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Faculty Updates 2023


Choose any of the following links in the Table of Contents to find life updates from the Cal Poly Statistics Department faculty. Or you may scroll up and down between pages to navigate the pages as you wish.


Beth Chance

Jay Devore

Hunter Glanz

Bret Holladay

Felicia Korengel

Zoe Rehnberg

Steve Rein

Emily Robinson

Allan Rossman 

Soma Roy

Anelise Sabbag

Andrew Schaffner

Maddie Schroth-Glanz

Jeffrey Sklar

Bob Smidt


Faculty Updates 2023 

Beth Chance Rock Climbing photo

This was a good year for backpacking and travel for my family. We had several trips to Yosemite (Clouds Rest!) and an almost trip to “The Wave” (but found some nearby canyoneering and slot canyons instead). We were also all able to travel together to the International Conference on Teaching Statistics (ICOTS) conference in Rosario Argentina. I’m still working off all of the excellent food we had!    


Jay Devore

Retirement continues to suit me well. In 2021 I completed revisions of both a probability text and a math stats text. Matt Carlton is a coauthor on both of those, and the ball will be in his court if there is a need for new editions. My wife Carol and I spent eight weeks in New York City last spring and another eight weeks there in the fall (both our daughters and our three grandchildren live there); we saw several really good shows and attended some excellent concerts. We plan to go again both this coming spring and in the fall. We are also going to the Playa del Carmen area of Mexico for 10 days in March, our first trip outside the U.S. since before covid. Carol talks of returning to Europe; we shall see. Meanwhile, reading lots of newspapers and books, streaming shows on Netflix, and serving on the Cal Poly Library Dean's Advisory Committee (big renovation of that facility is on the horizon). 

It is certainly gratifying to see how visibility of statistics as a discipline has blossomed over the last decade. I hope all former stats majors are thriving professionally and outside the workplace, and look forward to receiving personal messages from any of you inclined to send them.


Hunter Glanz

I hesitate to say things are back to normal here at Cal Poly after the pandemic, but it's been very nice to be teaching regularly in-person and proceeding with the traditional routine of academic life. I continue to be spoiled in that I get to almost teach computing and data science courses exclusively. Despite these extremely positive aspects, life at Cal Poly has probably gotten more stressful on the whole with the process of moving to semesters by 2026 officially starting in Fall 2022. All of our alumni should be happy to hear that we're taking this transition as seriously as our faculty have taken every other aspect of our program; keep what isn't broke and improve what can be improved. Another exciting announcement, that has no doubt been in one of our newsletters, is the launch of our new MS program in Statistics. I am very excited at the prospect of what this will mean for our students, our faculty, and for Cal Poly as a whole! My wife and I continue to love living in Grover Beach with our now 13.5-year-old golden retriever, Jake. This last year we made trips to Alaska, Kentucky, Hawaii, and New England which were all amazing, but we're eager to travel internationally again in the next year or two hopefully! 


Couple posing

Bret Holladay

This is my fourth year at Cal Poly, and I have to say this is such a wonderful place to teach. I’m surrounded by talented and supportive faculty, and the students here are the best! This past year I have discovered my passion for teaching probability theory (STAT 425) and am excited to teach the rest of the three-course math stat sequence next year. I am continuing my research on interval estimation for parameters of discrete distributions and plan to submit another paper over the summer. Outside of work, I have been enjoying the outdoors through a variety of activities, including snowboarding, backpacking, running, and more. My wife, Redilyn, and I also have a baby on the way. I look forward to being a first-time dad and hope for a fun and productive 2023. 


Woman with glasses Felicia Korengel 

I can’t believe I’ve been with Cal Poly for three years already! I was very happy to be back in the classroom this past year after overcoming some challenges with teaching online. I have really enjoyed refining the curriculum for STAT 314 in order to provide the most benefit to food science majors. It has also been great gathering with some of the extended department “family” at weekly trivia games. On the personal side, my husband, Jeff, and I have been taking advantage of truly being “empty nesters." In 2022, we explored California with trips to Palm Springs/Joshua Tree, Big Sur, Channel Islands NP, our 2ndtrip to Lassen Volcanic NP, and a drive down the northern coast to several of the redwood parks.   We also spent Christmas with our kids and in-laws in Charleston and Savannah.   I also was happy to get back to seeing live music. Attended some great shows at the Fremont and PAC, as well as trips to Los Angeles or the Bay Area for favorite acts, a “dark wave” music fest, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony!


Woman with hat at beach Zoe Rehnberg

I'm in my first year at Cal Poly, and it's been a wild ride. I'm loving getting to know this department and the wonderful students that make up my classes. As a first-time teacher, I'm incredibly busy, a little bit stressed, but mostly learning so much about how to do this job well. Fortunately, Cal Poly seems like a great fit. 

While I'm missing the snow and wintery cold of Michigan, I am constantly awed by the beauty and warmth of CA. The easily accessible hiking and the ability to always be outside are two of my favorite things about SLO so far. I still can't get over all the wild plants and the fact that I live near the ocean (and not a Great Lake), but it gets more and more "normal" every day. 


Man with glasses Steve Rein

This year started my second three-year term representing Cal Poly in the Academic Senate of the California State University. I also started Chairing the Fiscal and Governmental Affairs Committee of that body. That’s interesting work in that we are the official voice of the 29,000 CSU Faculty when interacting with the Legislature and Governor on budgetary and legislative matters. See the CSU Fact Book (from 2022) for more on the CSU as a whole. 

At Cal Poly I have been Chairing the Budget and Long-Range Planning Committee and a highlight of the work of that committee was writing a resolution that the Cal Poly Academic Senate passed in support a plan that will (by 2027) bring in over $50 million per year, 60% of which will be used to provide financial aid to needy students. On a more personal note, it seems that during COVID,f I picked up my travel schedule and have been to Minnesota, Indiana (both to watch kids graduate), Egypt (where another started grad school) and Alaska for a much-needed vacation. I also really enjoy reading the Alumni Notes to keep track of where our graduates are at in life. 


Woman by rock arch

Emily Robinson

Being in my first year at Cal Poly has been a whirlwind! I graduated with my Ph.D. from University of Nebraska – Lincoln in August 2022 and packed up my vehicle to move out to the Central Coast. In my first couple of quarters, I have enjoyed teaching programming in R and getting to know the students at Cal Poly. My research focuses on the use of graphical tests to evaluate data visualization design choices in order to effectively communicate the intended result. I am currently learning how to create interactive visualizations using D3.js and am excited about that potential projects I can start with this new skill! 

On the personal side, I went on a backpacking trip in Colorado after defending my dissertation last summer and stopped at Arches and Zion National Parks on my move out to San Luis Obispo. Since moving to the area, I have knocked out some of the major SLO hikes, like Bishop and Madonna, and tried many local coffee shops. Cal Poly and the Statistics Department have been so welcoming, and I look forward to seeing what these next few years bring! 


Allan Rossman

Now that my age (in years) begins with a 6 (in base 10), I have reduced my work at Cal Poly to half-time. I greatly enjoyed teaching students in our introductory probability and simulation course this past fall. Outside of class, I continue to like coordinating alumni updates for our department newsletter. Beyond Cal Poly, I am looking forward to attending the U.S. Conference on Teaching Statistics this spring, the first in-person gathering for this conference since the blissful pre-COVID times of 2019. On the personal side, this month (February 2023) marks the 13-year anniversary of my wife’s and my adopting our cat Puti, who continues to provide us with lots of joy, even though he remains unconvinced by our arguments that waiting until 6:15am to give him breakfast does not constitute cruelty to animals. 


Soma Roy

Over the last couple of years, I have had the opportunity to continue to work with statistics majors on research projects, present at virtual conferences and workshops, and collaborate with statistics educators (at Cal Poly and elsewhere) on research projects. I also continue to enjoy teaching a fun mix of courses and had the opportunity after many years to teach STAT 150 (our intro to the discipline class for first years) again! Our family of four got to do some traveling last year, including a trip to India to see my parents and brother, whom we hadn’t seen since before the pandemic. My kids (6 and 4 years old) were troopers with the long flights and LOVED that they had access to their own TVs on the international flights!   


Woman with older couple

Anelise Sabbag

The most exciting thing that happened to me recently was getting tenure! I am happy to say that I am now an associate professor! In this last year, I had a great time working with undergraduate students under the Frost Summer Research and I continue to focus on online teaching/learning research. I think I am finally starting to have a good balance between life and work. I still have a lot to learn but I am better today than I was yesterday. Praise God! On the personal side, I spent a couple of months in Brazil, and it was so awesome to hang out with my family, my 5-year-old nephew and with my 101-year-old grandpa! I love going to Brazil and enjoying the beautiful beaches too. It was fun to watch the World Cup games with my family. I am so sad we lost, but Brazil is still the most successful country in World Cup history winning the cup 5 times. Hopefully the 6th will be in the in 2026!  



A person taking a selfie on a beachDescription automatically generatedAndrew Schaffner

Along with continuing to serve as chair, I’m doing my best to keep active in other professional areas too. Use it or lose it, they say. I’m pleased that I’ll be teaching next quarter and back in the classroom. I miss it, but I made the mistake of scheduling myself to teach last fall during the most busy term for chairs and learned to never do that again! I’ve also been quite busy with my collaborative work with colleagues in Biology, Public Health, Food Science, and Agriculture. Somehow we eked out six publications last year, though I will admit as a statistician my work was mostly on the design and analysis and statistical reporting side of things. I fortunately didn’t have to do the bulk of the really messy writing. It gives me a lot of joy to support my peers research and see it come to life. On a more personal note, my youngest is now a first-year student studying Actuarial Science at UCSB. My oldest graduated last year with a degree in Physics from UCSB. Perhaps like other Gen Z’s, he’s moved back home and has a remote job working for a research lab at UCSB writing software to control laboratory equipment and gather and process data from ion trapping experiments, whatever those are! Michelle and I thought we might be empty nesters, but I guess not! Actually, it’s awfully nice having him around.  


Dolphin jumps in the water Maddie Schroth-Glanz  

What a whirlwind the past couple of years have been. My fortunes at Cal Poly have not run out and I have been so lucky to continue to teach and live in this great place. Teaching statistics to life science students is such a rewarding experience with attentive and friendly students that are eager to learn. Developing my flipped teaching style in both face-to-face and online classes has been challenging but exciting. I hope to continue developing my skills in many more years at this institution. 

In 2021/2022, I was fortunate enough to receive grant money to obtain equipment needed to study whale sounds! In late September, my students and I had a successful deployment and have been very eager to learn about what species were present and audible. Our hope is to continue to acoustically monitor our local waters and develop a bioacoustics program here at Cal Poly.  

On a personal note, I am happy that travel is now becoming more acceptable as I have a bad case of the travel bug. My husband and I were fortunate to travel to various places last year and are looking forward to more trips on the horizon!


Jeffrey Sklar

Man and two kids

Hello Statistics Department alumni!I’m well into my 18thyear in the Statistics Department. It’s amazing how fast the time has flown.  It’s winter quarter, so of course I’m teaching survival analysis again. In professional news, I’m currently serving as the lead statistician on a 5-year National Institutes of Health grant led by Dr. Alison Ventura in the Kinesiology and Public Health Department that will investigate the potential impacts of maternal technology use on the quality and outcome of mother-infant interactions during feeding.  I’m also analyzing data for a separate study led by Dr. Ventura that examinesthe effects of opaque bottle-use on maternal sensitivity, infant consumption, and infant weightgains. In family news, Yazmin is now a teenager with braces in junior high school who enjoys socializing with friends, making TikTok videos, and to a lesser extent, sprinting the 100m and 200m.  Gabe is in fifth grade and has been busy with soccer, gymnastics, the school play (Moana), and now flag football.  We’re all excited to take another trip to Kauai this summer.    


Man with mountains in background Bob Smidt

My wife Yvonne and I have done a bit of traveling since the last newsletter. In the spring we took a Caribbean cruise out of New Orleans and explored the city afterwards. It was our second time spending time in New Orleans (we could spend a lot more); we particularly enjoyed our second visit to the WW II Museum and the music along Bourbon Street. In the summer, we traveled to New York to take a charity “Cancer cruise” that my brother-in-law and sister had started in memory of his mother who had passed away from breast cancer. It was the tenth such cruise and it was a great success. In the fall we took an Alaskan land and sea tour. It was our second such Alaska trip and it was every bit as good as the first. We also spent a few days exploring Anchorage before the start of the cruise and Vancouver afterwards, both are interesting cities with a lot to see and do. In the winter, we took a tall sail cruise, spending a few days in Malaga, Spain, then sailing to places like Gibraltar, Morocco, and the Canary Islands. We then flew to Madrid where we spent time exploring that beautiful city. 

My wife and I still golf often. I even managed to take golfing trips to Utah and Monterey this past year. We attend performances at the PAC, PCPA, the Great American Melodrama, and SLO Repertory Theatre (where I volunteer as a bartender). It has been several years since I taught for the department, and I miss the wonderful students and faculty. 

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