by Nicole VanKim

Guest Blogger, Reporting from the Summer Institute 2011

On Wednesday and Thursday afternoons this week there were optional advanced statistics sessions that several participants attended. These advanced sessions were led by Katherine Masyn, an Assistant Professor at Harvard University, who did an amazing job covering the statistical method of latent variable modeling (I will not inundate this blog post with the details of what latent variable modeling is, but take my word that it is a very useful tool).

In project news, we submitted our first set of tables and refined project proposals after spending the week exploring our data. Some of the common problems that we have been encountering have to do with missing data and survey weights. Fortunately, we are not alone and we have been able to help each other out with problems as they arise, whether it is figuring out new software, learning how to create tables, or discussing conceptual issues around our research questions.

This week also, there were several Boston Red Sox games at Fenway Park. From our dorm, we can hear the crowd roars, which is really kind of cool. I should note that the noise did not interfere with the viewing of the season premiere of Project Runway on Thursday night. Several of us also got to hang out with Gustavo Torrez on Friday after the data lab, which was a great way to end a nerdy week of statistics.

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