Professional Statistician for Indonesia Development

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Photo 1. Ika Rusinta Widiyasari

"Good things come to those who works hard." This belief drives Ika Rusinta Widiyasari to always learn something new and to be the expertise to her career. She works hard in doing her duty as a state civil apparatus in the West Papua branch of Statistic Indonesia (SI).

Some people might think that SI provides data only on population number, poverty, and the unemployed, while in truth, it is a complex ideas. "We have to survey on the community's behavior in regards to the environment, community's knowledge regarding climate change issue and global warming, survey on social models, and a lot more," she added.

Ika recognizes that, in regards to many tasks and responsibilities of her duty in the workplace, it is necessary to go beyond the call of duty for the sake of national development. This drives her to continue her study for master degree in public policy.

In order to achieve her dream, she applied the USAID PRESTASI Scholarship Program. Even though she had to postpone her success until the interview part in her first try in 2014 selection. She did not give up by trying once again the 2015 selection, her application got accepted and she became one of awardee.

As the awardee of USAID PRESTASI Scholarship Program, Ika took the Master of Public Policy program in the Oregon State University, Corvallis, United States. The field of study focused on rural policy. "The rural policy field is very much applicable for Papua where I I am working. It is after all, a rural area. I studied a lot about the common issues faced by rural communities caused by the distribution of residences and isolated geography, and worsened by the effect of globalization and the rapid advancement of technology.

Ika has been actively participated in various conferences related to her expertise, one of them arethe Joint Statistical Meeting (JSM), a conference of statisticians and data scientists held by the American Statistical Association (ASA). She studied about new methods of statistics at the conference workshop. The method is useful for her final project and especially for when she returned to the SI in Indonesia.

"Through the JSM, I got a precious experience of meeting face to face with Prof. Rao who wrote one of the books regarding the sampling technique which I used as a reference during my undergraduate study in Sekolah Tinggi Ilmu Statistik (STIS)," she recalled.

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Photo 2. Ika (with red hijab and white shirt) along with her friends in Oregon States University, America.

Aside being actively participating in conferences and seminars, Ika was also participating in Natural Resources Leadership Academy held by Oregon State University in summer 2016. The summer class focused on discussing the issues about natural resources management and held in form of field trip along with activities to train leadership skills.

She is makingfriends from different cultural background while she is studying. Ika has beenactively introducing Indonesian culture to them.Ika and her friends in Mahasiswa Indonesia Amerika Serikat (PERMIAS) presented the varieties of Indonesian culture, folklore/ tales, traditional dances, and the traditional dishes of Indonesia.

She had learned the lessons and experience during her master study in United States. The first step she took is to apply the knowledge toher duty and responsibility as a state civil apparatus in the SI. "I have learned into becoming more engaging and keener in analyzing data products related to the recent issues which we produced in SI during my study in the Oregon State University," said Ika.

After returning from her master study, Ika has grown into a different person, a positive one, which she is becoming more thoughtful and open-minded. She is braver and more confident in giving her opinion any subject of her expertise or in general conversation.

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Photo 3. Ika (in pink hijab) carries out Task Force Data Collection for Village Potential 2018 in Maybrat Regency.

She does not keep it all for herself. Ika,whose hobby is cooking, isleading the knowledge sharing activity with her comrades in her current workplace. Each and everyone in the activity are free to present any topic in English. She is regularly sharing the knowledge and experiences she gained during her master study in America. She hoped that the activity would allow people to come up with new ideas and innovations to support the SI's role in national development.Papua occupies a special place in Ika's heart. She told lots of stories about the challenges she faced in her duty there. Aside thegeographical factor, the way to communicate with the locals and the government with local content regarding the importance of data compiling does not escape her notice. Thus, Ika wishes to translate the data into an understandable language for the locals.

In order to support her wish, Ika is is communicating with the local media to help her publishing herwriting to make the locals to read it. She hoped that it can bring positive effect in the local government's policy making to increase the local development.

Ika truly appreciates everything she had as the awardee of the USAID-PRESTASI Scholarship Program. She learned a lot from how PRESTASI give support the information regardingtherequirement to apply, the pre-study training, thefacilities provided during the study, tothe post-study, and the support eventhough Ika is already an alumni by providing the media of alumni association called ALPHA-I.She hoped the USAID-PRESTASI would continue year after year to help the best students of Indonesia in continuing their higher education. The support of USAID-PRESTASI has made her able to increase her skills and professionalism to support the new policies that empower the people in Papua for Indonesia.

As a closure, she gave a message for the young generation, "Wherever we may be, whether it is remote or urban, never let it stop you from reaching your dream and contributing your best for the nation."