Sallie Ann Keller Receives the 2010 Jerome Sacks Award for Cross-Disciplinary Research

James Landwehr, chair of the Board of Trustees of  the National Institute of Statistical Sciences (NISS), announces that Dr. Sallie Ann Keller has received the 2010 Jerome Sacks Award for Cross-Disciplinary Research. Katherine Ensor, chair of the Department of Statistics at Rice University, accepted the award on Keller's behalf at the NISS reception at the Joint Statistical Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia on August 2.

The Awards Committee of the NISS Board of Trustees, which selected Keller for the award, cited  “her pioneering work in cross-disciplinary research in reliability and computational technology for complex systems of critical national security and for her leadership in forging research relationships in new areas for statisticians in government and academia.”

The award, named in honor of Jerome (Jerry) Sacks, the founding director of NISS, was established in 2000 to "recognize sustained, high-quality cross-disciplinary research involving the statistical sciences," that exemplifies the NISS role of identifying, catalyzing and fostering high-impact, cross-disciplinary research involving the statistical sciences.

In remarks read by Ensor, Keller stated "I have been fortunate to have access to important, frequently time sensitive, problems that no one person or discipline could solve. I have had, and continue to have, wonderful career appointments that continually stretch my thinking.  These appointments have exposed me to the depth, breadth, and critical need for cross-disciplinary interactions."  

For the past five years, Keller has been the William and Stephanie Sick Dean of the George R. Brown School of Engineering and professor of statistics at Rice University. In September she will become director for the Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI) in Washington, D.C. As STPI director, Keller will provide analysis of national and international science and technology issues for the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the White House, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the departments of Commerce and Energy.  The STPI is part of the Institute for Defense Analyses, a not-for-profit corporation that operates three federally funded research and development centers, including the STPI and two others that serve the Department of Defense.

Keller is fellow and past president of the American Statistical Society and one of the nation's experts in applied and theoretical statistics. She is fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a National Associate of the National Academy of Sciences. She has also served on the Board of Trustees of NISS and on the Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute (SAMSI) National Advisory Council.

Prior to joining Rice, she was the group leader for the Statistical Sciences Group at Los Alamos National Laboratory from 1998 to 2005. Before that, Keller was professor in the Department of Statistics, Kansas State University. She is a former Program Director for Statistics and Probability, Division of Mathematical Sciences, the National Science Foundation (1994-1996).
Keller has published widely and has co-authored a book, Introduction to Probability and Systems Modeling. Her areas of research are uncertainty quantification, computational and graphical statistics and related software and modeling techniques, and data access and confidentiality.

As Sacks award recipient, Keller receives $1,000, and her name is added to a plaque that is housed at NISS that also list previous recipients of the award, who include:

Elizabeth Thompson of the University of Washington – 2001
Max Morris of Iowa State University – 2002
Raymond Carroll of Texas A & M University – 2003
Douglas Nychka of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) – 2004
Jeff Wu of the Georgia Institute of Technology – 2005
Adrian Raftery of the University of Washington – 2006
Cliff Spiegelman of Texas A&M University – 2007
John Rice of the University of California, Berkeley – 2008
Ramanathan Gnanadesikan, retired from Telcordia Technologies – 2009

About NISS
The National Institute of Statistical Sciences was established in 1990 by the national statistics societies and the Research Triangle universities and organizations, with the mission to identify, catalyze and foster high-impact, cross-disciplinary and cross-sector research involving the statistical sciences. NISS is dedicated to strengthening and serving the national statistics community, most notably by catalyzing community members’ participation in applied research driven by challenges facing government and industry. NISS also provides career development opportunities for statisticians and scientists, especially those in the formative stages of their careers. In particular, NISS has appointed more that 70 postdoctoral fellows with graduate training in statistics, computer science, mathematics, environmental sciences, psychometrics and transportation. NISS is located in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

For more information about NISS, go to the website You can also learn more about NISS by following our Twitter account, @NISSSAMSI, join the NISS group on LinkedIn and on Facebook.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010 by Jamie Nunnelly