2012 Wray Jackson Smith Scholarship

Support for Work Towards a Career in Government Statistics

Apply by April 1, 2012!

The Wray Jackson Smith Scholarship (WJSS) was created to honor the memory of a founding member of the GSS and a long-time contributor to federal statistics. Dr. Smithís federal career spanned four decades and included positions in the Office of Economic Opportunity, where he was responsible for the operational start-up of the Job Corps and evaluation of manpower development programs; the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in what was then the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, where he oversaw the policy research data center and directed the Income Survey Development Program (the predecessor to the Survey of Income and Program Participation); and the Energy Information Administration, U.S. Department of Energy, where he directed energy modeling and data systems development and provided oversight of the Departmentís surveys of energy consumption in multiple sectors. After retiring from the federal government in 1983, Dr. Smith continued to play a role in federal statistics from the private sector, first as a visiting senior fellow at Mathematica Policy Research and then at Synectics for Management Decisions, Inc., before founding Harris-Smith Research, an operations research/management science consulting group, with Carl Harris. In 1997 Dr. Smith established the independent, nonprofit Harris-Smith Institutes to provide statistical research and a range of other services to other nonprofit organizations and governmental entities. He served as president of the organization until his death at the age of 75, in May 2000.

The WJSS was established by the GSS in 2001, with several other organizations recognized as Founding Sponsors. These include the Social Statistics Section (SSS) of ASA, which joined the GSS in 2005 as a primary sponsor of the award; the Caucus for Women in Statistics; the Washington Statistical Society; and both Mathematica and Synectics. In addition, upon its disbandment in 2002, The Harris-Smith Institutes donated a substantial sum to the scholarship fund, which achieved a milestone in 2004 by reaching $25,000, sufficient to establish an endowment through the ASA.

The WJSS is intended to encourage young statisticians to consider a career in government service. The WJSS Award provides funding of $1,000 to be used in ways that will advance the recipientís exposure to or experience with the application of statistics to problems relevant to any level of government. Past winners have used their awards to attend the Joint Statistical Meetings or other professional conferences; to take short courses or college classes on topics related to data analysis, measurement, or data quality; and to support aspects of their continued public policy research. Funds may be used for travel, board, tuition or registration fees, or for the purchase of books, software, data sets, or other supporting materials for research projects.

The WJSS is targeted at students and others early in their careers who show an interest in government statistics. Applicants must have a Bachelorís degree or equivalent level of education. Membership in the GSS, SSS, or the ASA is not required. Applicants are asked to submit a proposal for the activity to be funded and to complete an application form (found on the GSS website at http://www.amstat.org/sections/sgovt) and provide two letters of recommendation. Materials should be submitted to:

Wray Jackson Smith Scholarship Committee
c/o John Czajka
Mathematica Policy Research
1100 First Street, NE, 12th Floor
Washington, DC 20002-4221

or electronically to Jczajka@mathematica-mpr.com. The application deadline for this yearís award is April 1, 2012.

Members of the 2012 Wray Jackson Smith Scholarship Committee are John Czajka (chair), Polly Phipps, and Linda Gage. Applications will be evaluated on the following criteria: relevance of the proposed activity to government statistics, quality of the proposed activity, innovation/ingenuity of the proposed project, feasibility of completion of the activity, the applicantís career stage, and past performance as reflected in the letters of recommendation. The award winner will be announced by June 1, 2012. All applicants will be notified by e-mail.

Government Statistics Section pages prepared by:     Bill Wong.
Last updated:     August 25, 2011.