Member profiles

Our members come from a range of different backgrounds and career levels. Read about some of the areas they work in, why they chose to become RSS members and what they get out of their membership.

Claire Keeble, Biostatistician, GradStat

I have always had an enthusiasm for mathematics and over time have gradually focused on statistics. I enjoy using statistical methods for use in real-world problems and have a strong interest in medical applications. I currently work as a biostatistician in the Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of Leeds developing and applying statistical methodology to a range of medical data sets, including those in medical imaging, oncology, pregnancy, diabetes and cardiology.

I joined the RSS in 2013 as a fellow to become more embedded in the statistical community and to learn about events and opportunities in statistics. I applied for and was awarded Graduate Statistician status in 2014. I hope to become a Chartered Statistician in the future.

As a member, I’ve taken the opportunity to get involved in RSS activities – I have been a committee member of the Leeds/Bradford local group for several years and have been actively involved in the Young Statisticians Section since 2014. I enjoy networking and exchanging my ideas with others who share my enthusiasm for statistics. I’ve also utilised training courses available through the RSS.

Sarah Nevitt, Research Assistant in Biostatistics, Fellow

I developed an enthusiasm for mathematics at a young age. My undergraduate degree was in Mathematical Sciences and French (including a year studying in France) and, during my final year, I took a module in medical statistics, which inspired me to go on to do a masters degree in the same subject. I have since returned to university in a Research Assistant post in the Department of Biostatistics at the University of Liverpool. I’m also currently working on my PhD, which I hope to submit in mid-2017.

I joined the Society in 2013 to take advantage of the discount offered to members on the RSS annual conference. Since then I have got actively involved in the Young Statisticians Section, becoming a committee member in 2014 and taking on the role of YSS Chair in 2017. I have found my work with the YSS and my experiences as an RSS member overall very rewarding, particularly having the opportunity to meet other statisticians (of all ages and backgrounds) at YSS and RSS events and the RSS annual conference.

While my professional statistical life is quite specialist with medical statistics, RSS membership allows me to participate and benefit from a wider statistical community and a wider range of events and opportunities.

Mario Cortina Borja, Professor of Biostatistics / Epidemiology / Applied Statistics, Fellow

I’ve always liked mathematics and data so it was easy for me to choose a career in this field. I was an undergraduate and postgraduate student at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, studying actuarial sciences, mathematics and statistics and later completed my PhD at the University of Bath. I have been working at the UCL Institute of Child Health since 2000 – the year I joined the RSS!

I joined the RSS because I strongly agree with its ethos and believe it’s important to belong to my professional society. I enjoy contributing to the Society’s objectives and have been actively involved in the General Applications (now Emerging Applications) section in the past. I am currently chairman of Significance’s editorial board and regularly contribute articles to the magazine on a variety of topics, including the geography of surnames in the UK, the survivorship of popes, the international community’s contributions to control the ebola epidemic in West Africa, birthdays, hurricanes, marathons, and James Joyce’s novels.

In addition to applied statistics and R, I also enjoy reading about the history of 19th century Mexico, visiting family and friends in England, Mexico and Northern Ireland, Sudoku (only the standard version), BBC Radio 3, and University Challenge.

David Spiegelhalter, Winton Professor for the Public Understanding of Risk, Fellow & former RSS President

I did pure maths at Oxford until it got too difficult, and then switched to statistics, which turned out to fit me very well. I worked largely in medical statistics, particularly Bayesian methods, until getting my new job and moving into public and media engagement. My main areas of interest are statistics in society, communication with public and media, and statistical education.

I joined the Society over 40 years ago because I felt that I was part of a community and everyone else was a member. As President of the RSS, I was involved in many aspects of the Society’s work. There is a such a huge range of activities, however, that I could only touch a few elements – I am constantly surprised at the vast amount that gets done, from submitting to parliamentary inquiries to setting up online training courses.

I feel very proud to be a member of the statistical community in general and the RSS in particular. I genuinely believe that statistics is an honourable and immensely worthwhile profession, full of decent people who have a proper respect for the truth.

The RSS requires active members who want to give something to statistics and society at large. Fortunately there are many who feel this way. Long may the RSS thrive!

Ingrid Petrie, Principal Consultant, Fellow

I studied statistics first at A-level, and then at university. I actually wasn’t that interested in it as a study topic at first, until I realised how many exciting applications it has. I have worked in a variety of jobs but statistics has been crucial for every one of them, from analysing trends in IT support tickets to calculating exposure to oil prices on a huge natural gas portfolio. I currently work for SYSTRA Ltd where a large part of my job involves quantifying the benefits of new transport investments.

I joined the RSS as a fellow in 2016 as I wanted to learn from other industries and use the insights I gain to improve my own work and also to share knowledge in return. I’ve found the news articles interesting so far and I hope to attend the RSS annual conference if time permits!

I’m already looking at ways I can get involved in the Society and have recently signed up to the Statisticians for Society scheme, through which I will be able to provide pro bono work – I look forward to contributing to the aims of the Society in this way. I also think nurturing the next generation of statisticians is very important, whether that be in schools, universities, or those just starting out in their career.

Eugenie Chung, Technical Support Specialist, CStat

I work in a statistical software company, giving advice to customers from manufacturing and service industries on how to use statistics to solve their problems. I have a lot of exposure to quality statistics in my role and I am quite knowledgeable in the statistics used in the Six Sigma methodology. I am also interested in statistics used in other areas of our daily life such as sports science and social studies. I have fitted a statistical model on predicting the viewership figures of the popular TV series Game of Thrones based on the number of deaths in an episode.

I joined the RSS in 2004 as I liked the idea of having support from a professional body in pursuit of my career. My degree in statistics enabled me to apply for GradStat status and I later became a Chartered Statistician in 2010. The application process motivated me to strengthen my knowledge of statistics and the CStat postnominal has opened up new opportunities for me, giving a certain level of guarantee of my knowledge in statistics.

As a member, I have enjoyed attending the various online and web meetings organised by the Society, which involve many different areas of statistics. The regular member bulletin also keeps me updated on any new development or involvement of the Society with business and government.

Maria Dunbar, Mathematical Modeller, GradStat

I got into statistics pragmatically. I enjoyed mathematics at school and opted to study applied mathematics at university. From here, I was introduced to statistics beyond the initial concepts seen at school, and realised I found these courses more interesting than the economics courses I was taking. As my interest and passion grew, I obtained an MSc in Statistics from the Department of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Copenhagen and started applying my knowledge to the field of public health. I am very happy to have started a career in statistical modelling in public health. It’s a very interesting field to work in and I have not yet had a boring day at work.

I joined the RSS in 2016 as an MSc student to make myself known in the wider statistics community and cement my commitment to the field. I have just been awarded GradStat status and am looking forward to the mentoring opportunity available to me. As an early career professional, I’m extremely busy but I hope to get more involved in more of the Society’s activities in the near future.

While I am personally interested in public health, being a member of RSS allows me to keep up with current trends in other areas of statistics. It keeps me informed on current suggested changes to policy on statistics. There are also the fun elements such as last year’s Christmas quiz.

Fiona Underwood, Independent Statistical Consultant/ Researcher, GradStat

I enjoyed mathematics at school and continued to study the subject from my BSc in Mathematics, Operational Research, Statistics and Economics at the University of Warwick through to my PhD at St Andrews. I worked as a statistician straight after my BSc and the Masters and PhD were motivated by wanting to develop my statistical abilities further. My professional life began at Scottish Natural Heritage where I was employed as their first ever statistician, and I have since worked as a lecturer/researcher and a consultant in the UK and Africa. I work on problems related to the sustainable management of natural resources, illegal wildlife trade, conservation and climate change.

I joined the Society in 1997 as I felt that it was important to be part of a community of statisticians and to be a member of a professional body that represented the skills that I have and the work that I do. I am a Graduate Statistician in the process of applying to become a Chartered Statistician.

I’m currently on the committee of the International Development Section and am particularly interested in looking at ways in which statisticians can engage with people working to help reach the Sustainable Development Goals. I enjoy meeting statisticians at meetings and conferences and seeing how statistical ideas can move across disciplinary boundaries.

I fully support the important work the RSS is doing in trying to maintain both the professional reputation of statistics and the role of statistics in society and helping improve critical thinking around data.