9 December 2021

Dear {Contact_First_Name},

I was shocked this week when I read current statistics showing a significant rise in youth suicide in 2021. The numbers show that the pandemic and last summer’s bushfires have left a real mark. According to the article “Statistics reveal Australia’s silent crisis is getting much worse” (Rohan Smith, the number of children calling Kids Helpline has jumped by 200% in the first six months of 2021. Every 69 seconds a young person contacts Kids Helpline, with children as young as five asking for help. The calls are about a range of concerns, including mental health, emotional wellbeing, family relationships, suicide-related issues, child abuse and more.

You can read the latest statistics here. They are interesting and they are sad. Let us stop for a moment though and look beyond the statistics. This data represents real people, real anguish. I am sure that some of you know at least one young person who is quietly or not so quietly suffering.

My daughter’s life was rocked earlier this year when one of her friends took her own life. My son has visited friends in hospital, young people struggling with their mental health. When you hear about these cases you ask yourself immediately: “What could I have done? How could I have made a difference in this person’s life?”

According to Kids Helpline everyone of us can be that person who saves a life. Statistics show that young people who have someone to talk to are far less likely to harm themselves.

One thing we all can do is to use the upcoming holiday break and any family get-togethers to have quality, meaningful conversations with the young people in our life. We can all do our bit to try and turn those grim statistics around.

Marie-Louise Rankin
SSA Executive Officer

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NSW Branch Annual Career Event for Students and Early Career Statisticians

The 2021 career event organised by the New South Wales branch of the Statistical Society of Australia gathered several students and early career workers at The Occidental, the oldest building in Sydney’s Wynyard Square, on the first day of December.

Great speakers from various industry sectors and academic backgrounds shared stories about their careers and provided insights into their professions. Barnali Das from ANZ spoke about her transition from engineering to quantitative finance and how she built her new career from zero after moving to Australia. Dean Marchiori, an applied statistician working at Endeavour Energy who is passionate about LiDAR data and the R programming language, shared his tips on how to get hired highlighting the importance of computer programming skills for aspiring data analysts. Following Dean’s presentation, Joshua Ching from Deloitte suggested to not unduly focus on technical ability and to put effort in developing soft skills. Sarah Romanes from BCG GAMMA gave a similar advice and also affirmed that the story a data analyst tells when reporting results is just as important as the data analysis itself. Stephen Bush from Seek talked about his transition from academia to industry. Steve said that one of the most valued qualities in industry is the ability to explain work in simple terms and tailor communication to the audience, which is something he learned from his teaching experience in university.

After many online meetings, including our 2020 career event, everyone enjoyed chatting with speakers and connecting with peers over drinks and food. Two lucky attendees also won a couple of "Great Statisticians” t-shirts of the society.

Students and professionals had a great chance to make new connections and we are all looking forward to our next networking activity! 

Luca Maestrini, University of Technology Sydney

Yidi Yan, University of New South Wales

Louise with Professor Magnus Nyden, Executive Dean, Faculty of Science and Engineering and Professor Samuel Muller, Head of Department, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Macquarie University

Louise Ryan awarded Moyal Medal

Congratulations to Professor Louise Ryan, on having been awarded this year’s Moyal Medal. The Moyal Medal is awarded annually for research contributions to mathematics, physics or statistics, the areas of research of the late Professor José Enrique Moyal. 

Following the awards ceremony, Medallist Louise Ryan presented “How statistical modelling and machine learning can offer insights about the sustainability of our precious water resources.”

New statistical approach aims to predict when low-probability, high-impact events happen 

In 2016 we moved into a new area, not too far away from the ocean and near a lake.  Despite all the water around us, according to the local council we are safe from flooding. It would take a “once in 100 year” event to have us swimming to safety. That’s good to know. I am deeply grateful to the professionals capable of predicting these things.

Like this team of researchers from the U.S. and Hong Kong, who are currently developing new methods of statistical analysis that may help to predict the risks of rare but extreme events such as pandemics, earthquakes, or meteorite strikes happening in the future. According to Alexandru Micu (ZME Science), what they are developing could be an equation that predicts pandemics!

It is early days yet for this research, but the team is confident that soon they will be in a position to assist policymakers better prepare for world-spanning, dramatic events in the future.

What is their approach? Read the details here.

Marie-Louise Rankin

The power of learning from experience 

Did the average person living in the sixties have more statistical intuition than someone living in the seventies? What could be the reason that over the years amateur statisticians allegedly lost their knack for making better judgements? Perhaps they did not lose this knack at all.

In her article “The power of learning from experience” Elena Hungerland (Neuroscience News) refers to a new study by Max Planck Institute for Human Development and the University of the Balearic Islands, which shows that the difference may be simply be brought about by a change in the design of the studies used to test people’s statistical reasoning. Since the seventies, studies provided research participants with text-based tasks and descriptions. It has been shown though that adults make fewer errors in judging statistical information when completing experience-based tasks, allowing them to experience statistical information at first hand. The new study by the Max Planck Institute is the first to draw a causal connection between the dramatic change in experimental methods and the fact that findings of poor statistical reasoning in adults have been accumulating ever since.

Read more about the study here

SSA T-Shirt "Great Australian Statisticians"

If you are still looking for that last minute quirky Christmas gift for the (budding) statistician in your life, we can help! You need to be quick though.

The SSA t-shirt comes in all sizes and two different styles.

Last day to place orders for standard post: 9 December 2021 (today!)

Last day to place orders for express post or Melbourne store pick up: 13 December 2021

Summer closure: All production will pause from 24 December 2021 to
5 January 2022, with shipping and pick ups to recommence from 8 January.

The ABS Symposium on Data Access and Privacy - Registration Deadline Extended!

Last chance to register for the free ABS Symposium on Data Confidentiality. Registration deadline extended until midnight tonight.

This symposium is about public data access and privacy and will bring together key stakeholders from the Australian Public Service and academia to consider recent developments and share experience in enabling data access for research while ensuring confidentiality.

Learn more and register here

Apply now for 2022 Science Meets Parliament

We have one place left for Science Meets Parliament 2022. Science Meets Parliament is Australia’s single largest vehicle for deep engagement between the science and technology sector and decision-makers. The keynote speakers in 2022 include global superstar Professor Brian Cox, Nobel Laureates Professor Peter Doherty and Professor Brian Schmidt, Australia's Chief Scientist Dr Cathy Foley, the trailblazing Tanya Hosch and Professor Veena Sahajwalla, MPs, Superstars of STEM and many more.

This is a career-defining professional development opportunity for STEM professionals - a week-long program of high quality skills development and training, running from Monday 28 February - Friday 4 March 2022.

Early career statisticians are particularly encouraged to apply. If you would like to represent SSA at this event, please email your expression of interest, explaining your reasons why you think this event could be of benefit to you, and your CV to before 10 December 2021.

Find out more about Science Meets Parliament

Nominations Sought for 2022 COPSS Awards

Each year, the statistical profession recognises outstanding members at the Joint Statistical Meetings in an awards ceremony organised by the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies (COPSS). Nominations are an important part of the process, and everyone can contribute—from the newest to most senior members of our societies. We recognise excellence in our mentors, colleagues, and friends, and it is important to single out those who have made exceptional contributions to the profession. So please take a few minutes, review the various COPSS Awards, and see if you can identify worthy individuals.

Nominations should be submitted by 15 December 2021.

Nominate now

Could 2022 bring a new career opportunity?

Kick start the new year with a new career opportunity! Take the first step and update your resume/CV on SSA's career centre.

Here are 5 reasons why you should update your resume/CV even if you're not actively looking for a job.

1.    Highlight your achievements - When you’re in the thick of day-to-day work, it’s easy to forget how far you’ve come and in which areas you’ve developed. Listing out new skills or big accomplishments allows you to see your own professional growth.

2.    Understand what makes you happy - Look at the different experiences you've had in your career and think what makes you thrive. Do you like a fast-paced environment, working on a team or independently, what is the work culture like? This helps you understand what to look for when you’re searching for that next opportunity.

3.    Recognize your strengths  - The more you work on your strengths the happier, more productive in your career you will be. Reviewing your resume allows you to reflect on your strengths so you can find an opportunity that allows you to shine.

4.    Review your resume at a high level - Looking at your resume like a blueprint allows you to see where you'd like to go in your career path. Do you have the skills and experience needed to advance your career? What is the next step to reach that goal?

5.    You will always be ready for that next opportunity - Even if you are a passive job seeker, having your resume/CV updated might allow that perfect opportunity to find you. Employers search the SSA's career centre Resume Bank, so don't let them glance over you because your resume is outdated.

Whether or not you’re currently looking for a job, start the New Year with a new or updated resume.

Upload your resume

 Upcoming Events (previously advertised)

SSA Branch Meetings

NSW Branch: 2021 Annual Lecture by Prof. Simon Jackman - Statistics in the public eye: the case of predicting election outcome - online and in-person
9 Dec 2021, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM (AEDT) at the Aerial Function Centre, UTS and online

NSW Branch: 2021 Annual Dinner
9 Dec 2021, 7:00 PM (AEDT) at the Aerial Function Centre, UTS

Vic Branch: End of year social event
15th December, 6pm-9pm

Other SSA Events

SSA Mentoring Program, expressions of interest to be received by 12 December 2021

Apply for Science Meets Parliament before 10 December 2021

SSA equity, diversity and inclusivity issues survey - closes 25 December 2021

Check out current job vacancies in SSA's Career Centre here

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