A2B2D Newsletter


A2B2D Newsletter
A2B2D Newsletter
Alumni Applied, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Diepenbeek
Volume 2008, Issue 5
August 2009
Foreword from the President
Dear A²B²D members, dear students,
Here it is, the long expected final issue of the A²B²D newsletter! This is the time to be
nostalgic. And yes, we have a lot of activities to look back to. Who can still remember
the Introduction Day back in October? I do. I still remember walking into that room filled
with new, anxious students with so many questions.
Or who still remembers the infamous visit to the Jenever festival? I’m pretty certain that
some board members still remember it. Or they don’t quite remember it, but I can guarantee you that it was pretty memorable. And if you were not there this year, you should
be next year!
And so many other activities, I don’t have the space to discuss them all. So let’s jump
ahead to the final activity, the outside-inside-outside barbecue. But even a few drops of
rain could not keep us from having a great time! A big thank you therefore goes to all the
board members that made it happen and to everybody that joined us at the barbecue.
Inside this issue:
Did You Know?
Adventure Day
Of course, the big announcement at the barbecue was the name change of A²B²D. And
believe me, the choice of a new name for your favourite organization was subject to a lot
of debate. At first, it seemed like the new name would be Statistics Hasselt International
Team. However, when we took a closer look, we had our doubts that the Annual SHIT
Barbecue would be as big of a success as the previous years.
One of my personal favourites was People of Hasselt Including Leuven In Particular Personnel Etcetera, but the other board members did not see the beauty of this new acronym. Therefore, after long hours of deliberation, we came to the following compromise.
The new name of our organization will be JOSS, which stands for Joint Organization of
Statistics Scholars.
Some Highlights:
Why this name you might ask? Wasn’t the old name good enough? Well, no! As you all
know A²B²D stands for Alumni Applied, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Diepenbeek.
However, Applied statistics will soon stop to exist and will be replaced by Epidemiology
& Public Health. This would give something like AEPHB²D and that is not really easy or
catchy. Furthermore, nothing guarantees that this was the last change or extension in the
programme. And to top that, since we have a close collaboration with Leuven in I-Biostat,
it would be wrong to keep Diepenbeek in the name. Therefore, we chose a very broad
name that covers a lot of things, hence JOSS!
Now, please go on and read about the fascinating activities of the
last few months. Both the Adventure Day and the Barbecue were
big successes. To all the first year students, see you next year! To
all the second year students, also see you next year, but perhaps
not as students! ;-)
Philippe Haldermans
Your President
 What
tasks did our
students have to
accomplish during
Adventure Day?
Page 3
 How
did this year’s
Annual BBQ turn
Page 5
A2B2D Newsletter
Volume 2008, Issue 5
Page 2
 That Adventure Day took place last May 9? It was a truly adventurous and
exciting day for our students. Climbing cliffs and swinging on ropes were just
some of the gruelling tasks they had to do. Read on to find out more about
this challenging but fun-filled activity.
 That this year’s BBQ, held last June 26, was a great success?
With ample
booze, good food, lively music and great company, not even the uncooperative Belgian weather could dampen the spirits that evening. You can read and
see more about the event in this issue.
 That two more CenStat colleagues, Tom Jacobs and Abel Tilahun Eshete,
have joined the roster of staff members who have successfully defended their
Ph.D. last May 20 and May 29, respectively? Congratulations to Tom and
Abel, both of whom have taken positions elsewhere.
 That three other colleagues bade CenStat farewell in the recent months?
Caroline Beunckens, Ivy Jansen (A2B2D President, 1999-2002) and Dirk Valkenborg (A2B2D Board Member, 2004-2008) have all accepted work opportunities at other institutions. We wish each of them success in their new posts.
A2B2D Newsletter
Volume 2008, Issue 5
Page 3
Adventure Day
Chris David Damba
The memories of the 9th day of May 2009 will take some time to fade in
most minds. The Dinant Adenture Day was significantly different from
other calendar days with respect to the experiences and smiles it left on
our faces. It started so simple – with a cool atmosphere characterised by a
clear blue sky and tepid temperature. By 8.20h, the bus had set off for Dinant – a place where magic happened. Upon our arrival, we were received
by the Dinant guides who were so kind and caring.
Action started at 10.00h by grouping ourselves into smaller clusters. Each
cluster started with a different game guided by a skilled Dinant staff after a
few instructions. The games at Dinant
were plenty and diverse that I don’t even remember meeting any of the
groups again until it was time for snacks. My group started with the cave
game. The task was to enter the cave and trace your way to the exit. This
sounded like a child’s play game but unfortunately, our imaginations were
far from reality of the cave. Imagine, a long cave, deep beneath the earth’s
surface, with a number of zigzag corners. At some spots, our eyes were fed
with extreme darkness with nothing visible. In fact, I remember at one dark
spot, my head and leg got trapped within crossed bars. Poor me! I almost
got stuck, but luckily, there was this kind Lady X (name withheld upon request) in my lead who gave me ‘something’ to help myself through.
The next adventure was tree-climbing and crossing to the other trees by
means of ropes and temporary stick bridges. I could not believe what I saw
when I stared up the trees. Can you imagine seeing people climbing trees and
walking on stick-bridges like monkeys? Filled with fright, my knees trembled
and I hesitated to climb. I looked around hoping to see Lady X for her help
once more but in vain, leaving me with no choice but to climb and cross the
bridge, which was the only path to our next destination. If someone watched
me climbing, he would classify me as a monkey but that would be a big Type 1
Error. What motivated me more to climb was some guy nicknamed ‘Wami,’
whom I had watched at a close distance. This guy demonstrated a perfect
climb that reminded me of a female gorilla that I once saw at the Tanzanian
Mt. Kilimanjaro, climbing the tree to get fruits for its baby. Probably he’s better classified as a monkey than
What followed was rock climbing. Fortunately, I did not expect any trouble
rock-climbing because I had carried my hiking shoes, ready to ‘rock,’ unlike one
friend, Osvaldo, who had instead carried gumboots. He later realised that the
rocking task was beyond his routine piglet farming in Mozambique as he
screamed for support endlessly. When I reached some edge of the rock, I didn’t want to listen to the guide. How could he expect me to lift myself on wire
and swing to the next edge at that height above the ground? This was too
much for my attention. I wished I had moved with my laptop to google search
for the best SAS Code to apply in such a circumstance, but it was too late.
A2B2D Newsletter
Volume 2008, Issue 5
Page 4
Adventure Day (con’t.)
Chris David Damba
Anyway, left with no choice but to swing – but deep inside, I knew my
entire life and the unborn babies in my body depended on the string I was
holding. Also to note, the new swinging methodology demonstrated by
Kathy and Kim at this same spot was a motivation. The methodology
was miraculous but it worked for me. However, it would be easy to apply if I had watched some Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan kung-fu movies before the trip. By the way, I didn’t catch a glimpse of any UHasselt lady
climbing the rock apart from the KHLim ladies. What happened? Anyway, I heard from reliable sources that you did not scream a lot. In the
same game, I also noticed Wami climbing very fast like an Ape. I wondered if he has hunted in Zimbabwe before he came to Hasselt.
By 15.20h, the magic was not yet over. We proceeded for kayaking on 8km
of Lesse stream. With a substantial error, three quarters of the group were
classified as amateurs in kayaking. For my case, I didn’t know about this
sport apart from watching it in movies. This explains why it took me several hours to complete the 8km. Kayaking was a dream come true to me
and indeed a good experience. On several occasions, my boat moved to a
wrong direction even when I had a Lady Y (name withheld due to the sensitivity
of the issue) with me in the boat whom I had randomly selected with minimal
bias. In fact at one point in the middle of the stream, as this lady was so
relaxed telling me stories which I liked, I got distracted. Consequently, the
boat got distracted too and it threw us completely into the cold water from
which we got wet. I felt like blaming her but I recalled she was an argumentative lady. Actually, one of her
friends whispered to me prior to kayaking that “Lady Y is so wild and bites when she is angry.” So, I was afraid
to irritate her because it could lead to trouble. Interestingly, I was told a majority of the team had countless drowns. This explains why most of them were not eating or drinking anything while we finished kayaking. From my simple analysis, it seems their stomachs were already full with the stream water. Hope this
did not have any implications on the volume of the water in Lesse stream because Uhasselt would be penalised for unauthorised consumption. I heard Carolina drowned but I don’t have enough evidence to draw
conclusions. I also heard that Kim almost got tempted to jump out of the boat at one slanting point of the
stream where the flow was so fast! I guess this is not true as well. Anyway, all was fun.
To sum it all, the Adventure Day was the most exciting day for most of us. It was a “magical and dramatic
day,” filled with unforgettable emotions, fun and smiles. Thank you ‘A2B2D Team’ for the good planning.
The experience was more than the tongue can tell. All you need to know is that you should not miss the
next chance.
A2B2D Newsletter
Volume 2008, Issue 5
Page 5
A2B2D-CenStat Annual BBQ
Adilu Salim
HOT BarBecue + food + drinks + ice-cream
+ music = Good time
There exist some days in this world that are
unforgettable. They remain in minds forever.
Friday, the 26th of June has been etched in my
mind forever. It was a memorable day for me
as fellow students, staff members, our Professors and I gathered together to mark the end of
exams, while enjoying the wonderful and amazing annual BBQ. It was a day to celebrate hard
work and annual academic accomplishments for
students from Applied Statistics, Biostatistics
and Bioinformatics. Congratulations to the
dedicated people of A2B2D, for the easy invites,
the nice food, drinks and music.
Earlier on, the weather would have been perfect
for a BBQ … until the rain poured!
professors and staff members with their families
were seen chatting with colleagues and students.
To me and my colleagues in Biostatistics, these moments were very appropriate to remove the stress
and confusion brought about during exams. We
even shared the table with Professor Liesbeth
Bruckers, who taught us the Non-Parametric Statistics course and who we met in the morning of the
same day for the course exam.
Prof. Noel Veraverbeke giving a few remarks.
Despite the afternoon rain that day, the program
started at 6 p.m. as scheduled, with more than
100 people, sitting in a group of 5-10 around a
table in the cafeteria enjoying a variety of food –
meat from pork, beef and chicken, roasted fish
and many more. Vegetarians were also happy to
test different kind of vegetables. It was typically a
fantastic BBQ: people were eating while discussing and sharing whatever comes to mind with
friends and family members. The very friendly
atmosphere, made everyone comfortable, and
Guests queuing to sample the feast.
A2B2D Newsletter
Page 6
Volume 2008, Issue 5
A2B2D-CenStat Annual BBQ (con’t.)
Adilu Salim
Wow! When every one says “no more”- no more
food - I can’t eat anymore. A nice ice cream car
with different kind of ice cream flavors was waiting
for the people at the garden. I found myself in a
queue and got the piece of ice cream that I mostly
like while enjoying the beautiful scenery outside.
After stomach filling, the time came for music.
Wow! Time to drink and dance. Everyone was
enjoying, nobody was seen dancing but most people
were shaking themselves following the slow music
while practicing. O!! la la la!
Ice cream … always a bestseller!
Everyone was enjoying the party … including the little ones.
Not to be forgotten or overlooked was the fruitful gathering,
sharing of ideas and entertainment. Music was really good
and, of course, it is also important at a BBQ to encourage mingling, movement, and merriment
amongst the crowd. Since this
party was also about welcoming
the start of summer, the songs
were also chosen to reflect to
this attitude.
Dancing, was, of course, the perfect way to end the evening.
Alumni Applied, Biostatistics
and Bioinformatics Diepenbeek
Since the academic period has officially ended and
Universiteit Hasselt
Agoralaan 1
Diepenbeek 3590
the summer begins, A2B2D takes a brief respite
from organizing activities for our students. We do
realize, however, that some of you may not be on
E-mail: [email protected]
holiday and will be staying around during these
months. For those of you who want to relax a
little bit or take a break from working on your
summer project, we have compiled a list of (nonA2B2D) activities in and around the Hasselt area.
They might not be our own activities, but they can
nevertheless be just as fun, especially if you go
with your fellow students. 
Date (Time)
Tuesdays (19h)
Hasselt Is Dancing
Grote Markt Hasselt
Thursdays (20h)
Aug. 06
Aug. 13
Aug. 20
Kaper Concerts (Parkies)
Mama’s Jasje
Sabien Tiels
Saturdays (14-18h)
Art Fair Montmartre
(near the swimming
Behind City Hall,
Sundays (17-22h)
Hasselt Music Terrace
Leopoldplein Hasselt
Aug. 07, 21 (19h)
Latin Passion Festival
Fruitmarkt Hasselt
Folklore Festival
Partytent Diepstraat,
center of Kuringen
Aug. 15
Festival Area, Kiewit
Aug. 20-22
Festival Area, Kiewit
Aug. 14-16