Professor Don Estep appointed chair of Department of Statistics

The College of Natural Sciences has announced that Don Estep, professor and University Interdisciplinary Research Scholar, is the new chair of the Department of Statistics.

Don Estep, chair of the Department of Statistics

Estep said, “I look forward to working to fulfill the extraordinary potential of the Department of Statistics with my colleagues, Dean Nerger, and the administration.” Building on his 17 years with the College of Natural Sciences, Estep is dedicated to expanding the discovery of knowledge and understanding in statistics.

Looking Back

Estep received his B.A. from Columbia University in 1981 and later earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in applied mathematics at the University of Michigan in 1987. After graduation, he joined the School of Mathematics at the Georgia Institute of Technology, eventually becoming full professor. During that time, he spent two years as a visiting assistant professor at the California Institute of Technology and undertook several lengthy visits to Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden. In 2000, Estep joined the Department of Mathematics at CSU and moved to a full-time position with statistics in 2014.

Through active research, teaching and service, Estep has received honors including: the Computational and Mathematics Methods in Science and Engineering Prize, the College of Natural Sciences Teaching Award for Graduate Education, the Oliver P. Pennock Distinguished Service Award, the CSU Scholarship Impact Award, the Chalmers University Jubilee Professorship, and an appointment as fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.

Throughout his years of research, Estep’s work has built upon his passions in uncertainty quantification, error estimation, and solution of complex scientific models. He has deep interests in interdisciplinary research, collaborating with scientists and engineers in companies, laboratories, and universities. He has been editor-in-chief and associate editor of mathematical science and engineering journals.

Estep carries his research passion into teaching everything from pre-calculus to advanced graduate courses. Estep has also written several textbooks and developed interdisciplinary training programs.

Looking Forward

Estep’s experience and research are a good match for the statistics department, which has a strong history of success in education, research and interdisciplinary activities.

“It is an exciting time for statistics,” Estep said, “because of the emerging developments in big data and data science that are adding important new dimensions to the traditional strengths of the discipline. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to be chair over the next few years.”

Now with 13 faculty members, the Department of Statistics as CSU is expanding its plans to meet new opportunities. The latest addition to the department is Julia Sharp, who is the new director of the Graybill Statistical Laboratory.

Estep follows Jean Opsomer, who was the dedicated and successful chair of the department for more than five years. Among other achievements during Opsomer’s tenure as chair, the department saw the addition of a Masters of Applied Statistics and regained its undergraduate major. The college extends its gratitude for his service to the department and the college.