Statistically Significant: Meet the Station’s Newest Staff Member

Dr. Xin Dai has joined the Utah Agricultural Experiment Station (UAES) as staff statistician and is available to assist faculty and graduate students with design, analysis and data interpretation related to UAES-supported research.

Xin comes to Logan after working for more than five years as an environmental statistician and water quality specialist for the state office of technical services in the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), in Boise, Idaho.

For Xin, a native of Tianjin, China, her education first came from her homeland. She first received a bachelor’s degree in medicine and sanitary technology at the West China University of Medical Sciences, School of Public Health, in Chengdu, China. While in pursuit of the first of several degrees, she was a public health intern in West China.

She also earned a master’s degree in environmental technology and management from the Asian Institute of Technology in Pathumthani, Thailand. During the majority of that time she also labored as an environmental health specialist, supervising environmental quality and industrial hygiene laboratories.

She first set foot in the United States when she enrolled at the University of Idaho, where she earned a master’s in statistics in 2003 and subsequently, a doctorate in biological and agricultural engineering. Among the positions she held while pursuing her education were teaching assistant in UI’s department of statistics, providing substitute teaching and tutoring for undergraduate statistics lectures. She also provided statistical software programming for both graduate and undergraduate statistics courses.

That position helped prepare her for her role at UI’s statistical consulting center. There she provided statistical consultation for faculty and student researchers on projects in fisheries, wildlife, forestry, social sciences and more. These efforts included survey sampling and publications review and writing.

’s roles and accomplishments with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality are extensive and varied. She provided support and review of research proposals and regulatory activities regarding hydraulic studies including water quality, public health and waste management. She also modeled water quality assessment, providing suggestions on water quality control practices and was a statistical consultant and liaison for survey design, data collection, report writing and communication to interested agencies and the public. Among the highlights of her work with DEQ is her experience in co-authoring a study of mercury in fish from Idaho’s Jordan River.

 said that being a statistician provides many great opportunities to help others and be involved in students’ research. “It’s always fun to look into data, and see what people are doing with their research and what I can do to help,” she said. “Especially in a university, there is a lot of research going on, and that’s very interesting… to do statistical research in meaningful ways and interpret conclusive things. I like my position, helping the faculty and graduate students derive meaning from their hard effort.”

’s consulting services may be requested through the “Statistical Consulting” link on the UAES website’s homepage.