Galin Jones – Statistics Faculty

My name is Galin Jones, I'm an associate professor and director of
graduate studies in the School of Statistics at the
University of Minnesota. I think that statistical literacy is a
skill that everybody should be striving to achieve. It turns out that
statistics is used either implicitly or explicitly in
almost every facet of your daily life. It's used in how people set up displays
in stores, it's used in how you run a Google search, it's used in how
you process images, it's used in sports statistics,
it's used in political polling and a myriad of other other settings, and so understanding how statistics
works, how to think quantitatively about the
world, even if that's not your primary focus, is
something that everybody should be adept at, in order to understand their place and their role, and to make them more effective at
navigating their way through it. Fundamentally, statistics is about taking
data and making it useful, creating some sort useful
information from something that may not otherwise be useful. One very interesting project that I was
a part of was how effective is something called
Operation Nightcap and this was a way of monitoring
and assessing how effective saturation patrols are for protecting from drunk
driver. The one particular student that worked on this project, was an undergraduate student, and this was
part of a senior project. He actually generated this himself through
an internship and brought the data to me and wanted
help in figuring out what to do. The student did most to the work and was
able to take that information and turn it into recommendations for how to run
future saturation patrols. So I give him some suggestions but
ultimately he took my suggestions and improved upon them, and that was extremely rewarding to see
a student take some general guidance and then turn that
into something that was really past wad I had suggested doing, and turned
it into something that was potentially useful in the real world. I think that a degree in statistics prepares you for a ton of jobs. That means that formal training in
statistics will prepare you well for roles in medical research, in banking, in corporations, marketing,
things like this, there are all sorts. A degree alone is never going
to get you a job, no matter what your field is, but, you know, if you're interested in
statistics, quantitatively oriented, interested in
computer science a little bit, and then in communicating your results, then
those two things are the skills you need to be a good statistician, and if you can do
those things, you will you have no trouble finding employment.

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