The Association of Academic Survey Research Organization (AASRO) has been greatly saddened by the passing of its president and founding member, Dr. John Tarnai of Washington State University. To honor John and his dedication to the field, AASRO is establishing a scholarship in his name.
Throughout his career, John was very committed to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and was a frequent contributor to its annual meetings and those of the International Field Directors and Field Technologies Conference (IFD&FTC). He recognized that these gatherings were far more than just opportunities to share one's latest research accomplishments. They were training grounds through which survey professionals - some experienced and some taking their first steps in the field - could engage in a conversation about the work and the profession. In the course of these conversations, those new to the field could better understand what survey research is all about - the methodological and operational challenges, the career opportunities, the professional community, and the importance of collective problem solving in a rapidly changing technological, cultural and political environment.
For many years, even before he became its Director, John persuaded the Survey and Economic Sciences Research Center at Washington State University to provide funding support for various staff besides faculty to attend either AAPOR or Field Directors conferences because he believed that when they returned they would better understand the survey work in which they were engaged. For many who attended through John's efforts, the experience was life changing. Finding ways to extend the training and mentoring of the next generation of survey researchers became one of his passions.
AASRO is concerned with strengthening academic survey research organizations and preparing our members for the future so that the academic disciplines that depend upon survey data will thrive and bear fruit for us all. That requires preparing the next generation of survey research professionals.
It is to that purpose and to honor our colleague that AASRO is pleased to establish a scholarship fund - the John Tarnai Memorial Scholarship Fund. Scholarhips will be awarded annually to selected staff members of academic survey organizations to cover expenses associated with attending the annual meetings of AAPOR or the IFD&FTC (or both).
We can think of no better way to honor and remember John than to continue to raise up future survey researchers in the manner he so wisely modeled.
Anyone wishing to contribute to the John Tarnai Memorial Scholarship Fund may send their donations to AASRO c/o Stephanie Kane, AASRO Treasurer, Social Science Research Unit, University of Idaho, P.O. Box 444290, Moscow, ID 83844-4290. For more details about making donations, Stephanie can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org or at (208) 885-5849.