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Spotlight on CSSS Blalock Fellowships

Graduate students newly admitted to University of Washington (UW) departments with CSSS PhD tracks, and who demonstrate interest and motivation for cutting-edge quantitative research in their field and/or potential for exceptional teaching careers in quantitative social sciences, can be nominated for the Center for Statistics and the Social Sciences (CSSS) Blalock Fellowship by their departments.

Since 2001, Blalock awardees included incoming PhD students in Anthropology, Geography, Nursing, Political Science, Sociology, and Social Work, among others. The number of awardees depends on the willingness of those students who are offered the Fellowship to join their respective PhD programs. In this newsletter, we are proud to feature two Blalock awardees: a 2008-2009 recipient JoAnn Lee, and the most recent 2021-2022 Blalock Fellowship recipient Erin Lipman.

Dr. JoAnn Lee, currently Associate Professor in the Department of Social Work at George Mason University, was one of three Blalock recipients in 2008. JoAnn commented that “The Blalock award was such an honor. It gave me a sense of belonging within the quantitative social science community.” Dr. Lee’s dissertation research in the UW’s PhD program in Social Welfare focused on the role of institutions in the transition to adulthood and their impact to adult criminal outcomes. During her PhD studies, JoAnn has completed the CSSS statistics track in Social Welfare. Reflecting on her experience, JoAnn said When people see the statistics track certificate on my CV, they immediately believe that I have strong quantitative skills. I have also published a number of studies using the advanced statistical techniques I learned through the certificate (including SEM and event history analysis), which certainly has made me more marketable. With the track’s coursework and the CSSS seminars, I felt like I belonged to the CSSS community. It was really helpful to have a secondary community (to social work) while in the doctoral program. JoAnn was a postdoctoral fellow in Seattle Children’s Institute before starting her faculty position at George Mason University in 2013.

The 2021-2022 Blalock Fellowship recipient, Erin Lipman, received an MS in Statistics from the University of Chicago and her BS in Mathematics from Haverford College. Prior to becoming a student in the UW’s Department of Statistics PhD Program, she was a statistical analyst in Mathematica Policy Research where she worked in the field of policy evaluation. Erin stated that “The combination of the quality of the Statistics PhD program as well as the interdisciplinary connections between social science departments and Statistics was a really big reason why it was not too difficult to decide on coming to UW. Still, it was nice to receive the Blalock award after admission since it felt as if I am already associated with CSSS in this way.

Blalock Fellowship nominations are made to CSSS by the participating departments. Blalock Fellows receive the award as a signing bonus when they join the UW. For further information or questions about the CSSS Blalock Fellowship award, please contact

CSSS seminar audience and speaker Prof. Jennie Brand from UCLA, on January 26, 2022