Dr. Janet M. Myhre is an award-winning statistician and professor emerita of mathematics at Claremont McKenna College, where she dedicated more than four decades to teaching and research. She is perhaps best-known for her work in data analysis and risk assessment, including contracts with the United States Navy and the Environmental Protection Agency, and her outspoken advocacy for teaching statistics and decision science through real-world applications. Dr. Myhre earned a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics from Pacific Lutheran University in 1954, graduating summa cum laude, and a Master of Arts in mathematics from the University of Washington in 1956. She accepted a faculty position at Claremont McKenna College in 1962, and pursued her doctoral studies abroad at the University of Stockholm, who awarded her a Doctor of Philosophy in mathematics and statistics in 1968.
On returning to the United States, Dr. Myhre resumed teaching at Claremont McKenna College and became a professor of mathematics at Claremont Graduate University. 1968 also saw the beginning of a long-term consulting position for the United States Navy’s strategic systems program. Among the first of many projects she completed for the United States Navy was a 1972 statistical model for use in reliability assessments for the Navy’s ballistic missile program. Her initial model has remained in use in various forms since its creation, and in 1990, she created an additional statistical model and suite of reliability assessment software based on the architecture of the 1972 model for the fleet ballistic missile program. As a major influence on the development of these risk-assessment structures, Dr. Myhre was the recipient of a 10-year research grant from the Office of Naval Research in 1973 and has been a member of numerous blue-ribbon committees on nuclear safety and reliability for the United States Navy throughout her career.
In the early 1970s, Dr. Myhre was a visiting professor to the University of Stockholm, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and Washington State University. She established and became president of the Mathematical Analysis Research Corporation in 1973 to bring her data analysis and statistical modeling expertise to clients in the private sector in addition to her work for the American military. A major part of her academic legacy was the creation of the Reed Institute for Decision Science, later renamed the Reed Institute for Applied Statistics, an institution of Claremont McKenna College dedicated to creating opportunities for student-faculty research and cross-disciplinary applications of statistics and data science in business, economics and public policy. Dr. Myhre would serve as director of the institute until its closure in 2008, making an impact on thousands of students as well as pushing for a holistic and solutions-based approach to teaching data science.
Dr. Myhre was granted professor emerita status by Claremont McKenna College in 2008. Her work has been extensively published in books and professional journals, and in 2004, she was named a fellow of the American Statistical Association. She has been presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the United States Navy and is the recipient of the Austin Bonis Award from the American Society of Quality Control. In honor of her career contributions to statistics, she has been presented with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award in addition to her many industry honors. In her retirement, Dr. Myhre enjoys fiber arts, spending time outdoors hiking and gardening, and supports local arts and culture as a member of the board of trustees of the Claremont Museum of Art.