Samantha Robinson Receives Inaugural Early Career Award for Helping Students Succeed in Statistics

Samantha Robinson holds the first ever Mu Sigma Rho Early Career Undergraduate Impact Award.
Bella Rose Robinson

Samantha Robinson holds the first ever Mu Sigma Rho Early Career Undergraduate Impact Award.

Samantha Robinson, teaching assistant professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, will receive the 2021 Mu Sigma Rho Early Career Undergraduate Impact Award for making significant contributions to the success of undergraduate students in Statistics. 

Mu Sigma Rho is the U.S. national honorary society for statistics, established to promote and encourage scholarly activity in statistics and is affiliated with the American Statistical Association.

The Mu Sigma Rho Statistical Education Award for Junior Faculty is specifically given in recognition of a faculty member who is early in their career, are not yet tenured and/or might be in a non-tenure-track position, who has made significant contributions to the success of undergraduate students in Statistics.

Robinson serves as Course Coordinator for all sections of Principles of Statistics (STAT 2303) and Biostatistics (STAT 2823), which have an annual student enrollment of approximately 1,500-1,700 students.

While Robinson teaches large sections (of about 150 students each) herself, she is known as a caring professor who "genuinely wants [every student] to do well," is concerned about individual student success both in and out of the classroom, and simply "goes above and beyond for her students" to make statistics relevant, understandable and "surprisingly fun."

In recent years, Robinson led groups of student researchers to the Arkansas Bioinformatics Consortium (AR-BIC), including the Special Virtual AR-BIC Seminar: Data Science Solutions for COVID-19. This supervised statistical research has resulted in publications, oral presentations, poster presentations, and numerous awards for the student researchers.

Robinson, now a member of the AR-BIC scientific programming committee, also works directly with the ARA to engage students and provide opportunities for undergraduate researchers in the state, connecting these young researchers with leaders in industry, government, and academia.

Additionally, Robinson wrote the newly approved learning objectives for the Arkansas Course Transfer System (ACTS) MATH 2103 course, renamed 'Principles of Statistics', as it is equivalent to our U of A Principles of Statistics course. Two-year and four-year colleges across the state will now follow the lead of the U of A and of Robinson in teaching their own introductory statistics courses.

Her recent publication in Problems, Resources, and Issues in Mathematics Undergraduate Studies (PRIMUS), describes in some detail the unique sequencing of topics and curriculum she has implemented so that other institutions of higher education can also follow her lead.

Robinson will be the very first recipient of this newly established Mu Sigma Rho Award, which will be presented "virtually" at the American Statistical Association 2021 Joint Statistical Meetings, the largest gathering of statisticians held in North America. 


Samantha Robinson, teaching assistant professor
Department of Mathematical Sciences


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