Fall 2020 Virtual Academic Career Fair - Finding a Position During the Pandemic

November 11, 2020 12 - 1:30 ET

[Please Note: This career fair session has already occurred.  Go to the News Story for this event to read about what happened and view the recording.]

Nature recently published an article titled "Junior researchers hit by coronavirus-triggered hiring freezes" in June, 2020.

This raises so many questions!  Are there academic departments that are hiring?  How do you pursue a career as a statistician at an academic institution given the travel and social distancing restrictions of the pandemic?  How is it possible to navigate these obstacles?  This is certainly a concern for those ready to graduate or already on the job market.  In fact, The New England Future Faculty Workshop hosted a virtual panel discussion on “Navigating the Academic Job Market during the COVID-19 Pandemic” in August.

To further speak to these issues, NISS has invited department heads from three academic institutions.  They include Kate Calder (University of Texas at Austin), Abel Rodriguez (University of Washington) and Jiayang Sun (George Mason University).  This session will be moderated by Lingzhou Xue (Penn State University).  You will be glad to hear that each of these departments currently have tenure track positions posted!  It will be interesting to hear about the hiring process they have put in place and other advice that they can give regarding other productive ways that you can engage in to ‘postpone’ your entry into the job market given the paucity of positions available.  

Each presenter will have 20 minutes to address the following general topics:

  1. What are the preferred qualifications for a tenure-track faculty position in your institution?
  2. What are the potential distinguishing characteristics of candidates for a tenure-track faculty position in your institution?
  3. Is your institution currently hiring faculty positions?
  4. What are your plans for the hiring process given travel restrictions and social distancing?
  5. What advice would you give to students based on your experience?

NISS hosted a series of Virtual Career Fairs during the fall and spring of 2019-2020 for NISS Affiliates.  This is the first of a couple of new sessions that are planned and will address the issues of a new (and not normal) hiring season, 2020 – 2021.  It is our hope that this new career fair series will provide useful advice and encouraging thoughts to the entire cohort that was affected when the job market was hit so badly by the pandemic.

NISS Affiliates - Register for this Event Now!


The program for this virtual career fair will be organized as follows.  All times Eastern:

12:00-12:05         Opening remarks by the Moderator, Lingzhou Xue, (Penn State University, Associate Director, NISS)

12:05-12:25         Kate Calder (University of Texas at Austin)

12:25-12:45         Abel Rodriguez (University of Washington)

12:45-1:05          Jiayang Sun (George Mason University)

1:05-1:30             Q&A  

About the Speakers

Kate Calder (University of Texas at Austin)

Kate Calder is a professor in the Department of Statistics & Data Sciences (SDS) at the University of Texas at Austin and serves as department chair.   She is also a faculty research associate of UT’s Population Research Center.  Prior to joining the UT faculty in the fall of 2019, Kate spent 16 years at The Ohio State University in the Department of Statistics.  From 2018-2019, she also served as co-director of the Mathematical Biosciences Institute, one of eight NSF Mathematical Sciences research Institutes.  Kate is an associate editor for the Annals of Applied Statistics and Bayesian Analysis and have served the profession through various elected roles in sections of the American Statistical Association (ASA) and in the International Society for Bayesian Analysis (ISBA).  She received the ASA Section on Statistics and the Environment’s 2013 Young Investigator Award and was elected Fellow of the ASA in 2014.  She received a MS and PhD in Statistics in 2001 and 2003, respectively at Duke University.  

Abel Rodriguez (University of Washington)

Abel Rodriguez joined the Department of Statistics at the University of Washington as the Department Chair and Professor in September 2020. He was previously a Professor of Statistics, Associate Dean for Graduate Affairs, and Associate Director of the Center for Data, Discovery and Decisions (D3) at the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC).   He also served as co-PI for UCSC’s NSF-TRIPODS Center for Transdisciplinary Research in Data Science. Dr. Rodriguez joined UCSC in 2007 after completing a Ph.D. in Statistics and Decision Sciences and an M.A. in Economics at Duke University. His research interest focuses on the theory and application of Bayesian statistical methods, especially in the social and biological sciences.

Jiayang Sun (George Mason University)

Jiayang Sun is Professor, Chair, and Bernard Dunn Eminent Scholar of the Department of Statistics, George Mason University. Before joining GMU in August 2019, she was a Professor in the Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences and the Director of the Center for Statistical Research, Computing and Collaboration (SR2c), Case Western Reserve University. She also served as the inaugurate ASA/ACM/AMS/IMS/MAA/SIAM Science & Technology Policy Fellow, working as the Big Data Senior Fellow for Big Data Analytics in the PDI leadership team at the USDA ARS, Office of National Programs between 9/1/2019-8/31/2020.  She received her Ph.D. in statistics from Stanford University. Sun is an elected fellow of the American Statistical Association (ASA), an elected fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (IMS), and an elected member of the International Statistical Institute (ISI). She was also the 2016 President of Caucus for Women in Statistics (CWS) and has been on various committees in the ASA, IMS, CWS, ISI, and other national and international professional panels and boards. Her research interests have included simultaneous confidence bounds and multiple comparisons, biased sampling and measurement errors, mixtures, machine learning, causal Inference, crowdsourcing, EHR, text mining, network analysis, imaging, longitudinal, high-dimensional and big data, as well as interdisciplinary research.  

Event Type


National Institute of Statistical Sciences


Online Webinar
Moderator: Lingzhou Xue (Penn State).  Speakers: Kate Calder (UT Austin),  Abel Rodriguez (U Washington), and Jiayang Sun (George Mason U)