University of Southern California

Marshall Professor Wins Prestigious National Science Foundation Career Award
Five-year Project will Focus on Aiding Researchers in Variable Selection
February 7, 2012 • by News at Marshall

Yingying Fan, an assistant professor of information and operations management at USC Marshall, has been awarded a National Science Foundation Career Award, the highest honor a junior faculty member can receive from the organization.

An expert in statistics and financial econometrics, Fan will receive a $400,000 grant over the next five years to further her research and integrate it into education.

She was one of five faculty chosen in the field of statistics to receive the award, which recognizes junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.

"I’m very happy and honored about it. It’s a very high honor in every research field. This award will greatly foster my long-term research program and career," said Fan.

Fan won for her proposal, "High-Dimensional Variable Selection in Nonlinear Models and Classification with Correlated Data." Her research will seek to help researchers in business fields, such as finance and marketing, and a wide range of other fields, select the most important variables and model structures from a huge number of options to test in their studies.

"Often times, variables are chosen according to intuition or by some classic methods, which may not lead to the most important variables in contemporary large-scale problems. A major goal of my proposal is to develop new methodologies and theory for addressing high dimensionality in these applications," said Fan, who will use the funding in part to purchase research materials, travel to pertinent conferences and to collaborate with co-authors. Part of the award is earmarked to fund students to accompany her to conferences.

"I will be devoted to develop and expand on what I proposed and also apply the new methods in the proposal to different fields and integrate my research into education. One of the important goals of this proposal is to also educate young researchers, so I’ll also get some of my students, even undergraduates, involved in my research project," she said.

Fan, who obtained her Ph.D. from Princeton University in 2007 and joined USC’s faculty in 2008 after a year being a lecturer at Harvard, has been recognized several times already in her career thus far. She has been awarded a National Science Foundation Grant, the 2010 Zumberge Individual Award from USC’s James H. Zumberge Faculty Research and Innovation Fund, and the 2010 Dean’s Award for Research Excellence. She has been an associate editor of The Econometrics Journal, a journal of the Royal Economic Society, since 2012, and was a plenary speaker at the 2011 Institute of Mathematical Statistics Workshop on Finance, Probability and Statistics held at Columbia University."

About the USC Marshall School of Business
Consistently ranked among the nation's premier schools, USC Marshall is internationally recognized for its emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation, social responsibility and path-breaking research. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, one of the world's leading business centers and the U.S. gateway to the Pacific Rim, Marshall offers its 5,700-plus undergraduate and graduate students a unique world view and impressive global experiential opportunities. With an alumni community spanning 123 countries, USC Marshall students join a worldwide community of thought leaders who are redefining the way business works.