Ice Cream Social 2013

We hope you had an awesome first week back to school!  For everyone with a new office, hopefully your new space is nice and cozy with a working thermostat. We kicked off our social events on Sunday evening with our annual Graeter’s ice cream outing.  We had a great turnout and enjoyed the free ice cream (huge thanks to the department for picking up the tab)! Below are some pictures from the event.


Talk soon,

Staci & Mark

Welcome to the 2013-2014 academic year!

Greetings and welcome to the 2013-2014 academic year here at Ohio State University! A special welcome to the new students joining our ranks this fall, and a regular welcome back to all returning students. As your department co-presidents, this year we look forward to continuing the good work of our predecessors as well as starting a few new initiatives of our own.

First, as you may have already noticed, the name and format of this post have changed slightly—but as before, this new Student Blog will continue to document student life and graduate student news, along with the occasional fun fact.

Secondly, we hope to continue the strong social life of our department, including weekly gatherings and special events. Specifically, we hope to use social activities as a way to bridge the gap between students in Statistics and students in Biostatistics, and will strive to keep both groups informed and included. Keep your eyes open for an email from Mark Burch and/or Anna Mohr (our “Social Chairpersons”) for information on informal gatherings; check back here for information on larger department-sponsored activities.

To this end, we would like to announce the first department activity for the year: an ice cream social! Please join us at Graeter’s Ice Cream on Lane Avenue at 7:30pm on Sunday, August 25th, for some food and fellowship. We will send around a reminder email closer to the date. Faculty are invited; families are encouraged to join, too!

Finally, this year we will be launching the start of an annual Student Seminar Series (SSS) featuring short, instructional talks for students, by students. The goal of the SSS is twofold: first, to share practical skills with our graduate students, and second, to facilitate interaction and collaboration between new students and more senior students. We hope to host two or three of these sessions per semester, and the seminars will be short, informal, and will have free food! A tentative list of topics is as follows:

  • Interview skills, presented by Career Connection (mid-September)

  • Student research shorts: what do fourth- and fifth-years do, anyway? (mid-October)

  • Computing resources for grad students (mid-November)

Stay tuned for locations and times for the autumn SSS.

JSM 2013: Montreal, QC, Canada

Despite the quiet campus, our department remained a hub of activity over the summer. In addition the many faculty presentations, 21 statistics and biostatistics students presented their work at the annual Joint Statistical Meetings:

Robert Ashmead, Shasha Bai, Casey Davis, Kevin Donges, Alice Hinton, Beom Seuk Hwang, Yanan Jia, Sungmin Kim, John Lewis, Zhiyu Liang, Andrew Olsen, Mark Risser, Srinath Sampath, Grant Schneider, Danielle Sullivan, Katherine Thompson, Staci White, Zhiguang Xu, Jingjing Yan, Matthew Yin, and Wenjun Zheng

Check out the department webpage for more information on these presentations. Here are a few candid photos from the week!

Student Profiles

A to-be regular feature of the Student Blog, this section is designed to introduce our wonderful students to the department, through their biographical information, hobbies, and research interests. The co-presidents will be featured in this kick-off edition of the blog.

Hello everybody! My name is Mark Risser, and I’m a fourth-year student in the department of Statistics here at OSU. Originally from Orrville, Ohio (the home of Smucker’s Jam!), I did my undergraduate work at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, where I later worked in the Admissions Office for three years before starting graduate school in Ohio. I tend to be one of those “jack of all trades, ace of none” types: I like to read, ride bike around Columbus, cook, play music (violin and guitar), and do other various outdoor adventure activities. I love listening to music, and if you come by my office you’ll probably find me hooked up to my headphones (this summer I’ve been enjoying The National, Phosphorescent, Rhye, Vampire Weekend, and Empire of the Sun). Another goal of mine is to always capitalize on the great mid-term breaks we get as graduate students and explore a new corner of the country (one which ideally includes mountains).

Last year was an exciting time for me to transition out of coursework and into dissertation work. My research interests include environmental statistics, nonstationary spatial modeling, and Bayesian methods, and I’m excited to be working on a project with Dr. Kate Calder that incorporates all three of these. However, I’m also interested in statistics education, and was fortunate to have a research assistanceship (RA) with Dr. Jackie Miller (who has now, sadly for us, moved on from her position at Ohio State) in my second year on the HyFlex curriculum model. This past summer I had an RA with Dr. Radu Herbei on estimation for stochastic differential equations; otherwise I’ve enjoyed lecturing for Stat 1450.

Best wishes to each of you as you start the 2013-2014 academic year!

My name is Staci White, and I am a fourth year student here in the Department of Statistics.  I am originally from Chillicothe, Ohio, which is about an hour south of Columbus. Before coming to Ohio State I was at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio where I majored in Mathematics Education and was on the Varsity Women’s Soccer team.  My life is not nearly as adventurous as Mark’s.  Normally the most exciting part of my day is my cat that I adopted earlier this year (see the picture below – she also enjoys spatial statistics!).  I hang out with my boyfriend, Jordan, when I can.  However, with both of us being graduate students we’ve grown accustomed to having weekend date nights at the library! I do like to work out and still try to play soccer occasionally. I recently completed a team triathlon alongside classmates Mark Risser and Shivi Vaidyanathan – we kicked butt, and our name was the Mathletes.  I am also a huge fan of country music, Nicholas Sparks’ books, and sappy chick flicks.

My research interests include environmental/spatial statistics, Bayesian modeling, and Markov Chain Monte Carlo methods. My dissertation work with Dr. Radu Herbei involves all of these and applications to oceanography. I spent my summer working as a marketing analytics intern at JPMorgan Chase here in Columbus.  My work there was all about strategic ATM placement.  I now know more about ATMs than anyone ever should!  Previously, I lectured STAT 1450 and 2450.  This semester I will be teaching STAT 3470 for the second time.  I have lots of funny student stories that I would be more than happy to share if you would ever like to hear some!

Good luck to everyone this year.  To the new students: it goes by surprisingly fast! Study hard, but have fun as well! My door is always open if you want to talk to someone who has already been there.

P.S. We will be looking for contributors to the Student Profiles section of the blog.  If you are interested, contact me or Mark.  Otherwise, we will start hunting people down to participate!


Talk soon,

Staci White and Mark Risser, Co-presidents