Skip to content

Federal Reserve Bank to Hear from KSU Exec. Director on “Big Data, Big Money”

February 21, 2019

Priestley 05 story

The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta has invited Jennifer Priestley, executive director of Kennesaw State’s Analytics and Data Science Institute, to speak during their 2019 Banking Outlook Conference, “Big Data, Big Money: Exploring Banking’s Next Horizon.”

As part of her talk on Feb. 28, Priestley will address members of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta on the role of data in decision-making. She will discuss the role of alternative data to improve decision-making, how data has evolved, the impact of artificial intelligence and the importance of data privacy and ethics.

A key thought leader in the data analytics field, Priestley has authored dozens of journal articles, book chapters and blog posts on data mining, applied statistical analysis, binary classification, credit scoring and survey analysis. Priestley, also the associate dean of KSU’s Graduate College and a professor of statistics, joined Kennesaw State in 2004, where she architected the nation’s first Ph.D. in data science and founded the University’s Analytics and Data Science Institute in 2017.

She is one of only two academic scholars, and the only representative from any Georgia higher education institution, invited to speak at the Federal Reserve Bank’s annual event. Louisiana State University’s Graduate School of Banking is one of the conference’s co-sponsors.

Priestley and Yiyun Zhou, a data science Ph.D. student, recently partnered with Porter Research and the Technology Association of Georgia to extract, compile and analyze data in preparing the association’s annual report, the 2019 State of the Industry: Technology in Georgia Report, which looks at the state of technology in Georgia and outlines key findings.

In addition, the Institute also has been tapped by many regional companies who need assistance in solving their critical data science problems and frequently look to KSU to improve their analytical talent pipeline.

FPR_new Logo rotator


KSU Begins Rebrand, Unveils New Logo

February 19, 2019

FPR_new Logo rotatorKennesaw State University today unveiled a new logo, the first significant change to the institution’s branded mark in more than 20 years.

This is the first step in the institution’s larger rebranding efforts – the adoption of the “KS” mark as the official university logo. The new logo capitalizes on the popularity of the athletics mark and adds the name of the University to create one unified logo.

“Kennesaw State has strong name recognition across the state and beyond, and while plenty of people may know our name, few can really say what we stand for – or how we stand apart from the competition,” said Alice Wheelwright, associate vice president of KSU’s Strategic Communications and Marketing.

The University’s Office of Strategic Communications and Marketing, in conjunction with University leadership, recently partnered with the brand experts at Tailfin Marketing to help discover what makes KSU different and clearly define and articulate the institution’s true brand essence. In undertaking this initiative, more than 6,800 KSU and community constituents, including alumni, students, faculty, staff and community members, provided insight and feedback.

While a full rebrand is a lengthy process, according to Wheelwright, having a strong brand strategy will help align the goals of the University and unify the campuses under one compelling brand banner.

“A strong KSU brand makes it easier to understand and embrace who we are and what drives us,” Wheelwright said. “It’s the spirit of KSU that helps bind all of our audiences together, unifying and inspiring our KSU family with a common sense of purpose and identity.”

The new logo will replace all other Kennesaw State marks, including the “mountain” logo, which has been used for more than 20 years.

KSU Architecture Professor Receives National Leadership Award

February 15, 2019

2019 ARCH Liz Martin dc-1 story

Kennesaw State University professor Liz Martin-Malikian has been awarded the 2018-2019 Practice and Leadership Award for demonstrating highly effective teaching, scholarship and outreach in the areas of professional practice and leadership.

The award, given by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA), recognizes “excellence in architecture education as demonstrated in classroom, studio and community work, or in courses offered in various educational settings.” Martin-Malikian, an associate professor of architecture and thesis coordinator in Kennesaw State’s Department of Architecture, was selected by a panel composed of two practicing architects and two academic scholars. She will receive the award at the ACSA annual meeting in Pittsburgh on March 29.

“I am incredibly humbled to receive this level of recognition from two from the country’s premier organizations in architecture,” she said. “I take great pride in mentoring our students and helping them realize their dreams of one day becoming professional architects. There is a great sense of accomplishment in knowing that my efforts leave a positive impact.”

Martin-Malikian joined the former Southern Polytechnic State University, now KSU, in August 2006 and has since become an integral part of the architecture department’s thesis advanced core sequence. The department is unique in that it is one of only a handful nationwide programs requiring its students to pursue thesis projects while earning a professional architecture degree.

In addition to her involvement on thesis projects, she teaches courses on environmental technology, materials and methods, third year studios and urban design. Prior to arriving at KSU, Martin-Malikian served as the Paul Rudolph Visiting Professor of Practice in Auburn University’s School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture.

Kennesaw State University_0

She has an extensive background in practice spanning nearly three decades. Prior to joining academia, she worked as  a project manager and senior designer for The Jerde Partnership, a global architecture firm, where her design work included Taipei, Taiwan’s multi-use development Core Pacific City. Martin-Malikian also contributed to monthly urban review and design workshops with local Taiwanese government officials and architects, resulting in a 12-year urban plan. She was the project designer for the Fremont Street Experience in Las Vegas and in 2006 was the recipient of the AIA/YAF Emerging Voices Award.

“Professor Martin-Malikian is outstanding in her scholarship,” said Rich Cole, dean of KSU’s College of Architecture and Construction Management. “She brings her research and outreach into the classroom, which makes her a highly effective teacher. Her leadership and receipt of this prestigious award benefits her students, the architecture department, the college and the greater University, and we are all very proud of her.”

Martin-Malikian holds a master’s degree in architecture from the Southern California Institute of Architecture and a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Tulane University.

MUST Ministries Ranks Among America’s Top Charities

February 13, 2019


MUST Ministries is honored to earn its third consecutive 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, the organization’s highest award. Attaining a 4-star rating verifies that MUST Ministries exceeds industry standards and outperforms most charities doing similar work.

According to Michael Thatcher, President and CEO of Charity Navigator, only 24% of the charities evaluated by Charity Navigator have received at least 3 consecutive 4-star evaluations, indicating that MUST Ministries outperforms most other charities in America.

Charity Navigator is the nation’s largest and most-utilized evaluator of charities, closely examining two areas of a charity’s performance: Financial Health and Accountability/Transparency.

According to MUST’s latest financial reports, the organization spends 82.7% of its total operating expenses on program services providing those in poverty with food, housing, workforce development and clothing. The remaining 17.3% goes toward a combination of development and administrative expenses, a very modest amount compared to other organizations.

“Accountability is important to our donors. This 4-star rating once again demonstrates that MUST is among America’s most financially healthy charities,” said MUST President and CEO Ike Reighard. “Our stewardship role is paramount to us and we are honored to have served 33,200 people both efficiently and effectively in the last year.”


MustMinistriesMUST serves in eight northwest Atlanta counties and provides hot meals, summer lunches for children, housing for the disabled homeless, a homeless shelter, workforce development, clothing, thrift store, toy shops, groceries for low income senior citizens and various housing programs. The organization is 48 years old and based in Marietta.

For more information about MUST’s dedication to ethics and transparency, visit, or MUST’s Charity Navigator page at

Cohn Consulting to Host Expert-Led Cybersecurity Seminar

February 11, 2019


Cybercrime has reached the point where it’s become a lucrative industry all on its own. From well-funded cybercrime rings to lone hackers looking to make a quick buck at your expense, the threat level has never been higher.

Businesses of all sizes are the targets of cyber attacks every single day – and if you think your business is too small to be next, think again.

Cohn Consulting presents Combatting Cybersecurity Threats in 2019: A 
Practical Approach for Business Owner and Executives

Who Should Attend:

C-Level executives and business owners who:

  • Don’t think they are targets for cybercrime
  • Know they are targets but don’t know exactly what is in place to protect themselves
  • Know they are targets and want to ensure that all of their bases are covered
  • Want to hear about the latest in cybersecurity from – and ask questions of – a panel of experts in government and industry

Here’s What You’ll Learn:

Designed exclusively for C-level executives and business owners, this seminar will cover a comprehensive range of 2019 cybersecurity topics, including:

  • Why small and medium businesses are the #1 target for cybercrime
  • The cyberthreat landscape facing your business – both today and tomorrow
  • The consequences of a security breach, such as costly litigation, employment lawsuits, leaked business data, and more
  • Key technologies and areas to consider to protect your business
  • The #1 security threat to your business from which firewalls, anti-virus software, and other IT security solutions can’t protect you

fbilogoChad Hunt – FBI – Panelist

With over fifteen years of investigative experience, Mr. Hunt is currently a Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) with the FBI in the Atlanta Field Office, where he leads a cyber team that conducts investigations in support of the FBI’s Cyber Division. SSA Hunt also spent two years at FBI Cyber Division Headquarters as a program manager, and was also assigned to Australia as a cyber Assistant Legal Attaché. Prior to    joining the FBI, he worked for twelve years in private industry.


ralph-pasquarilloRalph Pasquariello – Snelling Walters Insurance Agency – Panelist

Ralph is a Property & Casualty broker who is dedicated to many things; Cyber/Data/Network Liability Insurance is one of them. For the past 7 years Ralph’s been moderating and speaking at dozens of conferences on Cyber Liability & Data Breach Risk Management. Ralph hosts educational seminars on Cyber exposure for associations of all industries including Operational & Intellectual Technology Professionals. Med-tech and Fin-tech Industries are also very prominent in his schedule of advising Cyber / Data Liability coverage. He also works closely with the FBI and US Secret Service on the Atlanta Electronic Crimes Task Force.



Cliff Varnadoe – Sonicwall – Panelist

Cliff Varnadoe is a 20-year veteran of Department of Defense data centers throughout the world, both fixed facilities and temporary data center nodes. He has secured some of the most of mission critical and sensitive networks for operations, tactical planning, and defense intelligence. His last 12 years in the Department of Defense leveraged his data center experience to conduct vulnerability research and penetration testing against data centers, and devices connected to the Internet of Things. He also was the Director of a Network Operations Support Center that supported over 5K users across the globe. He has briefed and given demonstrations to staff members of the congress of the United States and senior members of the United States Military.
Cliff is certified by CISCO in CCNA Security, CCNA Route Switch, CCNP Route Switch, Microsoft MCSE: Core Infrastructure, and holds a CISSP certification from ISC2.


mike-depalmaMike Depalma – Datto – Panelist





Daniel-CohnDaniel Cohn – Cohn Consulting Corporation – Host and Panelist

Daniel specializes in bringing “Fortune 100″-class IT consulting and services to the small and medium business marketplace. His decades of experience and business acumen have helped companies across the US effectively implement and manage rock solid IT strategies and systems. With a focus on security and risk minimization, Cohn Consulting Corporation have been providing complete hassle-free IT solutions for over 25 years.

Seminar Info & Agenda:

Tuesday, March 5, 2019
7:30am – 10:30am

Atlanta Marriott Northwest at Galleria
200 Interstate North Parkway SE
Atlanta, GA 30339

7:30am – Breakfast and Networking
8:15am – Cybersecurity Presentations
9:15am – Panel Discussion and Q&A
10:15am – Wrap up / Next Steps

Register for the seminar.



Have questions? Get in touch at or (770) 321-5532. Cohn Consulting Corporation is the IT security firm that professionals and businesses in Atlanta and North Georgia trust.

KSU President Named Among Georgia’s Top 100 Influential Women by Engineering Georgia

February 11, 2019


Kennesaw State University President Pamela Whitten has been named to Engineering Georgia magazine’s Top 100 Influential Women in Georgia list, recognizing her role in empowering other female professionals in the industry across the state.

Whitten, who was named Kennesaw State’s fifth president in June 2018, was selected by a panel of industry leaders and Engineering Georgia editorial board members. The list “celebrates the diversity of female leaders, policy makers and visionaries who have spent their careers changing Georgia’s landscape for the better,” according to the publication. Last year, in the publication’s inaugural Top 100 list, Kennesaw State faculty members, Kathryn Bedette, associate professor of architecture, and Nancy Turner, senior lecturer of civil engineering, were recognized for their contributions to the state’s engineering community.

“I am honored to be a part of this impressive list of women leaders,” Whitten said. “The fact that KSU is once again represented is evidence that we are home to some of the best women leaders in engineering, architecture and construction our state has to offer, and I look forward to seeing that trend continue in coming years.”

As president, Whitten leads Georgia’s largest R2 doctoral research institution, a designation that puts KSU among the top six percent of colleges and universities nationwide that are classified as either R1 or R2. The University is home to 13 colleges, including the College of Architecture and Construction Management and the Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology, the second largest engineering college in the state.

KSU’s College of Engineering and Engineering Technology is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the nation’s top undergraduate engineering programs and online graduate engineering programs. According to the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, KSU is among the top producers of Georgia’s engineers with 73 percent of its graduates landing in engineering jobs within the state one year after graduation. In addition to Turner and Bedette, the College is home to other award-winning faculty members and students, including the 2019 Georgia Society of Professional Engineer’s (GSPE) Engineer of the Year Lance Crimm. KSU’s Chloe Enix was recognized as the 2018 Student Engineer of the Year by the GSPE, and Turner, who was her advisor, also was awarded the 2017 Georgia Engineer of the Year in Education.

Kennesaw State University_0

As a leader, Whitten is dedicated to providing opportunities for women and encouraging them to seek leadership positions. In her role as senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at the University of Georgia (UGA), the position she held prior to being named president at KSU, she established the Women’s Leadership Initiative. Recently, she tapped Coles College of Business Dean Dr. Kathy Schwaig to serve as the University’s new provost and vice president for academic affairs. Schwaig becomes part of Whitten’s leadership cabinet, which is now nearly 65% female.

In addition to her leadership positions in Georgia, Whitten served as dean of the College of Communication Arts & Sciences at Michigan State University. She is an internationally recognized expert in the field of telemedicine – the remote delivery of health care services and information – and has conducted research with funding from multiple state and federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Commerce. Whitten has published two books and more than 100 peer-reviewed research articles and book chapters.

She holds a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from the University of Kansas, a Master of Arts in Communication from the University of Kentucky and a Bachelor of Science in Management from Tulane University.

Three from Local Practice Named to Super Lawyers List

February 8, 2019
Super Lawyers 2019

(l to r) Justin O’Dell, Leslie O’neal and Alyssa Blanchard

Super Lawyers, part of Thomson Reuters, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.

Justin O’Dell, a partner at O’Dell & O’Neal, P.C. has been selected to the 2019 Georgia Super Lawyers list. No more than five percent of the lawyers in Georgia are selected by Super Lawyers.

Leslie O’Neal, partner at O’Dell & O’Neal, P.C. and Alyssa Blanchard, attorney at O’Dell & O’Neal, P.C. have been selected to the 2019 Georgia Rising Stars list. The Rising Stars list recognizes no more than 2.5 percent of attorneys in each state.

Super Lawyers, part of Thomson Reuters, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multi-phase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys.

The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country. Super Lawyers Magazines also feature editorial profiles of attorneys who embody excellence in their practice of law.

For more information about Super Lawyers, go to


For more information about O’Dell & O’Neal, P.C., visit