Nominations for Stan Governing Body

As announced in Elections for the next Stan Governing Body, we will use the Stan forums for nominations for the next Stan Governing Body (SGB).

To nominate yourself please respond to this post before the end of November. We encourage all nominees to briefly summarize their experiences with Stan and their goals for the SGB. Feel free to add links to any content you think is relevant. And if you know someone who you think would be a good fit for the SGB please let them know and encourage them to nominate themselves.

For other details about the election and links to information about the SGB see Elections for the next Stan Governing Body.


Dear Stan community,

I’m Yi Zhang, and I’d like to nominate myself for SGB for a 2-yr term.

My background

I’m an engineer with applied mathematics background by training(Ph.D. in Ocean engineering, M.S. in Applied mathematics, M.S. in Structural engineering, B.A. in Civil engineering). I became a Stan developer in 2017, working with SGB member @billg on a grant collaborated between Metrum Research Group and Columbia University. Since then I’ve also been working with him and @charlesm93 on Torsten, a Stan-based library for pharmacometrical applications. Before joining Stan community I worked on scientific software R&D on commercial products, mainly in areas of large-scale PDE solvers, PDE-constrained optimization, surrogate models, and uncertainty quantification.

Since joining Stan development team, I’ve been mainly focusing on developments of differential equaitons solvers, nonlinear solvers, and parallel computing features, frequently collaborating with contributors such as @wds15, @bbbales2, @charlesm93, among others. Currently I’m also the main developer of Torsten, for which I’ve designed and implemented its own ODE functionalities and parallel framework that incorporated some of the work by other community members. The latest effort in that direction is cross-chain warmup that @bbbales2 and @avehtari proposed.

Outside of development I’m a firm supporter of FOSS model that Stan represents, and contributed to the community in various occasions. I’ve been every StanCon since 2017. Among those events I presented posters(Stan with PDE/StanCon Helsinki, Stan and Torsten parallelism/StanCon Cambridge) and co-hosted tutorials(ODE modeling with Stan, StanCon Cambridge). I was also one of this year’s StanCon organizers, working with @syclik and @Susana_Marquez, before pandemic.

My mission goal as a SGB candidate

I’d like to

  • continue support and promote high quality FOSS projects in Stan family, and contribute to their improvement as a versatile statistical inference engine for scientific applications.
  • seek opportunities to introduce Stan to new applications and commercial users. In particular, based on my engineering and industry background I’d like to introduce Stan to simulation & design communities that are experiencing deterministic-to-stochastic paradigm shift and yet found a proper tool.
  • promote effective use of Stan as well as adoption of Bayesian framework via meetings, workshops, and publications.
  • promote Stan to non-English world and facilitate its documentation and literature in other languages.

As a Stan user, I always find it exciting and enjoyable by using the products by our talented developers and users that keep push forward science and software engineering, and I’d be honored to serve the community and guide the project.

Thank you.


Hi Everyone,

My name is Arman Oganisian and I would like to nominate myself for a 1-year term on the SGB. I am a big fan of the Stan project - it has really popularized Bayesian inference and I’m excited for a chance to contribute!


I am currently a 5th year biostatistics PhD candidate at the University of Pennsylvania. My research focuses on developing nonparametric Bayesian methods for making causal inferences in complex settings. I am also an Associate Fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute for Health Economics and a member of the Center for Causal Inference.

I earned an MS in biostatistics from Penn in 2018 and a BA in quantitative economics from Providence College in 2013. Between undergrad and doctoral training, I worked at Analysis Group - a Boston-based economic consulting firm - first as an Analyst and then a Senior Analyst. I led a variety of projects ranging from statistical analyses supporting high-profile litigation cases to health economic and outcomes research for pharmaceutical clients.

Relevant Experience

If elected, I’ll be coming in with several years of experience implementing Bayesian models using Stan (and other related platforms) in both industry and in peer-reviewed academic publications. For instance,

At the same time, my academic research in Bayesian nonparametrics involves devising and coding custom MCMC sampling schemes in R/Rcpp. This has given me some familiarity with the technical challenges of posterior computation that developers may face.

More details can be found on my personal site:

Intended Contribution and SGB Goals

In all, I’m hopeful my background will let me:

  1. Represent a broad set of Stan users in both industry and academia.
  2. Be an effective bridge/facilitator between developers and users.
  3. Leverage familiarity of related software to drive new Stan ideas.
  4. Effectively promote Stan usage in academic work.

In terms of SGB goals, I am particularly passionate about the following:

  1. Continue developing good governance structures. For instance, the structures like the new voting mechanism, and the code of conduct, are all important ideas that should continue to be developed, monitored, and improved. As Stan keeps growing, having good institutions will become more important.
  2. Identifying areas in academic research where Stan can be expanded:
    a. E.g. workshops at statistical conferences likes ENAR or JSM.
    b. Workshops at academic Summer Institutes.
  3. Contribute publications/technical papers/tutorials that bridge the theory-practice divide in academia.
  4. Promote an open source community that, in addition to rock-solid standards, is open, transparent, friendly, and inclusive.

Thanks for the consideration and please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions!



Dear Stan community,

I’m Duco Veen and I would like to nominate myself for a 1-year term as member of the SGB.

Background and relevant experience

Currently I’m an assistant professor at the University Medical Center Utrecht, data scientist at Julius Clinical and extraordinary professor at North-West University. I completed my PhD at the department of Methodology and Statistics at Utrecht University during which I started working with stan. My work mainly concerns methodology and applied statistics, and a particular focus has been on expert knowledge using elicitation techniques.

The last year I’ve been involved in more organizational type of work activities in addition to my academic work. These experiences can benefit me in the work for the SGB. For instance, I’ve been involved in setting up part of an alliance between 4 Dutch academic institutions and in the core team for a large consortium grant application. Both required communication between many different parties, and aimed to align their interests.

Experience with Stan

After experiencing the benefits of using stan in my academic work, I joined my first StanCon in Helsinki. After that I got more and more enthusiastic about the project. I visited the Stan group at Columbia in early 2019. At that time, I became involved in the ShinyStan project, working with @jonah. I’ve continued to visit StanCon as it comes along and keep on being pleasantly surprised by the variety of application areas in which Stan is used.

Goals for, and contribution to, the SGB

My goal would be that as SGB member I can contribute to help facilitate the development of Stan. That means helping to providing a structure to the project that enables developers to continue building this great program, and to facilitate a pleasant and inclusive community to thrive. As mentioned by @stablemarkets, that means to continue development of governance structures as set-in motion by the previous SGBs.

Additionally, I would like to investigate opportunities to create continuous revenue streams for Stan that do not in any way compromise the open nature of the program and the community. For instance:

There are currently many materials available that allow people to learn how to use Stan. Finding the right materials can however sometimes still be hard. To promote widespread Stan usage, I would hope to be able to build an online introductory course to Stan that is freely available with contributions from the Stan community. To facilitate the Stan development, I would envision optional certificates that can be obtained (e.g. via a coursera like platform) at cost, the proceedings of which go towards Stan development.

Finally, I think I would be suited to join the SGB is because I believe I can be effective in communicating between many different parties. If chosen, I hope to be able to make life just a little bit easier for other contributors to the Stan project.

Kind regards,



Hi, everyone—

I am Leah Comment, a member of the current Stan Governing Board. I am nominating myself for a 1-year term in the upcoming SGB elections.

As a bit of background, I recently received a PhD in Biostatistics from Harvard University, and I now do causal inference and clinical decision support research at Foundation Medicine, a precision oncology biotech company in the Boston area. I got involved in the Stan community during my PhD, and I continue to use Stan in my Bayesian trial design research.

The current SGB has put into place a number of new governance structures (e.g., community module, technical voting). Each of these initiatives was enacted in order to address issues raised by our community members, and I am proud of my part in this work. However, no solution is perfect, and I expect that we might encounter some bumps in the road as these structures start to get used more often. My goal in seeking another term is to serve as a source of institutional knowledge so that the next SGB can quickly adapt and improve these structures as necessary.

Additionally, I would like to see the next SGB tackle some of the following issues:

  • fundraising and identification of relevant discounts to ensure our financial sustainability
  • streamlining contract decisions and promoting accountability through templated Statements of Work and deliverable reviews scheduled at regular intervals
  • revising and ratifying a new Stan-specific Code of Conduct

Thank you again for the opportunity to serve this year.



Dear Stan community,

my name is Max Mantei and I would like to nominate myself for a one-year term on the Stan Government Body.


I hold a BA in Political Science and Economics and a MSc in Politics, Economics, and Philosophy. Currently I am working on my PhD thesis in Economics with focus on International Investment and International Law. During my masters I began working with multilevel models (everything that’s in the Gelman/Hill, mostly using lme4). At the beginning of my PhD time I started using Stan and it was a real eye opener to me in terms of statistical modelling and many things started to “click”. I really liked the approach of the Stan project in not only providing a cutting edge MCMC sampler, but also generating and sharing so much knowledge and insights when it comes to Bayesian workflow and making it accessible. I have been around here for more than three years now and attend StanCon Helsinki and Cambridge. I decided to contribute to the Stan project by answering questions on this forum and I have been and continue to be one of the community leaders on this forum.


To be quite honest, I don’t have a strong set of personal goals for Stan. As part of the SGB my main focus would be on community. For new users Stan can be confusing: installing toolchains, indexing errors, marginalizing out discrete variables, threading… For new users there are a bunch of difficulties that might lead to frustration. On the other hand there are Stan devs who put a lot of effort into guiding people through this process and creating documentation. The information is there, but people often struggle to find it. I want the Stan community to be accessible and welcoming. And I want Stan devs to be able to concentrate on making Stan better.

All the other nominees have brought up very valid goals, which I wholeheartedly support. As I see it, there will be some challenging questions ahead of us… A lot of people (especially devs) contributed an incredible amount to this project. I hope that in the end of the day all of them can still feel like a valuable part of it.

Thank you for considering my nomination.



Thank you to everyone who nominated themselves!

The nominees are:

  • Yi Zhang
  • Arman Oganisian
  • Duco Veen
  • Leah Comment
  • Max Mantei

We have five nominees for five spots but we will still follow the procedures we established and proceed with voting, which will be open through December 15th. If any candidate receives zero votes they will not be elected. Eligible voters should receive an email later today via with a link to the election (if you’re expecting an email and don’t receive one please let us know).