Kennesaw State opens Equifax Data Science Research Lab

KENNESAW, Ga. | Mar 22, 2017

Collaboration provides new opportunities for practical research

Kennesaw State’s Ph.D. program in Analytics and Data Science officially opened the Equifax Data Science Research Lab at Kennesaw State University this month, thanks to a research grant from Equifax Inc. Central to the lab’s mission is to investigate business challenges and opportunities created by non-traditional sources of consumer and commercial data.

“Applied research is really the foundation of our Ph.D. program, said Jennifer Lewis Priestley, director of the Ph.D. program in Analytics and Data Science. “Our students are working with real data, to solve real business problems. They are trained in theory, but applying those concepts to real business challenges is the hallmark of the 21st century Ph.D. degree.”

Equifax lab

The Ph.D. in Analytics and Data Science at Kennesaw State University was one of the first of its kind in the nation. It is designed to train individuals to translate large, structured and unstructured, complex data into information to improve decision-making. The four-year program emphasizes courses in Statistical Modeling, Machine Learning, Programming, Optimization and Text Analytics.

“The programs in Analytics and Data Science at Kennesaw State were developed to address the demands of the local and regional business community for deep analytical talent,” said Kennesaw State Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs W. Ken Harmon. “This research lab with Equifax is one example of how collaboration with the business community is integrated into how we approach education and practical research at KSU.”

Atlanta-based Equifax, a worldwide leader in data collection, analysis and credit reporting, has helped nurture the burgeoning Ph.D. program since its launch in 2015.

“We have chosen to partner with the Ph.D. in Analytics and Data Science because the program places dual emphasis on the theory and the application of data science to real world challenges; it’s the understanding of the importance of how to actually apply solutions to real problems that attracted us to Kennesaw State,” said Chris Yasko, Equifax Innovation Lab leader.

Kennesaw State’s decision to develop a program in analytics and data science stemmed from the success of the University’s existing Master of Science in Applied Statistics – where graduates are in great demand and continue to have a 100 percent placement – and by the minor in applied statistics and data analysis with undergraduate demand from every college across the University, and similarly strong placement.

“As a public university, we have a fiduciary responsibility to be contributing to the economic competitiveness of the state,” said Priestley. “This partnership with Equifax, one of the largest corporations headquartered in the metro Atlanta area, is a great example of how a university/private sector partnership creates value for the company, the students, and the state of Georgia.”

About Equifax

Equifax is a global information solutions company that uses trusted unique data, innovative analytics, technology and industry expertise to power organizations and individuals around the world by transforming knowledge into insights that help make more informed business and personal decisions. The company organizes, assimilates and analyzes data on more than 820 million consumers and more than 91 million businesses worldwide, and its database includes employee data contributed from more than 7,100 employers.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., Equifax operates or has investments in 24 countries in North America, Central and South America, Europe and the Asia Pacific region. It is a member of Standard & Poor's (S&P) 500® Index, and its common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol EFX. Equifax employs approximately 9,500 employees worldwide.

Some noteworthy achievements for the company include: Named to the Top 100 American Banker FinTech Forward list (2015-2016); named a Top Technology Provider on the FinTech 100 list (2004-2016); named an InformationWeek Elite 100 Winner (2014-2015); named a Top Workplace by Atlanta Journal Constitution (2013-2016); named one of Fortune’s World’s Most Admired Companies (2011-2015); named one of Forbes’ World’s 100 Most Innovative Companies (2015-2016). For more information, visit

Related Stories

A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 45,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit