Exacting Science

Ohio Wesleyan Student Seeks to Improve How Data are Estimated

By Cole Hatcher

Hanna Cao ’22

Name: Hanna Cao ’22
Hometown: Changsha, Hunan, China
Majors: Mathematics and Economics
Minor: Finance
OWU Connection Experience: Ohio Wesleyan’s Summer Science Research Program

Cao is spending 10 weeks studying “Estimation and Inference for Correlation Under Censoring” under the mentorship of Scott Linder, Ph.D., an OWU professor of Mathematics and Computer Science. In certain industrial and clinical settings, censoring occurs, for example, when measurements larger than a specified value are not observed. Researchers know the observation is greater than this detection limit, but they don’t know how much greater. These conditions impose mathematical constraints on the probabilistic underpinnings of statistical methods, rendering traditional methods inappropriate for application to them.

What I’m Researching

“I am researching the influence of censoring on conventional statistical estimation methods, including Fisher’s Z Transformation, bivariate normal regression, etc., and hopefully constructing new and improved methods for analyzing data that arise in these situations,” Cao says.

“Researchers have been using such methods for years without taking the censoring into account,” she explains. “I am measuring the impact of incorrectly ignoring the presence of censoring, and I hope to come up with a way to improve estimation methods in accounting for censoring.

“The improvement of the estimation of censored data would benefit society since many types of research often design a certain range of the measuring instrument due to constraints such as limited time and a limited number of participants.”

How My Research Ties Back to My OWU Classes

“The research ties back to not only the statistics classes that I took at OWU, but I also got the opportunity to utilize some programming knowledge that I learned from my computer science classes.”

How My Research Ties into My Future Plans

“I hope to get familiar with the whole process of doing research in mathematics/statistics and figure out if I would like to pursue a further research degree in math after graduation from OWU.”

Why I Chose Ohio Wesleyan

I chose to attend OWU mainly because of the great faculty-to-student ratio. I grew up in a big city with 7 million population, so I was looking for a sense of community in a small liberal arts school.”

My Plans after Graduation

“I plan to pursue further studies in Economics and Mathematics.”