedom from any threat. However, undiagnosed autism and ADHD created obstacles to learning and performing in the classroom for Roberson. Achievements in the mathematical sciences seemed an ill-fated dream. This changed when she met Nagambal Shah, who encouraged Roberson to persist. Today, Roberson is a leader in the US Census Bureau’s big data initiative. Her innovative research in artificial intelligence and machine learning keeps the nation as the world’s forerunner in the production of economic statistics.

A Statistician's Life, Celebrating Black History Month »

[1 Feb 2023 | Comments Off on Stephanie Cook | 1,000 views]

Stephanie Cook was interested in math and science as a girl, but math did not come easy for her because she has mild dyscalculia—a disability that impairs a person’s ability to learn number-related concepts. Even though it took her longer to do math, however, she excelled at it. Consequently, she went on to earn an MPH and DrPH in sociomedical science at Columbia University with a focus on research methods and statistics. Currently, she is a New York University James Weldon Johnson Professor in the department of social and behavioral sciences and department of biostatistics.

A Statistician's Life, Celebrating Black History Month »

[1 Feb 2023 | 3 Comments | 744 views]

Knashawn H. Morales is one of two daughters born and raised in North Carolina to loving and supportive parents. From an early age, she developed an appreciation for science and public health. Having a mother and father who were trained as a chemist and an architectural engineer, respectively, likely influenced her. After earning her doctorate, Morales became a research scientist at the New England Research Institutes. Within two years, she joined the University of Pennsylvania, where she collaborated with investigators on research focusing on mental health services and behavioral modification interventions for asthma, insomnia, weight management, and HIV/STD risk reduction. She enjoys mentoring students and noted, “I am blessed to have had wonderful mentors along my journey and can only hope to pay it forward by being a positive influence for others.”

A Statistician's Life, Celebrating Black History Month »

[1 Feb 2023 | 2 Comments | 1,176 views]

Calandra Tate Moore was always drawn to the mathematical sciences. She recalls regularly pretending to be a math teacher as a child and being excited about timed math skills tests. By the time she reached her senior year, she had taken all the mathematics classes available at her high school. Eventually, her love for math impelled her to pursue three degrees and spend her career evolving what it means to “do math” and manifesting what you can do with a math degree. With more than two decades of experience in academia and the federal government, Moore has conducted research on a wide range of mathematical and statistical applications. Currently, as a technical leader in video, image, speech, and text analytics research for the US Department of Defense, her work focuses on human language technology.

A Statistician's Life, Celebrating Black History Month »

[1 Feb 2023 | Comments Off on Felicia R. Simpson | 1,250 views]

Felicia R. Simpson has enjoyed mathematics since she was in elementary school but was inspired to study biostatistics by her mentor, Zephyrinus Okonkwo. She loved the idea of combining mathematics and helping people. She wanted to study biostatistics to understand health disparities from a statistical point of view, especially after losing her mother to a stroke. After earning her PhD in biostatistics, Simpson she started her career at the FDA but transitioned to teaching because she wanted to expose under-represented students to statistics and biostatistics. She is currently an associate professor of statistics and chair in the department of mathematics at Winston-Salem State University.

A Statistician's Life, Celebrating Black History Month »

[1 Feb 2023 | Comments Off on Felicity T. Enders | 719 views]

Felicity Enders fell in love with data and statistics while she was earning her Master of Public Health degree at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. As a result, she landed in the PhD biostatistics program there, as well. Formerly head of the section of clinical statistics at Mayo Clinic, her proudest moment thus far has been her transition from teaching statistics focusing on health equity, workforce diversity, and inclusion as director for the Mayo Clinic Office for Research Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity “It’s always scary to jump into something new without knowing whether it will work,” she wrote. “I am incredibly thankful for all the people who have supported me in this transition. I believe there is a great deal to be done in this space, both statistically and otherwise, and I am excited to help move the field forward.”

A Statistician's Life, Celebrating Black History Month »

[1 Feb 2023 | Comments Off on D. Anthony Miles | 906 views]

During college, D. Anthony Miles played in a rock-and-roll/heavy metal band that tried to get a record deal. That did not happen. Life happened. Instead, he graduated with a degree in marketing from The University of Texas at San Antonio and went into the banking industry. It was while working as a marketing analyst at Wells Fargo Bank that Miles discovered he had an interest in statistics. His passion for the profession, however, was encouraged by his uncle—the late Ralph E. Miles, a biostatistician. “It was my uncle who nurtured my love of the practice of statistics, and I credit all my accomplishments to him,” said Miles. He has presented his statistics research at conferences around the country and appeared on several major news networks and programs as a subject matter expert. Currently, he leads a nine-person research team.

A Statistician's Life, Celebrating Black History Month »

[1 Feb 2023 | Comments Off on Lester Mackey | 1,371 views]

Lester Mackey’s interest in statistics unfolded when he was a student immersed in the Ross Mathematics Program, an intense eight-week summer curriculum in number theory designed to expose teenagers to proof-based mathematics. His interest in machine learning was piqued, however, when he competed for the million-dollar Netflix Prize during his senior year in college. His team lost by twenty minutes, but the experience opened the door to his future. “Every day,” Mackey noted, “I reflect on my good fortune at finding a field (machine learning) and a job (researcher) that I truly love. My work scarcely seems like work, as it’s exactly what I would be doing even if no one was paying me.”

A Statistician's Life, Celebrating Black History Month »

[1 Feb 2023 | Comments Off on Sean Simpson | 939 views]

Sean Simpson grew up in Richmond, Virginia, and attended majority Black public schools throughout his childhood. Simpson’s parents supplemented his education through programs such as the Richmond Area Program for Minorities in Engineering and Center for Talented Youth. However, it was when he watched a presentation about biostatistics during his junior year at Harvard University that his career path became clear to him. He is now a biostatistics professor at Wake Forest University and was elected an ASA Fellow in 2022—an honor that served as a culmination of his contributions to the field.