UGA statistics professor wins national honor

UGA statistics professor named winner of major national honor

Athens, Ga. – Lynne Billard, University Professor of Statistics in the University of Georgia Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, has been named winner of the 2008 Elizabeth L. Scott Award from the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies. This award, given every other year to only one winner, recognizes exemplary efforts to further the careers of women in academia.

Billard was honored for “encouraging women statisticians as they embark on their careers and mentoring women as they advanced; for excellent leadership to the profession, serving as a role model to the next generation of women and men in statistics; and for conducting and publishing studies to understand and end gender-based inequities in statistics.”

The award recognizes an individual who exemplifies the contributions of Elizabeth L. Scott’s lifelong efforts to further the careers of women in academia. An astronomer by training, she began to work in the Statistical Laboratory at the University of California at Berkeley during World War II and had a long, distinguished, career as a professor. She worked in a variety of areas besides astronomy including experimental design, distribution theory and medical statistics. Later in her career, Scott became involved with salary inequities between men and women in academia and published several papers on this topic, including the “AAUP Higher Education Salary Evaluation Kit” still in use today.

“Scott was and is still a giant in the field and to have my name alongside hers is a signal and humbling honor,” said Billard.

A faculty member at UGA since 1980, Billard is a former head of the department of statistics and was named a University Professor in 1992. She earned her bachelor’s and doctoral degrees from the University of New South Wales in Australia.

At UGA, she is winner of a Creative Research Medal and was named recipient of the first Women’s Studies Faculty Award, along with the late Margaret Dickie in English. The American Statistical Association named her winner of its Wilks Award in 1999 and its Founders Award in 2003. She is a former national president of the ASA.

In addition to a distinguished career as a teacher and researcher at UGA, she is the author of more than 150 articles in peer-reviewed journals. She is in high demand as an invited speaker around the world.