Fall 2020 Virtual Academic Career Fair: Finding a Position During the Pandemic, Part 2

December 9, 2020 12 - 1:30pm ET

On November 11th NISS hosted an informative Career Fair that featured speakers that spoke about the open positions they are currently seeking to fill.  We also asked them to comment on the changes to the hiring process they have put into place amid all of the changes in life since the COVID-19 and the advice they would give anyone on the job market at this time. 

This session was so popular that we decided to host another session so that we all could hear from more departments!

Here is an article that speak about changes to the hiring process. Nature recently published an article titled "Junior researchers hit by coronavirus-triggered hiring freezes" in June, 2020.

The questions are numerous but center around, "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 representatives from three academic institutions.  They include:

Irina Gaynanova, Hiring Committee Member and Assistant Professor and Brani Vidakovic H.O. Hartley Chaired Professor and Head of the Department of Statistics, Texas A&M University.

Robert Krafty, Department Chair and Professor, Department of Biostatistics & Bioinformatics, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University.

Martin Wells, Department Chair and Charles A. Alexander Professor of Statistical Sciences, Department of Statistics and Data Science, Cornell University.  

This session will be moderated by Jessica Li (Associate Professor, Department of Statistics, University of California, Los Angeles) .  You will be glad to hear that each of these departments currently have tenure track positions posted!  Once again, 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 second of a couple of new sessions that plan to 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 - Registration for this Event Here!


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

12:00-12:05         Opening remarks by the Moderator, Jessica Li (UCLA)

12:05-12:25         Irina Gaynanova and Brani Vidakovic (Texas A&M University)

12:25-12:45         Robert Krafty (Emory University).

12:45-1:05           Martin Wells (Cornell University).

1:05-1:30             Q&A  

About the Speakers

Irina Gaynanova and Brani Vidakovic (Texas A&M University)

Irina Gaynanova is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Statistics at Texas A&M University. Dr. Gaynanova’s research focuses on the development of statistical methods for analysis of modern high-dimensional biomedical data. Her main methodological interests are in the areas of statistical learning with sparsity, multivariate analysis and data integration. Her main application interests are in the analysis of multi-omics data and data from wearable devices, such as continuous glucose monitors and activity trackers. Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation and recognized with a David P. Byar Young Investigator Award from the Biometrics section of the American Statistical Association.

Brani Vidakovic is  H.O. Hartley Chaired Professor and Head of the Department of Statistics at Texas A&M.  His research interests include the following topics: General Bayesian Statistical Methodology, Statistical Modeling and Simulation of High Frequency Biomedical and Environmental Data Wavelets, Multiscale Statistical Modeling, Denoising, Assessing of Scaling in Signals and Images, Biostatistics, Clinical Trials, Bioinformatics Statistics of Turbulent Flows, Environmental Statistics

Robert Krafty (Emory University)

Robert Krafty is Professor and Chair of the Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics at Emory University.  His research focuses on developing theory and methods for analyzing high-dimensional time series, functional and signal data, including heart rate variability, NIRS, EEG, physical activity recorded by wearable devices, and ecological momentary assessment data collected through mobile apps.  His group also applies these methods through interdisciplinary collaborations to monitor and treat mental, behavioral and social health. 

Martin Wells (Cornell University)

Martin T. Wells, joined the Cornell faculty in 1987 and is the Department Chair and Charles A. Alexander Professor of Statistical Sciences. He is also a Professor of Social Statistics, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology and Health Services Research at Weill Medical School, an Elected Member of the Cornell Law School Faculty, as well as the Director of Research in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. He teaches statistical methodology to undergraduate and graduate students in fields such as agriculture, biology, epidemiology, finance, law, medicine, nutrition, social science, and veterinary medicine as well as graduate courses in statistics. 

Event Type


National Institute of Statistical Sciences


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Online Webinar
Moderator: Jessica Li (UCLA).  Speakers: Irina Gaynanova and Brani Vidakovic (Texas A&M University), Robert Krafty (Emory University), Martin Wells (Cornell University)