A summer REU at Winona State

This past summer, I along with my colleagues Chris Malone and Brant Deppa had the fantastic opportunity to host four students for a 10-week summer research experience for undergraduates (REU). Winona State was awarded the REU by the American Statistical Association, which had received a grant from the NSF to fund four students at each of nine sites over the course of three years (three different sites per year).

Megan Aadland (South Dakota State), Jenn Halbleib (Amherst), Adrianna Kallis (Iowa State), and Eva Tourangeau (Lawrence) were selected from a competitive, national pool of undergraduates. Their primary task: to learn! Their specific task was to partner with researchers at the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series International (IPUMS-I) to develop data products and visualizations for IPUMS-I users. Two students worked primarily on using multiple correspondence analysis to develop an index of household wealth, while the other two worked on an interactive data visualization to summarize basic demographic information for countries of interest to IPUMS-I users. Both projects required a lot of data cleaning after extracting the microdata from the IPUMS-I query service!

Along with their research, the students took several professional development trips to learn about applications of data analytics in the workplace. These included visits to Mayo Clinic, Be the Match, Optum, and the Wilder Foundation.

But it wasn’t all work! Fun included:

St. Paul Saints baseball game!
Suncrest pizza farm!

At the end of the summer, the students traveled to Baltimore to present their research at the 2017 Joint Statistical Meetings.

The 10 weeks flew by! The students were a joy to spend a summer with, and it is obvious that great things lie ahead for each of them. The three REU sites for Summer 2018 are already selected, so go apply (or tell your students to apply)!

Silas Bergen
Silas Bergen
Associate professor of statistics and data science