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Javier Rojo Wins 2010 Don Owen Award

Javier Rojo Wins 2010 Don Owen Award
Javier Rojo (left) and
John Schoolfield (right)

The Don Owen Award for 2010 was presented to Javier Rojo, Ph.D., on April 9, 2010 at the Conference of Texas Statisticians by John Schoolfield, M.S.  This conference was held at Baylor University, Waco, Texas and was organized by James Stamey, Ph.D. of the Department of Statistical Science. Professor Rojo was nominated by Professor Raul Cruz Cano of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Maryland. The award was presented on behalf of the San Antonio Chapter of the American Statistical Association. Following the presentation, Dr. Rojo presented a talk describing the summer education programs and symposia that he has organized, including several photographs of the participants and international venues. He also shared his personal experiences as a collegiate baseball player and how he switched to a career in statistics after suffering an injury that ended his baseball career. 

Professor Rojo is a faculty member in the Department of Statistics at Rice University. He accepted this position in 2001 after serving 17 years as a Professor in the Mathematical Sciences Department at the University of Texas at El Paso.  He received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1984. Since 2005, he has also been serving as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.  In addition to his teaching activities, he serves as Chair of the PanAmerican Advanced Studies Institute. Professor Rojo is an outstanding example of the precedent set by Don Owen in service to the profession, teaching, and research.

He is an elected fellow of ASA, IMS, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is a chartered statistician of the Royal Statistical Society and a member of the International Statistical Institute, the Bernoulli Society, and the Econometric Society. He has also been elected as a Sigma Xi (The Scientific Research Society) Distinguished Lecturer. He is an editor of the Journal of Nonparametric Statistics. He served the IMS and the ASA in various capacities. For the IMS, he was a member of the Committee on Nominations. For the ASA, he is currently a member of the Noether Award Committee and has served on the Committee on Outreach Education, the Committee on Minorities in Statistics, and the Committee on Professional Ethics. He was also Chair of the ASA Committee on Fellows and Program Chair for WNAR at JSM in 2000, and Section on Nonparametrics representative to the Council of Sections.

Professor Rojo has also been active in his support of the Society for the Advancement of Chicano and Native Americans (SACNAS).  In recent years, he has focused on increasing the presence of statistics at the SACNAS annual meetings, frequently serving as the chair and speaker for statistics sessions. 

Professor Rojo has published 68 articles and technical reports in various outlets which include Journal of the American Statistical Association, The Annals of Statistics, Scandinavian Journal of Statistics, Journal of Multivariate Analysis, Journal of Nonparametric Statistics and Journal of Statistical Computation and Simulation, to name a few.  At Rice University, Professor Rojo has directed 3 completed Ph. D. dissertations and is currently supervising 2 additional Ph.D. candidates.  He also directed 2 completed Ph.D. dissertations at Centro de Investigación en Matemáticas (CIMAT) in Guanajuato, México. While at the University of Texas at El Paso (which did not have a Ph.D. program), Professor Rojo encouraged and mentored 8 Master's theses, although Master's candidates were not required to submit a thesis.

While he was a doctoral candidate at the University of California at Berkeley, Professor Rojo was mentored by Erich L. Lehmann, with whom he maintained a strong collaborative association that resulted in Professor Rojo's development of the Lehmann Symposia which are designed to showcase on-going developments in theoretical statistics.  Professor Rojo has co-edited one volume and edited two volumes of papers from these symposia for publication by IMS.  Professor Rojo is also currently editing the collected works of Erich L. Lehmann for a two volume set to be published by Springer-Verlag.

Professor Rojo is the founder and principal investigator for the Rice University Summer Institute of Statistics (RUSIS), a 10-week summer program funded by NSF and NSA designed for undergraduates to participate in team projects spearheaded by top scientists.  Students also have an opportunity to meet with NASA scientists and biostatisticians at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.  This program has been successful in encouraging students to embark on a graduate school statistics or mathematics program.

Through his service to the PanAmerican Advanced Studies Institute and his association with CIMAT, Professor Rojo has made enormous contributions to the promotion of statistics in México and El Salvador. He was honored by his election to the CONACYT Sistema Nacional de Investigadores (SNI) as a level 3 researcher. He has also served as a plenary speaker for the Mexican Statistical Association and the Mexican Mathematical Society.

Professor Rojo truly symbolizes all the qualities of Don Owen which this award embodies.  The Don Owen Award is presented annually by the San Antonio Chapter of the American Statistical Association, and Taylor and Francis, a leading international academic publisher.

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