hero image
Jennifer Lewis Priestley, Ph.D. - Kennesaw State University. Kennesaw, GA, US

Jennifer Lewis Priestley, Ph.D. Jennifer Lewis Priestley, Ph.D.

Professor of Statistics and Data Science | Kennesaw State University


Jennifer Lewis Priestley is the director of the Center for Statistics and Analytical Services at Kennesaw State.






loading image loading image


KSU Department of Statistics and Analytical Sciences 2014 KSU SAS Day Educating the Next Generation of Analytics Professionals - Jennifer Priestley




Jennifer Lewis Priestley is a professor of applied statistics and data science at Kennesaw State, where she is also the director of the center for statistics and analytical services. She was recognized by the SAS Institute as the 2012 distinguished statistics professor of the year and regularly speaks at data and analytics conferences. She has authored many published articles on binary classification, sampling and application of statistical methodologies for problem solving, as well as several textbook manuals for Excel, SPSS, SAS and Minitab.

Prior to receiving a Ph.D. in statistics, Priestley worked in the financial services industry for 11 years. Her positions included vice president of business development for VISA EU; vice president for business development for MasterCard International; and additional positions with AT&T Universal Card and Andersen Consulting.

Priestley received an MBA from The Pennsylvania State University and a B.S. from Georgia Tech. She also received a certification from the ABA Bankcard School and a certification in Base SAS Programming and a Business Analyst Certification from the SAS Institute.

Industry Expertise (2)

Education/Learning Research

Areas of Expertise (9)

Data Analysis Statistics Analytics Data Mining Statistical Modeling Binary Classification Credit Scoring Market Research Survey Analysis

Accomplishments (3)

Datanami's People to Watch in 2016 (professional)


Only female named to Datanami's inaugural selection of the best and brightest minds in Big Data.

2015 National Analytics Conference Chair (professional)


International conference presented by The SAS Institute

Distinguished Statistics Professor of the Year (professional)


Awarded by the SAS Institute.

Education (4)

Georgia State University: Ph.D., Decision Sciences 2004

ABA Bank School: Certificate, with Honors, Decision Sciences 1991

Pennsylvania State University: MBA., Quantitative Business Analysis 1989

Georgia Institute of Technology: B.S., Economics

Media Appearances (14)

Interview with Jennifer Priestley, KSU Professor of Statistics and Data Science

Pro Business Channel - Capital Club Radio  


Dr. Priestley is a Professor of Applied Statistics and Data Science at Kennesaw State University, where she is the Director of the Center for Statistics and Analytical Services. . She oversees the Ph.D. Program in Advanced Analytics and Data Science.

view more

How a Ph.D. in data science can fix the talent gap

Tech Republic  online


There's no denying the exponential growth of data science as both a field of study and career choice. In 2012, the Harvard Business Review went as far as to call the role of data scientist "the sexiest job of the 21st century."

While there's been much said and written about the actual staying power of data science, it's difficult to deny the current buzz. At the time of this writing, there are roughly 30,000 job postings on LinkedIn and about 22,000 postings on Indeed for "data scientist."

view more

Preparing for Big Data Careers

SAS Analytics U Blog  online


Numerous studies and statistics point to the fact that in just a few short years the need for people with analytics skills could significantly outpace supply.

With so much talk around the analytics skills gap and the growing market for analytic talent, we wanted to highlight a variety of avenues students and learners of all ages can explore to prepare for big data jobs. This blog series features interviews with professors, department leads and other educators who are seeding the market with analytical talent and directly impacting the talent management pipeline in this area.

view more

Exclusive – Jennifer Lewis Priestley Talks Analytics and Kennesaw State University – Part 1

icrunchdata News  online


icrunchdata News speaks with business leaders about the progression of their careers in analytics, what they are focusing on in their current roles and their interests outside of data. We recently spoke to Jennifer Lewis Priestley about her role and the progressive Ph.D. program in Analytics and Data Science at Kennesaw State University.

view more

Data Science: The Evolution or the Extinction of Statistics?

AMSTAT News  online


As a discipline, I think statistics—and by association statisticians—are going through a midlife crisis. Just look around a typical university. Where is statistics housed? Mathematics? The business school? Engineering? Humanities? All of the above? Who are we? This crisis of identity has been accelerated by this new term “data science.” Is it a discipline? Is it an application of statistics? Is it an application of computer science? Is it a buzz word just having its moment?

I agree with Tommy Jones in his Amstat News article, “The Identity of Statistics in Data Science,” when he says the “… conversation around data science betrays an anxiety about our identity.”

view more

Payday lending proposal squeezes low-income earners

Las Vegas Review-Journal  


Another recently released academic study from Jennifer Lewis Priestley, a professor at Kennesaw State University, examined the impact a high number of payday loan rollovers had on borrowers’ credit scores. She found that borrowers with a high number of rollovers actually saw more positive impact on their credit than consumers with few rollovers. Borrowers who did experience a decline in credit scores were more likely to live in states that have laws restricting access to payday loans...

view more

Mac users might pay more when shopping online



"Some are more sophisticated than others so if you go and shop at a particular retailer and you're seeing the exact same price no matter what piece of hardware, no matter what browser you use, they're probably a little less sophisticated. They haven't quite gotten to the point where they can customize those models," said Jennifer Lewis Priestley, Ph.D., professor of applied statistics and data science at Kennesaw State University...

view more

Closing the Analytics Talent Gap



We spoke with Dr. Priestley about the country’s current (and growing) analytical talent gap and the rise of data science programs working to fill the void. In the interview, Dr. Priestley discussed the cause of the talent gap, what students should look for when exploring data science degree programs, and what schools can do to best prepare data science students to solve real-world problems.

view more

Kennesaw State University



In 2006, professor Jennifer Priestley and her colleagues at Georgia's Kennesaw State University were charged with building a new undergraduate program in statistics. What they created is an applied statistics program that incorporates real data from large companies like CompuCredit, Southern Co. and SAS Institute...

view more

Society’s demand for ‘big data’ creating shortage of skilled workers

Saporta Report  online


Big Data has created a big employment problem for metro Atlanta – there are simply too many jobs in data science and not enough people. And the gap between supply and demand is getting bigger. Universities in metro Atlanta are filling that void, helping both employers and those who want to obtain those jobs.

A day does not go by that we don’t hear of, or read a news story related to, the topic of data. It seems that everyone is collecting data – everything from our Facebook posts to our energy consumption to the books we read. The data we generate, which someone else collects, has become a pervasive characteristic of our society.

view more

As Data Proliferate, So Do Data-Related Graduate Programs

The Chronicle of Higher Education  


Established programs are seeing their share of the action. When Kennesaw State University started its master’s program in applied statistics, in 2006, it attracted fewer than 20 students and was an “island of misfit toys,” says Jennifer Lewis Priestley, an associate professor of applied statistics. Today she and her colleagues receive as many as five applications for every slot. The program has a 100-percent job-placement rate, with salaries starting around $75,000, she says...

view more

Data Science Doesn't Belong in Business Schools

Information Week  online


For the last few years, major universities around the country have debated the issue of "data science" as a unique discipline. Specifically, the debate has centered around two positions: Either 1) universities just continue to teach the foundational topics of mathematics, statistics, and computer programming as they always have, and then leave the graduates to learn the rest on the job; or 2) data science is emerging as a unique discipline that deserves its own unique curriculum, and students should be allowed to obtain degrees in data science (and DS-esque areas like predictive analytics).

view more

3 Key Ingredients to a Data Science Degree

Government Technology  


However, in the long term, universities need to produce graduates who can fill these positions, said Jennifer Lewis Priestley, an associate professor of statistics and director of the Center for Statistics and Analytical Services at Kennesaw State University. She recommends three key ingredients to a data science degree and shares the reasons why no one's put them together...

view more

Someone You Should Know

All Analytics  online


Looking for a job in academics wasn't originally part of Priestley's grand plan. But after 11 years in the business world, mostly working for or in consumer credit card operations, she said she was ready for a change. For the last few years of that career, Priestley had been living in London but was constantly on the road between there, Edinburgh, and San Francisco. Back home in Georgia, she decided to get a PhD, and she chose statistics as her course of study. (She already had an MBA.)

view more

Event Appearances (1)

Unicorn Farms: What You Don’t Know About Data Science Education in Atlanta

Data Science Education - KSU, Emory and Georgia Tech Perspectives  Atlanta, Georgia


Recent Papers (7)

Payday Loan Rollovers and Consumer Welfare Social Science Research Network - Working Paper Series


Using payday-lender administrative data matched to borrower credit attributes from a national credit bureau, I find that borrowers who engage in protracted refinancing (“rollover”) activity have better financial outcomes (measured by changes in credit scores) than consumers whose borrowing is limited to shorter periods. These results are robust to an alternative definition of a “rollover” that ignores out-of-debt periods of 14 days between successive loans. Also, exploiting interstate differences in rollover regulation, I find that, while regulation has a small effect on longer-term usage patterns, consumers whose borrowing is less restricted by regulation fare better than consumers in the most restrictive states, controlling for initial financial condition. These findings directly contradict key assumptions about this market, raise significant policy questions for federal regulators, and suggest the appropriateness of further study of actual consumer outcomes before the imposition of new regulatory rollover restrictions.

view more

Mindscapes and individual heterogeneity within and between cultures Journal of Business Research


Most cross-cultural studies are sociologically based and assume intra-cultural homogeneity in mentality and logic among people. The application of cultural dimensions in many cross-cultural studies has inadvertently contributed to this oversight. Scores on these dimensions are supposed to indicate characteristics of national cultures. The apparent characteristics of cultures are extended to individuals as well. On that basis, we assume that all Americans are individualistic, ignoring those who might have more collectivist mentality and logic. Although some researchers have recognized the existence and importance of heterogeneity within cultures, these issues have not been fully addressed. Experience at the international level and research evidence indicate such a variation and heterogeneity. This research, conducted in four different countries, confirms the existence of individual heterogeneity in and among them.

view more

Knowledge transfer within interorganizational networks Encyclopedia of Communities of Practice in Information and Knowledge Management


Increasingly, knowledge is recognized as a critical asset, where a firm or an individual's competitive advantage flows from a unique knowledge base. The subsequent degree to which knowledge is then recognized and valued as a resource has been the theme of ...

view more

Assessment of Evaluation Methods for Prediction and Classifications of Consumer Risk in the Credit Industry Neural Networks in Business Forecasting


In this chapter, we examine and compare the most prevalent modeling techniques in the credit industry, Linear Discriminant Analysis, Logistic Analysis and the emerging technique ofNeural Network modeling. KS Tests and Classification Rates are ...

view more

Inter-organizational knowledge transfer difficulty: The influence of organizational network type, absorptive capacity, causal ambiguity and outcome Ambiguity Kennesaw State University


While most articles dealing with the issue of inter-organizational knowledge transfer take the position that some type of network alliance is superior to independent entities for the purposes of knowledge transfer, limited theory, or empirical research, addresses how ...

view more

Assessment of evaluation methods for binary classification modeling Proceedings of the Decision Sciences Institute National Conference


In this paper, we examine three common modeling techniques–Linear Discriminant Analysis, Logistic Regression Analysis and Neural Networks. Although a well established literature exists examining the relative performances of these techniques, ...

view more

Outcome Ambiguity in Inter-organizational Knowledge Transfer: Do Various Network Forms Make a Difference? Organization Science


Organizations join multi-organizational networks, in part, to increase their access to both new and existing knowledge. However, knowledge access does not equate to knowledge transfer. In addition to the factors of absorptive capacity and causal ambiguity, ...

view more