Fifth annual KSU R Day showcases statistics students’ work

KSU R Day winners

More than 45 undergraduates and graduate statistics students’ work in R exhibited

KENNESAW, Ga. (Dec 8, 2016) — Kennesaw State University hosted a mini-conference as part of its fifth annual KSU R Day, a regional meeting for the analytics and “R” community that links the statistics program at KSU with businesses and organizations that use analytics and statistics. “R” refers to the popular open-source statistical software used by many organizations around the world.

Kennesaw State’s Department of Statistics and Analytical Sciences showcased a wide range of topics from 45 undergraduate and graduate statistics students’ work in R. The event featured 39 poster presentations of students’ research in a diverse range of categories including healthcare, marketing/business, sports and social/political sciences, as well as several speakers who discussed analytics and the use of R in their organizations.

“We had 239 people in attendance with representatives from 50 companies, allowing some of the students to discuss collaborative projects with local businesses,” said event organizer Nicole Ferguson, assistant professor of statistics in the Department of Statistics and Analytical Sciences.

“KSU R Day provides our students with a great networking opportunity to meet with regional R users, allowing them to begin building their professional network, and giving them a look at real-world careers available to them in advanced analytics,” Ferguson said. 

James E. Bolles, architecture and platform manager of the Southern Company, was the keynote speaker. Bolles said he was “really inspired by some of the projects I’ve seen today. I see how passionate you are about your work.”

Bolles told the students they are embarking on exciting careers in a field that is only its infancy today.

“We will have a lot more data coming online in the future, and you’ll have to be able to confirm what is the good from what is the bad data,” he said.

Bolles was followed on the dais by Mike Judd, surveillance epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Ana Baida, executive director of Kennesaw State’s Career Planning and Development. Three candidates for the MS in Applied Statistics – Amanda Bayless, Mark Bryan and Hye Jin Kang – presented a sentiment analysis of the first 2016 Presidential Debate.

Baida spoke to employers and students alike, saying, “KSU R Day is an example of the ‘best of’ career development – when well prepared students interface with employers who are seeking their talents. Our students showcase this skill set to employers poised to hire.”

“Having attended R Day previously, I was reminded of the relevancy of this type of work in the present day,” Baida said. “There is a growing need for good data, presented in meaningful, accessible ways.”

Student poster competition winners received a combined $3,500, thanks to KSU R Day sponsors, the Southern Company and Microsoft.

—    Robert S. Godlewski

—    Photos by David Caselli




A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. 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 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit