Tag: lion profiles

Andrew Gelman is a professor of statistics and political science and the director of the Applied Statistics Center at Columbia. A student of math and physics at MIT, he developed an interest in statistics as a college senior and has gone on to become a leading educator and blogger in the field. His work has focused particularly on American politics, including research on the ability to predict elections, the power of the individual voter, and the benefits of redistricting. He blogs at andrewgelman.com.

In your blog, you regularly call out and discuss statistical misinterpretation and deception. What are some important statistical lies being propagated now?
The biggest lie, I think, is that certainty is easy to attain using routine methods.  This is a lie that many people tell to themselves.  As the saying goes, the first step in fooling others is to fool yourself.
You’ve described your successful projects as endeavors aimed at “big fat targets”, such as voting patterns and election incumbency. What targets interest you most now?
In political science I’ve lately been interested in studying polarization and the role of social groups.  We’ve been thinking a lot about what we call the social penumbra, which is the set of people connected to a group.  For example, the number of gays in America is about the same as the number of Muslims in America, but, in surveys, a lot more people report having a close friend or family member who is gay, than report the same of a Muslim.  Two groups that have approximately the same size, have much different penumbras.
What larger statistical questions, in general, will emerge in coming years?
At one extreme, there’s been lots of difficult statistical work on integration of large streams of data, for problems ranging from internet marketing to self-driving cars.  At the other extreme, lots of decisions are still being made based on whether a comparison is “statistically significant.” To consider one application area:  there’s lots of talk about personalized medicine based on each person’s genome; but new medical therapies are still being evaluated using crude between-person experiments.  How can this be?  If we can barely come to a consensus about what works in medicine, or what are the effects of different diets, how can we hope to design individualized therapies?  In many areas of applications, we need more local and relevant data and less reliance on statistical significance.

Know a student, staff, or faculty member that we should interview next? Let us know by sending a note to submissions@columbialion.com. Interested in conducting interviews on behalf of The Lion? Email operations@columbialion.com to join the team.

Photo from The Daily Beast

The Lion recently sat down with Dean Baquet, the first black Executive Editor of the New York Times. He studied English at Columbia from 1974 to 1978. In 1988, he won a Pulitzer Prize for his investigative reporting on the Chicago City Council. He sat down with us to talk about how he became a journalist, what a typical day at the New York Times office is like, and more.

In the past, you’ve said that journalism was an accident for you. Can you tell us a little more about that?

First, I went to Columbia accidentally. I went to high school in New Orleans and I didn’t know where I wanted to go to college. One of my best friends applied to Columbia; I had never even heard of Columbia to be honest but he encruraged me to apply. So we both applied and I got in.

When I got to Columbia, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I thought I wanted to be an English major. I didn’t know if I wanted to be a professor, but I had a vague sense that I might want to be a writer and it stayed that way for the first couple years.

The summer between junior and senior year, I got an internship at an afternoon paper in New Orleans, because I was looking for a job. It was easy to get internships then, because there were a lot more newspapers and I just fell in love with it.I just thought it was so much fun. That’s how I got into journalism. It was an accident, and part of it was that I missed home and wanted to spend a longer time in New Orleans, but it wasn’t because I set out to become a journalist.

I noticed that you really seem to target corruption as a topic when you were a reporter. What drew you to that topic?

I think that I’m one of those people who’s always a little skeptical of powerful people. One of the big roles of news organizations is to protect the powerless in the face of unbridled power. And if you’re a reporter in a big city, then those powerful institutions besides business are big government. That’s why I was drawn to investigating government and power.

You’ve said that you’re a reporter at heart. How do you bring that passion to your editing?

I’m happiest when I’m thinking about stories, when I’m thinking about chasing stories, and when I’m thinking about how to do big stories. That’s the reporter’s sensibility in me. And when I walk around here thinking about stories and talking to reporters about coverage and I think that’s the reporter in me coming out. That’s the part of me I like best professionally. It influences the way I think about the news, coverage, and how to run the newsroom because I’m drawn to the stories like the reporters are.Continue Reading..

Meet Charlotte. Charlotte,  Morningside Heights born and raised, is a first year in Columbia College interested in studying History with a focus on Medieval Studies and Classics. We sat down with her to learn more about her goals while at Columbia and about her current passions.

What is your hometown?

New York, NY in MoHi. It’s going to college from across the street from where you grow up. But it’s interesting navigating a place you’ve known with a student life you’ve never experienced.

What are you current passions? How do you think you’ll pursue them on campus?

I went to LaGuardia to study visual arts. I love all kinds of arts but a lot of photography and graphic design. I might do photography and design for some clubs. I also want to try out theater. I think I also I want to join the ski team on campus. I’m auditioning for CMTS and KCST. And I might visit all the club info sessions. I want to just visit the club fair and learn from there.

Of everything you’ve worked on, volunteered for, and studied, what are you most proud of?

I was editor of my high school literary magazine. I basically did everything because I cared so much about it. When we transitioned from a yearly print to a blog, there was a great controversy (but unlike Blue and White, there wasn’t a divide). Being on people to create content, doing interviews, and dealing with a school that doesn’t care at times. Being able to find a club and get a position of power where you could go for it that I now cannot control and seeing that grow.

What are you interested in studying here? Why?

My intended degree is in history with a concentration with medieval studies and classics. I’ll be in school for a while. I want to be a historian, write books, and spend all of my time reading about christianization, paganism, and vikings, etc.

I became interested in it from two roads. One was mythology. I remembered asking my dad to teach me Latin because it seemed so cool. Now I’m taking Latin this semester because I want a more thorough understanding.  In terms of Greek and Roman mythology, Ajax has been my homie since 4th grade. I studied mythology from around the world and folklore. Really all of these stories. I went through  a lot of career ideas and a few ideas of what I wanted to with my career. I at one point wanted to do fashion and then looked at it and realized I’d be a walking panic attack.

I considered medicine and neuroscience and realized I didn’t want to do medical school. I then realized that my dad’s job as a historian was being a professional nerd. And then I realized that’s exactly what I wanted to be. My dad’s a historian and my mom’s an art historian so we’re quite a nerdy family.

This semester, I’m taking a lot of classics classes. I really want to take one called History of Cold. There’s a class about vampires. There’s a medieval Latin class and then all the graduate history classes.

What are you most nervous/anxious about (in regards to college, Columbia, NYC, etc)?

One thing I want to see is how my relationship with my neighborhood evolves. I’m in a new context in the exact same place. I want to see if I succumb to the Columbia bubble. I don’t know how permanent by desire to leave to other neighborhood changes. Will Westside seem like it’s too far in a few weeks? I hope not.

I also worry at times about finding your best friend in college. I’m already meeting people I like now so I’m getting less worried about that thankfully.

What are you most excited about (in regards to college, Columbia, NYC, etc)?

Everything. One of the best things about Columbia is the amount of opportunities. It’s all free (after tuition and selling your soul to FAFSA). I moved across the street and now can walk into Avery and look in the ancient art archives with my friends. There’s so many internships and having a .columbia.edu address opens a lot of doors. Everyone I talk to here is so interesting. It’s overwhelming how much stuff there is to do. I’m excited for such a packed schedule and to explore all of these opportunities.

Any goals you have in mind? 

  • I want to write a senior thesis.
  • I want to make use of the rare books and manuscripts library for said thesis.
  • I want to get really invested in a club or two, like I was in high school. I want to pour my heart and soul into something. If I become a columnist, I want to be able to get really invested in something worthwhile.
Throughout the semester, we’ll be featuring interviews from new students. To recommend someone for an interview or to become an interviewer for The Lion, email team@columbialion.com

Meet Bunmi. Bunmi, a first-year in Columbia Engineering, is originally from a suburb about 30 minutes outside of Atlanta, Georgia. We sat down with him to learn more about his interests in Biomedical Engineering and some of his goals while at Columbia.

What are you current passions? How do you think you’ll pursue them on campus?

I really got into Spanish in 8th grade. I want to minor in Spanish and my roommate is from Spain so I want to pursue it and practice. The language is incredibly useful especially in the Atlanta area. It came naturally to me and I love it.

I am also definitely interested in research. I want to keep trying to do that on campus once I learn how to balance my school and research. In high school, we had senior projects to help you explore careers. Since I was interested in medicine, I did a psychological study in my high school to study the factors correlated with intelligence. I used my high school as the sample size and looked at factors like race and GPA. I learned race and bilingualism didn’t play a significant factor. The main things were income and extracurricular activities. When you have more money you can do more things. Part of the project is a product, presentation, and a paper. So I wanted to see how we could improve underperforming schools. It came down to private or public funding of summer programs and extracurricular activities.

Of everything you’ve worked on, volunteered for, and studied, what are you most proud of?

I was a part of my church leadership group. It was a good way to give back to the community in a non-academic, scientific way. It was humbling to be a mentor and I’d want to do that here even if its not from a religious connotation. On campus, I want to join Peer Health Exchange and tutor program, Engineering without Borders and definitely Matriculate. I’d like to get into the city and help in low-income programs.

What are you interested in studying here? Why?

I want to study Biomedical Engineering (on the pre-med track) and Spanish. For the longest time, my friends loved Grey’s Anatomy. I originally refused to watch it, but when I did, I loved it. I love the idea of devoting your life to other people’s lives. I originally wanted to be a pilot. In 7th grade, we once did a dissection of a chicken and no one else could figure out how to do it. When I could, my teacher recommended I be a surgeon. That got me thinking maybe I should do that and pursue it. Even though its a big sacrifice, I still want to do it and help people.

In high school, I took Physics C. Even though it was super hard, it was cool to see how practical it was. BME adds another perspective to being a doctor. I hope it gives me a different perspective to being a surgeon and what I want to do.

What are you most nervous/anxious about (in regards to college, Columbia, NYC, etc)?

It’s going to be a big jump to high school. NYC is a lot more diverse. I grew up near Atlanta and thought I knew city life, but when I laded here it was NYC times 10. I don’t want to get bogged down studying or going off campus to much. I want to learn everything I need to know and learn while exploring.

I want to get into all five boroughs eventually. I want to try all the ethnic cuisine here that I never have had in Atlanta. I want to try a lot of new things.

My sister’s very very into Broadway and I want to see more shows and get into the art scene more.

What are you most excited about (in regards to college, Columbia, NYC, etc)?

I want to structure myself in new ways. Being around so many different people (international, LGBTQ, etc.) and learning all these new backgrounds. I’m excited to pursue higher education and physics and get out of my comfort zone for the first time in my life. It’ll be nice to just try something. Things are always happening here in NYC and people are open-minded compared to more conservative, traditional Atlanta. All things even, I definitely love New York a lot more than Atlanta…

Any goals you have in mind? 

I hope to be a neurosurgeon at a teaching hospital in 10-13 years. I definitely want to get into global outreach (whether with Doctors without Borders or on my own). I want to be in research wherever I am. I want to do things that helps others, not that just things that make money. I don’t have a career goal, but I want to know what is the best I can give.

Throughout the semester, we’ll be featuring interviews from new students. To recommend someone for an interview or to become an interviewer for The Lion, email team@columbialion.com

Meet Tevis. Tevis, a first-year in Columbia College is originally from Hurricane, West Virginia. We sat down with him to learn more about his interests in Economics and some of his goals while at Columbia.

What are you current passions? How do you think you’ll pursue them on campus?

I have a few that come to mind. I love singing and want to join an a cappella group at some point. I really like playing piano, so I might take some lessons here if possible. I like making people laugh and entertaining people. Mostly helping people.

When I was younger, I always asked others about the stock market. Then I finally looked at YouTube, read some articles and took AP Macro and Micro online and realized I really love it. That’s why I want to study Economics here.

Also, I’d love to start a lip sync battle club on campus. I would be fun. I am only really good at one song, but I’m learning some new songs right now.

Of everything you’ve worked on, volunteered for, and studied, what are you most proud of?

I’m happy I was the only student from my high school to come to an Ivy League and/or New York City. People in my hometown initially were shocked that I did not choose to go to school in West Virginia because of scholarship opportunities, but Columbia was my dream school.

I first visited New York in the third grade and ever since then, I’ve always wanted to live in the city. Throughout the years, I’ve visited multiple metropolitan areas (except for LA) and realized I want to go to a good university in a metropolitan area.  Then, I toured on campus (shoutout to URC tour guide Jess Hui (CC ’18)) who heavily influenced my decision to want to come here. She encouraged me, saying that I could succeed. I felt like I had a chance because I might be able to get in Early Decision. And it worked out thankfully. A lot of people from small towns want to dream about life in the big city and I’m so excited to be here. There are so many opportunities [in NYC]. Seeing websites like Lionshare, I was amazed by the numerous amount of resources here [at Columbia] that I couldn’t fathom having in West Virginia.

My end goal is to work on Board of Governors or the Federal Reserve of NYC with my buddy Alexander Hamilton.

What are you most nervous/anxious about (in regards to college, Columbia, NYC, etc)?

My grades. But that’ll work out. Obviously everyone here likely came from the top of their classes. I remember that high school felt a lot easier, but we’ll see what happens. Also, stress.

What are you most excited about (in regards to college, Columbia, NYC, etc)?

Probably looking at all the clubs and activities and internships. There’s so much to do here and it’s so overwhelming to figure out what to do.

Throughout the semester, we’ll be featuring interviews from new students. To recommend someone for an interview or to become an interviewer for The Lion, email team@columbialion.com