Thursday, April 11, 2024
  Around Campus, Research

By Maria Gonzalez

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – APRIL 11, 2024 – UTRGV recently celebrated Florence Nightingale’s groundbreaking contributions to statistics, data science and nursing, inspiring students toward STEM careers. 

An event held on Feb.16 in Edinburg highlighted the importance of statistics and data science in various fields, including healthcare. Sponsored by UTRGV’s School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences and the Canadian Statistical Sciences Institute (CANSSI), Florence Nightingale Day for Statistics and Data Science aimed to inspire future STEM professionals.

The celebration included a video showcasing Nightingale’s advancements in healthcare hygiene and trivia games engaging high school students to learn about her legacy while having the chance to win prizes.

Keynote speakers, Dr. Monnie McGee, associate professor in the Department of Statistics and Data Science, Southern Methodist University, and Dr. Lilian Fuentes, UTRGV School of Nursing dean, presented on Nightingale's lasting impact. 

In support of UTRGV’s Statistics Program, faculty members, including Dr. Timothy Huber, director of the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences; Dr. George Yanev, coordinator for the master’s in Applied Statistics and Data Science; and Santanu Chakraborty, co-coordinator of the bachelor's in Statistics, demonstrated their efforts to advance statistics and data science. 

The event provided networking opportunities for La Joya ISD high school students and UTRGV students. In addition, UTRGV students shared their research, demonstrating the university's commitment to interdisciplinary work.

Kristen Hallas, a second-year Ph.D. student at UTRGV, shared her experiences praising the Mathematics and Statistics with Interdisciplinary Applications (MSIA) Ph.D. program, emphasizing its importance for her work in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.

“UTRGV was the place where I learned that I could be a researcher,” she said. “With this degree, UTRGV recognizes how valuable collaboration between disciplines can work to solve the biggest challenges in science.” 

La Joya ISD students, UTRGV students and faculty participated in an event recognizing Florence Nightingale's contributions to the world. The event was sponsored by UTRGV’s School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences. (UTRGV Photo by Jesus Alferez)


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.