Ask an Expert Anything: A Unique Benefit of Student Membership

Lara Harmon, Marketing and Online Community Coordinator

Every month, ASA student and early-career members have the chance to ask an established statistics professional anything (well, within reason). Started in September 2016 with the ASA’s first science policy fellow—Amy Nussbaum—as the guest of honor, the monthly Ask Me Anything (or AMA) has grown into an established benefit of ASA student and early-career membership.

How does the monthly AMA work? The guest of honor provides an introduction in Young Professionals, an ASA Community discussion group just for student and early-career ASA members. Then, for the next hour, members of Young Professionals can ask the guest of honor anything they would like and the guest draws on their experience to answer. Though questions range far and wide, they often focus on career preparation and ways to get more involved in the ASA.

Sometimes AMAs can lead to more outreach and collaboration opportunities, too. Following his turn as AMA guest, ASA President Barry Nussbaum reached out to several Vanderbilt students who asked questions, and then he visited the school to give a presentation to their statistics program. “I’m the president of the American Statistical Association and wasn’t even aware of Vanderbilt’s fine biostatistics program. So even the answer man learns from AMA,” said Nussbaum.

AMA guests have included the following:

  • Jessica Utts, 2016 ASA president
  • Cyndy Long, ASA Council of Sections representative to the board of directors
  • Barry Nussbaum, 2017 ASA president
  • Kimberly Sellers, Committee on Women in Statistics chair
  • Chris Franklin, ASA K–12 Statistical Ambassador
  • Montse Fuentes, ASA Fellow and editor of JASA’s Applications and Case Studies section
  • Kim Love, statistical consultant and Statistical Consulting Section past program chair
  • Richard Zink, Biopharmaceutical Section publications officer and chair-elect

AMAs are set to continue at full speed as the 2017–2018 academic year begins. We already have two guests scheduled!

For more information about the Young Professionals discussion group and AMAs, contact Lara Harmon, ASA marketing and online community coordinator, at lara@amstat.org.

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