Sastry Pantula – NSF Director of Division of Mathematical Sciences

Sastry Pantula, professor and head of the Department of Statistics at NC State University and president of the American Statistical Association, has been named director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Mathematical Sciences in the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Directorate.

Pantula joined the NC State faculty as an assistant professor after receiving his doctoral degree in statistics in 1982 from Iowa State University. In 1994, he became a full professor and director of graduate programs (DGP), where he worked to enhance the quality, quantity and diversity of NC State’s statistics graduate programs. It was while serving as DGP that he expanded relationships with a number of companies, including Becton Dickinson, Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck and SAS, to increase the number of quality training opportunities for statistics graduate students.

Strong relationships like these would be a hallmark of Pantula’s leadership after he became department head in 2002.

“Sastry has an innate ability to build a strong sense of collegiality and community among those who work with him and the department,” says Dan Solomon, dean of NC State’s College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences. “We’ll miss having his leadership here on campus on a daily basis, but I know he will bring credit to NC State in his new role.”

Through an Intergovernment Personnel Act agreement, Pantula will be “on loan” from NC State during his service at NSF, which begins September 13. While he will step down as department head, he will continue to be a tenured faculty member.

In 2002, Pantula was elected as a fellow of the American Statistical Association (ASA) “for contributions to research in time series analysis, for exemplary service in graduate education as a teacher, researcher, mentor and recruiter of graduate students and industrial partners, and for contributions to the profession”. During the same year, he also received the International Indian Statistical Association’s Young Statistician Award.

In addition to ASA, where he currently serves as president, Pantula is a member of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, International Biometric Society, International Statistical Institute, International Indian Statistical Association, International Chinese Statistical Association, Sigma Xi and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is also a member of the honor societies, Mu Sigma Rho and Phi Kappa Phi.

Sastry Pantula received both his B.Stat. and M.Stat. degrees in statistics from Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata (Calcutta), India. His areas of research include time series analysis and linear and nonlinear models. His research ranges from applications of statistical methods to derivation of asymptotic theory. In addition to a number of publications in various journals, he co-authored the textbook, Applied Regression Analysis: A Research Tool.