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Suzanne Thornton

Dr. Suzanne Thornton completed a B.S. in Mathematics and a B.S. in Statistics at the University of Florida in 2014 and completed a Ph.D. in Statistics at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey in 2019. In 2020 she was invited to chair an ASA presidential working group on LGBTQ+ representation and inclusion in the discipline. Dr. Thornton is currently a tenure-track professor of Statistics at Swarthmore College where she collaborates on interdisciplinary educational endeavors with the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility.

In her undergraduate thesis, Dr. Thornton studied the convergence of Markov chain Monte Carlo methods commonly used in Bayesian inference. Her doctoral thesis continued with the study of advanced computational methods for statistical inference but from a frequentist perspective. The foundations of statistical inference played an influential role in her doctoral research as she developed approximate confidence distribution computing, a new approach to likelihood-free methods. As an instructor at an undergraduate only institution, Dr. Thornton wants her students to understand statistics as the language of science and to prepare them to become stewards of the discipline however their careers unfold. This is reflected in her shifting research interests which, although still oriented by foundational statistical concepts, is moving from a focus on methods towards a focus on measurement. In particular, Dr. Thornton and her colleagues have written in Signficance magazine about the statistical challenges of measuring gender and sex in human populations. Her current research endeavors are primarily concerned with the measurement and analysis of categorical data pertaining to human populations with applications to policy, medicine, and machine learning.

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