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Topics to be explored at the Summer Honors Institute include the following:

  1. Why statisticians are highly sought after in the current job market and what possible career options are available for those who enjoy working with numbers.
  2. “Are you smart enough to work at Google?”
  3. A hands-on statistical investigation using real data obtained (by the participants) on the campus of Ohio Northern University.
  4. Chickens playing tic-tac-toe:  An in-depth investigation.
  5. “So you want to be on a game show (and win)?”  Exploring game show probabilities.
  6. Statistical methods for obtaining information regarding illegal/immoral/fattening behaviors.

“Lies, Darned Lies, and Statistics” Statistics plays a fundamental role throughout the scientific world and in everyday life itself. Unfortunately, even though statistics is an extremely important – it literally saves lives – and interesting field, this is not widely recognized by students or society in general. The singular goal of our summer session in statistical methods is to make participating students aware of just how “essential” the use of statistics really is. In our session, students will be charged with the discovery research tools of several exciting applications of the concepts and methods of statistics to solve problems. The emphasis will be on assessments that use both oral and written presentations of the team projects, and experiments designed to actively engage students in the learning process. Students will be involved in all phases of hands-on statistical experiments, from the design of the experiment to the collection and analysis of the data. Additionally, there will be a variety of fun and challenging activities throughout the week illuminating the concepts of probability.


Dr. Laurence D. Robinson is an Associate Professor of Statistics at Ohio Northern University.  He obtained a B.A. degree, with majors in Psychology and Zoology, from The University of Michigan (Ann Arbor – Go Blue! – yea, I’ll fight you), and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Biostatistics at The University of California (Berkeley). Dr. Robinson’s interests include statistics education, statistics in sports, and math puzzles (in this regard, Dr. Robinson is the administrator of ONU’s “Problem of the Week” series). Having previously been a professor at Louisiana State University, Dr. Robinson is of the opinion that Ada is a better college town than Baton Rouge.
Dr. Ryan R. Rahrig is an Assistant Professor of Statistics at Ohio Northern University.  He obtained a B.Sc. degree, with majors in Mathematics and Computer Science, a M.A. in Mathematical Statistics and a Ph.D. in Statistics from Bowling Green State University.  Dr. Rahrig’s interests include bioinformatics, a field of study that uses mathematics, statistics, and computer science to solve problems in the biological sciences.  Dr. Rahrig also works with students who are preparing for careers in actuary science, which is a field that uses statistics and probability to assess risks in order to develop rates for insurance and pension funds.

What to bring

There are always questions about what to bring to an overnight or week long activity. Here are some suggestions. You will be working in the laboratory. Stable closed toe shoes are required for the laboratory work. You should wear comfortable clothing for these activities. You may want to wear long sleeved shirts. Disposable gloves will be provided. Long hair should be tied back. You will want to bring a small amount of spending money since the university bookstore is usually open. You can bring along some of your favorite snacks although there are vending machines located on campus. A local grocery store and a Rite Aid are available for unplanned essentials. Bring a cell phone or calling card to make long-distance calls, since Ada sometimes has poor reception for cell phones for such carriers as AT&T and Nextel. If you have a camera you may want to bring it. There are picture perfect events all week long. The dorms are lockable and secure so you should be able to bring normal things such as clock radios, small CD players, or alarm clocks. If medication needs to be dispensed, the SHI director will make appropriate arrangements.

List of essentials aside from normal everyday apparel.

  • Alarm clock
  • Soap, comb/brush, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, etc.
  • Insect repellent – DEET-based works best, Off Brand, pump instead of aerosol
  • Ball Cap
  • Extra socks
  • A pair of long jeans or slacks
  • Shorts, shirts or blouses
  • One nice outfit (khaki slacks/polo shirt) for presentation
  • Sweatshirt/jacket (classrooms are air conditioned and can be cool)
  • T-shirts
  • Rain gear
  • Comfortable shoes, closed toed shoes, shoes to be worn in the gym
  • Swimwear, Beach towel
  • Camera
  • Sunscreen
  • Sandals
  • Flashlight with new batteries
  • If you anticipate washing clothes, bring along a small container of clothes detergent and quarters for the washing machines
  • Single extra long bedsheets, pillow, and blanket

What you do NOT have to bring?
Towels are provided. There will be snacks and bottled water provided during the day and evening. Do not bring candles or incense, TV, dart board, draperies, drum set, electric guitars, electric blankets, fireworks, fish net wall hangings, flags, firearms, halogen lamps, hot plates, microwave ovens, pets such as snakes, spiders, lizards, cats, dogs, birds and fish, sunlamps, heat lamps and space heaters, toaster ovens, valuables, water beds, and weights.