KSU opens Equifax Data Science Research Lab with $75,000 grant (Marietta Daily Journal)

KENNESAW, Ga. | Mar 27, 2017

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 $75,000 research grant from Equifax. Central to the lab’s mission is investigating 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.”

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 Peter Maynard, senior vice president of Enterprise Analytics at Equifax. 
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.”

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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 kennesaw.edu.