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Reflections of an International Statistician

Posted on by NCHS

By Dr. Pavlina Rumcheva, Senior Service Fellow
NCHS Office of Research and Methodology

Dr. Pavlina Rumcheva
Dr. Pavlina Rumcheva

I will tell a brief story about my life as a statistician around the world. My starting point was the city of Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. I was born and grew up there, and lived there during my high school and university years. My focus in high school was mathematics, the subject I loved the most. I studied at the Sofia High School of Mathematics and continued with advanced mathematics at Sofia University.

As I wanted to see more mathematical applications and to be more connected with the real world, I concentrated my studies on probability and statistics at the university. After obtaining my master’s degree in mathematics, I wanted to continue learning more probability and statistics, and see more applications in the real world. I thus decided to pursue a doctoral degree in statistics in the United States. I enrolled in the graduate statistics program at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. It was an exciting opportunity to learn more statistical methods and applications, meet people from different parts of the world, and explore the beautiful State of Florida.

I completed my graduate studies, gained practical experience applying biostatistical methods, finished my dissertation and successfully defended my doctoral degree in statistics. I was very happy and proud about my accomplishment! It was then time to start a job and my next stop was New York City. I began working as a research statistician for a small financial company in one of the most dynamic and exciting cities in the world. It was interesting to apply statistical methods to analyze the financial markets and to observe how quickly they can change.

I worked in the finance industry in NYC for a few years, later joining a bigger company, and then decided that it was time for another change. I decided to move to Sydney, Australia, on the opposite side of the globe! I went to Sydney and continued working in the financial sector. I enjoyed the beautiful city and its vibrant atmosphere. After working in the central business district of the city for some time, I felt that I wanted to go back to the university, this time as a lecturer, to convey my knowledge and experience as a statistician to the students. I became a lecturer in biostatistics at the University of Sydney, where I taught graduate courses and conducted collaborative research work with medical and public health researchers.

After a while, I felt that I really missed the United States and moved back, to the Washington D.C. metropolitan area, where I have been working as a mathematical statistician at the National Center for Health Statistics. As a statistician at the Center, my goal is to contribute to society by monitoring and reporting on the health and well-being of the nation using statistical analysis.

This is briefly my personal story as a statistician around the world. I hope I have inspired you even more about statistics!

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