Between May 14 and 19, two students in UGA’s statistics program were among the 30 attendees at the annual undergraduate workshop hosted by the Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute (SAMSI). Shuchi Goyal and Rachel Zilinskas are both in their final year of undergraduate study at UGA and applied for the workshop, which was held at North Carolina State University, upon the recommendation of Dr. Abhyuday Mandal.
The workshop presented a rigorous introduction to applications of Bayesian statistics, including concepts such as time series, random forest designs, and data assimilation, in a broad set of areas ranging from music genre identification to searching for exoplanets. Throughout the workshop, participants gained experience using R and Python to conduct data analysis and worked in teams to present research projects at the end of the week. Goyal implemented and compared new data assimilation models for numerical weather predictions, while Zilinskas used random forest methods to classify stars based on light curve analysis.
In addition to the deep dive into the world of applied statistics, the workshop also offered opportunities for personal and professional development, as students met with directors of doctoral and master’s programs in the Research Triangle area. The overall experience provided a rich taste of the advancements being made in statistics research and unique insight into the rigorous thinking and focus involved in pursuing this path.