Associate Professor Eric Vance recently received the American Statistical Association’s (ASA) Statistical Consulting Section’s Outstanding Mentorship Award! ASA explained that Eric is “being recognized for his incredible dedication to mentoring others particularly in the area of statistical consulting. He has mentored students in the Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Statistical Analysis (LISA) so that they gain skills that are essential for consulting and collaboration.” Elaborating on this, Dr. Vance said that “LISA and I are being recognized for one of our primary missions, which is to train the next generation of statisticians in the practical aspects of statistics and data science.”
In an interview with Dr. Vance, he expressed that mentoring is “kind of like teaching in that it’s transferring knowledge to others. In classes, we teach facts, theorems, and ways of thinking, but in mentoring, it’s more about teaching practical knowledge. Especially in the field of statistical consulting and collaboration, there are so many things that you need to know and do to be successful as a statistician in that field that you don’t learn in regular courses, so learning from someone else in that field is very important... I want to mentor students on how to harness [statistics’ and data science’s] extraordinary tools and ways of thinking. By doing so, I can enable them to have more of an impact on the world.”
When asked about his mentoring, Associate Professor Vance elucidated, saying that “one other aspect of mentoring is that it's not just students here at CU that I mentor, but I also mentor other statisticians in developing countries through the LISA 2020 program. LISA 2020 is our program to create a network of statistical collaboration laboratories, like LISA. These other labs are in places like Africa, India, and Brazil. There are directors of new stat labs, and I am a mentor to them in helping them create the stat lab and making it become stable and productive. A really cool thing about that is that all of these directors who are part of this network, they’re mentoring students, so they are training the next generation of students in Nigeria or Ethiopia to harness the extraordinary power of statistics and data science to benefit society.”
Dr. Vance is clearly an effective and important mentor to many statisticians and data scientists and to their successes. Congratulations on your award Dr. Vance!