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Southwest Michigan Holds Second Career Day
The Statistics Career Day committee
includes (back row, from left) Joshua
Naranjo, Magdalena Niewiadomska-
Bugaj, Eric Nordmoe, Kirk Anderson,
Sango Otieno, Latoria Thomas-Lee,
(seated, from left) Bob Downer, Phyllis
Curtiss, Soon Hong, and Paul Stephenson.
T
he Southwest Michigan Chapter teamed up with the “One thing that stood out about Lachenbruch’s talk was
Department of Statistics at Grand Valley State when he said, ‘We all know what 1.96 means, right?’ And
University (GVSU) to hold their second Statistics of course, I felt 95% confident that I knew,” commented
Career Day on Friday, October 31, 2008. (Yes, Halloween!) one attendee.
The purpose of the event was to inform students about vari-
ous career opportunities that use statistical methods. The
Break-Out Sessions
focus was on careers, rather than jobs, to attract high-school
The concurrent break-out sessions addressed a variety of top-
students and entry-level undergraduate students. Many
ics, including the current and future job market, salary levels
attendees asked questions about the types of jobs available for
(from entry to senior level), how the speakers obtained their
a person with a statistics degree, and this event helped answer
current positions, required education, work environment, and
those questions.
the best way to pursue a career in each speaker’s field. “I have
More than 400 people participated in the fair, including
a new-found interest in the subject,” said a participant. “Each
working professionals and high-school and college students. The
session helped me connect statistics to real life careers, and
students were able to talk to representatives from 17 institutions
showed how important it is everywhere. I also made connec-
and hear presentations from 12 speakers. Also, three graduate
tions from material we have covered in class.” Specifics on the
programs were represented, including the GVSU Biostatistics
sessions follow.
Professional Science Master’s, Western Michigan University,
Nathan Anderson, principal at Mercer, discussed actuarial
and the University of Michigan. In addition, representatives
careers.
from Hope College were on hand to discuss their Mathematics
Nancy Brucken, principal statistical programmer, and Gary
Research Experiences for Undergraduates program.
Greenfield, senior biostatistician, both of i3statprobe, talked
about using a statistics degree in the pharmaceutical industry.
The Keynote
Steve Denham, associate director of biostatistics at MPI
The keynote address, delivered by past ASA President Peter Research, gave a presentation called “Biostatistics in the Public
A. (Tony) Lachenbruch, focused on the events that led to his and Private Sectors.”
becoming a statistician. After providing some personal back- Kyle Furge of Van Andel Institute spoke about statistical
ground, he gave pointers on how to be successful. Among and computational work in biomedical research.
other tips, he shared the following: Brian Hartl from Kent County Health Department dis-
Statistical methods are constantly changing; many
cussed public health epidemiology.
techniques were developed quite recently
Doug Heilman, senior product management analyst at
Foremost, gave a talk titled “Statistics in Insurance: Beyond
Computing is more and more important (and powerful) Actuarial.”
Tom Kennedy, senior consultant for Deloitte & Touche,
Consultants must speak the client’s language, so
discussed data quality and integrity.
learn the jargon and ask what acronyms stand for
Annette Mathisen, senior director of client services for
If pursuing a PhD, choose a good advisor
QST Consultations, spoke about consulting to the medical
research community.
After four decimal places, nobody cares
54 AMSTAT NEWS FEBRUARY 2009
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