Student Paper Competition


The Section on Statistics in the Environment (ENVR) sponsors a student paper competition on the topic of environmental statistics.  Papers may consist of novel approaches to the analysis of environmental data, new methodology with a clear application to an environmental statistical issue, or application of statistics to environmental problems.  The selected winning papers are presented in a contributed session at the Joint Statistical Meetings (JSM). 

Papers are reviewed by the ENVR Student Paper Competition Award Committee.  Selection of the winning paper(s) is based primarily on statistical innovation and significance of the contribution to environmental science. 

We encourage students to submit papers on their research in environmental science.  More information is available on the ASA website.

Information on the 2024 competition can be found here.



Bora Jin, Duke University - “Spatial predictions on physically constrained domains: Applications to Arctic sea salinity data”

Claire Heffernan. Johns Hopkins University - “Did the COVID-19 lockdowns improve air quality? Machine-learning based robust estimation of effects of policy interventions on air pollution”

Eva Murphy, Clemson University - “Joint modeling of wind speed and wind direction through a conditional approach”

Myungsoo Yoo, University of Missouri - “A Bayesian Spatio-Temporal Level Set Dynamic Model and Application to Fire Front Propagation”

Honorable Mention:

Matthew Bonas, University of Notre Dame - “Calibration of Spatio-Temporal Forecasts from Citizen Science Urban Air Pollution Data with Sparse Recurrent Neural Networks”



Bora Jin, Duke University, "Bag of DAGs: Flexible & Scalable Modeling of Spatiotemporal Dependence"

Becky Tang, Duke University, "Species interactions and movement: modeling environmental effects on community dynamics"

Honorable Mention:

Joshua North, University of Missouri, "DEtection: A Bayesian Approach to Data-Driven Discovery of Nonlinear Dynamic Equations"

Lynsie Warr, Brigham Young University, "Distributional Validation of Precipitation Data Products with Spatially Varying Mixture Models"

Mengchen Wang, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, "Bayesian Changepoint Estimation for Spatially Indexed Functional Time Series"



Saumya Bhatnagar (University of Cincinnati) "Computer Model Calibration with Time Series Data using Deep Learning and Quantile Regression"

Jingjie Zhang (Texas A&M University) "Multi-scale Vecchia approximations of Gaussian processes"

Honorable Mention:

Lauren Hoskovec (Colorado State University) "Infinite Hidden Markov Model for Multiple Multivariate Time Series with Missing Data"

Jun Tang (University of Iowa) "Space-Time Covariance Models on Networks with An Application on Streams"

Christopher Geoga (Rutgers University) "Flexible nonstationary spatio-temporal modeling of high-frequency monitoring data"



Suman Majumder  (North Carolina State University) Statistical Downscaling with Spatial Misalignment: Application to Wildland Fire PM2.5 Concentration Forecasting 

Wanfang Chen (KAUST) Assessing the Risk of Disruption of Wind Turbine Operations in Saudi Arabia Using Bayesian Spatial Extremes

Honorable Mention:

Nathan Wikle (Pennsylvania State University) Mechanistic Models for Spatial Data from Ornstein-Uhlenbeck Processes

Ben Seiyon Lee (Pennsylvania State University) PICAR: An Efficient Extendable Approach for Fitting Hierarchical Spatial Models 

Ghulam Qadir (KAUST) Flexible Modeling of Variable Asymmetries in Cross-Covariance Functions for Multivariate Random Fields 



Marcin Jurek (TAMU): Multi-resolution filters for massive spatio-temporal data

Xiao Wu (Harvard): Causal Inference in Air Pollution Epidemiology Using Generalized Propensity Score Matching

Yuan Yan (KAUST): Vector Autoregressive Models with Spatially Structured Coefficients for Time Series on a Spatial Grid

Jeremiah Liu – Harvard - An Adaptive Ensemble of Spatiotemporal Processes with Calibrated Predictive Uncertainty: A Bayesian Nonparametric Approach


Guanyu Hu
University of Connecticut
Title: A Bayesian Spatial-Temporal Model with Latent Multivariate Log-Gamma Random Processes with Application to Earthquake Magnitudes

Pulong Ma
University of Cincinnati
Title: Spatial Statistical Downscaling for Constructing High-Resolution Nature Runs in Global Observing System Simulation Experiments

Indranil Sahoo
North Carolina State University
Title: A Test for Isotropy on a Sphere Using Spherical Harmonic Functions

Yuxiao Li
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology
Title: Efficient Estimation for Non-Stationary Spatial Covariance Functions with Application to High-Resolution Climate Model Emulation

Honorable mentions:
Gaurav Agarwal
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology

Susheela Singh
NC State University


Neal Grantham
Department of Statistics, North Carolina State University
Title: A Bayesian mixed-effects model for microbiome data from designed experiments
Co-authors: Brian J. Reich and Kevin Gross

Joshua Hewitt
Department of Statistics, Colorado State University 
Title: A geostatistical approach to modeling climate teleconnections
  Co-authors: Jennifer A. Hoeting, James Done, and Erin Towler

Patrick McDermott
Department of Statistics, University of Missouri
Title: A hierarchical spatio-temporal analog forecasting model for count data
  Co-authors: Christopher K. Wikle, and Joshua Millspaugh
Sabrina Vettori
Appied Mathematics and Computational Science, KAUST
Title: Bayesian clustering and dimension reduction in multivariate air pollution extremes
  Co-authors: Raphael Huser and Marc G. Genton

Honorable Mentions:
 Nicolas Rodriguez Jeangros
Applied Mathematics and Statistics, Colorado School of Mines

Ran Wei
Department of Statistics, North Carolina State University 
Karen Kazor
Department of Applied Math and Statistics, Colorado School of Mines
Title: The Role of Regimes in Short-Term Wind Speed Forecasting at Multiple Wind Farms
Co-authors: Amanda Hering

Samuel A. Morris
Department of Statistics, North Carolina State University
Title: A space-time skew-t model for threshold exceedances
Co-authors: Brian J Reich, Emeric Thibaud, and Daniel Cooley

Andrew Poppick
Department of Statistics, University of Chicago
Title: Temperatures in transient climates: improved methods for simulations with evolving temporal covariances
Co-authors: David J. McInerney, Elisabeth J. Moyer, and Michael L. Stein

Henry Scharf
Department of Statistics, Colorado State University
Title: Dynamic Social Networks Based on Movement
Co-authors: Mevin B. Hooten, Bailey K. Fosdick, Devin S. Johnson, Josh M. London , and John W. Durban

Honorable Mentions:
Pulong Ma
Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Cincinnati

Behnaz Pirzamanbein
Centre for Mathematical Sciences, Lund University, Sweden

Wilson Wright
Department of Mathematical Sciences, Montana State University

Staci White
Department of Statistics,
 The Ohio State University
Title: A Monte Carlo approach to quantifying discrepancies between intractable posterior distributions
Co-authors: Radu Herbei

Mark Risser
Department of Statistics,
 The Ohio State University
Title: Regression-based covariance functions for nonstationary spatial modeling
Co-authors: Catherine A. Calder

Yang (Seagle) Liu
Department of Statistics,
 The University of British Columbia
Title: Bayesian melding of the dead-reckoned path and GPS measurements for an accurate and high-resolution path of marine mammals
Co-authors: Brian C. Battaile, James V. Zidek, and Andrew Trites

John Tipton
Department of Statistics, 
Colorado State University
Title: A multi-scale reconstruction of bivariate paleoclimate from tree ring widths using a biologically motivated growth model
Co-authors: Mevin Hooten, Neil Pederson, Martin Tingley, and Daniel Bishop

Honorable Mentions:
Joshua Keller
Department of Biostatistics
, University of Washington
Title: Covariate-adaptive clustering of exposures for air pollution epidemiology cohorts
Co-authors: Adam Szpiro

Ben Augustine
Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation
, Virginia Tech
Title: Accounting for behavioral response to capture when estimating population size from hair snare studies with missing data
Co-authors: Catherine Tredick and Simon Bonner

Gordana Popovic
School of Mathematics and Statistics,
The University of New South Wales
Title: A general algorithm for covariance modelling of discrete data
Co-authors: David Warton

Zhuo Wang
University of Connecticut
Title: Toward optimal fingerprinting in detection and attribution of changes in climate extremes with combined score equations
Co-authors: Jun Yan and Xuebin Zhang

First Place:
Won Chang
Penn State University
Title:  Fast Dimension-Reduced Climate Model Calibration
Co-authors:  Murali Haran, Klaus Keller, and Roman Olson

Honorable Mention:
Brook T. Russell
Colorado State University 
Title:  Data Mining for Extreme Behavior with Application to Ground Level Ozone
Co-authors:  Daniel S. Cooley, William C. Porter, Colette L. Heald, and Brian Reich

Robert Richardson
University of CaliforniaSanta Cruz
Title:  Flexible Integro-Difference Equation Modeling for Spatio-Temporal Data
Co-authors:   Athanasios Kottas and Bruno Sanso

First Place:
Stefano Castruccio University of Chicago Title:  Global Space-Time Models for Climate Ensembles Co-author:  Michael Stein
Honorable Mention: Libo Sun Colorado State University Title: Penalized Importance Sampling for Parameter Estimation in Stochastic Differential Equations for Two Chronic Wasting Disease Epidemics Co-authors: Chihoon Lee and Jennifer Hoeting
Stacey Alexeeff Harvard University Title: Bias Analysis for the Use of Spatially Predicted Air Pollution Exposures in Linear Models of Air Pollution Health Effects Co-authors: Raymond J. Carroll and Brent A. Coull


First Place:
Ephraim Hanks
Colorado State University
Title:  Random Fields and Statistical Models for Circuits
Co-author:  Mevin Hooten

Honorable Mention:
Luke Bornn
University of British Columbia
Title:  Nonstationary Modeling Through Dimension Expansion
Co-authors:  Gavin Shaddick and Jim Zidek

Rajarshi Guhaniyogi
University of Minnesota
Title:  Modeling Low-Rank Spatially Varying Cross-Covariances Using Predictive 
Processes with Application to Soil Nutrient Data
Co-authors:  Andrew O. Finley, Sudipto Banerjee, and Rich Kobe

First place:
Matthias Katzfuss
The Ohio State University
Title:   Bayesian Hierarchical Spatio-Temporal Smoothing for Massive Data Sets
Co-author:  Noel Cressie

Honorable Mention:
Ephraim Hanks
Colorado State University
Title:  Velocity-Based Movement Modeling for Individual- and Population-Level Inference
Co-authors:  Mevin B. Hooten, Devin S. Johnson, and Jeremy T. Sterling

First place:
David Dail
Oregon State University
Title:  Models for estimating population size from repeated counts of an open population
Co-author:  Lisa Madsen

Ying Sun
Texas A&M University
Title:  Functional boxplots for complex space-time data visualization 
Co-author:  Marc Genton

First Place:
Matt Heaton
Duke University
Title:  Temporally Correlated Dirichlet Processes for Pollution Receptor Models
Co-authors:  Shane Reese and William Christensen

Amanda Hering 
Texas A&M
Title:  Powering Up with Space-Time Wind Forecasting
Co-author:  Marc Genton

First Place:
Andrew Finley
University of Minnesota
Title:  Bayesian multivariate process modeling for prediction of forest attributes
  Co-authors:  Sudipto Banerjee, Alan R. Ek, and Ronald E. McRoberts 

First Place:
Man Sik Park 
North Carolina State University
  Title:  New Classes of Asymetric Spatial-Temporal Covariance Models

Honorable Mention:
Kathyrn Irvine
Oregon State University
Title:  Spatial Designs and Strength of Spatial Signal: Effects on Covariance Estimation
Co-authors: Alex Gitelman and Jennifer Hoeting

First Place:
Alejandro Veen
UCLA Statistics
Title: Assessing Spatial Point Process Models for California Earthquakes 
using weighted K-functions
Co-Authors: Frederic Schoenberg

Honorable Mention:
Andrea Cook
Harvard Biostatistics 
Title: Detecting Spatial Clustering in Matched Case-Control Studies
Co-Author: Yi Li

First Place:
Holly Janes
University of Washington
Title: Overlap bias in the case-crossover design, with application to air pollution exposures
Co-Authors: Lianne Sheppard and Thomas Lumley

Honorable Mention:
Mikyoung Jun
University of Chicago
Title: Statistical comparison of observed and CMAQ modeled daily sulfate levels
Co-Author: Michael L. Stein

Rebecca A. Buchanan
University of Washington
Title: A cost analysis of ranked set sampling to estimate a population mean

Matthew W. Mitchell
North Carolina State University
Title: A likelihood ratio test for separability of covariances

Petrutza Caragea
University of North Carolina
Title: Approximate likelihoods for spatial processes.

Stanislav Kolenikov
University of North Carolina
Title: Spatio-temporal modeling of longitudinal PM2.5 data with missing values.

First Place:
Deepak K. Agarwal
University of Connecticut
Investigating tropical deforestation using two stage spatially misaligned regression models

Honorable Mention:
Jun Zhu
Iowa State University
Asymptotic inference for spatial CDF's over time
First Place:
Li Zhu
School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota
Title: Hierarchical Modeling of Spatio-temporally Misaligned Data: 
Relating Traffic Density to Pediatric Asthma Incidence

First Place:
Breda Munoz-Hernandez
Department of Statistics, Oregon State University
Title: Design-based EOF model for environmental monitoring data analysis
Co-Authors: Virginia M. Lesser and Fred Ramsey

First Place:
Dawn E. Haines
Department of Statistics, North Carolina State University
Title: Estimating Populations Size Using Multiple Frames
Advisor: Kenneth H. Pollock

Honorable Mention:
Russell Alpizar-Jara
Biomathematics Graduate Program, Department of Statistics, North Carolina State University
Title: Population Estimation Using a Combination of Line Transect 
and Capture-Recapture for Mark-Resighting Experiments
Advisor: Kenneth H. Pollock

First Place:
Guoqin Su
Department of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science, University of Illinois at Chicago
Title: Statistical Scoring Procedures for Laboratory Performance Evaluation
Advisor: S. Hedayat

Second Place:
Kimberly Welsh Johnson
Biometrics Unit, Cornell University
Title: Canonical Correspondence Analysis as an Approximation to Gaussian Ordination
Advisor: Naomi Altman

Honorable Mention:
Dawn. E. Haines
Statistics Department, North Carolina State University
Title: Estimating Bald Eagle Population Size Using Dual Frame Sampling Techniques
Advisor: Kenneth Pollock

Fang Yi Luo
Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Department of Environmental Health, 
University of Cincinatti
Title: Testing an Improved Method for Missing Data Imputation
Advisor: Paul Succop

Huiling Pei
Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Department of Environmental Health, 
University of Cincinatti
Title: Anaconda Longitudinal Arsenic Exposure Study
Advisor: Paul Succop

First Place:
Brian M. Steel
Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Montana
Title: Kalman Filter Analysis of Growth-Climate Relationships in Old-Growth Forests
Advisor: David Patterson

Honorable Mention:
Song Qian
School of the Environment, Duke University
Title: Computing the Area Affected by Phosphorus Runoff in an Everglades 
Wetland Using Bayesian Kriging
Advisor: Kenneth Reckhow

First Place:
Lara J. Wolfson
Department of Statistics, Carnegie-Mellon University
Title: A Decision-Theoretic Approach to Environmental Remediation
Advisor: Joseph Kadane

Second Place:
Oliver Schabenberger
Dept. of Forestry, Section on Forest Biometrics, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Title: Nonlinear Mixed Effects Growth Models for Repeated Measures in Ecology
Advisor: Timothy Gregoire

First Place:
Hulin Wu
Department of Statistics, Florida State University
Title: Modeling and Regressing Spatial Binary Data with Application to the Distribution of Species
Advisor: Fred Huffer

Second Place:
Kai Sun
Department of Statistics, University of Missouri
Title: Estimation of Acute Toxicity by Fitting Dose-Time-Response Surface
Advisor: Asit Basu