Slavkovic gains membership to International Statistical Institute

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Aleksandra Slavkovic, an associate professor of statistics and public health sciences at Penn State, has been honored with membership in the International Statistical Institute. Members are elected "by virtue of their distinguished contributions to the development or application of statistical methods, or to the administration of statistical services, or the development and improvement of statistical education."

Slavkovic conducts research focusing on developing and applying statistical methods for issues of data privacy and data confidentiality. One goal of her research is to limit the release of sensitive information from statistical databases about individuals and groups, while allowing for accurate statistical analysis of the data. Slavkovic is a lead investigator on the National Science Foundation Cyber-Enabled Innovation and Discovery program for a research project on integrating statistical and computational approaches to privacy. With colleagues from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Penn State, and from Carnegie Mellon and Cornell Universities, Slavkovic uses a multidisciplinary approach combining statistics and computer science to study how research data in the social and health sciences can be made more widely available without compromising privacy. She also serves as a data-privacy officer for Penn State's Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

In addition to statistical approaches to confidentiality and data disclosure, Slavkovic is interested in interdisciplinary research in such areas as the application of statistical methods to social and behavioral sciences, human-computer interaction, algebraic statistics and causal inference. She serves on a steering committee for the Penn State Big Data Social Sciences Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training program, which aims "to understand the social contexts and behaviors behind collected big data and to advance social science research by developing the next generation of researchers with technical and theoretical expertise."

Slavkovic is an associate editor of the Annals of Applied Statistics, and the Journal of Privacy and Confidentiality, and a data-privacy column editor for CHANCE magazine. She served as an associate editor of the Journal of Statistical Computation and Simulation from 2009 to 2011. From 2011 to 2012, she served on the National Academy of Sciences's Panel on Measuring and Collecting Pay Information from U.S. Employers by Gender, Race and National Origin. This interdisciplinary panel evaluated currently available and potential data sources, methodological requirements and appropriate statistical techniques for the measurement and collection of employer payroll data to assist the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to enhance wage-discrimination law-enforcement efforts. From 2001 to 2002, she also served as a consultant for the National Academy of Sciences and the National Research Council Committee to Review the Scientific Evidence of Polygraph. Slavkovic has presented invited talks at conferences and workshops across the United States and internationally.

Slavkovic received a bachelor's degree, magna cum laude, in psychology at Duquesne University in 1996. She received a master's degree in human-computer interaction in 1999, and master's and doctoral degrees in statistics, in 2001 and 2004 respectively, from Carnegie Mellon University.

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Last Updated December 18, 2012