The Kennesaw State Analytics and Data Science Institute director demonstrated the school’s role in assisting well-known corporations, such as Coca-Cola and Cox Media, in making sense of critical data.
Director Dr. Jennifer Priestley said that the institute assists these corporations through Data Science 7900 — an applied analytics projects course — and through research labs. At the start of the semester, representatives from well-known corporations present their business problems to the students in these courses in hopes that they can provide solutions.
This graduate level course is intended to bring students from multiple disciplines together to work with the data-centered issues these companies provide and then translate it into information used to solve problems. Priestly calls this “building bridges rather than motes.”
“After graduation, you typically work with people that study disciplines different from yours,” Priestly said. “And you’re going to be working with people who have different backgrounds than yours and certainly people that come from a different culture and have a different orientation towards problem solving.”
This semester, students in the course are working with notable companies such as Coca-Cola North America and Cox Media, but in prior semesters students have worked with Georgia Pacific and Spanx. Priestly said the master’s students typically become part of the “talent-pipeline” who move on to full-time jobs with the company they were assisting.
“Dare I say, the students probably learn more from each other than they do from the faculty,” Priestly said.
KSU’s research labs are staffed by Ph.D. students and are provided by organizations that partner with the school. Priestley said the Equifax Data Science Research Lab is the largest research lab they work with. Equifax has given KSU a research grant to equip labs with the resources they need to solve challenges that are presented.
Priestly adds that KSU has an impressive amount of resources across the university, but she said there needs to be a greater amount of communication between each other within the school.
“One of my passions is to bring together the best of the best across the university because we do have so much to offer, not only to students but ultimately to each other as a community,” Priestly said.
The Analytics and Data Science Institute is working to address data-centered challenges across the community using a wide range of disciplines, according to KSU’s website. KSU is the only institute in Georgia to offer a doctoral degree in analytics and data science.