A day on Capitol Hill

The following was written by Kimberly Kaufeld, SAMSI postdoctoral fellow.

The American Statistical Association (ASA) and the Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute (SAMSI) paired up to participate in meetings with staffers from Congress and an exhibition for the Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF) on Wednesday, April 29th in D.C.

The day led off by meeting representatives from Congress to communicate the importance of NSF. Our group consisted of Jessi Cisewski, a former graduate fellow of SAMSI and visiting faculty at Carnegie Mellon University;

three people next to a scientific poster

(L-R) Jessi Cisewski, Richard Smith and Kimberly Kaufeld.

Kimberly Kaufeld, a current postdoctoral researcher at SAMSI ; Richard Smith, the director of SAMSI; and Steve Pierson, Director of Science Policy for the ASA. Together, we had several meetings with staffers from both the Senators and Representatives in North Carolina.

The exhibition in the evening featured science, mathematics and engineering research and education projects supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Over 50 projects were represented, including researchers, students, and educators from across the US, as well as program officers from NSF as well as representatives of the Senate and House of Representatives. The SAMSI/ASA poster featured a variety of work from SAMSI. Jessi demonstrated her work in the field of astrostatistics, using statistics for astronomy problems one universe at a time. Kimberly showed her work in the current SAMSI statistical and mathematical ecology program on the impact of bark beetle outbreaks and climate change in the West. Richard talked about what SAMSI is about and past and upcoming programs that SAMSI offers and the number of researchers involved in the programs across the United States.

SAMSI people with Rep. Jerry McNerney

(L-R) Jessi Cisewski, Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA-9) and Kimberly Kaufeld.

During the event, representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX-30), the ranking member of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee talked to Richard Smith about SAMSI and how NSF has contributed to SAMSI’s development. Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA-9) also spent some time at the SAMSI booth – he has a PhD in Mathematics and has long bene known as a champion of science in Congress. Several NSF program officers stopped by to talk to Jessi and Kimberly about their research and provided them with different funding opportunities within NSF.

Overall, it was a great experience to meet and talk to representatives of the Senate and House about how NSF is a vital part of the statistical and mathematical community. It was welcoming to see all the different NSF supported programs come together to the Capital to show all the different projects and programs in the United States that NSF is supporting.