Kansas State University


Department of Statistics

Scholarship Recipients

Thanks to the generosity of our alumni, nearly $45,000 in scholarships were given out this past spring and will be awarded over the next academic year.

Lolafaye Coyne Statistics Graduate Scholarship

Four students shared the Lolafaye Coyne Statistics Graduate Scholarship. The funds provided a research stipend over the summer so that students couldfocus their efforts on their research versus other duties such as teaching. The winners are Yinhao Du, Nelson Walker, Haoyu Zhang, and Huaiyu Zhang.

Yinhao Du

Yinhao Du is from Dalian, China. As a PhD graduate student, she is very interested and curious about science. In particular, she loves studying statistics because it provides a way to discover scientific phenomenon from data. Her research interest is statistical machine learning for high dimensional data and large scale optimization in bioinformatics studies. She is working on identification of Gene x Environmental effects in a Type 2 diabetes studies using an integrative analysis method. Outside of academics she is a level 1 crossfit coach at K-State where she coaches a couple different classes every week. She enjoys life living and studying at Manhattan and feels her family is a K-State family!

Nelson Walker

Nelson Walker is originally from Freeport, IL, and he found the discipline of statistics as an undergraduate student at Brigham Young University. He found it amazing how statistics under-girded all of science and decided to pursue his MS degree at K-State. His interests in statistics are diverse, from experimental design, to non-parametric statistics, spatial statistics, and machine learning. He is currently working with Trevor Hefley on a method that corrects bias due to location error in location referenced binary data. They hope to have a paper ready for journal submission by the end of the summer. He also works as an administrator for the K-State Statistical Consulting Laboratory, a position he has held since Aug 2016. He loves statistics, singing, learning about science, and spending time with his wife, Kelsee.

Haoyu ZhangHaoyu Zhang is from southern China. Yangzhou, the city where she grew up, has a history of 2500 years and once was the most prosperous trading center for salt, rice and silk. Her research interest is applied statistics in the environment and ecology. Currently, she is working toward her PhD, developing statistical methods to study the life-history activities (e.g., migratory foraging habitat, overwintering habitat) in the upper Mississippi River. Reading and traveling are favorite nonacademic activities. She considers reading a routine of her daily life while traveling is the ultimate escape. She very much enjoys a rainy afternoon with a cup of tea and a book as much as traveling around the world.

Huaiyu ZhangHuaiyu Zhang is from Handan, China, a city with more than 3,000 years of history. His PhD study at K-State began in the fall of 2014. He is interested in statistics because it is a way of dealing with randomness. Currently he is working with Dr. Haiyan Wang on the research of improving the two-sample t-test. He and his wife, Rui, enjoy living at Manhattan, KS. His hobbies include reading and playing badminton.


The Holly and Beth Fryer Scholarship

Jie Ren

Jie Ren received the Holly and Beth Fryer Scholarship. She is a PhD student originally from China. When she arrived in Kansas, she was astonished by the desolate landscape of the Central Great Plains. But she gradually learned to appreciate the bold and rough beauty of it. As a huge fan of the first Resident Evil movie, Jie got her Masters Degree in biomedicine. However, she found that she could better contribute to the development of biological sciences as a statistician. Jie is working with Dr. Cen Wu on developing novel variable selection methods for high-throughput data generated in bioinformatics and biomedical studies. In her free time, Jie has learned that she wants to be a part-time cowgirl. To assist her in this dream she has begun horseback riding, archery and playing at being a farmer.


The Ronald and Rae Iman Scholarship

The Ronald and Rae Iman Scholarship was awarded to Brock Kaufmann and Vincent Sylvester.

Brock Kaufmann

Brock Kaufmann is from Overland Park, Kansas and recently graduated from Olathe East High School. During high school, Brock participated in track, cross country and swimming. In addition to running and swimming, he also likes to draw in his free time. He is looking forward to attending K-State this fall and plans on double majoring in statistics and mathematics.

Vince Sylvester

Vince Sylvester will be a senior in Math and Statistics this fall at Kansas State.  He will be studying in Budapest in a math program for the semester and is very excited to see the continent and be surrounded by like-minded students.  As of yet he has not done any structured research but is interested in statistical techniques for application in computer science, specifically sampling techniques and Bayesian statistics.  He has taken a few courses in Econometrics and noticed that there are some interesting methods used there as well.  He hopes to study Applied Math and Statistics in graduate school but as of yet is not sure exactly what direction he plans to pursue.  His hobbies include good science fiction and racquet sports, and he is an amateur gardener.


Dr. Lynn Ying-Shiang Lin Statistics Graduate Research Scholarship

The Lynn Ying-Shiang Lin Statistics Graduate Research Scholarship was awarded to Xintong Li and Kessinee Chitakasempornkul, two Graduate Research Assistants in the department.

Xintong Li

Xintong Li started college majoring in Finance and Statistics but then discovered statistics is his true love. Holding a master in Biostatistics, he decided to pursue a more theoretical route that brought him to our beautiful Kansas State where he is working on his PhD. He is conducting his research in spatial statistics on spheres and also on Bayesian statistics using Integrated Nested Laplace Estimation. In addition, he has a broad interest in all consultant projects. In his spare time, he enjoys fishing or cooking.

Kessinee Chitakasempornkul

Kessinee Chitakasempornkul, a PhD candidate in the department of Statistics, is the second winner of Dr. Lynn Ying-Shaing Lin scholarship. She was raised in the city of Bangkok in Thailand. Her family has a food production company so that she was familiar with food production in animal agriculture. She went to Mahidol University to study Business Administration options in Finance and Investment in Thailand. There she first studied statistics and fell in love with the subject and was eager to learn more. She came to K-State five years ago after earning a Master’s degree in Applied Mathematics with an Applied Statistics option. As a PhD candidate at K-State, she is currently being advised by Dr. Nora M. Bello and working on “Addressing challenges of hierarchical structural equation modeling in animal agriculture” in a hierarchical Bayesian framework. Working as a GRA, she feels it is a great opportunity to conduct interdisciplinary research and she enjoyed every moment working with collaborators on scientific research problems. In the future, she will join the department of Epidemiology in the faculty of Public Health at Mahidol University to teach, consult and conduct research in Thailand. In her leisure time, Kessinee, a lego collector, loves to play lego. She also likes to cook and listen to music. If she has extra of time, she likes to do yoga.


Ray and Carolyn Waller Statistics Scholarship

Audrey Chang

Audrey Chang was the recipient of the Ray and Carolyn Waller Scholarship. Audrey grew up in the KC area since she was six, and she is an undergraduate major in statistics at K-State. Her interest in statistics really took off in high school where she realized the importance and application of statistics in most fields and in everyday life. She found herself drawn to the idea of biostatistics, to be able to use numbers and data to help potentially save lives. The project she is currently working on is with Dr. Wei-Wen Hsu. They are fitting a zero-inflated Poisson model to Kansas’ tornado touchdown data and hopefully will then use that model to predict the number of touchdowns in the next decade or so. Some personal interests of hers include playing the cello, badminton, Frisbee, and running.


Howard Siepman Memorial Scholarship

Chenshuang Lu

Chenshuang Lu received the Howard Siepman Memorial Scholarship. Chenshuang is an international student from Tianjin, which is a port city in China. Currently, she is working towards her PhD with her advisor, Dr. Wei-Wen Hsu, on developing a model for longitudinal data, latent class, and count data. She is a person who loves singing and was a choir member in college. She also likes to travel with friends and has been to several states in the Unites States.


The Statistics Scholarship

Fei Zhou

Fei Zhou received the Statistics Scholarship. Fei is from Hebei, China.  He joined the Department of Statistics in the fall of 2015 as a PhD student, and he is interested in Bayesian Statistics and high dimensional data.  He enjoys reading and jogging in his spare time.