A new column, and a new way to interact with the Bulletin

Columnist Radu Craiu introduces our new advice column for early-career researchers:

Every beginning is hard, and a career in science is, oh my, no exception. Floating about your head is the uncertainty about the long journey ahead, the frustration of having myriad questions met by vague responses, the stress of observing the tense silence of your peers who are struggling with the same demons. This is followed, if all goes well, by the unbearably long time it takes to get any sort of recognition, and by that I mean getting a “hello” at that conference that just cost half of one’s grant.

To add self-inflicted injury to perceived insult, research in mathematics and statistics is often a solitary endeavour, but that should not condemn its disciples to loneliness. Any graduate program worth its salt will be conducive to collaborations and mutual support between its post-graduates. Perhaps one of the greatest joys as an advisor is to witness the evolution of one’s student from whatever promising—possibly, painful to watch—starting point they have, to becoming a selective, insightful, and ultimately productive researcher who is able to connect and communicate ideas effectively. On that eventful road, a desirable highlight is to see research produced by two students without faculty supervision, an occurrence that reifies not only their talents but the positive environment in which they work.

A recent exchange, seen on some web-supported social platform, made me realize that not all, and maybe not even most, early-career researchers benefit from wisdom within an arm’s length. As a professional society whose future depends on our young members and very young future members, IMS wants to provide as much support as possible to them. So, the IMS Bulletin is launching a new column, coordinated by Dr. Clara Grazian, which will provide answers to questions posed by members of the IMS community. This will hopefully lead to more discussions and a consolidation of our statistical community. Questions should be sent to bulletin@imstat.org.

I have asked Clara to say a few things about herself and the aims of the new “Clara-fications” column, which she does, below. We look forward to hearing from you!

Hello everyone! My name is Clara Grazian and I am a statistician living down under (i.e. in Australia). My path is probably not standard: I got my PhD in a very theoretical department in Paris, then moved into a very applied project in genomics for my postdoc at the Big Data Institute, University of Oxford, and then I flew to Australia to become a Senior Lecturer, back to methodological statistics, and I am now a passionate researcher of environmental data (and a bit on genomics as well). And I have worked for five statistical societies. This means that maybe I won’t know the answer (or maybe I will!) but I will think of someone who does. We have amazing researchers in the IMS community!

Young researchers are welcome to send their questions about the life of a researcher or ask for career advice, and I will try to find an answer… We’ll publish these [anonymized to avoid awkwardness!] in the next available issue.