Each year, Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) awards fellowships to a handful of talented incoming STEM Ph.D. students at University of Washington and Washington State University. ARCS fellows are selected based on their potential to make a positive, long-lasting contribution to their academic disciplines.  We are proud to announce that James Buenfil and Jessica Kunke, incoming Ph.D. students to the Department of Statistics at UW, have been selected as ARCS fellows for 2020.  

James Buenfil is a first year incoming Ph.D. student. He received his B.S. degree in Applied Mathematics, Engineering and Physics from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 2020. James’s fellowship is partially funded by GO-MAP.  

“I chose UW statistics for several reasons, but in large part because my research interests aligned with many professors here, which made me confident that I would be able to find projects that interested me,” James says. “Currently, I'd like to study something related to dimensionality reduction, high-dimensional statistics, machine learning, or probability theory.” 

Jessica Kunke is a first year incoming Ph.D. student. She received her B.A. degree in Integrated Science, Earth and Planetary Science, and Mathematics from Northwestern University in 2010, her A.M. in Earth and Planetary Sciences from Harvard University in 2016, and her M.S in Statistics from University of Chicago in 2020.  

In addition to James and Jessica, two other UW Statistics students, Shane Lubold and David Marcano, also are ARCS fellows. Shane Lubold is a third year Ph.D. student. He received his B.S. degree in Mathematics from Arizona State University in 2016. David Marcano is a second year Ph.D. student. He received his B.S. degree in Computer Science and Statistics from Yale University in 2016.  

Shane is currently involved in research with Tyler McCormick, UW Associate Professor in Statistics and Sociology, and Arun Chandrasekhar, Stanford University Associate Professor in Economics, on dynamics on graphs, which can represent spread of information or disease over time.  

“In terms of statistical theory, I am interested in studying which network properties one can estimate, in particular when the network size grows or in the presence of correlation. I am also interested in Fréchet analysis, which generalizes a lot of the usual inference tools to general random objects, like random networks or functions,” says Shane. “So far, the thing I have enjoyed the most at UW are the other students. I really enjoyed taking classes with people in my cohort and some of my best memories from the first two years involve studying with other students!” 

James, Jessica, David, and Shane are highlighted on the ARCS website here