Student Spotlight: Robyn Wallace

Robyn C. Wallace is a student in the MS in Government Analytics program with a concentration in statistical analysis.

I am a scientific data analyst with Northrop Grumman, a major US defense and technology firm.  Through a contract with the company, I work at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta where I work on a variety of programs within the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention (DHAP) and the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP).  As an analyst, having the skills to thoughtfully design experiments, analyze large amounts of data, and interpret and leverage data are key factors to successfully solve problems and optimize value within public health programs.  The MS in Government Analytics program is expertly designed to expand my proficiency in the latest analytics technologies, applications, and practices that are actively reshaping the public sector.  

This skills learned in this program are directly applicable to my work as an analyst within CDC’s Population Health Division, Behavioral Risk Factor Branch. Working in this role, while pursuing this degree, has afforded me the platform to apply fundamental techniques learned to a practical setting within the Public Health sector.  A large component of my position involves developing data standards and methodologies for Population Health Surveillance data in tandem with designing and coding statistical models to determine chronic health status at the state and county level. Analyzing health status at the county level is particularly important since state and local governments require sub-state geographically based information in health policy planning and program implementation.  However, most public health data, including the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), are collected nationally and not designed to produce direct estimates for chronic health conditions at the county level as the sample sizes are too small.  Hence, the estimates at the county level are not reliable or stable.  To mitigate this, the Behavior Risk Factor Branch has designed a methodology, primarily using SAS, to produce accurate chronic health county estimates when aggregated at the state level.  As the lead analyst on this project, I’ve worked to develop BRFSS’ small area estimation method and have recently published a paper in Preventing Chronic Disease on this research.   

With the knowledge gained in the MS program, I plan to expand current modeling techniques within the Behavioral Risk Factor Branch that will offer additional information about national health data outcomes and introduce new software, such as R and Stata, into BRFSS’ functionality.  Owing to the skills learned in courses such as Advanced Quantitative Methods, my goal is to streamline the current small estimation method by utilizing multiple imputation to address survey data incompleteness.  I also plan to explore bootstrapping as a method to address underestimated standard errors, a major concern in the BRFSS small area estimation method resulting from the model not taking into account complex design variables.  Exploring bootstrapping and other methods will set the stage for future papers on small area estimation for the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. 


Congrats to our Bryce Harlow Winners!

Congratulations to two of our students, Kirsten Hunter, MA in Government (pictured), and Arya Birdie, MA in Public Management, who are recipients of the highly competitive Bryce Harlow Foundation fellowships.

The Bryce Harlow Foundation has posted a spotlight on 2015-16 fellow Kirsten Hunter.

Since 1985, the Bryce Harlow Foundation has awarded fellowships to highly motivated, part-time graduate students to support them in their pursuit of careers in lobbying, government relations or public affairs.


Student Spotlight: Vivian Hou

Congratulations to MS in Government Analytics student Vivian Hou on her new position as a Junior Data Visualization Developer at the Urban Instiute!  Ms. Hou will be creating D3 graphics as part of Urban's Visual Communications team.  

She is very grateful for the data visualizations courses she completed as part of the GA program, as she was able to present Urban with a sophisticated portfolio of her work from these courses during the interview process.  We here at the Center for Advanced Governmental Studies are thrilled for her!


Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility Graduates

Congratulations to these executives who have just graduated from the Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility, a partnership between Advanced Academic Programs at Johns Hopkins University and the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers.  This non-credit executive education program, now in its third year, attracts participants from all over the United States and even other countries.  Companies represented in the current class include Cigna, CareFirst, Capital One, Pepco, Johnson & Johnson, Aetna, IBM, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Capital One, Deloitte, Wells Fargo, Booz Allen Hamilton, CTIA Wireless, DENSO International America and the Central Bank of Nigeria,  Leading CSR practitioners, thinkers and authors serve as faculty.  The Institute is chaired by Timothy J. McClimon, President of the American Express Foundation and Vice President for CSR at the company.  More information can be found at http://instituteforcsr.org/.  



Book Launch Party: The New Trail of Tears with Author Naomi Schaefer Riley

We invite you to join us for a book launch party and signing  for The New Trail of Tears with author Naomi Schaefer Riley hosted by the Independent Women's Forum.  Ms. Riley has lectured at the Center for Advanced Governmental Studies several times.

Light refreshments and beverages will be served.

Date: Tuesday, July 26
Time: 6:00 - 8:00 pm
Location:  1706 New Hampshire Ave. NW Washington, DC

RSVP here.

About the book:

If you want to know why American Indians have the highest rates of poverty of any racial group, why suicide is the leading cause of death among Indian men, why native women are two and a half times more likely to be raped than the national average and why gang violence affects American Indian youth more than any other group, do not look to history. There is no doubt that white settlers devastated Indian communities in the 19th, and early 20th centuries. But it is our policies today–denying Indians ownership of their land, refusing them access to the free market and failing to provide the police and legal protections due to them as American citizens–that have turned reservations into small third-world countries in the middle of the richest and freest nation on earth.

The tragedy of our Indian policies demands reexamination immediately—not only because they make the lives of millions of American citizens harder and more dangerous—but also because they represent a microcosm of everything that has gone wrong with modern liberalism. They are the result of decades of politicians and bureaucrats showering a victimized people with money and cultural sensitivity instead of what they truly need—the education, the legal protections and the autonomy to improve their own situation.

If we are really ready to have a conversation about American Indians, it is time to stop bickering about the names of football teams and institute real reforms that will bring to an end this ongoing national shame.