Sarah Hession

Sarah  Hession
  • Adjunct Academic Specialist
  • Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences
  • 178E Giltner Hall
  • 517-353-1055



Dr. Sarah L. Hession received her bachelor’s degree in mathematics with a minor in computers and information systems from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, MI. She obtained her master’s degree in applied statistics from Western Michigan University and her PhD in geography with a focus on spatial statistics from Michigan State University (MSU). Throughout this time, Dr. Hession gained over 25 years of experience in statistical consulting and environmental regulatory statistics, including more than five years as the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s (MDEQ) first and only statistician. She worked closely with geologists, toxicologists, engineers, and upper management to develop policy related to the use of statistics for comparing environmental data to risk-based cleanup criteria. She also developed guidance and training materials, presenting them to hundreds of members of the regulated community, staff of the MDEQ and Michigan Department of Community Health, and Region 5 of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Additionally, Dr. Hession has consulted in statistics for environmental, ecological, climate-related applications, and diagnostic accuracy to State and Federal governments, industry, and medical practitioners. Her clients included MDEQ, Michigan Department of Transportation, New Mexico Department of Transportation, EPA, EPA Gulf Ecology Division, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. As Assistant Director and Senior Statistician at MSU’s Center for Statistical Training & Consulting (CSTAT), Dr. Hession collaborates with faculty and other researchers at MSU on grant development and sponsored research. She works closely with toxicologists in both drug testing and environmental applications. She has also developed multiple workshops including “Introduction to Spatial Regression in R” and “Modeling Dose-Response Relationships: Applications and Methods.”


  • Environmental Statistics, including research, methodological innovations and policy development in site investigation, risk assessment, ecological assessment, and remediation of contaminated sites
  • Climate and Global Change Analysis in combination with Environmental Statistics, Health Geography, and Epidemiology, all of which play a role in public, ecosystem, and environmental health over space and time
  • Dose-response curve analyses and analysis of toxicological data for the purpose of environmental quality and pharmacological studies