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Research Track Steering Committee


Shannon Quinn (Co-chair)

Coming Soon..

Lea shanley.jpg

Lea Shanley (Co-chair)

Dr. Lea Shanley is a senior research fellow at the Nelson Institute of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She collaborates globally to address scientific and societal challenges through open science and innovation. Previously, she was a founding co-Executive Director of the NSF South Big Data Innovation Hub, a venture launched to catalyze cross-sector partnerships in data science. As founding Director of the Wilson Center’s Commons Lab, and as a White House Presidential Innovation Fellow under the Obama Administration, Shanley co-founded the Federal Community of Practice on Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science and She also worked with NASA to design and guide open science and innovation research strategies for Earth and planetary science. Shanley holds a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She serves on the Board of Directors for the non-profit Public Invention, the Board of Trustees for US/ICOMOS, and on the advisory boards of the European Union's Big Data Value Public-Privacy Partnership Program, NASA’s Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center, and NASA’s Consortium for the Valuation of Applications Benefits Linked with Earth Science.


Jennifer Priestley

Dr. Priestley is the Associate Dean of The Graduate College and the Director of the Analytics and Data Science Institute at Kennesaw State University. In 2012, the SAS Institute recognized Dr. Priestley as the 2012 Distinguished Statistics Professor of the Year. She served as the 2012 and 2015 Co-Chair of the National Analytics Conference. Datanami recognized Dr. Priestley as one of the top 12 “Data Scientists to Watch in 2016.”

She has authored dozens of articles on Binary Classification, Risk Modeling, Sampling, Statistical Methodologies for Problem Solving and Applications of Big Data Analytics as well as several textbook manuals for Excel, SAS, JMP and Minitab.

Prior to receiving a Ph.D. in Statistics, Dr. Priestley worked in the Financial Services industry for 11 years. Her positions included Vice President of Business Development for VISA EU in London, where she was responsible for developing the consumer credit markets for Irish and Scottish banks. She also worked for MasterCard International as a Vice President for Business Development, where she was responsible for banking relationships in the Southeastern US. She also held positions with AT&T Universal Card and with Andersen Consulting.

Dr. Priestley received an MBA from The Pennsylvania State University, where she was president of the graduate student body, and a BS from Georgia Tech. She also received a certification from the ABA Bankcard School in Norman, OK, and a Certification in Base SAS Programming, and a Business Analyst Certification from the SAS Institute.


Yusen Xia

Dr. Yusen Xia is a professor and the director of the MSA (Master of Science in Analytics) program at the Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University. Dr. Xia’s expertise includes optimization, econometrics and machine learning for both structured and unstructured data such as text and images.  His research is mainly focused on big data analytics with applications to areas such as operations, marketing, risk management, and supply chains, and has been supported by both NSF and industries such as, Ryerson Inc., and Closets and More.


Ram Chellappa

Dr. Ramnath K. Chellappa is Associate Dean and Academic Director of the Master of Science in Business

Analytics program. He is also a Goizueta Foundation Term Professor and Associate Professor of Information

Systems & Operations Management at the Goizueta Business School, Emory University. He was previously a

Caldwell Research Fellow at Goizueta, Emory and SRITNE Distinguished Academic Fellow and Visiting

Professor at the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad. Prior to joining Emory University, Prof. Chellappa

served on the faculty of Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California from and was the

founding director of the Electronic Economy Research Lab (eBizLab) at USC.

Prof. Chellappa's expertise is in the fields of electronic markets, pricing, digital goods piracy and economics of

information security and privacy. His research in these areas has been widely published/presented in leading

journals and conferences. His work on information privacy, research on music digitization and study of

software pricing have received best paper awards in premier conferences. His research methods include

analytical modeling, empirical modeling and social network analysis. He also serves/has served on the editorial

boards of Information Systems Research and MIS Quarterly. He is currently the president of INFORMS

Information Systems Society.


Mohammed Korayem

Mohammed holds Ph.D. in computer science from Indiana University (IU). His research focuses on deep learning, semantic search and recommendation systems, mining social media, and computer vision.  Currently, he is a data scientist in the search data science team at CareerBuilder.


Khalifeh AlJadda

Khalifeh AlJadda holds Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Georgia (UGA), with a specialization in machine learning. He has experience implementing large-scale, distributed machine learning algorithms to solve challenging problems in domains ranging from Bioinformatics to search and recommendation engines. He is a Sr. Manager Data Science at Home Depot, which is  the largest home improvement company in the world. Before joining Home Depot he was in charge of the data science effort to design and implement the backend of CareerBuilder’s language-agnostic semantic search engine leveraging Apache Spark and the Hadoop ecosystem. He also led the team on building a new AI-based recommendation engine using cutting-edge technologies in data science and Big Data. Khalifeh is the founder and organizer of the Southern Data Science Conference ( which is the major data science conference in Atlanta that aims to promote data science to the Southern companies and schools. He also co-founded a non-profit organization ATLytiCS ( Also, Khalifeh is a frequent public speaker on topics related to data science, machine learning, semantic search, and big data analytics. For more information, please visit his website (

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