American Statistical Association, San Antonio Chapter: September 2004 Newsletter



San Antonio ASA Chapter Newsletter

September 2004, Vol 18, No. 1



*** Conference and Banquet to Honor UTSA Statistics Professor Ram Tripathi ***

*** Chapter to Hold ASA Membership Social at Friday Night Banquet ***

The San Antonio Chapter of the American Statistical Association will co-sponsor a conference honoring the 60th birthday of Dr. Ram Tripathi, UTSA statistics professor. The conference which will be held at the UTSA downtown campus begins Friday, October 8 and ends at noon on Saturday, October 9th. The banquet on Friday, October 8th at 7 pm (Cost is $25 by October 1st, $30 after) will be an ASA membership social event. This means both ASA members and non-members are highly encouraged to attend. There will be opportunity for non-members to learn more about ASA membership and meet local chapter members.

The banquet speaker will be Ram C. Tiwari, Ph.D., Mathematical Statistician & Program Director, Statistical Research and Applications Branch, National Cancer Institute. The talk title is "A New Method of Predicting US and State-level Cancer Mortality Counts for the Current Calendar Year". Abstract: Accurate prediction of cancer mortality figures for the current and upcoming year are extremely essential for public health planning and evaluation. Due to delay in reporting cause-specific mortality for the US, there is a 3-year lag between the latest year for which such figures are available and the current year. Until year 2003, the American Cancer Society (ACS) based its prediction of cancer mortality counts by first fitting a time series model with quadratic trend and autoregressive error to the past data and then projecting this model into the future. The proposed method is based on a state-space model (SSM) that uses a quadratic trend with random time-varying coefficients to model the mortality counts. Since the SSM has time-varying random coefficients, it is able to quickly adjust to sudden changes in the observed trend, and, as a result, generally provides predictions of mortality counts that are closer to their observed values compared to the corresponding predictions obtained from the current method. The ACS has begun to implement the SSM methodology starting its annual publication Cancer facts & Figures, 2004.

Dr. Tripathi, who joined the faculty at UTSA in 1975, has served the San Antonio ASA Chapter both as President (2000-2001) and Vice-President (1999-2000). Please make plans now to attend the celebration and join our ASA chapter in honoring him. Please see the attached pdf file for banquet reservation and payment information as well as conference schedule. RSVP with your dinner reservation to Dr. Jerry Keating ( or Dr. Nandini Kannan ( ASAP.

*** Local Brothers Mix Science and Statistics With Winning Results ***

Reagan High School freshman Wesley Hong has won 2nd place and a $100 cash award in the 2004 ASA Project Competition (Grades 7-9). The ASA Project and Poster Competition is an annual competition that accepts statistical projects from students across the nation. These projects present a question of interest that allow the student to collect data, analyze the data using graphs and statistical computations, and answer the question based on the results of the analysis. Wesley's winning project was titled "Cyclodextrin-based Nanoporous Polymers: A Filtration Agent for Organic Contaminants". Cyclodextrin is a plant starch capable of filtering water in its powder form, but is useless for filtration application in that form. Wesley was able to successfully create the nanoporous polymer which was then able to remove the organic contaminants effectively. He sees the nanoporous polymers being implemented by attaching to water faucets in much the same way we use water softeners. Earlier this year Wesley's project won 1st grand prize for Chemistry at the Alamo Regional Science and Engineering Fair and won 2nd place in the San Antonio ASA Chapter Special Statistics Award given to those science fair projects that best utilize statistical methods.

The Hong family is no stranger to science fair awards. In both his junior and senior years at Reagan High School, brother Julian Hong won 1st place for best statistics application in the San Antonio ASA Chapter Special Statistics Award given at the Alamo Regional Science and Engineering Fair. Julian's four-year project titled "Restraining Restenosis: Combating Vascular Disease" studied arterial smooth muscle cell migration and proliferation critical to arterial restenosis that follows procedures to open blocked arteries such as angioplasty and stenting. This outstanding project won 1st grand prize for Medicine and Health at the 2004 Alamo Regional Science and Engineering Fair and in 2003 Julian was awarded $1500 from Merck Research Laboratory at the International Science and Engineering Fair.

The San Antonio ASA Chapter applauds these two outstanding young scientists and wishes them the best as they continue their studies. For over 10 years the San Antonio ASA Chapter has awarded savings bonds to high school students whose science fair projects showed outstanding application of statistical methods. The Chapter continues to present special statistics awards at the Alamo Regional Science and Engineering Fair held annually in San Antonio. If you are interested in helping the Chapter judge science fairs or if you are or know a teacher or student who could benefit from a statistics mentor please contact the San Antonio ASA Chapter Judging Coordinator, Howard Monroe (

*** SiteTrek2 Science and Technology Bus Tour***

SITEtrek2-hidden dimensions is designed to give participants a behind-the-scenes, hands-on experience of four important research, technology, and production facilities in San Antonio rarely accessible to the public. This all-day bus tour launches from KellyUSA Building 171 at 9:00 a.m. on October 16th, 2004. Sign-in starts at 8:00 a.m. From there, participants will engage in a 'minds-on', in-person tour of four sites:

Participants will reconvene for lunch at KellyUSA (included in ticket price), where San Antonio's "hidden history" of innovation will be presented.

This event is brought to you by SACCESS, the San Antonio Council for the Cooperation of Engineering and Scientific Societies, with public relations provided by BlabberMouth PR. To register online (cut-off October 13 at 5:00 p.m.) visit (; click on the Hidden Dimensions banner. For further assistance with registration, please call (210) 698-0806.

*** Chapter Hosts Booth at Science Fair Seminar ***

The Chapter hosted a booth at the Alamo Regional Science and Engineering Fair Seminar held on Saturday, September 25th at the UT Health Science Center. Many thanks to Ken Williams, Joe Lucke and Joe Ward who worked at the booth and distributed information to teachers, students and parents about how ASA and our chapter can help with science fair projects. We maintain a list of volunteer statisticians who are willing to help students with their science fair projects. If you would like to be added to the list please contact Norma Ketchum (

*** Statistics Job Bank ***

The San Antonio ASA chapter officers would like to start an e-mail service for individuals who are looking for statistics positions. If you or someone you know is interested in receiving notices of job openings from recruiters, etc. please reply with an e-mail address to this newsletter ( Whenever chapter officers receive announcements we will then forward them only to the list of interested individuals.

*** Upcoming Conferences in the Area ***


San Antonio ASA Chapter Officers 2004-2005:

Visit the San Antonio ASA website (; Webmaster: Ginny deWolf,

***End of newsletter*******

Last Update: October 11, 2004