Kathy Ensor

WEBSITE(S)| Dr. Ensor's website | CoFES | Center for Computational Finance and Economic Systems | Houston Wastewater Epidemiology

Katherine Ensor is a leading expert in applying computational and statistical analysis to track and forecast issues in public health, community informatics, environmental statistics, and computational finance. 

In May 2020, she began establishing and implementing the statistical system for assessing the pertinent health assessment information from wastewater samples for SARS-CoV-2. Through Houston Wastewater Epidemiology, this scope has been expanded. 

From 2016-2022 Ensor also led the Kinder Institute Urban Data Platform (UDP), a secure data repository and an analytical computing environment that provides research-ready urban data for the Greater Houston Area. The platform facilitates cross-disciplinary research and community studies to advance knowledge and information about Houston's people, government, and built environment. UDP studies have provided information on COVID-19, evictions, flooding impacts and more.

Ensor has been a faculty member of Rice’s Department of Statistics for 35 years. Her research is highly cited and has been published in over 90 journal publications. In addition to developing statistical techniques to answer large-dimension problems in public health and environmental science, she specializes in the application of time-series data to analyze problems in finance. She is the director of Rice’s Center for Computational Finance and Economic Systems (CoFES)

Ensor is the 117th president of the American Statistical Association, a fellow of the American Statistical Association and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She served as chair of Rice’s Department of Statistics from 1999 to 2013. She has led the development of many major education and research initiatives at Rice, including the joint Ph.D. program between Rice and MD Anderson Cancer Center, the first professional master’s program in statistics in the Houston area, and the undergraduate minor in Financial Computation and Modeling (FCAM) with the Department of Economics.

Research Areas

Data science and unique statistical solutions for complex problems. High-dimensional time series and forecasting, spatial processes, machine learning, Bayesian methods, extreme values, stochastic processes and sampling.


Ph.D. Statistics Texas A&M University

M.S. Mathematics, Arkansas State University

B.S.E. Mathematics, Arkansas State University

Teaching Areas

Computational Finance

Societies & Organizations

2021-2023 President, American Statistical Association

Director, Urban Data Platform – Kinder Institute (kinderupd.org)

Director, Center for Computational Finance and Economic Systems

Honors & Awards

2023 Gulf Coast Consortia for Notable Collaborative Accomplishment: Houston Wastewater Surveillance Program

2023 Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Advisor Award, Rice University School of Engineering

2022 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Wastewater Surveillance System Center of Excellence Award

2020 Presidential Mentoring Award, Rice University

2014 Paul Minton Service Award, Southern Regional Council on Statistics

2013 Elected Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

2006 Honoree, Association for Women in Computing – Houston

2000 Elected Fellow, American Statistical Association (ASA)

1998 O. Hartley Award, Department of Statistics, Texas A&M University

1998 Julia Miles Chance Award for Excellence in Teaching, Rice University

1998 Graduate Student Association Teaching Award, Rice University

1988-89-90 Outstanding Faculty Associate, Lovett College, Rice University

1985 Phi Kappa Phi

1981 Mathematics Award for Outstanding Senior, Arkansas State University


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