2nd Annual Graduate Student Research Conference a Wonderful Success!

Statistics and Data Science Alumni Panelists:  Andreea Luisa Erciulescu (Westat), Dhanushi Wijeyakulasuriya (Microsoft), Nathan Cruze (NASA), Spiro Stilianoudakis (P&G)

The NISS Graduate Student Network hosted their 2nd Annual Graduate Student Research Conference for two days during the weekend of Saturday, May 14th to Sunday, May 15th of 2022 from 12-5pm ET. This conference was sponsored by Procter & Gamble (P&G), a recently joined NISS Industry Affiliate!

The first conference took place in June of 2021 and was a resounding success! This second conference featured graduate student presentations, two panels consisting of expert statisticians and a social networking hour. This time, Excellent Presentation Awards were given to selected graduate students! 

Opening Remarks

The NISS Director, James Rosenberger, gave opening remarks highlighting NISS and expressed the wonderful job that the Graduate Student Network has done with putting together the conference. James congratulated the network’s growth, their success, and encouraged the audience to get involved.

William Breneman, the Global Statistics Discipline Leader and NISS Affiliate Liaison with the Procter & Gamble Company, provided opening remarks while presenting an overview of P&G. William emphasized how important it is to have soft skills and hard skills as students embark on their careers in the data science field in industry or other types of institutions. Wishing all of the researchers good luck, he kicked off the conference starting the Oral Research Presentations. 

Oral Research Presentations

The oral research presentations were separated into four sessions throughout the conference with 3-4 graduate students presenting their research for 15 minutes each, with a floor discussion at the end. These sessions were split up into four categories: High-dimensional statistical analysis and applications, Novel perspectives in Bayesian methodology, Contributions in computational and methodological statistics, Recent advances in bioinformatics and biomedical data analysis, and Modern statistical methods for dependent data. The full list and abstracts are available on the NISS website.

Poster Session + Happy Hour

11 graduate students submitted posters to be discussed during the conference’s Happy Hour which took place after the oral research presentations on Saturday May 14th. The researchers uploaded a video presentation of their posters. The links to the posters were distributed among attendees ahead of the conference, but not publicly. The full list of these posters can be viewed on the NISS website

Invited Panel Discussions

The first panel, “Statistics and Data Science Alumni Panel” took place on the first day of the conference, May 14th. During this panel, we brought together alumni of NISS Affiliate academic departments and institutions pursuing careers in statistics and data science. They each shared their experiences in the job market (application process/interviews/job talks) and spoke about their current jobs (such as statistical tools they use and their job environment) and answered questions from the audience. Our panelists during this session included: Andreea Luisa Erciulescu, a Senior Statistician from Westat; Dhanushi Wijeyakulasuriya, a Data Scientist from Microsoft; Nathan Cruze from NASA Langley Research Center and a former NISS Government Affiliate Liaison; and Spiro Stilianoudakis, a statistician in the Data & Modeling Sciences (DMS) of Corporate Functions R&D (CFRD) from The Procter & Gamble Company.

The second panel, “Tips for Statistical Communication and Data Storytelling” was held on the second day of the conference, May 15th. During this session, our expert panelists shared tips and advice on how to clearly and effectively communicate statistics, particularly in social media, and answered questions from the audience. During this session, our panelists included: Lucy D'Agostino McGowan an Assistant Professor with the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Wake Forest University; Natalie Dean an Assistant Professor with the Department of Biostatistics & Bioinformatics at Emory University; and Julia Silge a Data Scientist and Software Engineer at RStudio PBC.

A Photo Album from all sessions on both days can be found on the NISS website!  Check it out!

Best Presentations Awards

Sumanta Basu, Cornell University declared four winners of this year’s Excellent Presentations Award! Each of the selected students are awarded $125 and a certificate.  Selected students for this award go to:

Rebecca Kurtz-Garcia, UC Riverside
Adam Tonks, UIUC
Manqi Cai, University of Pittsburgh
Brandon Lumsden, Clemson University 

About the Graduate Student Network

The Graduate Student Network is composed of 70+ graduate students in statistics, mathematics, biostatistics and other data science fields from NISS Affiliated universities and institutions! GSN has hosted a variety of events such as Virtual Socials, Webinars and of course the Graduate Student Research Conference. Keep informed and get involved! GSN also posts upcoming opportunities for graduate students in data science fields!

Monday, May 23, 2022 by Megan Glenn