STATCOM: Engaging Statistics Students in Their Communities

Amy E. Watkins

Newsletter for the Section on Statistical Education
Volume 11, Number 2 (Fall 2006)

Statistics in the Community (STATCOM) is a student-driven pro bono statistical consulting organization started at Purdue University's Department of Statistics in 2001. Recently, STATCOM was awarded an ASA Member Initiatives Grant to promote the development of similar programs at other colleges and universities. This grant is sponsored by the Central Indiana Chapter, the Section on Statistical Education, and the Section on Statistical Consulting. STATCOM offers statistical advice and expertise free of charge to governmental and nonprofit groups. These services include:

Students benefit greatly from pro bono statistical consulting. They gain practical experience, acquire written and oral communication skills, interact with professionals in the field, and develop a sense of volunteerism even before they become practicing statisticians. By introducing a service learning component, students can apply statistical methods learned in the classroom to real-life statistical problems.

STATCOM at Purdue is promoting the development of other pro bono consulting programs at other colleges in universities. In fact, two other STATCOMs have already been established: STATCOM at University of Washington and STATCOM at Cornell University! STATCOM at Purdue is currently serving as a resource to other colleges and universities interested in starting similar programs. Ultimately, the goal is to establish a formal network among all pro bono statistical consulting programs.

STATCOM at Purdue can send you a packet of materials that can help with the development of a pro bono statistical consulting service. Members of STATCOM can also visit your college or university to talk to interested students and faculty.

If you are interested in learning more about STATCOM at Purdue or would like to start an organization at your own university, please contact:

STATCOM Outreach
Department of Statistics
Purdue University
150 N. University Street
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2067

Phone: 765-494-5324
Fax: 765-494-0558

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