2020 News

Professor Arash Amini wins an NSF DMS CAREER Award

Professor Arash Amini received a prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) DMS (Division of Mathematical Sciences) CAREER Award. This supports his outstanding research and education activities in High-Dimensional Statistical Models for Unsupervised Learning. The project will advance the field of modeling big complex unlabeled data. The focus will be on learning from network data as well as learning dependency structures from regular data. The NSF CAREER award, with a total of $400,000 for a 5-year duration, is the NSF’s most prestigious award in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization.

For more information, please see this link.

Congratulations to Professor Arash Amini for receiving this prestigious award!

Professor Mahtash Esfandiari wins the inaugural Physical Science Centennial Excellence in Education Award

Professor Mahtash Esfandiari was selected as the winner of the Inaugural Physical Science Centennial Excellence in Education Award. This award recognizes a faculty member for making a broad impact on classroom inclusivity and learning excellence. As the primary architect and co-director of the capstone course, and pioneering the first diversity course in the division, Mahtash has demonstrated the ability to inspire collaboration, as well as making many contributions to help establish an inclusive learning community at UCLA.

We congratulate Mahtash for winning this award and thank her for the huge impact that she made in diversity education in the UCLA Department of Statistics.

Two teams of graduating seniors recently created COVID-19 related dashboards in UCLA Statistics’ capstone course

Two teams of graduating seniors recently completed their Statistics capstone course. They did an outstanding job. They worked under the supervision of Professor Mahtash Esfandiari and Professor Vivian Lew. Samuel Baugh was their teaching assistant.

The first group produced a real-time updating dashboard app that tracks the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States. Using publicly available data from “Google Community Mobility Reports” and “The COVID Tracking Project”, the dashboard shows the behavior of citizen mobility and COVID-19 test and patient outcomes in different states for different time intervals. Please see their website and dashboard in action.

The students in this first team are Brielle Josephine Balswick, Adrika Chakraborty, Valerie Jiaying Chen, Shirley Mach, Josh (Jungsoo) Park, Julia Sho Sung, Cydney Joy Vicentina, Anika Vij and Jericho Neo Ranches Villareal.

The second group created a simulation dashboard app, using a SIRU epidemiological model for each state in the U.S. While accounting for potential unreported cases, this dashboard presents the spread of COVID-19 and its susceptibility to the implementation of government interference. They produced a video that explains the details.

The students in the second team are Keith Atienza, Isabela Devia, Valeria Monserrat Lopez Robles, Rachel Theresa Rusch, Michael Anthony Stranieri, Lucas (Yoo Jeong) Han, Jianzhen Wang, Yixin Xu and Fanru Zhao.

An Interview with Professor Jingyi Jessica Li is on “The Science Show”!

Professor Jingyi Jessica Li was interviewed by Robyn Williams on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s “The Science Show”. She talked about “Genomic processes described using biology and statistics”. The podcast was broadcast on May 23, 2020. It is available here.

Rob Gould has won the 2020 ASA Outstanding Chapter Service Award from the Southern California Chapter of ASA (SCASA)

Professor Rob Gould has received the 2020 ASA Outstanding Chapter Service Award from the Southern California Chapter of ASA (SCASA). The award is for Rob’s “outstanding leadership, committed mentoring, innovative teaching and dedicated service to the Chapter. For never stopping thinking of new and innovative ways to bring Statistics and Data Science to the whole world, and for caring enough to entice the statistical community to spread the word”! Last year, Rob received the 2019 Waller Distinguished Teaching Career Award from the ASA and the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award in Statistics Education from the United States Conference on Teaching Statistics and Consortium for the Advancement of Undergraduate Statistics Education.

Please congratulate Rob for winning another distinguished award!

A Daily Bruin article has been written about Laurie Leyden, our Student Affairs Officer, and her blog “Life Lessons with Laurie”.

Please congratulate Laurie for being recognized for the outstanding resource that she contributes to our student community. See the article at this link.

Karen McKinnon was recently awarded an NSF grant through the Climate and Large-Scale Dynamics program!!

Professor Karen McKinnon was recently awarded an NSF grant through the Climate and Large-Scale Dynamics program. The grant, titled “The factors governing daily near-surface air temperature variability over land”, is focused on using both statistical and dynamical models to better identify the dominant causal mechanisms underlying regional temperature variability and high-impact extreme events. More information can be found at https://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1939988.

Please congratulate Karen on her outstanding achievement!

Professor Jingyi Jessica Li has been awarded an inaugural UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine (DGSOM) W. M. Keck Foundation Junior Faculty Award

Her project title is “Discovering Fundamental Mechanisms of Translational Control to Advance mRNA Therapeutics and other Biomedical Technologies.” The strategic vision of the W. M. Keck Foundation Junior Faculty Awards is to support outstanding early career scientists with a $500,000 grant ($250,000 per year for two years) to pursue creative and impactful research. For detailed information of this award, please see this link.

Please congratulate Jessica on her outstanding achievement!