SRU hosting data analytics users group event May 15


data analytics graphics on tablet computer

Slippery Rock University will partner with SAS to host the Western Pennsylvania Statistical Analysis System Users Group, May 15 in the Smith Student Center Ballroom.

May 12, 2017

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - In the modern marketplace, big data is big business. But being able to derive meaningful insights from that data, and turning that information into action can be easier said than done.

To help users make better, faster decisions and improve the skills required to manage and analyze that data, Slippery Rock University has partnered with one of the world's leading data analytics software providers, SAS, to host the Western Pennsylvania Statistical Analysis System Users Group, May 15 in the Smith Student Center Ballroom.

The event, which typically attracts data analytics professionals from companies including FedEx, Giant Eagle and Dick's Sporting Goods, is open to the public and includes five expert presenters from the data analytics industry.

christy crute


"Any company that has huge amounts of data needs some type of software to process that information and the leader is SAS," said Christy Crute, SRU associate professor of mathematics and statistics and director of the data analytics master's program. "We invite our students and faculty and area businesses to come in once a year to listen to presentations on SAS software."

SAS, a $3.2 billion-revenue data analytics company based in Cary, North Carolina, helps companies at more than 83,000 sites worldwide.

According to Crute, more than 1,500 jobs in the Greater Pittsburgh area require skills using SAS technologies. SRU, which offers a 33-credit Master of Science in Data Analytics degree, is one of only 44 undergraduate programs and 77 graduate programs in the world to offer SAS joint certification built into its curriculum. The certification documents students' coursework using SAS software to solve real-world business problems, giving students a competitive advantage in the job market.

"The SAS Users Group allows SRU students to network with analytics professionals," Crute added. "It also brings companies to the University in an advisory capacity that will help SRU continue to build a program that prepares students for employers' needs."

The five presenters for this year's SAS Users Group include:

  • James Harroun, a senior analytical training consultant in the SAS Global Academic Program, who will present, "Beyond SAS Programming: SAS Studio, SAS Visual Analytics and SAS Visual Statistics." Harroun has worked in data management and analytics for more than 20 years as a database modeler, ETL programmer, data analyst, data integration specialist and certified SAS programmer for private businesses and higher education institutions;
  • Thomas Peyton, from FedEx, who will present, "Data Step versus Proc SQL: Are there situations where one is more advantageous than the other?" Peyton has nearly 20 years' experience helping companies like FedEx, AT&T, and Blizzard Entertainment solve business problems using mathematics, and applying regression, optimization, time series and machine learning to operations, engineering and workforce planning;
  • David Mishler, an SRU data analytics graduate student from Slippery Rock, who will present, "A Prospective Medical Risk Score Using SAS." Mishler, who has a master's degree in medical informatics from Northwestern University, has worked in the medical device and healthcare IT field for the last 25 years and is currently employed by Care Evolution Inc., developing data analytics software for healthcare providers and payers;
  • Kati Steinmiller, a senior biostatistician at Rho Inc., who will present, "Graph Template Language." Steinmiller works on federally funded clinical trials in the area of autoimmune disease; and
  • Mia Stephens, an academic ambassador with JMP, a division of SAS, who will present, "Interactive Predictive Modeling with JMP." The co-author of four books, Stephens has developed training materials, taught and consulted within a variety of fields and industries.

For more information about the Western Pennsylvania SAS Users Group, contact Crute at: 724.738.4286 or

MEDIA CONTACT: Justin Zackal | 724.738.4854 |