Just in case you forgot to renew your subscription to Amstat News, there’s a nice little profile of statisticians (including my good colleague Francesca Dominici) in the latest issue explaining how they ended up where they are.
I remember a few years ago I was at a dinner for our MPH program and the director at the time, Ron Brookmeyer, told all the students to ask the faculty how they ended up in public health. The implication, of course, was that the route was likely to be highly nonlinear. It was definitely that way for me.
Statisticians in particular, I think, have the ability to lead interesting careers simply because we have the ability to operate in a variety of substantive fields. I started out developing point process models for predicting wildfire occurrence. Perhaps to the chagrin of my advisor, I’m not doing much point process modeling now, but rather am working in environmental health doing quite a bit of air pollution epidemiology.
So ask a statistician how they ended up where they are. It’ll probably be an interesting story.