Careers Given a Jump Start at Writing Workshop for Junior Researchers

Workshop participants work through a tutorial session with a presenting mentor.Lee Wilkinson shares his approach to writing for publication.Young researchers meet with mentors about their writing over lunch.Getting a chance to work through details of a paper with an experienced mentor.Nick Jewell recognized for his ten years of participation in this workshop!Lee Wilkinson also recognized for his ten years of participation in this workshop!

There were 24 statistics junior researchers who traveled to Denver for JSM 2019.  The common thread among these individuals is that they are all at the beginning of their careers in statistics.  While it might not have been the first time they attended JSM, it was perhaps the most memorable event for many of them.  The NISS Writing Workshop for Junior Researchers two-day event not only exposed them to advice and expertise regarding how to write for statistical publications, but this advice came from some of the most well-known and broadly experienced statisticians of the day!  Furthermore, it also gave them the opportunity to not only sit down to talk with them about a specific piece they are writing, but also more generally about the personal career path they have charted for themselves.

The workshop was compromised of six tutorial sessions and three panels.  The tutorials focused on: Writing skills, Evaluation of good and bad writing, Choosing where to publish, How to write a collaborative paper, Ethics and reproducibility, and Reviewing and revising.  Lee Wilkinson (, Nick Jewell (London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine), Susan Ellenberg (University of Pennsylvania), Peter Imrey (Cleveland Clinic) and Naomi Altman (Penn State University) presented these topics, each giving personal insight in their presentations.  The panels discussed the topics of Statistics and Data Science Journals, Grant Writing, and Speaking From Experiences and Career Development.

The list of panelists was impressive!  They included Cheryl Eavey (Program Director for Methodology, Measurement, and Statistics​ at SBE, National Science Foundation), Daniel L. Gillen (NIH BMRD Study Section Chair, Chair and Professor of Statistics, University of California, Irvine), Xuming He (Chair and H.C. Carver Professor of Statistics, University of Michigan), Peter Imrey (Professor of Medicine, Cleveland Clinic), Nicole Lazar (Professor of Statistics, University of Georgia), Edsel A. Pena (Professor of Statistics, University of South Carolina), David M. Rocke (Distinguished Professor of Biostatistics, University of California, Davis), Ali Shojaie (Associate Professor of Biostatistics, University of Washington), Aleksandra Slavković (Professor of Statistics and Associate Dean, Pennsylvania State University), Hal S. Stern (Chancellor's Professor of Statistics, University of California, Irvine), Branislav Vidakovic (Program Director for Statistics at MPS/DMS, National Science Foundation; Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology), Tian Zheng (Professor of Statistics and Associate Director for Education​​ of the Data Science Institute, Columbia University)

View the Photo Album of this Event

As mentioned, perhaps the most extraordinary opportunity for these young researchers was to be able to sit down with the mentor that they were assigned to and talk about the writing project they are completing.  Organized once again by Keith Crank (Program Officer at the National Science Foundation, retired), along with James Rosenberger (NISS director), and Lingzhou Xue (NISS Assistant Director), who solicited funds from the NSF for participant travel support, and from nine Statistical Societies, for support of the workshop.

Finally, one of the moments that not only recognizes the generous involvement of their time and energy to make this event possible but also gives attention to the persistent value of this yearly event was the recognition of four mentors who have participated in the NISS Writers Workshop for the past 10 years!  Certificates of Appreciation were given to both Nick Jewell, Lee Wilkinson, David Rocke and Nell Sedransk for their decade of participation. 

Monday, August 12, 2019 by Glenn Johnson