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Winter 2024 Professional Development Series

Department of Statistics and Data Science 2023-2024 Professional Development Series - Winter 2024

Professional Development Series talks are intended for undergraduate students, MS graduate students, and PhD graduate students but are open to Northwestern faculty and staff as well.

Statistical Careers with Social Science Research Organizations

Friday, Janaury 26, 2024

Talk Time: 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Networking Reception: 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Location: Ruan Conference Room – lower level (Chambers Hall 600 Foster Street)

Registration required - register here

Speaker: Zachary Seeskin, PhD, Senior Statistician, NORC at the University of Chicago (Northwestern 2016, PhD in Statistics)

Abstract: Social science research organizations offer exciting career options for statisticians and data scientists, with opportunities to develop study designs and execute analyses to address impactful questions. I discuss my experiences with NORC at the University of Chicago, reviewing examples of projects and discussing the skillsets valuable for the work. I will highlight two specific examples of projects focusing on statistical applications to inform vaccination policy with the National Immunization Survey (NIS), conducted by NORC for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The NIS is a family of random digit dialing surveys estimating vaccination coverage for a range of vaccine series nationally, for each state, and for select local areas and territories. First, I describe applying small area estimation to the NIS-Child to combine direct survey estimates with model-based predictions to generate county-level estimates of vaccination coverage for children up to two years of age. Second, I discuss employing latent class analysis with the NIS-Child COVID Module as an exploratory method to identify different combinations of parental intent, attitudes, and behaviors regarding their children’s COVID vaccinations.

Zachary Seeskin is a Senior Statistician with NORC at the University of Chicago, where he works on sample design, estimation, and data analysis for government and public interest surveys. Zach contributes to weighting, total survey error analysis, small area estimation, imputation, and adaptive design for such surveys as the National Immunization Survey, the General Social Survey, the Survey of Doctorate Recipients, and Jewish community studies. He further serves as an adjunct faculty member with Northwestern University's School of Professional Studies, teaching in the Public Policy and Administration program.