Crawford recipient of the 2008 LAS Distinguished Alumnus Award

August 10, 2009

Dr. Carol A. Gotway Crawford, who graduated from Bradley University in 1984 with two Bachelor of Science degrees—in mathematics and in geology, is the recipient of the 2008 LAS Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Since her graduation from Bradley, Crawford has distinguished herself in academia, industry, and, for the past 13 years, in government at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention. Her areas of expertise in statistics include biostatistics, spatial, environmental, and public health. She exemplifies the ideal graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences in her dedication to the work in her field, in her many publications, and in her service to the profession.

Her principal interest and work has been in statistics. After graduating from Bradley, she attended Iowa State University where she received a master’s degree in 1986 and a Ph.D. in 1989, both in statistics. While in graduate school, she interned with the Rand Corporation in Santa Monica, California.

Following her graduation from Iowa State University and a one-year research appointment at the Centre de Geostatistique in Fontainebleau, France, she worked for the Sandia National Labs as a senior member of the technical staff. Her work at Sandia centered around environmental statistics, geostatistics, and risk analysis. These are themes that have continued throughout her subsequent work. In 1992 she was lured back to academe with an appointment in the Department of Biometry at the University of Nebraska. There she conducted collaborative research in areas as diverse as agronomy, engineering, geology, and nutrition. She also taught graduate-level courses in several areas of statistics. It was at this time that she had an early foray into some administrative work, supervising staff and devising budgets in the key computer committee of the department.

Her career took another turn in 1996 when she joined the CDC in Atlanta as a research mathematical statistician. Her activities included working with directors and scientists in the National Center for Environmental Health as well as other centers within the CDC on programs to improve policies and programs supporting humanitarian workers overseas and serving as an expert statistical consultant on projects involving time series analysis, spatial statistics, public health surveillance, and environmental statistics. Another part of her work is administrative: supervising programmers, junior statisticians, and Ph.D. students. She also keeps her hand in academia in her work as an adjunct professor of biostatistics at Emory University where she teaches and supervises Ph.D. students.

In 2008, she assumed a new position at the CDC as the associate director for science, serving as the primary scientific advisor to the director of the Office of Workforce and Career Development (OWCD). The responsibilities of this new position include being the advisor on all science issues in public health, epidemiology, biostatistics, and more. 

Her career includes more than 70 publications in scholarly journals and conference proceedings. In addition she has been invited to give over 35 presentations at scholarly meetings, workshops, and conferences. The broad, multidisciplinary scope of her work and expertise can be seen in the wide variety of journals in which she has published her work.   

Her career includes significant service to her profession. Her editorial work includes being deputy editor of Mathematical Geology and associate editor of the Journal of the American Statistical Association (JASA). She has served on many committees in the ASA as a member and as a chair, including her work as program chair for scholarly meetings and nominating committees. She was nominated for vice president of the ASA last year. She has also been vice president and then secretary general of the International Association for Mathematical Geology, illustrating her continuing interests in both mathematics and geology begun in her time at Bradley. 

She has received many awards and prizes over the course of her career. In 2002 she was honored as a Fellow of the American Statistical Association. This is awarded in recognition of members of “established reputation who have made outstanding contributions in some aspect of statistical work.” It is given annually and is limited to no more than 1/3 of 1 percent of the ASA membership. She has also been celebrated several times for her work within the CDC, has won a Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter Partnership Award, and the ASA Distinguished Achievement Award, among others. 

In addition, she has assisted the department on several occasions over the years with questions about appropriate graduate schools for students with interests in particular areas of statistics and other related questions. She has always provided timely and useful advice and has even contacted students directly to provide assistance. The students have been grateful and impressed, and the department has felt the same way.

Congratulations to Crawford on a well-deserved award.