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Jessica Trail - Research Assistant in the Methodology Center

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Jessica worked with Dr. Linda Collins and Dr. DAniel Rivera on their NIDA-funded R21 roadmap grant from June of 09 to May 2012.

Jessica Trail

Research Summary:

From June 2009 – May 2012, I was a research assistant at The Methodology Center, where I worked with Drs. Linda Collins and Daniel Rivera (ASU) on their NIDA-funded R21 roadmap grant.  We investigated how to use techniques from functional data analysis in conjunction with dynamical systems models to model complex time-varying processes, such as nicotine craving after quitting smoking.  The results of such models could ultimately be used to inform the design of adaptive behavioral interventions.

During my RAship, Drs. Linda Collins and Runze Li assisted my writing a grant proposal for an F31 pre-doctoral fellowship from NIDA.  I was awarded the grant in June 2012, which will provide funding for me to complete my dissertation research over the next two years.  The grant focuses on developing hypothesis testing techniques for time-varying coefficients in dynamic models of intensive longitudinal data.

There are several reasons why I thought Penn State was the best statistics graduate program for me.  I received my M.S. in statistics from Miami University in 2008, and decided that I wanted to pursue a Ph.D.  Penn State’s program, which is very highly ranked, provided the opportunity to build both a great theoretical and applied foundation.  Additionally, as my primary interests include the development and use of innovative statistical methods in behavioral science research, an assistantship with The Methodology Center was a perfect match, and was able to provide unique research experience that is not easy to find everywhere.

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