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David A. Hooper, PhD in Nuclear Engineering, MS in Statistics 2011

Let me be blunt: IGSP is the best educational deal at UT, period.

I was lucky; I took a couple Statistics courses early in my studies to fill a couple math requirements.  When I heard of IGSP, I looked at my timetable and realized I had room to add the extra courses to earn the MS in Statistics alongside my PhD.  Hey, free degree!  So I initially enrolled in IGSP to get an additional Master's, some additional resume cred, and make myself just a touch more marketable.  Beyond those factors, however, IGSP turned out to be one of the best educational experiences of my graduate career.

Statistics transformed my good dissertation into a great dissertation.  From experimental design to model selection to back-end interpretation, I knew exactly why my decisions made good statistical sense.  I didn't just collect data, provide interpretations, and close the book; I improved the design of the experiment (before collecting data!), certified the statistical validity of my models, and produced clear, well-defended results that neither overreached nor underperformed.  I was even able to add original contributions based solely on the statistics involved!

Now that my graduate work is done, I will enjoy the benefits of a Statistics Master's for the rest of my life.  I can interpret data more easily and thoroughly than most of my peers.  By studying Statistics with students from other fields, I learned how to work with people outside my discipline (engineering) which will help me present my future work in terms that more people can understand.  I have a second full network of professors for future letters of recommendation, work collaborations, and support.    I have a built-in edge in job interviews and a resume line that will always attract attention.  In the recession of 2011, I am not looking for job offers; they are looking for me.

I may sound overconfident, but I can't overstress the value of IGSP.  Most people in data-driven disciplines don't really understand the statistics they deal with every day.  IGSP patches that hole and provides practical tools to put theory to work.  If anybody has questions about IGSP and wants to talk to a former student, they can contact me through the Statistics department.  I am happy to help.

Hongwei Yang,  Doctoral Student in Educational Psychology and Counseling 2007

My experience in IGSP has been highly positive. And I am glad that UT has such an option which offers its graduate students the *golden* opportunity to greatly enhance their marketability in the professional world by learning and applying state-of-the-art statistical techniques. The MS degree from the IGSP is a valuable addition to the Ph.D. degree I am pursuing in my home department: Educational Psychology and Counseling.

 First, I have the flexibility to choose a job that either focuses on applied statistics or is more theoretically oriented. I was trained to use point-and-click software packages like SAS Enterprise Guide, SPSS, JMP, NCSS, etc. I was also taught to program on open-architecture platforms: MATLAB and R. The training process was very informative and intense. I have had considerable amount of exposure to plenty of statistical topics.

 Second, I can have the curriculum tailored to my specific area of application. My research focus is on Psychometrics and quantitative methods in the social sciences. This program allows me to incorporate courses of interest into the curriculum so that my M.S. degree in Statistics through the IGSP greatly enhances the value of the Ph.D. degree from my home department.

 Considering such nice features of the IGSP, I strongly recommend it to all who aspire to a Statistics-related career. This highly successful program is sure to continue its impact and benefit all UT students in the years to come.

I am writing this short note to supplement the testimonial that I wrote about one year ago regarding UT’s Intercollegiate Graduate Statistics Program (IGSP). This is when I have already secured a faculty position at the University of Kentucky. During my job search process, the MS in Statistics degree that I got from the IGSP did put me in a highly competitive position. This degree and my home department PhD helped me get quite a few interview opportunities and get more than one job offers. I feel employers really value the in-depth, extensive, and cutting-edge quantitative training that IGSP offers. And the master’s degree turned out to be a very important addition to my PhD in Educational Psychology.

David M Sanders, M.S. Entomology and Plant Pathology, 2004
(1st Lt, USAF, BSC, Research Entomologist)

The statistics minor has set me apart from my colleagues.  The understanding of experimental design and use of mixed models I developed while at UT has allowed me to make contributions to projects completed prior to my arrival, those conducted by other researchers, as well as those I'm personally associated with or acting as primary investigator.  Advancement in the military is highly competitive and anything an individual can do to set herself / himself apart from the crowd is worth the effort.  I have no doubt that the same would be true in any other public position or in the private sector.  

The more opportunities I have to use my statistics background the more my seniors realize the time and cost savings associated with having a good experimental design on the front-end and valid analysis on completion of taxpayer funded projects.  There is no doubt in my mind that anyone associated with research would benefit from, at a minimum, a statistics minor.  I fully intend to pursue my masters in statistics at first opportunity to further develop my statistical skills and broaden my career opportunities.

Craig Rogers, Ph.D. in Psychology, 2005
(Campbellsville College, KY)

I am writing to strongly encourage other graduate students to strongly consider completing the requirements for the IGSP statistics minor.  Initially I did not understand the beneficial nature of the minor in statistics.  However, when I began applying for faculty positions, the benefits became quite clear.  The interest that I received from other schools was in great part a result of having completed the minor in statistics.  I truly didn’t fully appreciate the encouragement from others in regards to doing any and everything that I could to set me apart from other job applicants, but in this respect the statistics minor has served me well.  Whenever I was contacted about interviewing for a position, the one constant that was always mentioned was the minor in statistics. 

While the minor in statistics allowed me to garner greater interest and make me more marketable, the true value of the minor was no evident until I began negotiating for a faculty position.  The offer that I eventually agreed to was $4000 higher than the next highest offer and around $10,000 higher than I would have been offered had I chosen not to pursue the IGSP statistics minor program.  Based on my experiences with the program, I would strongly encourage any graduate student to consider completing the minor in statistics as part of their graduate training.  The benefit gained will both increase your marketability as well as your negotiating power when looking for employment.    

Gary Cuddeback, Ph.D. in Social Work, 2004
(University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)

The IGSP was both challenging and rewarding. The professors were excellent as were the courses.

My involvement with the IGSP helped me to be competitive on the job market after graduation and continues to be invaluable to my career as a researcher and professor. I strongly recommend this program.

Kyoung-Nam Kwon, Ph.D. in Retail & Consumer Sciences, 2000
(Michigan State University)

As I am leaving the University of Tennessee to take an assistant professor position in Michigan State University, I would like to express my gratitude for the Intercollegiate Graduate statistics Program.  I have earned a minor in Statistics through the program.  I have benefited from the program in many ways. Especially, I appreciate the courses accommodating non-statistics majors like me.  Statistical understanding and techniques I learned from the courses has been essential for me to conduct various projects for submissions to conferences and journals during my years at UT. 

Furthermore, when I was interviewed by schools for a job, the record indicating I had a minor in Statistics and statistics courses listed in my vita demonstrated credentials for my research capabilities.  I believe the statistical training I received through the Intercollegiate Graduate Statistics Program strengthens the quality of my research through methodological flexibility.  One more time, I would like to express my appreciation for the Intercollegiate Graduate Statistics Program.  I wish the continuing success of this program.

James Schmidhammer ~ 334 Stokely Management Center ~ Knoxville, TN ~ 37996 - 0525
Phone: 865-974-1735 ~ Fax: 865-974-2490 ~


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