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Four Years at Cal Poly — Soma Roy

Even after four years, I still feel brand new to both Cal Poly and San Luis Obispo is many ways. I still find it challenging to locate rooms in what remains of Building 52. I am still surprised when the temperatures fall to near freezing (okay, that’s an exaggeration) after sundown. I still haven’t entered Bubble Gum Alley and probably never will.

But in other ways, I feel at home. I know to always carry a sweatshirt with me. I know exactly which parking lot downtown has the best chance of having open spots, even during the busiest hours. I know where to find the best deals on used books. And, most of all, I have made some great friends.

Not surprisingly, teaching continues to be fun. I have now had the wonderful opportunity to teach Introduction to Statistical Investigations twice with Jimmy Doi and am looking forward to teaching it with Karen McGaughey this fall.

Outside of classes, I continue to co-advise the Stat Club along with Jeff Sklar. On the research side, I have been involved in various projects, with Jay Singh (Industrial Technology), Candace Winstead (Biological Sciences), Laura Hall (Food Science and Nutrition) and Steve Kane (Education) among others. I have also had the opportunity to work with some great statistics majors on summer research projects as well as senior projects. Topics have included using R to write GUIs that can be used in class and analyzing survey data.

A research topic that is very near to my heart is statistics education, and I have been collaborating with Allan Rossman and Beth Chance as well as collaborators from Hope College, Mich.; Dordt College, Iowa and Mount Holyoke, Mass. on an NSF-funded project on using a randomization-based approach to introduce statistical inference in introductory statistics classes.

I have been using this approach in my own classes since 2010 and had the opportunity to present some assessment results at this year’s Joint Statistical Meeting (JSM) in San Diego. Speaking of JSM, going to dinner with Cal Poly alumni, current students and faculty members was great. For future reference, if you are at any JSMs, please let us know. We would love to catch up with you.

Last summer my parents flew all the way from India to spend time with me and see where I live and work. We made a trip to Glacier National Park in northern Montana. If you ever get the opportunity to make this trip, please do. To convince you that this is a trip worth making, here’s a picture of the Many Glacier. Now imagine how much more beautiful it looks when you are there in person.

As this year draws to a close and a new one begins, I look forward to all the adventures to come.

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