She Does Statistics

Martha Aliaga

Newsletter for the Section on Statistical Education
Volume 6, Number 2 (Summer 2000)


Upon finishing my tenure as chair of the Committee on Minorities in Statistics at the American Statistical Association, I envisioned a book featuring the life and work of women statisticians. That book should inspire young women to pursue a career in statistics. So the audience was targeted at ages 17-21 and the royalties were designed to be a source of financial support for a scholarship for a minority student in a statistics graduate program. This scholarship would allow students to attend the annual meeting of the American Statistical Association by paying for air fare, hotel, and meals.

The book will be a joint effort of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) and the American Statistical Association, and I will be the editor and one of the authors. Dick Scheaffer of ASA and Andrew Sterrett of MAA have been instrumental and enthusiastic supporters of this project. I have received 30 articles already and we are now in the final stages.

Although the idea was simple, finding the authors was more difficult than expected since many found it difficult to relate to that age group. The time to finish the book stretched beyond what I had hoped for. I am inviting women statisticians, especially minorities, to send me papers to be included in the book. My experience convinces me that role models are important in the decisions that young girls will make in choosing careers.

Each contribution needs to have from two to three pages about why you decided to become a statistician and present two or three problems that you have solved in your job using statistics. These problems should show how statistics can help solve practical problems and should be of interest to our audience. You should ask yourself whether a girl in the target age range would be interested in reading about the problem and would understand the answer. The solutions of these problems could be included in the explanation or placed at the end of the book, where solutions will be inserted.

I see "She Does Statistics" as a great book for teaching high school students as well summer program participants and as a great birthday present to a future college student.

If you would like to participate in the project please contact Martha Aliaga, 4077 Frieze Building, Department of Statistics, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, aliaga@umich.edu


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