Staci Hepler is an expert in spatial statistics, spatial epidemiology, and computational statistics. Her research develops applied statistical methodology to answer urgent questions in ecology and public health, with a particular emphasis on the opioid crisis in the United States. She blends two rare talents. First, she carefully derives the mathematical and theoretical properties of high-dimensional models to guarantee their suitability for the task at hand. Second, she brings an impressive expertise in computational statistics, without which her methods could not be deployed in practice. Many statisticians strive for excellence in one of these two areas; Dr. Hepler achieves both. She has received an impressive four federally funded research grants, which includes funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Energy, and the National Science Foundation. On three of these, she serves as the Principal Investigator, including on a prestigious NIH R01 award. For these reasons and more, the Award for Excellence in Research is awarded to Staci Hepler.