Andrew Bean on the front page of the WSJ!

Check it out — OSU student Andrew Bean made the front page of the Wall Street Journal!!

Says Andrew, “I definitely didn’t expect to ever make the front page of the Wall Street Journal, let alone for something so auspicious as losing my fantasy football league.” Congrats — this is definitely CV material!

Read the article here.

Student Seminar Series (SSS) 2 a success

Last week, we hosted our second SSS event of the semester, this time focusing on department computing resources. Once again lured by the free pizza, a large group of our students gathered to learn more about the computing resources available to them here in our department. Specifically:

“Top five things to know about computing as a first-year student” (by Mark Risser)

“Web Resources and You” (by Tom Marker)

“Lord of the Rings and Statistical Computing: How to Harness the Computational Power of the Middle Earth in your Research” -or- “A Tutorial of Using Departmental Computing Resources” (by Andrew Olsen)
















Stay tuned for more SSS events in the spring!

Mark and Staci



OSU students finalists for Capital One modeling competition

A big congratulations go out to Xin Huang, Andrew Landgraf, Liubo Li, Ran Wei, and Srinath Sampath (all OSU graduate students) and their faculty advisors Dr. Goel and Dr. Holloman, as they have qualified for the finals of the 2013 Capital One modeling competition!

In its second year, the modeling competition was expanded this year to include eleven schools. The competition was opened to teams of students at these universities working on a graduate degree in analytics, and the teams were given a real world business problem from the financial services industry to test their modeling skills.

Our OSU team will head for McLean, VA on November 21 and 22 to compete in the finals. Hopefully we can hear some more about the project after the finals…

Best of luck to our students!

Mark and Staci

Mid-term Update

Believe it or not, today marks the end of seven and a half weeks of the Autumn 2013 semester — over halfway done! First-, second-, and third-year students are busy studying for exams, those of us who are teaching have given our first round of exams, fifth-year students are heavy into the job interview process, and a number of students are traveling about the country for a variety of conferences. Fall is in the air…if only we had a fall break to look forward to!

Student Profiles

This week we’re happy to feature Dave Kline and Andrew Landgraf.

Hello. My name is Andrew Landgraf and I am a fifth year student here. I am originally from Columbus and also did my undergrad at OSU, getting a degree in Actuarial Science. That led to me getting a job for an energy company in Dublin, Ohio as a statistician. Working with real data, especially for prediction, got me more interested in statistics and statistical learning, which led to me coming back to graduate school. I am working with Dr. Yoon Lee in the area of statistical learning on dimension reduction for binary data.

Being a statistician, I can’t stay away from data. For the last three years, I have been an RA with Dr. Prem Goel for the Campus Transit Lab in the college of civil engineering, where I work on estimating bus passenger travel patterns based on boarding and alighting counts. I still consult with the energy company part-time, helping them forecast electricity use. I like to participate in data mining competitions whenever I have the time and I am currently participating in the Capital One competition that Dr. Stasny emailed us about a few weeks ago. Finally, I keep a blog, where I occasionally share statistical and visualization mini-projects that I do for fun.

I have other interests besides data. I live in Upper Arlington with my girlfriend Karie, our dog Lucy, and cat Milo (gratuitous pet pic below). I enjoy watching baseball, listening to music, playing sand volleyball, brewing beer, and recently I have been dabbling in photography.

Hi I’m David Kline, and I’m a fourth year student in the Joint PhD Program in Biostatistics.  I’m originally from near Gettysburg, PA and attended undergrad at Messiah College near Harrisburg, PA.  My wife of 2 years, Jenn, works in clinical research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and is working on an Master’s in Public Health at OSU.  We also have a cat, Booboo, who pretty much owns our house.  At Messiah, I majored in math and minored in statistics and business administration.  I was also a member of the men’s basketball team for two years, which included a trip to the NCAA Division III tournament.  After my basketball career was ended by injuries, I was able to pursue other interests with my newly found free time.  I joined the concert choir, as I am a big fan of the arts, especially music. I took an internship for a year and a half as a statistical analyst at the Penn State University College of Medicine.  I was able to work on many interesting projects in collaboration with biostatisticians and medical researchers.  This internship experience led me to the biostatistics program here.

Now I am transitioning out of course work and into research.  I have been working with Dr. Elly Kaizar on methods related to combining information from multiple data sources.  The research is primarily focused on methods for research synthesis and missing data.  I am also currently an RA for the lab of Dr. Wolfgang Sadee in the College of Medicine’s Center for Pharmacogenomics, where I will be providing statistical assistance to the lab and also be applying methods for combining data.  I enjoy collaborative research work and have also worked on projects in the Department of Nutrition, Division of Epidemiology, and Nationwide Children’s Hospital.  I look forward to continuing research, both statistical and collaborative, during the remainder of my time in the program.

In my free time, I continue to be a big sports fan, especially college basketball.  My pro sport allegiances are in Baltimore (sorry Cleveland).  Jenn and I enjoy going to see various concerts and shows that come through the city.  We also like to explore the many festivals that are hosted in the city and particularly enjoy hanging out in the Short North.  Feel free to ask me any questions you may have about the Joint Program in Biostatistics.

Hope autumn is treating everyone well!

Mark and Staci

Statistics/Biostatistics poster session

On September 26, the department’s usual seminar time was handed over to the students for a poster session. The session featured the research of twenty Statistics and Biostatistics graduate students, and presented a great opportunity for other students and faculty in the department to get a taste of what the senior students are working on. A well-attended affair by faculty and students alike, the poster session was a smash hit! Thanks to the organizers for putting this event together, and for all the students who presented their exciting research. Below are some pictures from the event; see the bottom for a list of the presenters and their research topics.

The presenters are as follows:

Robert Ashmead – “Causal Inference using Propensity Score Methods with Complex Survey Data”

Tayler Blake – “Nonparametric Covariance Estimation via Cholesky Decomposition with Shrinkage Toward Stationary Autoregressive Models”

Casey Davis – “Bayesian Analysis of Nonstationary Composite Gaussian Process Models”

Kevin Donges – “A Simulation Study of the Effect of Study Duration on Modeling Environmental Risk of Cancer”

Alice Hinton – “A Discriminant Function for Renal Inflammatory Activity Associated with Lupus Nephritis”

Yanan Jia – “Bilinear Mixed Effects Models for Affiliation Networks”

Andrew Landgraf – “Logistic PCA and its Applications to Electronic Health Record Data Mining”

John Lewis – “Bayesian Inference via the Blended Paradigm”

Zhiyu Liang – “On the Effect of Centering Kernels in Kernel PCA”

Andrew Olsen – “Independent Approximate Draws from High-Dimensional Intractable Distributions”

Mark Risser – “A Nonstationary Spatial Covariance Regression Model”

Srinath Sampath – “How Stable Are Top Choices Over Time? An Investigation into Preferences Among Popular Baby Names in the United States”

Grant Schneider– “An Importance Sampling Approach for Exploring Likelihoods of Stochastic Differential Equations”

Jingjing Yan – “Can Control Group Log Odds be Conditioned Out?”

Jiangyong Yin – “Regularized Portfolio Optimization Using Constrained Hierarchical Bayes Models”

Staci White – “Quantifying Model Error in Posterior Distributions”

Shuang Xia – “Detecting Gene-Environment Interaction using Logistic Bayesian Lasso and using B-Splines and LBL for Longitudinal Data”

Zhiguang Xu – “Modeling Non-Gaussian Time Series Using Nonparametric Bayesian Method”

Fangyuan Zhang – “Asymptotic Properties of Partial Likelihood Inference for Imprinting and Maternal Effects”

Wenjun Zheng– “Parametric Wavelet Whittle-based Estimation for Time Series Modeling”

First SSS a rousing success

The first Student Seminar Series (SSS) of the 2013-2014 academic year was a huge success! Nearly 50 students from the Statistics and Biostatistics departments converged on Cockins Hall 212 for some free pizza and excellent advice from Dr. Ana Berríos-Allison of the Career Connection Office. Dr. Berríos-Allison was hilarious, interesting, and most importantly gave the audience members practical and concrete advice for how to successfully navigate the interview process.


The materials Berríos-Allison provided for her presentation will be circulated via email, but are also available on the Career Connection webpage.

The seminar ran a bit long on time, but Dr. Berríos-Allison wanted to share her contact information with us in case we would like to schedule a one-on-one session for further consultation. She can be reached at:

Ana C. Berríos-Allison, Associate Director, Career Connection Office of Student Life
224 Younkin Success Center  |  Office: (614) 688-3898; 

Thanks for your participation, and stay tuned for details on the next SSS in October!

Mark and Staci


Inaugural Student Seminar Series (SSS) event on September 17

Next week marks the inaugural Student Seminar Series (SSS), the goal of which is to provide you as a graduate student with practical skills that might be left out of your coursework.

The first SSS will be held on Tuesday, September 17 from 3:30-4:30pm in Cockins Hall 212, and will focus on interview skills. This workshop will be conducted by the fine folks over in the Career Connection, and will be geared towards interviewing for a non-academic job, internship, etc. Topics discussed will include: common questions asked at an interview, general etiquette, how to best present yourself, questions for YOU to ask the interviewer, and appropriate ways of following up after the interview.

Most importantly, there will be FREE Adriatico’s pizza!

We hope you take advantage of this great resource as we approach the internship interview season with our big employers (Capitol One, Chase, Nationwide).

See you Tuesday!
Staci and Mark