Statisticians Chen, Durgana Named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 List for Being Visionaries in Business, Academia, Advocacy

Assistant professor at New York University, Xi Chen, and senior researcher at the Walk Free Foundation, Davina Durgana, were added earlier this year to Forbes’ influential 30 Under 30 List. Presented annually, the recognition highlights 30 of the brightest young entrepreneurs, innovators, and game changers. Chen and Durgana’s presence on this year’s list demonstrates the increased recognition of the important role statistics plays in the business sector and the value of individuals with statistical and data analysis skills.

Chen studies machine learning, high-dimensional statistics, and operations research, which lead to new learning methods and approaches for big data analysis with applications for business, medicine, and other fields. He completed a postdoctoral position with Michael I. Jordan at the University of California, Berkeley and earned his doctoral degree from the Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science.

Durgana’s work focuses on using statistical models to track human trafficking across the globe to aid nonprofit and law enforcement efforts. In 2016, she won the ASA’s Harry V. Roberts Statistical Advocate of the Year Award. She earned her PhD from American University, MA from the American University of Paris, and BA from The George Washington University.

While both Chen and Durgana’s fields are gaining awareness in the academic and professional arenas, Durgana’s specialty is the focus of the October 2017 issue of CHANCE, which is free to ASA members and available to the public by subscription. Dedicated entirely to the topic of modern slavery, the current issue features a historical overview of the scientific and political challenges in measuring the prevalence of modern slavery, plus innovative techniques being implemented throughout the world in present day. Authored by experts in the statistics of modern slavery from across the globe, this special issue is a must-read for educators, law enforcement professionals, policymakers, and even the general public, so communities and governments can more accurately identify its existence, develop effective prevention strategies, and work toward its eradication.