Dear Friends of UW Statistics,

Welcome to 2023!  I hope that you enjoyed the (icy!) holidays with your family and friends!  I am writing once more to let you know about what has been going on in our department.

As always, I continue to be amazed by the energy of our faculty, students and staff.  Summer and Autumn were very busy quarters. We welcomed three new faculty members (Armeen Taeb, Prince Allotey and Emanuela Furfaro) and one new staff member (Veronica Bae), toasted the promotion of one of our own (Zaid Harchaoui), and celebrated prestigious awards for our faculty (Thomas Richardson, Daniela Witten, Yen-Chi Chen and Elizabeth Thompson) and students (Anna Neufeld, Lang Liu, Jess Kunke and Alana McGovern).  A new Honors program for our major was just approved, and we are working on getting the new set of prerequisites for our undergraduate program approved as well.  And, on November 30, we had the pleasure of hosting a reception for our emeritus faculty that also served to celebrate the retirements of professors Michael Perlman, Werner Stuetzle and Jon Wellner, which happened during the pandemic.  The reception was a fantastic opportunity to meet friends old and new, and to hear about some of the history of our department.  Below you can see some pictures of the evening.  I am very thankful to our staff, and especially to Vickie Graybeal and Kristine Chan, for making the event a success.

Emeritus Faculty Reception photos

I strongly believe that, as one of the top Statistics departments in the country, it is our responsibility to be leaders in addressing issues of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in our university and professional community.  This Winter 2023 newsletter spotlights the many DEI initiatives in which our faculty and students are involved.  Of these, there are two that I would like to highlight.  The first one is the Pacific Alliance for Low Income Inclusion in Statistics and Data Science (PALiISaDS), an NSF-funded bridge program that aims at increasing the number of students from low-income backgrounds who pursue graduate degrees in statistics and data science.  PALiISaDS, which will be accepting its first cohort this coming Fall 2023, is a partnership between seven West Coast institutions, with UW supporting the research component of the program and serving as one of the two co-leads.  I am very excited about the impact that PALiISaDS will have on diversity and inclusion, not only locally at UW, but on the profession as a whole.  The second one is the Pre-Application Review Service (PARS), in which current Statistics Ph.D. students and post-docs review and provide feedback on a prospective applicant's resume or curriculum vitae (CV), personal statement and statement of purpose. The service is open to students who are applying to any graduate program in Statistics or Biostatistics, whether at UW or at any other U.S. university.  PARS, which was first launched in Fall 2021, is entirely student-run.  This year, 27 reviewers provided feedback on 71 files, 54% of which came from male applicants, and 25% came from first generation ones. I would like to thank Anupreet Porwal (who started the program in 2021), Erin Lipman and Andrea Boskovic (who coordinated the program this year) for leading this fantastic effort.  If you would like to support the department’s DEI work, please consider contributing to one of our departmental funds

We are looking forward to the rest of the 2022-2023 academic year.  We are currently in the middle of a tenure track assistant professor search that will bring new colleagues to our department.  On February 24, we will be welcoming Alexandra Chouldechova, the Estella Loomis McCandless Associate Professor of Statistics and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University, who will be our 2022-2023 Blackwell Seminar speaker.  We are also looking forward to resuming our annual joint reception with the Department of Biostatistics at the Joint Statistical Meetings. 

Wishing you all the success in 2023!

 Abel Rodriguez

Abel Rodriguez
Department Chair of Statistics