KSU alum finds success at Equifax

KENNESAW, Ga. | Feb 1, 2021

Jessica Reyes
Jessica Reyes

Only months after earning a degree in computational and applied mathematics, Jessica Reyes is making waves in the data science industry and giving back to the academic program that set her on her path to success.

As a data scientist at Equifax, Reyes leverages her skills in data and analytics to understand financial lending trends in mortgage and auto industries and to provide her clients with sound decision-making.

She participates in the company’s Rotational Development Program, a two-year transitional program for students who just graduated from college that allows them to attend training sessions and ask executives questions while also being exposed to several different teams at the company.

“I really like the program because I’m learning about the company and data science industry from people who are really experienced,” Reyes said.

Although Reyes has only worked at Equifax for a few months, she has already found ways to apply her research studies in her professional life. Last month, a research paper she coauthored with her peer, Maharshi Pandya, was presented at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ (IEEE) Big Data Conference, describing the data science project they finished during their 2019 IBM internship. The paper focused on how to extract key information from documents that load into a recommendation system comparable to that of Facebook or Netflix that generates news articles or movie suggestions relevant to the user.

“Attending conferences outside of work allows me to continue to learn from people and share knowledge so that I can go into my job and be that much better at what I do,” Reyes said.

Reyes is now leveraging her professional success, giving back to the University by mentoring students who are in the same position she was in just four years ago. A first-generation college student, Reyes credits her success to her mentors at KSU who inspired her and helped land her job, ultimately influencing her decision to return. Recently, she assisted with a virtual open house hosted by the College of Science and Mathematics, where she shared her experience at KSU and answered questions from prospective and current students.

“It was such a great experience to virtually share my experience at KSU and have that window for aspiring or current KSU students to reach out to me if they had any questions or take my advice,” Reyes said. “Not having experience with higher education before, my outlook is brand new, and now that I’m removed from the university, I can serve as a success story and help students power through and achieve what they want to achieve.”

Reyes first caught the advising bug during her junior and senior year at KSU, when she attended the First Gen Owls club and was a student mentor for a Coca-Cola First Gen Scholars event, where she answered questions and had conversations with first-generation freshmen about internships, resources and networking. When her younger brother’s friends began asking for her advice regarding the University, she made it her mission to offer the same support to incoming students at KSU.

“I help because I’ve been there before,” said Reyes. “I remember vividly going through the university and experiencing everything for the first time. The support I’ve received from my mentors pushed me to provide that same support to students so they don’t feel as alone. I want them to feel confident about what they want to do after college and know it’s attainable.”

Next month, Reyes will return to KSU virtually as an Equifax representative for the STEM Job, Internship and Co-op Fair, hosted by the Department of Career Planning and Development.

– Josh Milton

Submitted photo

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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.