BIOS students win first prize for original song and video in ASA’s ‘You’ve Got Talent’ contest

August 11, 2014

Biostatistics graduate students Avner Halevy and Nicolas Ballarini led a Gillings School of Global Public Health production team that tied for first place in the American Statistical Association’s “You’ve Got Talent!” contest. The four finalists performed during the Joint Statistical Meetings Aug. 2-7 in Boston.

Halevy, composer, singer and guitarist on the winning performance, “A Statistical Love Song,” is a doctoral student at the Gillings School. Ballarini, a master’s student, was video director and editor and an actor in the skit. Completing the team that called itself “Almost Shirley” were Jon Rosen, doctoral student and lead actor, and Tracy Spears, master’s student and actor.

The group submitted the winning song in honor of ASA’s 175th anniversary.

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In scenes from the video, Avner Halevy (at left) plays the part of the troubadour. At right, friends Tracy Spears (center) and Nico Ballarini (right) struggle to understand the obsession of Jon Rosen (left) for his ‘statistically significant other.’

See the students’ official video submission to ASA’s “You’ve Got Talent!” here.

See live video of Halevy’s performance at the conference here.

A Gillings School team also won the “You’ve Got Talent!” award in 2011, with their original song and video, “A Statistical New World.” (Watch here.)

Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: David Pesci, director of communications, (919) 962-2600 or

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