Statistical win comes in

Students place first in a national biostatistic competition.

Rebecca Mitchell, Writer

After entering the Undergraduate Class Project Competition, senior psychology major Alison Winiarski, junior human biology major Ashley Yukihiro and junior biological sciences major Cat Newberry found out they won first place in the subcategory of first course in statistics.

Flabbergasted win

“I was flabbergasted. It was amazing. Something you forget about and have no idea that anything like this could happen — and there you go, it was amazing,” Newberry said.

The competition is held by the American Statistical Association and the Consortium for Advancement of Undergraduate Statistics Education. The students became aware of the competition after presenting their biostatistic project and receiving a recommendation to enter from their professor, Jason Wilson. The project focused on auditory comprehension and how a specific type of music, learner type and gender affected this comprehension.

Each participant in the data collection listened to either popular or instrumental music while a woman read the story “The Calabash Kids” in an animated or monotone voice, and then they would answer a questionnaire on the story. The original data collection occurred during part of Winiarski’s experimental psychology class.

Found significance

“I probably liked the data collection the most… actually getting in there and talking to people and analyzing the results was really fun for the first time, so in my experimental psychology class actually just going through the data and being like, ‘Whoa, we found significance, we found something that matters’ it was, like, amazing feeling,” Winiarski said.

In using this data for their biostatistics class, Winiarski, Yukihiro and Newberry were able to analyze the information and condense their originally six-page paper into three pages for the competition. After submitting their entry at the end of May, the women waited to hear back all summer and did not hear anything until the second week of September. Newberry, Winiarski and Yukihiro all felt the initial shock of their first place win.

“I was just like, this can’t be real, I reread [the email] probably six times, I was just like, this can’t be true, but I was really happy,” Winiarski said.

After the excitement of the news, and then looking back on the project, Yukihiro enjoyed how their work became recognized.

“It felt really good to be recognized for a whole lot of work that we put into it and a semester long of learning, and see it actually come to completion,” Yukihiro said.

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