Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Do You Know What I Did Last Summer?

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather and have been sleeping A LOT. On to the topic of the day…

Last summer I had planned to take a couple math education type classes to prepare me for teaching and work around my class schedule part time just doing whatever I could find. When my statistics professor mentioned summer research grants in class, I didn’t really pay much attention; research has never really been my “thing.”

A few weeks later, she asked me why I hadn’t applied for the grant. I explained my summer plans and that I didn’t have a research topic or advisor. She reminded me of the StatGames project (which is trying to make statistics ) co-sponsored by UC Riverside and said if I was interested, I could work with this year’s group. All I had to do was fill out the application and turn it into her assistant. She even let me turn it in after the deadline.
I thought the project, who's mission is to make statistics an attractive career choice and is targeted towards high school students, was really interesting and not typical “research,” so I decided to give it a try! The result was a crazy, sleep-deprived summer; a summer when I learned a lot and had a blast!

I was originally listed as the “graphics specialist” on the team, which I thought was interesting since I had no graphics experience whatsoever. The funny thing is, by the end of the summer, I was the “graphics expert” on the team, though I use the term “expert” very loosely. I also worked on the statistics side of the game.

The result of our labor of love is Streaky Baseball , a web-based game showing a few of the ways statistics is related to baseball! Now, it’s not comparable to most of those high tech games that kids play, but it’s our effort to try to make statistics fun, or show how statistics can be related to many things that people consider “fun.” I’m including some screen shots of the finished game, below.







We had another interesting experience as our project was winding down last summer. The Kansas City Royals were in the midst of one of the longest losing streaks in baseball history. Many thought they may break some records. Though they ended up not breaking the record (losing only 19 games in a row), a reporter for the Kansas City Star came across our website while doing some research and contacted us via email. The end result was a front-page article in the Kansas City Star! Though he didn’t mention my name, he did mention some of my other teammates. It was kinda cool!


We went on to present our project at the Fall Kickoff Meeting of the Southern California Chapter of the American Statistical Association and at the UC Riverside Statistics Colloquium Series.

And now it seems I may be working on this year’s project part-time! It may be a wild and crazy summer yet again…

1 comment:

Kelley said...

That is really cool, Michelle!