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April 25, 2022

Professors Utts and Stern Honored with American Statistical Association Awards

The American Statistical Association (ASA) recently recognized two faculty members from UCI’s Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS): Statistics Professor Emerita Jessica Utts and Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Hal Stern.

Jessica Utts

Samuel S. Wilks Memorial Award
At the Joint Statistical Meetings (JSM) in Washington, D.C., in August, Utts will receive the 2022 ASA Samuel S. Wilks Memorial Award, which honors “a distinguished individual who has made statistical contributions to the advancement of scientific or technical knowledge, ingenious application of existing knowledge, or successful activity in the fostering of cooperative scientific efforts that have been directly involved in matters of national defense or public interest.”

Utts was completely surprised to hear she had received this award. “I wasn’t even aware that I had been nominated,” she says, noting that she was honored the selection committee felt she was a “good fit” for the award. “To me, the most important aspect of being a statistician is not creating new statistical knowledge (although that is important). My interest is in combining statistical knowledge with other expertise to serve the public interest, as well as to help people understand how the use of statistical results can make their lives better.”

Hal Stern

Founders Award
Stern, a Chancellor’s Professor of Statistics in the School of ICS, will receive the 2022 ASA Founders Award, which recognizes members of the ASA who have rendered distinguished service to the association, making contributions that have had a significant and lasting impact.

Stern has served as editor of two ASA publications, including the flagship Journal of the American Statistical Association, and on the association’s publications committee. For the last 10 years, he has also worked to develop, serve on and lead the ASA Advisory Committee on Forensic Science, which advises the ASA on forensic science reform issues and ensures that statistics and statisticians maintain a visible profile in the forensic sciences and forensic science reform.

“Over the course of many years, I have enjoyed contributing to the statistics profession in a variety of ways,” says Stern. “My work helps to spread the message of how important statistical thinking can be. I’m excited to receive the Founders Award that recognizes these contributions.”

Shani Murray