First-Time Attendees

Thank you for choosing to attend the Joint Statistical Meetings in Seattle, Washington. We are so pleased you will be joining us!

What Can I Expect During My First JSM Experience?

  • You will have access to new and innovative sessions, social events, and career opportunities.
  • You will receive information about the latest statistical software in the EXPO, where you also can win prizes.
  • You will have the opportunity to meet others in your field and learn about other fields.
  • Most of all, you will have the opportunity to have fun while building relationships and networking with other statisticians from around the world.

Interested in a general overview of the JSM program? Click here to download the schedule-at-a-glance. Complete program information can be found in the online program.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What does JSM stand for?

    JSM is the "Joint Statistical Meetings," the largest gathering of statisticians held in North America. View the full list of associations that jointly sponsor this meeting.

  • I'm here! What do I do first?

    Once you are settled into your hotel, stop by the Registration and JSM Help Desk in the convention center. You can pick up your welcome packet, which includes a hard copy of the program book, the awards booklet, and a badge holder (or badge if you left yours at home). You also get a nice bag to carry these things around in. First-time attendees and docents can request a ribbon to attach to their badge that specifies these distinctions. If you are a chapter or section officer, pick up a ribbon for that, too! The JSM badge will enable you to enter the conference center, mixers, and EXPO.

  • There are many concurrent sessions. How do I plan?

    One way is to use the online program. There are four ways to search for conference information, each with its own perks: Main Search, Quick Search, People Affiliation Search, and Abstract Keyword Search.

    The main search is helpful if you are interested in sessions by a specific group. For instance, if you search by sponsor and choose the Committee on Career Development, the search will present all sessions or meetings sponsored by that committee. This is helpful if you are interested in talks sponsored by specific sections, committees, or societies.

    A quick search is helpful if you know your session title or number. For instance, if a friend told you they are in Session 433, you can look up that session to find out when and where it will take place.

    A people/affiliation search can be helpful for finding out where your colleagues are presenting, or which of your colleagues might be presenting. HINT: If you are job searching and there is a company or institution you are considering, you can "stalk" the sessions employees of these places may be in to have an idea of the work being done there.

    An abstract/keyword search can help you if there are topics (statistical or applied) you are interested in.

    TIP: If you are logged into your ASA account, you can create and save a program for yourself. This can be downloaded to a CSV file or printed.

    TIP: Battery low on your device? At the Registration and JSM Help Desk, you will receive a program book with each day designated by a tab. You can write on the back of the tab what sessions you want to go to and where they are. Also, with so many sessions, there is some degree of "session hopping." So while your first choice for a talk may be at 10:35, you might consider alternative sessions should your first choice turn out to be something different than you expected.

  • What is the difference between special presentations, invited sessions or panels, topic-contributed sessions or panels, and contributed sessions?

    Special sessions are introductory overview lectures or late-breaking sessions presented concurrently with other sessions. More than likely, these will be given by renowned statisticians.

    Invited sessions, including plenary sessions and named lectures, are pre-organized sessions with speakers who have been invited or are expected to give talks based on their position in the organization (e.g., the President's Invited Address). Plenary sessions are given at a time during which they do not compete with other sessions. Awards are given at some of these events, as well (e.g., Sunday and Tuesday nights' invited addresses).

    Topic-contributed sessions are planned about eight months in advance of JSM. These are typically based on a single topic and organized by one or two people.

    If you submitted an abstract to the JSM planning committee, you will most likely be in a contributed session. These are papers that have been grouped together based on a theme.

    TIP: The type of session will not necessarily reflect its quality. In the past, promising talks have fallen short due to an apparent lack of preparation, while some contributed session presentations were excellent, as it was obvious they were rehearsed. Go to sessions you think will be interesting; do not limit yourself to only "renowned" speakers.

  • What are roundtable discussions?

    These are small group talks that occur in conjunction with breakfast and lunch, giving you the opportunity to network while discussing a topic of interest. Roundtables are ticketed events in which space is limited, so it is best to register for them prior to JSM.

  • What is the Professional Development (PD) Program?

    PD is the process of improving and broadening the knowledge, skill, and personal qualities needed to be successful in the practice of statistics. To meet your professional development needs, the ASA offers Continuing Education and Personal Skills Development courses and workshops at JSM. These offerings are ticketed events in which space is limited, so it is best to register for them prior to JSM.

  • What are the EXPO, ASA Store, and Cyber Center?

    Whatever you do, do not miss walking through the EXPO, where many of the JSM sponsors have booths. While you can pick up novelties, there are also many academic, employer (i.e., recruiter), and publisher booths.

    The ASA Store is usually in the EXPO. ASA merchandise (e.g., shirts, jackets, coffee mugs) can be purchased there. Also, shirts from previous JSMs can be purchased there at a discount.

    In the years before portable devices with email and Internet access became ubiquitous, JSM began offering the Cyber Center. There usually is not a long wait to access the Internet or send a quick email at these computer kiosks. If your cell phone battery is low and you need to make a reservation, head there!

  • What is the Career Service?

    This is a full-service recruiting facility, usually near the EXPO, in which employers look for and meet with job seekers. There is an additional fee to register for the Career Service.

  • There are many business meetings and mixers. Am I welcome to attend those?

    As long as the program book does not say "closed" or "ticketed event," consider yourself welcome! Even if you are not a current member of a section, you may go to their mixer to find out what they are about.

  • I did not buy tickets in advance, but several Professional Development courses and roundtables look interesting. Can I attend those?

    Maybe. The best way to guarantee you can go to these is to register beforehand. However, there may be available tickets to some events onsite. It never hurts to ask! Stop by the Registration Desk for help.

  • How can I begin networking?

    Be adventurous! Go to sessions on topics you have heard only a little about. Don't be afraid to reach out to speakers or attendees if you have questions. Many lunches are planned after the 10:30 a.m. session (i.e., not much planning a priori), so if you are talking to someone, ask if they have plans-you never know what connections you will make and how they will serve you in the long run!

  • Who are these docents, and what can they do for me?

    Docents are JSM attendees identified with a special ribbon on their badge who will be at the First-Time Attendee Orientation and Reception and also answer your questions related to JSM throughout the conference.

JSM Lexicon


  • Late-Breaking – Must cover one or more technical, scientific, or policy-related topics that have arisen in the year prior to JSM
  • IOL (Introductory Overview Lecture) – Lectures that provide relatively brief, high-quality introductions to important and timely statistical topics selected because of their potential to enrich the future directions of statistical theory and practice through broader dissemination.
  • ICW (In Conjunction With) – Any event (e.g., meeting, reception, mixer) for a non-ASA group.
  • Contributed – Made up of individually submitted abstracts placed into sessions by the JSM program committee. Each speaker receives 15 minutes.
  • Invited – Approved for the program through a highly competitive system and organized in advance by the program committee. Sessions may consist of anywhere from two to six speakers, and the speaking time per person can vary.
  • Topic-Contributed – Approved for the program through a less rigorous system and organized in advance by the program committee. Each speaker receives 20 minutes.
  • Poster – Provides the ability to display extensive graphical or tabular materials. Poster presenters are provided with an 8' (width) by 4' (height) display board and push pins.
  • Speed Session – Consists of 20 oral presentations of approximately four minutes, with a five-minute break after the first set of 10 talks. These presentations are followed by an e-poster session lasting 45 minutes later in the program.
  • Paper vs. Panel – A paper session consists of a series of speakers after which there is floor discussion. A panel session is a more fluid conversation in which three to five panelists provide commentary on a particular topic.
  • Student Paper Award – Usually organized as topic-contributed sessions. Most sections offering student paper awards schedule them in one session, though some schedule them in various sessions based on topic.

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