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SAS Masters: The Name Says It All

A student team calling themselves SAS Masters proved they deserved the title, taking second place at the SAS Global Forum Student Symposium in 2017. Competing against master’s and doctoral students, the Cal Poly team demonstrated they are among the best when it comes to applying SAS Analytics to real-world data.

Participants in the symposium select their own data set and analysis questions for the competition. They submit a paper on their findings, and the top eight teams are invited to make oral presentations.

Statistics students Gabrielle Ilenstine, Evelyn Fox and Stephanie Mendoza, who together formed SAS Masters, focused on demographic variables and explored how gun mortality trends vary between groups. Using logistic regression, random forests, chi-square tests and multiple graphs, they identified factors with significant associations to both homicide and suicide.

Another Cal Poly team placed in the top eight. Daniel Savage, Gus Moir, Mitchell Collins and Jonah Muresan used predictive analysis methods to determine the chance any given NFL team would win a game versus a given opponent. They also investigated how coaches’ actual decisions on fourth down compared to the best decision, statistically speaking. 

“This is a tremendous accomplishment for our students,” said Professor Hunter Glanz, the teams’ advisor. “Completely self-directed data exploration can be challenging since you never know if or what you’ll find, but these students’ skill and dedication earned them well-deserved international recognition.”

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