Building a More Diverse Statistical Future: Recent Graduates from the Math Alliance

Leslie McClure Chair
Saint Louis University
Leslie McClure Organizer
Saint Louis University
David Goldberg Organizer
Purdue University
Sunday, Aug 4: 2:00 PM - 3:50 PM
Topic-Contributed Paper Session 
Oregon Convention Center 
Room: CC-B118 
The Math Alliance has a goal of increasing the number of doctoral degrees earned by groups that have been traditionally underrepresented in the statistical and mathematical sciences, and does so through a strong mentorship model. Alliance Scholars who have earned PhDs in the statistical and mathematical sciences have transitioned into exciting careers across all sectors. This session will highlight the paths that some of the Alliance Scholars have followed, the work of some recent graduates, and will provide insight into the mentoring process that encourages success for Alliance Scholars. Because of the strong emphasis on increasing diversity in statistics and data science, this session will be of great interest to a wide variety of participants, including: faculty interested in mentoring minoritized students, students from groups traditionally under-represented in statistics and data science, and students who are interested in learning about a variety of career paths.



Main Sponsor

Justice Equity Diversity and Inclusion Outreach Group

Co Sponsors

Caucus for Women in Statistics
Committee on Minorities in Statistics


Software Development for Analysis of LiDAR Pulsed Laser Measurements at the Savannah River Site

Liquid radioactive waste is processed at the United States Department of Energy's (DOE's) Savannah River Site (SRS) in Aiken, South Carolina. An integral component of DOE's waste legacy waste management capability is SRS's H-Canyon, the only operating radiologically shielded chemical separations facility in the United States. One of the H-Canyon's supporting structures is the Air Exhaust Tunnel (H-CAEX). Because of radiation hazards in H-CAEX, the use of technology such as Light Detection And Ranging (LiDAR) is employed. In this work, we analyzed the LiDAR pulsed laser distance measurements of the recent inspection campaigns in comparison with the initial inspection in year 2019. Twelve sections with different heights and widths were considered within the tunnel. Certain segments of the inspected area appear to be eroding. The extent will be further investigated with future LiDAR deployments with semi-automated Python software that was developed. 


Israel Almodovar-Rivera, University of Puerto Rico At Mayaguez

DEI or DEIO? The Impact of Outreach in my Academic Path

Similar to regression models, there is a relationship between the performance of an organization and its diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts. In particular, DEI efforts can improve many areas such as recruitment, innovation, and performance. Although not discussed as often as DEI, outreach should be added to our "regression model" because it takes DEI efforts a step further. Outreach provides opportunities and benefits underrepresented populations, even if they are not part of the organization. As a Latina pursuing STEM degrees, I experienced the benefits of diversity, equity, inclusion and outreach (DEIO) efforts. In this talk, I highlight how DEIO was crucial in helping me achieve my academic goals. I also provide recommendations for entities seeking to improve by strengthening their commitment with DEIO initiatives. 


Keyla Pagan-Rivera, IDA

So You Have a PhD, What's Next?


Erica Dawson, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

My Boricua Path: How Mentoring Programs Have Shaped My Academic and Professional Careers

Join me as we explore the role of mentoring programs, focusing on my journey within the Math Alliance. I will share my transition from a student to a recruiter and now as a faculty mentor, emphasizing the important moments that shaped my path. With the support of the Math Alliance, I navigated summer programs and smoothly progressed through the graduate school application process, ultimately earning a Ph.D. in Biostatistics. Along the way, I participated in initiatives promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion, resulting in various recognitions and awards. I recruited students from diverse backgrounds, participated in national committees, supported conference organizations, and fostered successful research collaborations in infectious disease research. The Math Alliance has played a crucial role in my preparation for a faculty role, guiding me through the application and interview process. Now, as a faculty mentor, I aim to provide students with the same opportunities I had and more. These experiences highlight the significant impact mentoring programs can have on students' academic and professional journeys, particularly those focused on underrepresented or minority groups. 


Felix Pabon-Rodriguez, Indiana University School of Medicine

Establishing a Mentoring Program in Biostatistics for Math Alliance Scholars

Since Fall 2020, the Interdisciplinary PhD Program in Biostatistics at The Ohio State University has implemented a new student mentoring program. Though the program was initially established for Math Alliance scholars, we have made the program available to all incoming students. In this presentation, I will discuss the challenges and successes we experienced in establishing, implementing, and maintaining our program. I will also summarize feedback we have received from mentees and areas for improvement. 


Michael Pennell, The Ohio State University