Kansas State University


Department of Statistics

Alumni News (2017)

John E. Boyer Jr.
John Boyer

Welcome to the Alumni News column written by Dr. John Boyer, Professor Emeritus and former department head (2001-08). This column is his opportunity to communicate with graduates and friends of the department; a task he enjoys thoroughly.  He hopes that all graduates will email him, jboyer@ksu.edu, news pieces that they would like to see included in the newsletter. Don’t hesitate to email John any time, even to just say “hello”.  He would love to hear from you. He saves information in the emails he receives for the subsequent newsletter.

Mike Anderson (PhD ‘09) has great news: he has earned tenure and was promoted to Associate Professor in the Oklahoma University Biostatistics Department.  He is still heavily involved in collaborative support for the
College of Medicine at the OU Health Sciences Center.  He has also prepared short workshops of Introduction to Bayesian Data Analysis and Introduction to Probability and Statistics for Engineers that he has delivered to groups in the College of Public Health, students at Edwards Air Force Base, and to students at the Christian Medical College in Vellore, India.  Mike and wife Anne live in Edmond, Oklahoma and are proud parents of four boys ranging in age from 4 to 13, but are expecting to add some pink to the house this fall, with a baby girl due in October.

Chris Bilder (PhD ‘00) is on sabbatical from his position in the Department of Statistics at the University of Nebraska this coming academic year.  He will be staying in Lincoln for most of it, but has several trips, including one to Europe, scheduled.  Most of his time will be spent doing research for his NIH grant, on which Josh Tebbs (former K-State faculty member) and Chris McMahan are co-investigators.  Also, Chris and Tom Loughin will be presenting their “Analysis of Categorical Data with R” course as a continuing education offering at this year’s JSM in Baltimore.

Kevin Chartier (PhD ’97) has been promoted to Vice President by his employer, Astellas in Chicago.  He and wife Lori are still living on their lake property near Ann Arbor, MI (nasty commute!!) with their offspring scattered.  His youngest is now at Michigan State studying engineering.

Mohammed Gharaibeh (PhD ‘14) continues in his appointment as Assistant Professor at Al-albayt University in Jordan.  His wife Ola has now secured a position as Yarmouk University (also in Jordan) as Assistant Professor in the Computer Engineering Department.  He reports children Karam, Rose, and Arz all growing rapidly.  The whole family sends greetings to Manhattan and K-State.

Carla Goad (PhD ’94) reports lots going on in her family.  Oldest son Michael (2015 grad of Oklahoma State) is getting married late in July.  Number two, Andrew, graduated from K-State with a Master’s Degree in Architecture in May (which was a very sentimental time for her and husband Dave, as they both have lots of K-State ties and memories).  Daughter Elizabeth will be a high school sophomore in the fall.

Jiena Gu (now McLellan) (MS ’16) and Alexander McLellan (MS ’16) were married in April.  Jiena is currently working at the Beef Cattle Institute within the KSU College of Veterinary Medicine.  She is interested in applying statistics and business intelligence skills to animal science fields.  Alexander is working as a research analyst at the Kansas Department of Labor, in the Division of Workers Compensation.  They are still living in Manhattan and have plans for a bigger wedding next summer in Louisiana.

John Harder (MS ‘92) retired from Ford Motor Company after over 24 years of service as of October 1, and is loving it.  He is very active, but his biggest news involves a relationship.  He reconnected with a Kansas friend from the ‘80s via Facebook last summer. After several visits, a two-week trip to Italy last month, and time together in San Francisco, John and Rosanne have announced their engagement. Further details TBD, but the marriage and full-time partnership are likely at least a year away.  Additionally he

  • Joined the new YMCA in Windsor where his activities of choice are lap swimming and basketball shooting. Swam 64 laps (3200m) for his 64th birthday in February as a fundraiser for Hospice of Windsor.
  • Continues weekly Friday grandchild daycare during the school year with Emmett, now 2-1/2. His sister Julianne is 5 and finished Junior Kindergarten. Both enjoy soccer and other sports and games, to the delight of their Papa!
  • Became Chairperson of Windsor Mennonite Fellowship as of Feb. 1; continues to play violin on the music team and take a turn at worship leading.
  • Is In his third season as Umpire Hoosier Harder in the Vintage Base Ball program at The Henry Ford Greenfield Village in Dearborn, MI. (This follows 18 seasons as a player for the Lahdedahs.)
  • Is looking forward to coming back to Kansas in September for the 46th annual Winfield Bluegrass Festival; it will be his 24th attended.

Ron Iman (PhD ‘73) reports that granddaughter Georgia Schaefer from Albuquerque graduated Magna Cum Laude from K-State this spring with a major in Anthropology and a minor in Trauma Studies.  She was the principal French Horn player in the KSU Orchestra during her tenure at K-State.  She was president of Cru during her last two years at K-State and plans to do an internship with Cru at K-State this coming year.  She plans to enter nursing school after that.  The Imans also have twin grandsons graduating as National Merit scholars from Marcus high school in the Dallas area.  This fall, Jonathan will be in the honors program in computer science at the University of Texas at Dallas and Michael will be in the honors program in engineering at Virginia Tech.

Chris Juarez (MS ’12) has lots of news from the Community College of Aurora (CO).  On July 1st he becomes chair of his department of Statistics and Mathematics.  He is also a Fellow for a group called Complete College America which helps other institutions with their mathematics curriculum.  He is also designing and piloting a pre-statistics course at the community college.  He is also now a homeowner!

Chuck Kincaid (MS ’87) says that he and his wife now have a second grandchild.   Son Andrew and daughter-in-law Christie have welcomed CarolAnn Jose into their home.

Beth Larrabee (MS ’11) has recently taken the GRE and is planning to apply to the PhD program in Sociology at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill later this year.  Meanwhile things have gone well for her at the Mayo Clinic; she’s been asked to apply for a promotion and she will represent Mayo at the World Psychiatric Genomics Consortium in Florida in October.

Fouzia Laytimi (MS ’04) is still living and working in Austria.  Her work has been interesting (most recent job involved a product innovation), but she has had time for some significant travel.  She’s been to Stockholm, Munich, and Amsterdam already this year, with a trip to Greece planned for September.  She welcomes visitors to join her in Austria.

Sarah Loyer Baxter (MS ’01) has terrific news.  Her hard work has paid off in the awarding of an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership, with a concentration in Math Education from the University of Delaware.  She continues to teach at Rowan College of Gloucester County (NJ).  She and her family, which includes three sports-loving sons, have moved into a new house with a much larger (baseball-friendly) lot.

Natalya Makarova (MS ’12) has been at the Cleveland Clinic for four and a half years now, and was recently promoted to senior biostatistician.  She works a lot on retrospective database studies and clinical trials. She and husband Alex are celebrating that both of their families visited them from Russia during the past year.

Chris Malone (PhD ‘02) has recently celebrated his 15th year on the faculty of Winona State University in Minnesota.  He and wife Shelley have often used JSM trips as starting points or ending points for vacations with their four daughters, who range in age from 13 to 21.  This year they are going to Alaska (alas, the JSMs are not in Alaska this year) and that will be the 50th state for them to cover as a family.  Eighteen year-old Anna is celebrated her high school graduation this spring.

Mervyn Marasinghe (PhD ‘80) retired from the Statistics Department at Iowa State University in December last year after 37 years of service.  A new edition of his book SAS for Data Analysis is coming out by the end of this year.  It will again be published by Springer but this edition will have a co-author.

Michael McCants Holt (MS ‘11) has made a bunch of changes.  Upon marrying in 2015, he and his new wife Sandra both took the last name of Holt to honor his mother’s side of the family – he had previously been Michael McCants.  In April of this year, he and Sandra welcomed their daughter Samantha Yating into the family and are excited to be parents.  Moreover, in 2015, Michael left the job he had had for 5 years at the University of Wisconsin and headed west.  He now works at the (famous) Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, doing HIV prevention research.  He’s enjoying its mix of industry and academia, and is pleased to be working for a great cause.

Subashan Perera (PhD ‘00) has great news – he was recently promoted to (full) Professor in the Division of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh.  He and his family are doing well; they recently returned from a vacation to see Harry Potter World in Florida.

Jamis (Jamie) Perrett (PhD ‘05) has changed roles at Monsanto and now leads statistics in the “Ag Productivity Innovations” organization at Monsanto.  He says it sounds a lot more impressive than it actually is; he leads a group of two with hopes of hiring a contract statistician ASAP.  With Monsanto potentially being acquired by Bayer this year, he’s not sure what that will mean for travel to JSM in the future.  Son Spencer, who was less than a year old when the family moved to Manhattan, is now attending BYU in Provo, Utah. They are happy and excited for him.

There is sad news to relay.  We have received word that Mollie Poehlman Roediger (MS ‘03) has passed away in the Twin Cities.  She leaves behind husband Trevor and son Waylon mourning her death.

Marta Remmenga (PhD ‘91) continues to work in Veterinary Services (for the USDA in Fort Collins, Colorado) in the area of animal health epidemiology and finds it plenty challenging. She is working on learning R and hopes to learn R-shiny, the app that allows you to make interactive data displays.

Her family is all well. The youngest, Marie, graduated from high school in May and is headed to Western Washington University in the fall.  Son Jay will start his fourth year at Western Colorado State University in Gunnison, majoring in English with a minor in Psychology.  Kate, the oldest, has been living in the Denver metro area and working for a third party insurance company doing phone customer service this past year.  She’s interested in Food Policy and will be starting at the School of Public Health at the University of Colorado in the fall.   Marta and husband Jon will drive Marie to Bellingham, WA this fall with hopes of stopping off at Flathead Lake, MT and see Leigh Murray and Dave Smith.

Mohammad Sahtout (PhD ‘14) and family have had a busy year.  They welcomed the newest member to the family; baby Dalia.  They also traveled to Italy in the fall, and to Eastern Europe in the spring including stops in Austria and Croatia.  They admit to missing Kansas but are enjoying their current home in Abu Dhabi.

Danelle Schuster Staebler (MS ‘03) started a new job at Sanford Health (in the Fargo, ND area) as a biostatistician in trauma research.  They will have a level 1 trauma center in the new hospital when it opens later this month (July).  She’s looking forward to getting back into healthcare.  Danelle and husband Bart (a local celebrity due to his many appearances on local television regarding city updates for the city of West Fargo) bought a new home in the fall and moved in with children Sam (6) and Elsa (3) and are loving it.

Lucas Taylor (MS ‘02) and wife Lauren celebrated the birth of their second son, Parker Yates Taylor, on August 5th, 2015.  He came in a hurry, according to his father.  The name Parker comes from Park, which is Lucas’ middle name and his mother’s maiden name, and Yates is a family name from Lauren’s side of the family.  Lucas and Lauren continue to work for the Michigan company Zoetis from their North Carolina home.

Bo Tong (PhD ‘16) and wife Shu Zhou (MS ’15) have been enjoying life in Chicago since last fall, although they are not enamored of Chicago winters.  Bo works at AbbVie Pharmaceuticals and Shu works for Discover International. But their biggest news is that their son Albert Tong was born on December 12th of 2016.  That makes both of their lives extra busy, but rewarding.

V.A Samaranayake (known to all as ‘Sam’) (PhD ’82) had an interesting experience.  He recently decided to pay for a life membership in the American Statistical Association.  When his membership paperwork was returned, it indicated that it would expire in 2019!  It was news to Sam that he would only last that long.  Wondering what that was all about, he contacted Ron Wasserstein at the ASA.  Ron suggested that a monetary donation to ASA might help.  Sam made such a donation and soon his new paperwork suggested an expiration date of 2037.  Oh, the miracles of money!  I guess if you gave enough, you could plan on virtually living forever.

Ron Wasserstein (PhD ’84) and wife Sherry report that their 13-year old sons, Abner and Peterson, have qualified to play on a soccer team that will compete this summer against similar aged boys from the Netherlands. Being good parents, Ron and Sherry will make the sacrifice to accompany them to Amsterdam August 6-14.  The boys will play five matches, attend some professional soccer games, and see some of the beautiful Dutch countryside.  Quite an experience for these two boys from Haiti, who joined the Wasserstein family in May, 2014.  Ron, of course, continues his service as the Executive Director of the American Statistical Association.

Nimal Wickremasinghe (PhD ’95) spent a semester of his sabbatical leave (January through April, 2017) at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, where Dr. Tom Loughin is the department chair.  He has since returned to his academic position as Associate Professor in the Department of Statistics at the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Yi (Kaylin) Zhang Lee (MS ’11) has been working for Bank of America since before she graduated, but she has recently accepted a new position with Amazon.  It means relocation (which will be a lot of work) but new duties including modeling, data analytics and data science. She and husband Robert Lee are excited at the prospects.