American Statistical Association

Section on Government Statistics

  • The August 2015 Newsletter in Adobe pdf or MS Word format
  • GSS Data Challenge 2015 - As you know, the Government Statistics Section is sponsoring a Data Challenge in 2015. The contest was open to anyone, including college students and professionals from the private or public sector. Participants were challenged to analyze a public data set using any statistical and/or visualization tools and methods. The dataset for the GSS Data Challenge 2015 is the US Census Bureau’s tract and block Planning Databases.

    We are proud to announce that there are eight contestants in the Data Challenge 2015. They will be presenting their work in two sessions at the JSM 2015 in Seattle. Four will be giving oral presentations in a topic-contributed session. Another four will be giving poster presentations as part of the GSS speed poster session.

    The speed poster session will take place on Wednesday, 8/12/2015, 8:30 AM - 10:20 AM and will have the following presentations:
    • Who are the non-voters? — Bingchen Liu and Lynne Stokes
    • Census Tract-Level Disparities: Examining Food Swamps and Food Deserts — Lucy D'Agostino McGowan and Alice Toll
    • Exploring the modifiable areal unit problem — Talha Ali and Owais Gilani
    • Determinants of Poverty in US — Guillermo Basulto-Elias and Natalia A Da Silva

    The topic-contributed session is scheduled for Wednesday, 8/12/2015, 2:00 PM - 3:50 PM and includes the following presenters:
    • Tailoring Outreach to Boost Mail Self-Response in Geographic Areas with similar Low Response Rates – Darryl Creel
    • Exploring the Census Bureau's 2014 Planning Database Using Topological Data Analysis – Robert Baskin
    • Informing natural disaster response with census data – Jonathan Auerbach and Christopher Eshleman
    • Optimizing survey cost-error tradeoffs: a multiple imputation strategy using the Census Planning Database – Shin-Jung Lee

    We hope you will support the Data Challenge 2015 by coming to listen to these interesting sessions.
  • The Jeanne E. Griffith Mentoring Award - The Jeanne E. Griffith Mentoring Award encourages the mentoring of junior staff in the statistical community in Federal, State, or Local government. It is awarded annually to a supervisor, technical director, team coordinator, or other member of the Federal, State, or Local government statistical staff who is nominated by a supervisor and co-workers for his or her efforts in supporting the work and developing the careers of junior statistical staff.

    The Jeanne E. Griffith Mentoring Award was established to honor Dr. Griffith who died in August 2001 after working for more than 25 years in the Federal statistical system. Throughout her career, and especially in her latter senior management positions at the National Center for Education Statistics and the National Science Foundation, one of Jeanne’s highest priorities was to mentor and encourage younger staff at all levels to learn, to grow, and to recognize and seize career opportunities as they came along.

    The Jeanne E. Griffith award is supported by the ASA Government Statistics Section and Social Statistics Section, NORC at University of Chicago, Westat, American Institutes for Research (AIR), American Educational Research Association (AERA), The Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics (COPAFS), Stata, Washington Statistical Society, and the Interagency Council on Statistical Policy (ICSP).

    The previous recipients of the Jeanne E. Griffith Mentoring Award are: Rich Allen (National Agriculture Statistical Service), 2003; Beth Kilss (Internal Revenue Service), 2004; Renee Miller (Energy Information Administration), 2005; Martin O’Connell (U.S. Census Bureau), 2006; Stephanie Shipp (National Institute of Standards and Technology – at the time of the award), 2007; Rosemary D. Marcuss (Bureau of Economic Analysis), 2008; Kevin Cecco (Internal Revenue Service), Lillian S. Lin (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), 2009; Deborah H. Griffin (U.S. Bureau of the Census), 2010; Jenise L. Swall (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency), 2011; William P. Mockovak (Bureau of Labor Statistics), 2012; Brian Harris-Kojetin (Office of Management and Budget), 2013; and J. Gregory Robinson (U.S. Census Bureau), and Kenneth Schoendorf (National Center for Health Statistics), 2014.

    If you’re not familiar with the award or would like more information about the history of the award, see the excellent article (including some pictures from the ceremony) in the October 2014 issue of Amstat News at

    Nominations for 2015 will be accepted beginning in January 2015. The last date for submission of nominations is April 3, 2015, and the Award Committee will make its determination of the award winner by April 30, 2015. The award will consist of a $1,000, a citation, and a plaque, which will be presented at a ceremony arranged by the co-sponsors in June 2015.

    For more information about the nominating process for the 2015 award, please go to: or
    Current Award Committee members are listed at:

    If you have questions about the award, please contact Rick Peterson at (703) 684-1221, or Lillian Lin at (406) 994-5594.
  • Wray Jackson Smith Scholarship - The Government Statistics Section and the Social Statistics Section of the American Statistical Association (ASA) are pleased to announce the availability of a scholarship in memory of Wray Jackson Smith, a founding member of the Section and long-time contributor to Federal statistics. The Wray Jackson Smith Scholarship (WJSS), co-sponsored with the Washington Statistical Society, the Caucus for Women in Statistics, Harris-Smith Institutes, Mathematica Policy Research, and Synectics for Management Decisions, Inc., is intended to reward promising young statisticians for their diligence, thereby encouraging them to consider a future in government statistics.
    2015 Announcement.
    History of Wray Jackson Smith Scholarship
    For 2015: Apply by March 1, 2015!
    2015 Application forms: for a MS Word (docx) version
    For further information for 2015, contact Jennifer Park by e-mail:
  • The Roger Herriot Award - The 2015 Roger Herriot Award for Innovation in Federal Statistics will be presented at the 2015 JSM. The Roger Herriot Award is sponsored by the Washington Statistical Society, the ASA's Social Statistics Section and the ASA's Government Statistics Section. Nominations for the 2015 award will be accepted beginning in January 2015.
    Completed packages must be received by April 1, 2015.
    For more information, contact Fritz Scheuren, Chair of the 2016 Roger Herriot Award Committee, at 202-320-3446 or . Electronic submissions in MS-Word or as a “pdf” file are strongly encouraged. Please contact the chair if you need to make arrangements to fax or mail a nomination.
  • 2015 Student Paper Competition - The Survey Research Methods, Government Statistics, and Social Statistics Sections are pleased to announce a competition for student and post-graduate papers. Winning papers are presented at the Joint Statistical Meetings (JSM) August 8-13, 2015 at the Washington State Convention Center, 800 Convention Place, Seattle, WA 98101. Approximately five awards will be granted. A subsidy of $800 is provided to each winner to cover JSM 2015 expenses.
    All materials must be received by 5 PM EST, December 15, 2014. Winners will be notified by January 15, 2015.
  • The Pat Doyle Award - The Executive Committee of the Government Statistics Section (GSS) created the Pat Doyle Award in 2005 as a tribute to Pat’s dedication to the statistical field and the GSS during her lifetime. When Pat died, she left her imprints on an astonishingly wide range of projects and activities in the U.S. federal statistical community. The award is given to a person who contributes to the GSS in a way that leaves a lasting impact on GSS and ASA.
    The previous recipients of The Pat Doyle Award are: (2005) Clyde Tucker (1st Award), (2006) Robert Lussier, (2007) Wendy Alvey, (2008) John L. Czajka, (2009) Stephanie Shipp, (2010) Bill Wong, (2011) Natalya Verbitsky-Savitz (2012) Carol House, (2013) Nancy Bates, and (2014) Brian Harris-Kojetin.

We express our thanks to our Government Statistics Section's corporate sponsors:

For 2013:
      Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), U.S. Department of Commerce
      National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

For 2014:
      Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), U.S. Department of Commerce
      Energy Information Administration
      U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Commerce


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Government Statistics Section pages prepared by:     Bill Wong.
Last updated:     August 30, 2015.

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