I just love interacting with the students. They’re energetic, they’re engaged, and they want to learn. You can give Lafayette students a challenge, and they will respond to it in creative and thoughtful ways. It’s satisfying to see students grow throughout the course of a semester, from being maybe a little timid to gaining confidence over 15 weeks to the point where they’re doing complex analysis projects and handing in really nice polished reports.
My Research Interests
I am a statistician who specializes in working on applied statistics problems. This means that many of my projects involve forming collaborations with researchers in other fields who have data that might involve complicated methods for analysis. I absolutely love doing this kind of work because I constantly get to learn about new topics/fields, and I get to work with so many amazing colleagues who are passionate about their projects.
Another major focus of my work is computational statistics. Statisticians have been able to leverage the amount of computing power available to run high-powered simulations in order to study complicated situations that might not have standard mathematical approaches.
This is an exciting new approach that broadens the scope of the work we can do. I bring both of these areas of expertise into the classes I teach at Lafayette. In almost all of my classes, I teach both classical and simulation-based approaches to statistical analyses. And, of course, my classes all make use of a variety of real-world data so students get a little taste of what it can be like to work with collaborators from many different disciplines.
I chose to come to Lafayette because, as an alum of a liberal arts college myself, I truly value what happens when students and faculty get to work closely together. The type of learning and advising that can happen at Lafayette is more meaningful because of the ability to get to know students as people. I also enjoy the close-knit faculty community. On other campuses, you might feel siloed in your department. And for me, especially with my focus on collaborative work, I love that I know people from across campus.
My Personal Interests/Community Work
I teach applied statistics, which you can apply literally anywhere. That’s one of the things that drew me to the field. It’s one of the things I love about it. There’s data everywhere, and a statistician can have input and help in the research process, and that applies to community organizations.
I worked with my mathematics department colleague John Meier, who’s currently the provost, on a United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley survey to help understand and mitigate the phenomenon of summer slide, where students sort of lose momentum and forget things they had learned from the previous school year. They had this big data set, and we set our students loose and started analyzing and answering questions for the United Way. Often with student assistance, I’ve done similar needs assessment work with Easton Area Neighborhood Center and other Lehigh Valley area nonprofit organizations with limited budgets.