This high school educator wins a selective national scholarship for his passion, academic excellence and leadership in applied statistics

Headshot of Mervin Woodlin Jr.

Arguably one of the most challenging years that educators have ever faced, 2020 did not stop Mervin Woodlin Jr. ’18 MA, ’22 MS.

In addition to teaching a full roster of math and statistics classes at Philadelphia’s Abraham Lincoln High School and working with his wife to homeschool their own three children, Mervin worked toward his second master’s degree from Villanova’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He also conducted two statistical projects at Abraham Lincoln, aimed at better understanding the effects of uniformed police officers in schools and the relationship between sleep quality and high school student performance.

Recognizing his passion, academic excellence and leadership, the American Society for Quality awarded Mervin the 2020 Ellis R. Ott Scholarship, which is given to only one master’s and one PhD student in the country each year to support their academic journey in applied statistics.

“Each year, as my students begin to investigate more topics that are related to their everyday lives and the world, I know that I must continue to evolve,” says Mervin, who will be adding an MS in Applied Statistics to his MA in Mathematics in May 2022.

In the midst of his 12th year of teaching, Mervin has had no shortage of real-world examples to analyze with students in his statistics class this past year. They used data to look at everything from sports predictions and top songs on the Billboard charts to police bias, education gaps, health disparities due to COVID-19, and vaccination trial results.

“I try to expose them to all different avenues where statistics can apply and have them look at the data for themselves,” Mervin says.