June 15, 2022

Ann Marie Weideman

Ann Marie Weideman

Ann Marie Weideman, MS, a doctoral candidate at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, has received two prestigious scholarships in the field of statistics: the Gertrude M. Cox Scholarship, which is awarded by the American Statistical Association (ASA), and the Ellis R. Ott Scholarship from the Statistics Division of the American Society for Quality.

The Gertrude M. Cox Scholarship was established in 1989 to increase the representation of women in statistical fields, and it is conferred to women pursuing advanced degrees in statistics. According to the award committee, Weideman was selected based on “her dedication to mentoring undergraduate students, for perseverance in pursuit of academic success and for achievements in interdisciplinary research.”

Each year, the ASA Committee on Women in Statistics and Caucus for Women in Statistics select two scholars in the early and late stages of their graduate training. The award is named for the late Gertrude M. Cox, a celebrated statistician who advocated expanding access to statistical expertise to improve insights from agricultural and biological research. Cox helped start multiple centers for statistical training and research, including the UNC Gillings Department of Biostatistics and Research Triangle Institute. The scholarship will be presented at the Women’s Caucus of the association’s Joint Statistical Meeting in August 2022.

The Ellis R. Ott Scholarship is awarded by the Statistics Division of the American Society for Quality to students pursuing advanced training in applied statistics, statistical engineering, or quality management, with an emphasis on application rather than theory. The criteria include “demonstrated ability, academic achievement, industrial and teaching experience, involvement in student or professional organizations, faculty recommendations, and career objectives.” It is awarded every year to up to two master’s-level and one doctoral student at institutions in the United States or Canada.

Weideman is seeking a Doctor of Philosophy degree in the UNC Gillings Department of Biostatistics, where she is working as a predoctoral trainee to develop algorithms that use genetic data to help understand tumor progression as part of a cancer genomics training grant. She also provides statistical support to HIV/AIDS research networks through her work as a graduate research assistant with the Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) Biostatistics Core. Weideman credits her appreciation of the value of medical research and her ultimate decision to pursue a degree in biostatistics to her unique experiences navigating her daughter’s medical situation.

She has already displayed a deep commitment to the field of biostatistics and its next generation of scholars and researchers. Weideman worked directly with undergraduate students under the National Institutes of Health Summer Internship and Undergraduate Scholarship Programs, through the UNC CFAR Biostatistics Core, as co-president of the UNC Biostatistics Student Association, and, most recently, as co-founder and intern manager of the Biostatistics Undergraduate Summer Internships (BUSI) Program in Gillings. BUSI connects interested and qualified students seeking a Bachelor of Science in Public Health degree with Gillings Biostatistics faculty who can support summer interns and nurture their growth as researchers.

Weideman attributes her opportunity to study biostatistics at Gillings, in part, to the department’s founder, Gertrude M. Cox. “I admire her for her tenacity to change the course of statistics during a time when the field was not as accepting of women in academia,” Weideman notes, “and I hope to emulate her in my future work as a biostatistician.”

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