Dear PSTAT Students,


After a year and a half of all of us studying and teaching remotely, we are about to return to campus. I am very much looking to resuming in-person interactions, but after all the challenges and hardships associated with the pandemic, it will take some time to adjust back.  As we return to the classrooms and South Hall offices, the Department is working on improving student experience in PSTAT programs and courses. You will see many changes, including new flow for our undergraduate peer and staff advisors, expanded career advising, and new modes of communication, such as this newsletter.


PSTAT programs continue to be in very high demand, and the number of students majoring in one of our 3 programs: Statistics & Data Science, Actuarial Science, Financial Mathematics & Statistics, increased by over 200 since 2019-20. One effect of the pandemic has been to highlight the opportunities of being able to work full remotely in various data- and business-analytics domains, which has made the career prospects of our graduates even more attractive. Indeed, I daily see new job postings for Data Scientists on LinkedIn and other sites. The continued demand for statistical and computing skills lines up perfectly with PSTAT curricula.


Among new initiatives, we now have a full slate of Undergraduate Learning Assistants that will be working in more than half a dozen PSTAT courses. ULAs are a great resource for the students enrolled in these courses in terms of offering additional help (via drop-in and virtual office hours), as well as computing assistance, and at the same time a great work opportunity within our programs. PSTAT is also one of the lead departments involved in the Data Science Fellows program directed at Juniors and Seniors who complete a 6-month capstone project, and the SEEDS (Student Engagement and Enrichment in Data Science) program which offers a DEI-focused living and learning community to incoming Freshman and Transfer students. Beyond these competitively-admitted programs, the department is actively supporting all our student clubs (https://www.pstat.ucsb.edu/undergrad/student-clubs) -- Actuarial Association, Data Science club, Female Actuarial Organization, and Financial Analysis and Management Education club.


Welcome back and join us as we rebuild our physical campus community.


Mike Ludkovski, PSTAT Dept Chair