Director's Notes - NISS Parameters Newsletter, November, 2019

Welcome to the Fall 2019 edition of the NISS Parameters Newsletter James Rosenberger - Director of NISS

This fall has been busy with a number of exciting activities that NISS makes available to our affiliates and also to the broader professional community of statisticians and data scientists.  Our first virtual Career Fair had speakers from our Industry Affiliates, who provided words of advice on their personal career journeys and specific information for prospective employees to consider when they embark on their next career steps.  This could be their first job after securing a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, or the Ph.D.  Should someone consider transitioning from an academic to an industry position or is it better to get some industry experience before joining the academic career path?  On my personal journey I worked in the medical research field after my bachelor’s degree in mathematics, while earning a master’s degree part time, and later went to graduate school for a Ph.D. in statistics.  See the article on page 3 for highlights from this first event, which is now available for viewing by the public on the NISS website, under Events / Past Events.

Coming soon, on December 6, at we are hosting a follow-up Career Fair with speakers Victor Lo from Fidelity Investments, Daniel Tu from Citizens Financial Group, and Danny Jin from Epsilon, a data driven marketing firm, which will be moderated by Professor Esra Kurum at UC Riverside. 

NISS hosted a very popular webinar on “What’s in a name: Data Analytics, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and What else?”  Despite the sometimes-contentious issue of who owns Data Science the four speakers provided a seasoned view of the changing nature of the name of what’s hot, while largely agreeing on the content of these different specialties, which overlap with many statistical procedures. 

Our ongoing NISS – Merck Virtual Meet-up series has continued quarterly, with the most recent topic in September on Subgroup Analysis.  The popular events typically have about 300 or more participants, and the focus is on topics of keen interest to statisticians in the pharmaceutical industry.  Past events can be viewed on the NISS website under: Events / Meet-up Recordings.  The next NISS – Merck Virtual Meet-up will be on January 15 on the topic:  Adaptive Trials for Drug Development, discussed by three experts in the field.

We have expanded our presence in professional development for the benefit of our academic affiliates with a NISS Virtual Academic Meet-up on October 31 on the topic:  Applying for a Statistics Research Grant: Essential Tips for Success!  See page 4 of the Newsletter for a brief overview of this event, with excellent speakers from three different perspectives giving advice: Karen Messer, Professor and Chief of the Division of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, UC San Diego, speaking from an NIH perspective, Dr. Yehua Li, Professor of Statistics at UC Riverside, speaking about NSF grants, and Dr. Sujit Ghosh, Professor of Statistics, NCSU, giving a broader perspective about other grant sources.  This event can be viewed on the NISS website. 

The NISS affiliate program strives to serve the community by co-sponsoring numerous regional activities for our affiliate members, who can participate and utilize their affiliate award funds to bring people together.  NISS affiliation demonstrates a commitment to outreach with other academic institutions and across government and industry sectors. The cost of an academic affiliate membership can be partially utilized as travel expenses and registration at NISS-sponsored events for faculty and graduate student participants, who build their career network by engaging in these activities.  See the list of upcoming events on Pages 8 and 9 in this Newsletter and at  To find more information about our affiliate program, please see our affiliate information page on our website or contact me.  

by Jim Rosenberger
NISS, Director