Daniels proheadshotWelcome to the Department of Statistics & Data Sciences—the newest department in the College of Natural Sciences. Please visit our website to get to know our faculty, thoroughly explore all of our programs, and discover the ways you can be a part of our community.

With summer finally here, I’d like to share some highlights from this past year.


10th Annual Summer Statistics Institute: in May, we hosted the 10th Annual Summer Statistics Institute (SSI). Participants could select from 23 12-hour courses spanning topics from introductory statistics, statistical software. statistical methods and statistics applications. Over the last decade, SSI has welcomed a total of 5546 participants, relied on 258 UT graduate student volunteers, and employed 58 instructors (including six who have taught for each of the ten years).

First PhD students graduating: in May 2017 Oscar Hernan Madrid Padilla was the first student to earn a PhD in Statistics from The University of Texas at Austin. Following closely, is Tianjian Zhou who defended his dissertation in June. Both have accepted desirable postdoctoral positions: Padilla at the University of California–Berkeley and Zhou at NorthShore University HealthSystem Research Institute.

Dr. Kristin Harvey was recognized for her exemplary work teaching freshmen with a Dads’ Association Centennial Fellowship Award.

Other notables include:

- the initial cohort of trainees for the NIH Biomedical Big Data training grant successfully completed their first year in the program. Trainees include Vikram Baruah (PhD student in Biomedical Engineering), Evan Ott (PhD student in Statistics), Raghav Shroff (PhD student in Cellular & Molecular Biology), Kevin Song (PhD student in Computer Science), and Serena Zhao (PhD student in Ecology, Evolution, & Behavior).

- successful faculty recruitment: SDS welcomes Dr. Abhra Sarkar in fall 2017. Dr. Sarkar earned his PhD in Statistics from Texas A & M and joins us directly from a postdoctoral fellowship at Duke University. Also, Dr. Jared Murray will join the SDS core faculty. Dr. Murray was hired by the IROM Department and arrives most recently from the Department of Statistics at Carnegie Mellon University.

Plus we continue exploring opportunities for further growth by building partnerships with the Dell Medical School on faculty hires, consulting, and training.

Looking forward, we are hosting the 2017 International Workshop on Objective Bayes Methodology this December. O’Bayes 2017 is the 12th meeting in a series of workshops held to discuss recent developments in Bayesian methods for inference in increasingly larger scale scientific research problems.

You can help SDS continue to grow and provide high-impact programs for the UT community and beyond. Your gift is extremely important because it offers immediate resources that are directed to current needs and opportunities in our department. Your donation will allow us to pursue strategic initiatives and to support our faculty and students in their education and research endeavors.

And as a sidenote, I will be stepping down as chair in August and returning to my previous institution, the University of Florida. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at UT and in Austin and am extremely excited about the future of SDS. I will be following the growth closely from Florida.

With best wishes,  
Mike Daniels

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