The NMSU ASA Student Chapter Leadership and Ron Wasserstein

In early November, Ron Wasserstein, executive director of the ASA, spoke in a special seminar series at New Mexico State University (NMSU) in Las Cruces, New Mexico. A land-grant institution known for being the home of Clyde Tombaugh, the discoverer of Pluto, and for a world-renowned chile pepper institute, New Mexico State also has a small applied statistics group in the department of economics, applied statistics, and international business. That group fostered the development of a student chapter of the ASA, one of a few in the nation and the first in the state. Wasserstein spoke at the invitation of the department and student chapter.

Special seminar participants (from left) Ron Wasserstein, ASA executive director; Adam Sayre, chapter president; Elmira Torabzadehkhorasani, chapter vice president; Charlotte Gard, faculty adviser

Special seminar participants (from left) Ron Wasserstein, ASA executive director; Adam Sayre, chapter president; Elmira Torabzadehkhorasani, chapter vice president; Charlotte Gard, faculty adviser

The first seminar was a discussion of the p-value debate that has ensued since, in early 2015, a journal edited by faculty at NMSU banned the use of F– and t-statistics, as well as p-values and any mention of “significant” differences. Wasserstein discussed the problems inherent in p-values specifically and how they are misunderstood, misused, and maligned. The NMSU community attended in force, with standing room only for the entire talk—faculty and students from departments across the campus and many members of the community were in attendance.

The second seminar focused on lotteries and featured an in-class demonstration of how one works (real money was not used, much to the chagrin of the jackpot winner). As New Mexico finances large education scholarships with its state lottery, the talk showed how such a program is possible and demonstrated the long odds associated with winning a lottery. The event was also well attended by faculty and students.

The student chapter of the ASA at NMSU is advised by Charlotte Gard (cgard@nmsu.edu) and led by President Adam Sayre and Vice President Elmira Torabzadehkhorasani. The chapter is seeking speakers for events during the 2015–2016 academic year.

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