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Activity Number: 232 - Undergraduate Research in Statistics
Type: Topic Contributed
Date/Time: Monday, July 29, 2019 : 2:00 PM to 3:50 PM
Sponsor: Section on Statistics and Data Science Education
Abstract #304139 Presentation
Title: 15 Years of a Center for Interdisciplinary Research: Reflections and Projections
Author(s): Paul Roback*
Companies: St. Olaf College
Keywords: undergraduate research; collaboration; consulting

In 2004, in a converted broom closet, we opened the doors to the Center for Interdisciplinary Research (CIR) at St. Olaf College. Our vision was for junior and senior undergraduate statistics students to collaborate, alongside a statistics faculty mentor, with faculty from diverse disciplines across campus on their quantitative research, while also learning the non-technical skills needed for being an effective collaborator. 15 years later, the CIR is still going strong, with 18-21 students per year across 6-7 projects, and hundreds of graduates in industry and academia, many in leadership positions. This talk will be part reflection and part projection. We will first reflect on what attributes and qualities have keyed the CIR’s longevity, what missteps have taught us valuable lessons, and what experiences can extend across institutions. Then, we will project what the CIR might look like in 15 more years – how the program may need to adapt to: changes in student preparation and background, project demands such as bigger data and text analysis, input from employers and graduate programs, and efficient uses of resources.

Authors who are presenting talks have a * after their name.

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