Ya Su, Ph.D.
Dr. Su conducts research related to modern statistical methodology including nonparametric and semiparametric modeling, measurement error and Bayesian inference.
Ya Su, Ph.D., conducts research related to modern statistical methodology including nonparametric and semiparametric modeling, measurement error and Bayesian inference. A partial list of research projects in which she played a leading role consists of asymptotic theory of the penalized splines, clustering data with measurement error and Bayesian deconvolution of a unimodal and symmetric density. Her projects in general target establishing a flexible statistical procedure in which the performance of the estimator is guaranteed with minimal assumptions. Application-wise, she has worked with data in the fields of genome, metabolism and nutrition.
Q&A with Dr. Su
Where did you grow up? Can you tell us a little about your educational journey?
I grew up in China and got my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in China. My Ph.D. is from Texas A&M University.
When did you first fall in love with your field of study? What made you decide to work in academia?
I got to know statistics from some of the interesting courses I took when I was an undergrad. Unlike most science subjects, statistics is all about stochastic modeling where we infer the quantity of interest by collecting random samples. Most popular methods are real problem driven rather than abstract thinking. After starting a job as a faculty, I was caught on biomedical problems that are so inspiringly complex and there is consequently quite big a room to improve as far as the current methods. I love creating ideas during research and communicating them while teaching.
Can you explain the focus of your research?
My research focuses on nonparametric statistical modeling, Bayesian latent modeling, machine learning and statistical applications in biomedical problems.
What attracted you to VCU? What are you most excited about in regards to VCU and Richmond?
The learning environment and the diversity of VCU were very attractive to me. Richmond is a good-sized city to live in with an access to everything I like. It is very cozy and has lots of parks where I can take a day hike without driving a good distance. Besides, the weather is also pretty mild in the winter while still giving a bit feeling of coldness.
Can you talk a little about your teaching philosophy? What do you most like about teaching?
I highly encourage interactions between students and me and among themselves. I love seeing students learn and grow.
Can you tell us either a quirky fact about yourself or some of your hobbies?
I love hiking and outdoor activities.