UPSTAT 2021 Conference

2021 Conference
Join us April. 23-24, 2021, for the Upstat Annual Conference.

Our beloved UPSTAT conference goes fully virtual this year! After having to cancel UPSTAT 2020, we couldn't let another year go by without a weekend full of statistics. This year, our theme is inspired by the tumultuous year our home nation has had. We seek to explore how statistics can help us to serve social justice in terms of new methodology, using it to understand data in an applied way, and how to educate students to think critically about data.

That's a wrap! Thanks for attending the 2021 UPSTAT Conference

Publications from UPSTAT 2021

All our presenters are strongly encouraged to submit an extended and fully developed version of their presentation for review by Mathematics for Applications, a journal indexed and archived by SCOPUS and MathSciNet.

Please refer to the email from Program Chair, Dr Katherine Grzesik for more details on the submission process.

Submissions for manuscripts must be made no later than August 31st, 2021 to allow time for the full review process.

To increase your chances of a successful review, be sure to provide a strong and comprehensive methodological description of your work along with the theoretical justifications wherever appropriate. The use of a compelling application will go a long way towards strengthening your manuscript.

All the accepted manuscripts will be published in the December 2021 issue of Mathematics for Applications.

Awards and Prizes

The UPSTAT 2021 Organizing Committee congratulates all the highly deserving winners of our conference various awards and distinctions


The winner of the students’ awards for Best Poster is Alecia James from the SUNY Downstate.

1st Place (Gold)

Alecia James

SUNY Downstate

2nd Place (Silver)

Erin Jane Campbell

University of Rochester

3rd Place (Bronze)

Abigail Naa Amankwaa Abeo

African Institute for Mathematical Sciences – Cameroon

Honorable Mention

Ethan Woods

University of Texas at San Antonio


The winner of the students’ awards for Best Methodology Paper is Will Consagra from the University of Rochester.

1st Place (Gold)

Will Consagra

University of Rochester

2nd Place (Silver)

Crystal Wiedner

University of Texas at San Antonio

3rd Place (Bronze)

Shen Zhang

University of Texas at San Antonio


The winner of the students’ awards for Best Applications Paper is Alana Hough from Rochester Institute of Technology

1st Place (Gold)

Alana Hough

Rochester Institute of Technology

2nd Place (Silver)

Aruni Jayathilaka

University of Texas at San Antonio

3rd Place (Bronze)

Yuchen Xu

Cornell University

Khoa Hoang

University of Rochester

Honorable Mention

Swarup Dhar

Bucknell University

Data Analytics Competition

This year, we could not break the tie between our top two teams and we ended up having to confer gold medals to two teams. Congratulations.

Gold Medal


Captain Qiuyi Wu

University of Rochester

Gold Medal


Captain: Stephen Gass

University of Rochester

Bronze Medal


Captain: Eddie Pei

Rochester Institute of Technology

Schedule, Location & Dates

The Conference takes place virtually on April 23rd and April 24th 2021. For the complete schedule of activities, including links to the Zoom rooms please see the 2021 Upstat Schedule.

 Full Schedule & Zoom Links

Keynote Speakers

Gipsy Escobar, PhD, Director of Product Strategy: Dr. Gipsy Escobar has extensive multidisciplinary criminal justice research experience designing and managing complex research projects, mentoring staff, and communicating research results to varied audiences. As MFJ's Director of Research and Analytics (2015 to 2018) she worked with national experts to design and validate a system of performance measurement for local criminal justice and to develop a robust methodology to standardize the management of criminal justice data from varied sources across jurisdictions in the United States. Currently, as MFJ's Director of Product Strategy, she's responsible for understanding the market landscape as well as the voice of our customers and external stakeholders. She uses this knowledge to inform the prioritization of the Product Roadmap for external products, advise and cultivate key partnerships, and take a key role in representing these perspectives to MFJ stakeholders. Before joining MFJ, Dr. Escobar was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology and a faculty member of the Graduate School at Loyola University Chicago. She received her Ph.D. from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Her research interests include crime and justice measurement, court case processing, prosecutorial decision-making, program evaluation, and the spatial study of crime correlates at the community level.

Sema Taheri, PhD, Director of Research Operations: Sema Taheri joined MFJ in 2016. As the Director of Research Operations at Measures for Justice, Sema collaborates with the Outreach team to develop MFJ's data collection protocol, co-manages the development and implementation of a rigorous methodology for data management, and directs the general operations of the Research team. She also collaborates closely with MFJ's leadership to advance the organization's research agenda. Sema has worked closely with sheriffs' offices on a number of projects, including evaluations of correctional treatment programming, and the analyses of trends in the jail population. At MFJ, she has also worked closely with practitioners across the system on projects related to data standards, performance measure development, and evaluation. Her dissertation research focused on the gap between research and practice and the development of partnerships to guide data-led policy and programming within criminal justice agencies. Sema holds a Ph.D. in Criminology & Justice Policy from Northeastern University and a M.A. in Criminology & Criminal Justice from Loyola University Chicago. Her research interests include institutional and community corrections, offender reentry, CJ organizations, and program evaluation.

Special Invited Speakers/Guests

  • David Banks, Duke University, Statistical Science
  • Emma Pierson, Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research and Faculty at Cornell Tech, New York

Contributors to the Roundtable

  • David Banks, Duke University
  • Veronica Ciocanel, Duke University
  • William Cipolli, Colgate University
  • Gipsy Escobar, Measures For Justice
  • Arindam Gosh, Office of Criminal Justice Policy (Bexar County Texas)
  • Nicholas Robertson, Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Sema Taheri, Measures For Justice

    Abstract Submission

    We are currently seeking submissions for our parallel session from attendees of all levels! Undergraduates, graduates, faculty and professionals are all welcome! Please note that your contributions do not need to follow the theme, any topic is welcome. You are cordially invited to submit an abstract for presentation at the Ninth Joint Conference of the Upstate Chapters of the American Statistical Association, which will be held Online on Friday and Saturday, April 23-24, 2021.  If you are interested in giving a talk in our parallel sessions or organizing a session.

    Abstracts must contain at most 250 words and should not contain any references.  The deadline for the submission of the abstract is Friday, April 9, 2021, and notification of acceptance for a poster or oral presentation will be sent out on  April 12, 2021.

    Videos of Oral Presentations: All contributors to oral presentations will be placed in the most compatible parallel session according to their topic and focus. Given the online/virtual nature of the conference, the parallel sessions this year might take the form of discussion sessions with the speakers as the focal points and the audience having to ask questions. To that end, authors of oral presentations are strongly encouraged to create videos of their presentations ahead of the conference date and send them to be posted to the conference website at the appropriate session. This will allow interested attendees to get to know their work and experience their talk prior to the session. There are many advantages to this, including the creation of the authors’ permanent and reusable resources but also crucially the availability of your talk to attendees interested in your research topic.

    All speakers MUST submit their slides no later than April 17, 2021, along with the corresponding video. The slides are MANDATORY but the videos while HIGHLY recommended, are optional for those who might find it difficult to create a video. Make your video optimized for web.

    For all questions regarding abstracts, please contact Conference Program Chair, Dr. Katherine Grzesik  

    Session Submission

    The Program Committee strongly encourages all participants to seriously consider organizing a session on a statistics/data science theme of their choice.  All sessions must have a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 3 speakers.  Please note that each session will be 45-50 minutes in duration.  It will be the responsibility of the session organizer to invite the speakers and ensure that the speakers attend the conference.  The session organizer may also be a speaker in his/her session.  All session organizers who are students will receive an UP-STAT 2021 Young Scientific Leader Award. Please submit the details of our organized session here.  The deadline for submission of an organized session is Friday, April 9, 2021.

    As you prepare your presentation, please keep in mind that the focus is not on technical rigor, but instead on clarity of exposition and ease of access by our audience, which may have a substantial number of students and AP Statistics teachers. As a matter of fact, we strongly encourage students and AP Statistics teachers to participate actively.  

    For all questions regarding sessions, please contact Conference Program Chair, Dr.Katherine Grzesik


    The first day of the conference (Friday, April 23) will feature tutorials (workshops on topics of broad interest).  As in previous years, there will be at least four (4) appealing and compelling tutorials featuring state of the art aspects of statistics, machine learning, artificial intelligence and data science, Please check the conference website for greater details. Tutorials will be provided free of charge to registered conference participants.  Space is limited, so reservations for a seat soon

    Awards and Prizes

    Monetary prizes will be awarded to students for the best poster and oral presentations related to (1) statistical methods and (2) statistics/data science applications.  Finally, a mentorship award will be presented to the faculty member who is a co-author on the highest number of student presentations.

    See Awards and Prizes

    Data Analytics Competition

    To further encourage student participation, we will hold a data analysis competition.  A team of at least one student and no more than 5 students may enter the competition by submitting their entry information which includes team name, school, and the names and e-mail addresses of the team members.  The data set will be accessible from the conference website on around March 10, 2021 to teams that have entered the competition.  Teams will be required to submit a report (maximum of 10 pages) on their results by  April 18, 2021.  Prizes will be awarded to the top 3 teams, all of whom will be asked to present their results at the conference.  

    Important Links
    Register Your Team
    Report Submission Form

    Read More about Competition and Register


    Become a Sponsor - The UPSTAT Conference series team is forever grateful to all the generous sponsors who have support the conference over the years. It’s extremely hard and newly impossible to properly run a high quality conference without the highly appreciated support of our sponsors. Learn more about becoming a sponsor.


    The Themes for the UPSTAT 2021 Conference include but are not limited to:

    • Statistics Analysis of Police Reports
    • Analysis and Detection of Bias and Fairness in Search Engines
    • Stochastic Analysis of Pattern of Police Bias
    • Statistical Methods for Criminal Justice
    • Data Science Methods and techniques for Social Justice
    • Analysis of Racial Bias in Education
    • Statistical Machine Learning for Quantitative Criminology
    • Emerging Methods in Statistics Education
    • Biostatistics Methods in Criminal and Social Justice
    • Algorithmic Bias and Fairness in Policing Methods
    • Computational Statistics Methods for Social Justice
    • Statistics for Social Justice Policy Making
    • Emerging Methods of Statistics and Biostatistics

    The UPSTAT conference series aims to serve as a friendly and empowering forum for the annual gathering of statisticians, applied mathematicians, computer scientists, engineers, and data scientists from upstate New York and its neighboring regions.  Graduate students and advanced undergraduate students involved in research are especially welcome and strongly encouraged to present their research.

    The theme for this year’s meeting is Statistics Serving Social Justice. This year we intend to gather statisticians, mathematicians, engineers, computer scientists and data scientists to come together around this theme touching Statistics and Data Science Methods and Techniques at the Service of Social Justice. We are soliciting abstract submissions related to the theme of the conference, but we also welcome submissions related to the analysis of data from all fields of application of statistics, artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science.  We are interested in contributions to statistical methodology as well as to statistical practice, consulting, and education.  Moreover, we would welcome submissions at the interface of statistics and other disciplines such as computer science, environmental studies, biology/medicine, social sciences, and business/finance.

    • Novel contributions to statistical methods or computing – If you have developed new statistical methods or approaches to the analysis of data, we strongly encourage you to consider submitting an abstract to present your work.
    • Applications of statistical methods to interesting data sets from criminal justice, social justice, bias and fairness in computing, environmental studies, biology/medicine, social sciences, business/finance, and other fields – If you are an applied statistician working in academia or in industry, and have worked on interesting problems involving the analysis of complex (possibly large) data sets, then consider submitting an abstract to present your problem and the analysis that you performed to gain insight into your scientific question.
    • Issues in statistics / data science education – If you have taught courses related to statistics or data science to high school students, undergraduate students, or graduate students, consider giving a presentation on novel approaches that you may have implemented. Presentations that touch on the role that other disciplines should play in developing curricula in these fields would also be of great interest.

    Presenters will have the option of submitting a detailed version of their unpublished work as a manuscript to be peer-reviewed and eventually published in the journal Mathematics for Applications, indexed by MathSciNet.

    Conference Committee

    • General Chair
      Ernest Fokoué, Rochester Institute of Technology
    • Program Chair
      Katherine Grzesik, University of Rochester
    • Communication and Web Coordinator
      John-Paul Takats, Rochester Institute of Technology
    • Publicity Coordinator
      Trijya Singh, Lemoyne College
    • Statistics Education Coordinator
      Bruce Blaine, St John Fisher College
    • Finance Coordinator
      Tony Wong, Rochester Institute of Technology
    • Information Technology and Data Handling Coordinator
      Gregory Babbitt, Rochester Institute of Technology
    • Outreach Coordinator
      John Handley University of Rochester
    • Data Analytics Competition Coordinator
      John McCluskey, Rochester Institute of Technology
    • Scientific Coordinator
      Ernest Fokoué, Rochester Institute of Technology


    Since its inception in 2012, the UP STAT conference series has uninterruptedly gathered the most eager practicing statisticians and data scientists of our beautiful upstate New York region every single year. Thanks to the remarkable and commendable commitment of statistical practitioners and faculty members along with their dedicated students from Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Rochester, St John Fisher College, Canisius College, SUNY Geneseo, SUNY Buffalo, SUNY Buffalo State, SUNY Fredonia, SUNY Binghamton, SUNY Oneonta, SUNY Oswego, SUNY Albany, Niagara University, Syracuse University, St Bonaventure College, SUNY Brockport, City University of New York (CUNY) and Cornell University. The conference has occasionally welcomed participants from as far as Carnegie Mellon University. The UP STAT conference series has become the annual gathering forum for all the statisticians and data scientists of upstate New York. With very little means, we have harnessed the talents of our volunteer organizing committee members to build the UP-STAT conference series into a very promising vehicle for cutting edge Statistical and Data Science education in our Upstate New York region.