SAS celebrates analytics talent, and those who shape it

Purdue professor Matthew Lanham (L) is creating analytics talent that enter the workforce ready to transform data into intelligence. Pictured with SAS Sr VP of Education, Sean O'Brien.

A persistent analytics 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.

A special Sunday event for academia provided an opportunity to learn new skills, share and exchange ideas, get info on job market readiness, make connections and much more. Many students, faculty and professionals were recognized with awards and scholarships due to excellence in teaching, learning and working with SAS.

SAS Distinguished Professor Award

Purdue University professor Matthew Lanham is the 2019 SAS Distinguished Professor Award. Prof. Lanham is a member of the Quantitative Methods Area faculty in Purdue's Krannert School of Management, and serves as Academic Director for the M.S. in Business Analytics & Information Management program. SAS is an integral tool in both the masters and a joint certificate program.

In his quest to create analytics talent, Prof. Lanham emphasizes experiential learning, building relationships with local companies to provide his students experiences with real-world data, solving real business problems. He encourages them to participate in analytics competitions. These opportunities provide students tangible items for their portfolio to demonstrate their knowledge, skills and abilities.

In her final project, one of Prof. Lanham’s students analyzed grocery data to improve efficiencies and the freshness of produce. The company hired her and implemented the work. She is now mentoring Purdue students during their projects.

Boasting a graduate employment rate of 97% within six months of graduation, Prof. Lanham emphasizes the importance of SAS Certifications, and even rewards a student with financial support to pay for a certification exam.

“Prof. Lanham’s commitment to his students is inspiring,” said Sean O’Brien, Senior Vice President of SAS Education. “He goes above and beyond to cultivate skills and relationships that have employers standing in line to hire his graduates.”

Recognizing students, faculty and SAS professionals

Among the company's many analytics talent recognition programs, the SAS Student Ambassador Program recognized students for using SAS in innovative ways that benefit their respective fields of study. The 2019 ambassadors are:

  • Lauren Agrigento, Louisiana State University
  • Elsa (Maria) Vazquez Arreola, Arizona State University
  • Vishal Gaurav, Oklahoma State University
  • Ankita Kalita, Syracuse University
  • Margaret Kline, Grand Valley State University
  • Sujit Kunwor, University of Alabama
  • Sareh Meshkinfam, North Carolina State University
  • Daniel Muzyka, Grand Valley State University
  • Jennifer Richards, Florida A&M University
  • Romana Sipoldova, University of Economics in Bratislava
Purdue wasn't done winning awards as two of Prof. Lanham's students were honored as SAS Student Symposium finalists.

Also, 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 17 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.

To support novice users, the SAS professional awards program helped 39 SAS professionals who have used SAS on the job for five years or less, jump-start their careers with opportunities at SAS Global Forum through free registrations.

Award recipients were recognized at a special academic event Sunday at SAS Global Forum. Students, who attend SAS Global Forum for free, connected with potential employers and learned about exciting analytics careers and opportunities to use analytics to improve their communities. Professors met with peers and explored topics related to privacy, ethics and algorithm bias.

If you are interested in participating in academic sessions or presenting research at SAS Global Forum 2020 in Washington, DC, keep an eye out for the launch of the event website.


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Trent Smith

Trent handles government and education communications for SAS. Opinions shared are his own...or someone else's...he's not much for original thought. But they definitely don't represent SAS.

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