Martha Aliaga (1937-2011)

Martha Beatriz Bilotti was born in Mendoza (Argentina) and did her undergraduate studies at the University of Buenos Aires. She earned a master’s degree in Santiago, Chile, at the Inter-American Center for the Teaching of Statistics.

She completed a doctorate in statistics at the University of Michigan in 1986, her dissertation, supervised by Michael B. Woodroofe, was A problem in sequential analysis.

Aliaga was elected fellow of the American Statistical Association (ASA) in 1999 “for outstanding contributions to statistical education through the development and use of innovative teaching methods; for sustained dedication to the advancement of women and minorities; and for service to the profession.” She was also elected member of the International Statistical Institute in 2000 and council member between 2009 and 2013.

A career in education

After teaching in the Dominican Republic, she moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan to become an associate professor at the University of Michigan in 1972. In Ann Arbor she participated as the only instructor for a National Science Foundation program for middle-school minority girls. While at Michigan, she won the First Prize in Statistics for Innovative Programs Using Technology and two awards for excellence in teaching.. She also taught from 1981 to 1985 at American University, and in the late 1980s at both the University of the District of Columbia and the University of Michigan (commuting between the two).

In 2003 she started her work at ASA as Director of Education.. During her tenure at the ASA Aliaga established the ASA’s Educational Ambassadorship Program, which together with the Committee on International Relations in Statistics she launched in 2005. Within the program, an ambassador attends continuing education courses during the Joint Statistical Meetings and then returns to his or her country to teach the new subject matter. This way of passing statistics education forward has allowed statisticians to reach students in every corner of the world.

She also co-wrote a statistics textbook With Brenda Gunderson, Interactive Statistics (Prentice Hall, 1999; 4th ed., 2017)

Caucus for Women in Statistics

Aliaga was also a strong supporter of women and minorities and served as the first Latin-American president of the Caucus for Women in Statistics in 2003,

References

Martha Aliaga. Wikipedia.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martha_Aliaga

Golbeck, Amanda L. (2020) Presidents of the Caucus for Women in Statistics, 1971–2021. Significance Magazine.

https://www.significancemagazine.com/642

Nirala, V. (2011). Martha Aliaga: An Ideal Teacher . Amstat News

https://magazine.amstat.org/blog/2011/12/01/marthaaliagaobi/

Nirala, V. (2017). Martha Aliaga: The Charismatic Teacher. Amstat News

https://magazine.amstat.org/blog/2017/09/01/marthaaliaga/