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Innovative Wittenberg Saturday Science Program Continues Jan. 29

January 10, 2011  
 Filed in Community, Events, Science

Springfield, Ohio – The 2010-11 Wittenberg Saturday Science program continues at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 29, in the Barbara Deer Kuss Science Center with a presentation titled “Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics: How to Keep from Drowning in a Sea of Data” by Professor of Mathematics and Chair of the Mathematics and Computer Science Department Doug Andrews.

Wittenberg Saturday Science is an outreach program started in January 2009 that exposes area high school and home-schooled students to science and its many possibilities. Eight academic departments – biology, chemistry, computer science, geography, geology, mathematics, physics and psychology – are collaborating on the program, which is scheduled to run once a month during the school year.

While the format sometimes varies, programs normally feature a public presentation by a Wittenberg faculty member on an accessible science topic, likely something outside the typical high school curriculum. On Jan. 29, Andrews says he will “bust myths about statistics and will illustrate what real statisticians actually do, illustrating with examples from his own experience as a professional statistical consultant and with examples from Wittenberg student data analysis projects.”

After a continental breakfast in the David L. Hobson Atrium, students then take part in a science experience led by current Wittenberg students and their professors. Participants will discover how to use data to determine whether there is evidence for important claims, like whether people have extrasensory perception (ESP), or whether discrimination was used in job hiring or college admissions. Participants will collect and analyze their own data, and they will get hands-on experience with professional statistical software in a computer lab, with guidance from Andrews and current Wittenberg students studying statistics.

Andrews is primarily responsible for Wittenberg’s curriculum in statistics and probability, creating and administering the university’s statistics minor program. He serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Statistics Education, presents his work regularly at conferences and reads for the AP Statistics program, in addition to professional activities that include statistical consulting jobs for industry, health care, pharmaceutical research, law enforcement and non-profit organizations.

A 1984 graduate of St. Olaf College, Andrews joined Wittenberg’s faculty in 1989 after earning his master’s and a Ph.D. from Iowa State University. He previously served as vice president for the regional chapter of the American Statistical Association.

Wittenberg Saturday Science is funded by a grant from Future Jobs, a regional workforce development program. Wittenberg is a partner with Future Jobs, and University President Mark H. Erickson is a member of its board of directors.

There is no cost to participate in Wittenberg Saturday Science, and the public is welcome to attend the lecture portion. However, space is limited for the hands-on experience. To register for the event, go to http://www.wittenberg.edu/science-outreach. For more information, e-mails can be sent to science-outreach@wittenberg.edu.

Written By: Ryan Maurer
Photo By: Erin Pence

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