Statistics around the world

KAUST Ph.D. student Zhuo Qu (left) and fellow students from the University's Statistics Program recently helped launch the first American Statistical Association student chapter outside of the U.S. Pictured with Qu, the chapter's current president, is chapter officer and KAUST Ph.D. student Esmail Abdul Fattah (right). File photo.

By David Murphy, KAUST News

In October 2019, Zhuo Qu, a KAUST Ph.D. student in the University's Statistics Program (STAT), and several of her fellow STAT students⁠ launched the first-ever American Statistical Association (ASA) student chapter outside of the U.S.

The idea for launching the KAUST chapter came from Qu's supervisor, Marc Genton, chair and distinguished professor of the STAT Program and head of the Spatio-Temporal Statistics & Data Science research group. The chapter was created with the broad aim of encouraging and providing opportunities to KAUST students interested in statistics to connect with other statisticians from around the world.

"Our case is kind of special because right now because we are the first ASA student chapter...not based in America," Qu said. "There are some unique benefits for our group. Since October...we have already held three high-quality panel discussions and have hosted the annual statistics workshop, which happened [in] November [2019]. Thanks to the unique environment at KAUST, the chapter is already beginning to flourish."

KAUST American Statistical Association student chapter president Zhuo Qu noted that because of the 'unique environment at KAUST, the chapter is already beginning to flourish.' File photo.

Qu joined the University in 2017 after completing her bachelor's degree in economics and mathematics at the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing. She enjoys using statistical methods to interpret data in applications while exploring new statistical models, and her research areas include functional data, robust statistics, nonparametric statistics and spatio-temporal statistics.

For 2020, Qu and the KAUST ASA student chapter members have several activities and incentives in mind to connect students passionate about statistics.

KAUST Distinguished Professor of Statistics Marc Genton came up with the idea for starting an American Statistical Association student chapter on campus. File photo.

"We plan to organize regular seminars about the hot issues in statistics and data mining every semester," she noted. "More importantly, we want to unite the students [in] KAUST who are interested in statistics and connect with passionate statisticians from all over the globe."

"Because we want to enhance the cohesiveness of all statistics students, we would love to share our knowledge of data analysis and statistics with others," Qu continued. "The KAUST ASA student chapter would also like to welcome other students interested in statistics and data analysis to join our group and follow the events we will hold every semester. After all, a person who understands data thoroughly understands the world."

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