KAUST alumna’s paper recognized by American Statistical Association

KAUST alumna Yuan Yan's (Ph.D. '18) recent paper received an honorable mention from the American Statistical Association. File photo.

-By David Murphy, KAUST News

KAUST alumna Yuan Yan recently received an honorable mention from the American Statistical Association (ASA) for her paper entitled "Vector Autoregressive Models with Spatially Structured Coefficients for Time Series on a Spatial Grid." Yan, who participated in the ASA student paper competition last year, will be officially recognized for her contribution later this year at the association's 2019 Joint Statistical Meetings in Denver, Colorado, U.S., from July 27 to August 1.

Yan, who graduated from KAUST in December 2018 with a Ph.D. in statistics, stated she was pleasantly surprised by her acknowledgement from the ASA.

"It was a surprise because they received so many submissions," she noted. "It was a great honor and encouragement for me...[s]ince as a junior researcher, I did not have confidence in my paper."

Current research and time at KAUST

Yan is currently carrying out research as a postdoctoral fellow at Dalhousie University, Canada. Her research there lies in the field of fisheries science and focuses on applying spatial statistical models to help monitor fish populations and their health.

"We analyze fishery data, build the model and predict fish abundance in the future. Then, based on these analyses, policies could be made, such as whether to limit fishing in a certain area or for a certain type of fish in order to keep our ocean sustainable," she explained.

During her time at KAUST, Yan was a member of Distinguished Professor Marc Genton's Spatio-Temporal Statistics & Data Science research group. Yan credits her former mentor for his continued support over her nascent research career.

"I am deeply indebted to my former Ph.D. advisor and Distinguished Professor Marc Genton for his guidance, encouragement and patience," she said.

"I cannot put into words my appreciation for what KAUST has given me," Yan continued. "At KAUST, I learned so much—both academically and in life—and [this] has provided me with so many opportunities to improve myself in every aspect. Even though I left [KAUST] last December, I still really feel a sense of belonging to the University. I am so grateful for KAUST."

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