Fall 2023 Analytics Day Image HeaderFriday, November 10, 2023     8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
3333 Busbee Drive NW, Kennesaw, GA 30144

Spring 2023

Poster Winners

Undergraduate Students 

1st Place – Elaine Pollard – Does Hands Free = Accident Free?

2nd Place – Desyne Martinez – Multiple Myeloma, Where are You Hiding?

3rd Place – Megan McCabe – Burning the Candle for Both Degrees: A Comparison of Factors Influencing Medical Student Burnout among Undergraduate and Professional Students 

Undergrad Winners

Graduate Students 

Top Ph.D. Poster – Royce Alfred & Caleb Greski – Are You Feeling Lucky?  An Analysis of the Collectible Card Game Market

1st place Masters – Elizabeth Wile – Mapping Changes in Car Accidents after COVID-19

2nd place Masters – Greg Balkcom – Analysis of the Foot and Ankle Activity Level Scale (FAALS) Instrument using the Rasch Measurement Model 

3rd Place Masters – James Down – XGBoost Unleashed: A Data-Driven Approach to Predicting Employee Churn 

Graduate Winners


7:30 - 8:30am: Student Poster Competition Judging (sponsors only)

8:30 - 10:25am: Student Poster Presentations and Breakfast

10:30 - 10:40am: "Welcome"
Sherrill Hayes, Ph.D., Director, School of Data Science and Analytics, KSU 

10:45 - 11:15am: "Journey to Modern Day Data Science: the Past, the Present, and the Potential Future"
Bob Vanderheyden, Ph.D., Principal Data Scientist - Manager, Microsoft

11:20 - 11:30am: "Analytics at WellStar"
Nathan Ghadirifard, Director, Strategic Market Analytics, WellStar Health Systems

11:35 - 11:45am: "An Efficacy Rathing for March Madness Tournament Seeding"
Nathalie Jones, MS Data Science and Analytics Candidate, KSU

11:50am - 12:20pm: "Travel through IHG's Cloud Data Transformation"
Barbara Liesenfelt, Head of Data Engineering, IHG Hotels & Resorts

12:25pm: "Announcement of Undergraduate Student Poster Presentation Winners"
Jimmy Hendricks, Senior Director, Data Science, Best Buy

12:30pm: "Announcement of Graduate Student Poster Presentation Winners"
Omar Kitosi, Manager, Data Analytics and Reporting, Southern Company
Kimberly Sorrell, Director of Information Management, Southern Company

Keynote Speakers

Bob VanderheydenDr. Bob Vanderheyden

Principal Data Scientist

Bob Vanderheyden has over 30 years of experience as a data scientist. In that time, he’s worked in Institutional Research for a large community college system and in Marketing roles for multiple Fortune 1,000 corporations, including Transportation, Education, Telecommunications, Financial Services, Insurance and Information Technology industries. He currently leads a team of data scientists supporting email security for Microsoft Initiatives. In 2015, 25 years after he completed his Masters Degree, Bob enrolled in the 1st cohort of the Kennesaw State Ph.D. program in Analytics and Data Science, completing his Ph.D. in the Fall of 2019. Bob has attempted to stay active with the KSU program and even taught Masters level data science courses for two years after his graduation.

Nathalie Jones

Nathalie Jones

MS Data Science and Analytics Candidate
Kennesaw State University

Nathalie Jones is a researcher and mathematician from Elijay, Georgia. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Computational and Applied Mathematics with a Minor in Applied Statistics and Analytics from Kennesaw State University in 2021, and she will complete her Master of Science in Data Science & Analytics in December 2023. Nathalie has proficiency in statistical coding across many different languages, including SAS, Python, R, and SQL. She has experience applying her mathematical and statistical coding skills to academic research, as well as in the corporate business analytics environment.

Currently, Nathalie lives in Kennesaw, Georgia with her partner of over a decade, Alexis Lowery, and their 14-year-old cat, Alyx. They enjoy spending time together cooking home-made meals, sipping coffee, working on research projects, and watching movies. A fun fact about Nathalie is that, as a native Georgian, the only ocean she has ever seen is the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California.

Barbara Liesenfelt

Barbara Liesenfelt

Head of Data Engineering
IHG Hotels & Resorts

Barbara Liesenfelt serves as Head of Data Engineering for Technology Services at IHG Hotels & Resorts. She is based at IHG’s American headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia and is responsible for providing data platforms and delivery to the enterprise.

Since joining IHG in the United Kingdom in 2002 at their global headquarters, Barbara has grown through roles in technology, progressing from a hands-on developer to managing global data delivery.   With a team including data architecture as well as development, she led IHG’s cloud analytic transformation.

Barbara earned her Master of Business Administration from Xavier University and a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Indiana University.  She is married to Paul Martin, a fellow techie, and they are the proud parents of Nate, 12, and Ella, 10.

Featured Speakers

To Be Announced

Annual Analytics Day-Sponsors Text Header

Prize Sponsors



Southern Co Logo

Best Buy logo
Recruiting Sponsor

WellStar logo

Refreshment Sponsors
Cobb EMC logo


Cox Auto logo

Equifax logo
IHG logo

Fall 2023 Sponsorship Flyer

If you are interested in sponsoring Analytics Day, please contact Bill Franks.  

General Information

The School of Data Science and Analytics at Kennesaw State University is a one-stop shop offering general education courses, an undergraduate minor, online certificates, a bachelor's degree, a master’s degree, and we have the first PhD in Data Science and Analytics in the US. Industry and government organizations partner with us to find solutions to their data-centric problems through the Center for Data Science and Analytics (CDSA) and the Human Studies Lab, two of the most successful and dynamic research units at the university.

The KSU Center is located just off I-75 in Kennesaw, only one mile from the main campus of Kennesaw State University. The address is 3333 Busbee Drive NW, Kennesaw, GA 30144.  There is plenty of free parking.

If you have any questions about Analytics Day, please contact Nicole Ferguson or Cara Reeve.

Results from Past Analytics Days

Spring 2023

Fall 2022

Fall 2021