Graduate students Yichen Cheng, Karl Gregory and Qifan Song have been selected as the inaugural recipients of the Anant M. Kshirsagar Endowed Fellowship in Statistics at Texas A&M University.

The three students were chosen on the basis of course grades, classroom performance and teaching assistant duties to receive the prestigious fellowship, established through the Texas A&M Foundation in 2010 by Texas A&M former students Ersen Arseven '74 and Luisa Sia '74 to honor their beloved professor Dr. Anant Kshirsagar, a member of the Texas A&M faculty from 1971-77.

"The Anant M. Kshirsagar Endowed Fellowship in Statistics -- conceived by two of his closest students and friends -- is a wonderful award for at least two reasons," said Dr. Simon J. Sheather, professor and head of the Texas A&M Department of Statistics. "First, it is both a very tangible and very generous way for two former students, Ersen Arseven and Luisa Sia, to immortalize one of their former professors who had a profound effect on their time at Texas A&M University and later on their careers. Secondly, the award recognizes the brightest and best performing current graduate students and hence kick-starts the careers of the next generation of statisticians."

Yichen Cheng earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics and applied mathematics from Fudan University in China prior to coming to Texas A&M, where she currently serves as a teaching assistant for two graduate-level courses, STAT 604: Statistical Computations and STAT 652: Statistics in Research II. In addition, Cheng previously taught STAT 302: Statistical Methods. Her research under advisor Dr. Faming Liang involves Monte Carlo method, which she is employing in her current project on nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) protein structure determination. Cheng plans to graduate next May and hopes to continue to do statistics-related research afterward.

Karl Gregory completed bachelor's degrees in economics and statistics at Central Michigan University before coming to Texas A&M in 2009 to continue his statistical studies. He earned his master's degree in 2011 and is now pursuing his doctorate in statistics under the mentorship of Dr. Soumendra Lahiri, with a research focus on non-parametric statistics and high-dimensional data analysis. Gregory currently teaches STAT 301, an introductory statistics course for animal science majors, and says he is eagerly learning from the challenges such an experience presents. Last summer, he worked in the biostatistics department at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, where he was involved in building predictive models that link drug responses of lung cancer cells to their genetic characteristics. Upon graduation in May 2014, he plans to seek a post-doctoral position or academic appointment.

Qifan Song earned his bachelor's of science degree in statistics from Peking University, China in 2009 prior to coming to Texas A&M for his doctoral degree in statistics. He has taught STAT 302: Biostatistics for two semesters and, also under Liang's supervision, is conducting research on stochastic approximation Monte Carlo and Bayesian approaches for high-dimensional data -- results which have been submitted for publication in peer-reviewed journals. After receiving his doctorate in December 2013, Song hopes to find a faculty position and pursue a career in statistical research.

Kshirsagar, an emeritus professor of biostatistics at the University of Michigan, is a fellow of the American Statistical Association and the Institute of Mathematical Statistics as well as a member of the International Statistical Institute. He earned his master's degree in statistics from Bombay University in India in 1951 and his Ph.D. and D.Sc. From Manchester University in England in 1961 and 1972, respectively. He was an associate professor at Southern Methodist University (1968-1971) prior to joining the Texas A&M Department of Statistics headed by Dr. H.O. Hartley. Kshirsagar continued to serve as a visiting professor in the Department of Statistics during the summers from 1980 to 2002.

Click here to learn more about the Anant M. Kshirsagar Endowed Fellowship in Statistics as well as Arseven's and Sia's motivation in honoring their former professor.

For more information on fellowships, scholarships and general award opportunities within the Texas A&M Department of Statistics, go to http://www.stat.tamu.edu.


Contact: Shana K. Hutchins, (979) 862-1237 or shutchins@tamu.edu or Dr. Simon J. Sheather, (979) 845-3141 or sheather@stat.tamu.edu

Hutchins Shana

  • Yichen Cheng

    Yichen Cheng (top), Karl Gregory (middle) and Qifan Song (bottom) each were recognized with a plaque and congratulations from Texas A&M Department of Statistics Professor and Head Dr. Simon J. Sheather as the inaugural recipients of the Anant M. Kshirsagar Endowed Fellowship in Statistics at Texas A&M University.

  • Karl Gregory

  • Qifan Song

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