SAS hails excellence in analytics education

SAS honors LSU professor, SAS® professionals and Student Ambassadors at SAS Global Forum

A persistent talent gap creates big opportunities for people who can wield analytics to help organizations make better decisions. Innovative analytics users and students who are rushing to fill that gap, and those who teach them, are being honored this week at SAS Global Forum.

“The explosion of AI, machine learning and other data-intensive technologies promises continued, rising demand for analytics experts,” said SAS CEO Jim Goodnight. “Our honorees are teaching, learning and thriving in this data-driven world.”

The awards were presented at a Sunday luncheon which preceded a new, expanded SAS Global Forum academic event. The event’s keynote speaker was Temple Grandin, renowned advocate for people with autism who was named to Time’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2010.

At the event, students received practical insights for advancing a job search, including resume tips, tricks for improving a social media profile, and storytelling tools. They also had the opportunity to meet with 20 SAS customers to learn how they are using analytics and the skills they seek when hiring. Professors connected with peers to discuss the evolution of data science as an academic discipline and how they can better integrate it into instruction.

SAS Distinguished Professor Award

A leader in integrating data and analytics into instruction is this year’s SAS Distinguished Professor, Joni Shreve. Louisiana State University (LSU) has been at the forefront of analytics education since 2011 when the LSU Master of Science in Analytics (MSA) program was established, with support from SAS. Shreve has been instrumental to its success, serving as director of the analytics program from 2014 to 2017, before stepping back into the classroom full-time.

A devoted instructor, passionate statistician and SAS expert, Shreve guides her students through a combination of classroom instruction, hands-on exercises and team-based projects. She was voted 2014 Outstanding Faculty Member of the MSA program.

Active in the SAS user community, in 2013 Shreve established the Student Symposium at the annual South Central SAS Users Group (SCSUG) Educational Forum. She joined the SCSUG Executive Committee in 2014, and served as Chair for the 2015 SCSUG Educational Forum. Shreve is the co-author of an upcoming SAS Certification Prep Guide, which will prepare new and experienced SAS users for the Statistical Business Analyst Using SAS® 9 exam.

Shreve’s research interests include data mining and classification analysis. She earned her PhD in educational psychology from the University of Georgia (UGA) in 1998, her master’s in statistics from UGA in 1990, and her bachelor’s in mathematics from LSU in 1983. Shreve joined LSU’s faculty in 1998.

Honoring new SAS professionals from the US and beyond

The New SAS Professional Award program engages relatively new SAS users and jump-starts their careers with opportunities at SAS Global Forum. It can be difficult for some users to make it to SAS Global Forum. This year, the SAS Professional Award program helped 54 US-based SAS professionals, who have used SAS on the job for five years or less, attend. They received a waived conference registration fee, including conference meals, a free pre-conference tutorial, and great opportunities to learn from and network in a large community of SAS users. An additional 14 users from outside the US attended via the SAS Global Forum International Professional Award program.

The SAS Student Ambassador Program recognizes and supports students using SAS in innovative ways that benefit their respective fields of study. The 2018 ambassadors are:

Sujal Reddy Alugubelli, Oklahoma State University

Abigail Chatfield, Grand Valley State University

Jinwoo Cho, Sungkyunwan University

Wendy Christensen, University of California, Los Angeles

Aubrey Condor, University of Central Florida

Brandon George, Grand Valley State University

Catherine Halsey, University of Pretoria

Katherine Irimata, Arizona State University

Kyle Irimata, Arizona State University

Nikhila Kambalapalli, Oklahoma State University

Joe Lorenz, Grand Valley State University

Jessica Rudd, Kennesaw State University

Zaid Shaikh, Oklahoma State University

Matthew Valente, Arizona State University

Ritesh Kumar Vangapalli, Oklahoma State University

Xuan Wang, Louisiana State University

Yang Yue, University of South Carolina

At this year’s SAS Global Forum Student Symposium, eight teams of students and a faculty adviser are presenting research using SAS Analytics. Three winning teams receive vouchers for SAS certification exams and free attendance at next year’s forum. SAS also awarded scholarships to attend SAS Global Forum for free to 16 university faculty at the forefront of analytics talent development. In addition, all students attending the event can take a SAS certification exam onsite, at no cost.

Today's announcement was made at SAS Global Forum, the world's largest analytics conference, with more than 30,000 business and IT users of SAS software participating on-site and online.

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