Student Features for April 2017

John Kane, Senior, School of Business, Department of Marketing; Jimmy Legrone, Junior, School of Business, Department of Marketing

Jimmy Legrone, left, and John Kane.
Jimmy Legrone, left, and John Kane.

Kane and Legrone became the first VCU students to compete in the National Collegiate Sales Competition this month at Kennesaw State University, widely considered the most prestigious of its kind in the country.

Students from more than 70 universities nationwide competed in the bracketed event to be named a "national champion" of sales. The event included a high-profile career fair for selling positions by premier companies from across the country. Kane and Legrone each made it to the Wild Card Round.



Andrew Bristow, December 2016 graduate, Master’s in Decision Analytics, School of Business

Andrew Bristow.
Andrew Bristow.

Bristow and classmate Shane Olson placed second in the graduate student paper competition at the 2017 Southeast Decision Sciences Institute meeting in Charleston, South Carolina.

Bristow and Olson developed their winning paper, “Predicting the Top Three Finishers of the 2016 Kentucky Derby Using Logistic Regression,” in the spring for the SCMA 643 class taught by Robert Andrews, professor emeritus and academic adviser for the traditional track of the M.S. in Decision Analytics. Their study applied logistic regression analysis to effectively build a model that predicts whether a given horse might finish in the top three places of a race.

Logistic regression modeling is one of several multivariate tools to analyze complex data to find patterns and relationships that may not otherwise be apparent. The power of this method is the ability to predict outcomes or classifications of future events or observations. Logistic regression works with continuous or discrete predictor variables to find the probability of group membership for the response variable based on predictor variables.

Using logistic regression, Bristow and Olson created a model that incorporates six different independent variables. The model correctly produced the highest probabilities for the top three finishers for the 2016 Kentucky Derby.

Bristow, who presented the paper at the SEDSI meeting, is currently an instructor in the VCU Math Department.


VCU Honors College students present at National Conference on Undergraduate Research

More than 30 VCU Honors College students will present research projects April 6-8 at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research at the University of Memphis.

“We’ve had outstanding luck. For the last three years, we’ve been No. 1 in the state for acceptances at this conference,” said Faye Prichard, director of writing at the Honors College. “We are top five in the country, just the Honors College — and almost all [are] first-year students.”

Eighty-one Honors College students were accepted to present at the prominent national conference. The VCU group’s youth is unique. Most conference participants are upper-class students who have conducted bench research or pre-professional research.

The NCUR trip is deeply tied to the college’s writing curriculum, where “we are nurturing critical thinkers, writers, communicators,” Prichard said. Last year, 36 students traveled to the conference in Asheville, N.C.

“It’s a nice enticement to them,” Prichard said. “If they are accepted to this conference, they will walk out of their freshman year with a publication on the CV, as well as a conference presentation. That’s a big deal.”