Two Kennesaw State graduate students received the highest degrees in the field of data science, after walking the stage at graduation this past summer.
KSU doctoral students Jie Hao and Bogdan Gadidov were among the first to earn a Ph.D. in Analytics and Data Science at the university’s July 25 commencement ceremony. Former KSU doctoral student Dr. Linh Le was the first to graduate from the program in May.
“[Hao] is the first woman to graduate with a Ph.D. in this field, which is a huge accomplishment,” said Dr. Sherrill Hayes, director of KSU’s Ph.D. in Analytics and Data Science program and professor of conflict management. “I think in general, what this means to them and us is that as some of the first people to graduate with a Ph.D., it gives them both a great opportunity and a great responsibility as ‘thought leaders’ for the current state and future directions of the field.”
Over the course of the past four years, Hao and Gadidov have learned to translate large, structured and unstructured, complex data into information for innovation, research and improved decision-making, according to KSU News.
Hao is a 28-year-old from Beijing, China, and earned her master’s in mathematics from East Tennessee University. She was recently hired as a post-doctoral researcher for the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, according to KSU News.
“We are able to innovate and try something new, and be the pioneers in this field,” Hao told KSU News. “I learned everything at KSU to build my career path, and in four years of study, I have fulfilled my dream of being a Ph.D.”
Gadidov is a 29-year-old from Roswell, Georgia and earned his master’s degree in statistics from KSU in 2015, the same year that the university was approved to offer the Ph.D. in Analytics and Data Science program.
Hayes said the Ph.D. in Analytics and Data Science program at KSU was the first in the country.
“Dr. Jennifer Priestley first proposed it to the University in 2013, it went to the Board of Regents in 2014, and in the Spring of 2015 it was approved. KSU admitted our first class of students in August of 2015 and we have now graduated our first three students,” Hayes said.
Since then, the program has maintained an acceptance rate under 10% — making it one of the most competitive graduate programs in the country, according to the KSU website.