Sarah HilditchSara Hilditch CStat, Statistical Services Unit director, University of Sheffield and RSS Honorary officer for membership

Like many of my contemporaries, I think I fell into statistics by accident rather than any grand plan. As an undergraduate, my core studies included statistics and operational research, and I developed an interest in both, but settled on statistics and moved on to Sheffield and an MSc. Once finished, an opportunity arose to join the relatively new Statistical Services Unit, initially working on developing a short-course programme. I later switched to our varied portfolio of statistical consultancy projects, where I’ve encountered football, HE policy, quality control, household products, much medical and clinical work, a few donkeys and numerous trains, and now lead our team through a similarly eclectic selection of projects.

My first brush with the RSS was as a postgraduate: Thursday afternoon seminars were a compulsory component, and every month or so the local group of the RSS would arrange a topical, applied seminar. My next real involvement came in 1992, when the local group organised the annual conference. I attended a pre-conference workshop and was allowed to sneak into a keynote lecture – the speaker had expected that someone would change his OHP slides, and I spent the evening sitting underneath the overhead projector! Soon after, my academic colleagues encouraged me that it was about time I became a fellow, and later Chartered. Almost since then, I have been involved with the local group committee and long-term secretary/treasurer, which led to becoming Deputy Programme Chair when Conference came back to Sheffield in 2014, and subsequently over four years on Conference Board.

I’m very proud to be a part of the RSS and the community it provides, and enjoy helping to deliver its strategy and goals across our wider community. I’m equally looking forward to my term as Honorary Officer, and working with the membership team to interact with our members and understand what they would like from the Society, so that we can focus our future initiatives.