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Black History Month
2018 Honoree

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Kimberly Sellers

Kimberly Sellers

Associate Professor of Statistics

Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Georgetown University

 

Where are you from?

The Washington, DC metropolitan area

 

Please describe an experience (or 2) that helped you discover/ cultivate your interest in the mathematical sciences.

Mathematics was always my favorite subject, however, I wanted my Ph.D. in a mathematical science at an early age (3rd grade). Part of the inspiration came from reviewing the statistical output printed in Black Issues in Higher Education where they would report the number of African-American PhDs in various disciplines. The number of Ph.D. graduates in the mathematical sciences were incredibly small that it drove me to want to be one of the few to achieve such a goal. I was fortunate to have wonderful mentors throughout my schooling, including Prof. Raymond Johnson at the University of Maryland. Dr. Johnson was particularly supportive of me as I graduated the only African-American undergraduate math major in (at that time) the largest graduating class for the department. My desire to pursue statistics, however, didn’t occur until graduate school. I initially registered for the year-long Statistics course to round out my studies in applied mathematics. My instructor (Prof. Piotr Mikulski) made the material so interesting that he inspired and motivated me to pursue Statistics as a career choice.

 

What is/are your most proud accomplishment(s) in regards to your career in the mathematical sciences?

Sellers’ research areas of interest and expertise are in generalized statistical methods involving count data that contain data dispersion; and in image analysis techniques, particularly low-level analyses including preprocessing, normalization, feature detection, and alignment. Her primary research focus centers on the Conway-Maxwell-Poisson distribution. Sellers is the leading expert on this distribution, having developed various statistical methods associated with distribution theory, generalized regression models, control chart theory, multivariate distributions and analysis, stochastic processes, etc. for count data expressing data dispersion. Her single-authored and collaborative works have been published in prominent journals, and she is a nationally and internationally invited speaker.

Sellers is likewise recognized both nationally and internationally for her service activities. She serves as an associate editor for the Journal of Computational and Graphical Statistics, and The American Statistician. Meanwhile, she is an active contributor to efforts to diversify the fields of mathematical and statistical sciences, both with respect to gender and race/ethnicity. She is the 2017-2018 Chairperson for the American Statistical Association’s Committee on Women in Statistics, and an Advisory Board member for the Black Doctoral Network.

 

What is/are your most proud accomplishment(s) in regards to your personal life?

I am a proud mother of a son and have a wonderful support system of family and friends.

 

Please share some words of wisdom/inspiration.

Stay focused, and keep your eyes on the prize!