Sixth Annual Mercer Atlanta Research Conference to Showcase Student and Faculty Scholarship


ATLANTA – The sixth annual Mercer Atlanta Research Conference will be held April 16 on the Cecil B. Day Graduate and Professional Campus and will feature numerous student and faculty presentations from eight of the University's 12 schools and colleges.

“The annual Mercer Atlanta Research Conference showcases outstanding student and faculty research projects. The conference highlights the excellent quality and breadth of the research programs on the Atlanta campus and demonstrates Mercer's expanding research focus,” said Dr. Wayne Glasgow, senior vice provost for research and dean of graduate studies.

Dr. Kenyon Knapp, associate professor of counseling and coordinator of the doctoral program in Penfield College, first organized the inaugural conference in 2011 “out of a desire to encourage and inspire both students and faculty to become more involved in research activities, as well as provide a venue where they can share their findings.” The conference, which has steadily grown over the past five years, received 72 proposals this year.

This year's Monroe F. Swilley Jr. Student Research Award will be presented as part of the opening ceremony. The award, which includes a $250 cash prize, recognizes a student who best incorporates the use of the University Libraries' collections and services and demonstrates active critical thinking. The runner-up will receive a $100 prize.

The conference's keynote speaker will be Mike Thompson, vice president of business intelligence/data science architecture at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

Thompson has over 25 years of experience in big data and analytics across multiple industries. In his current role, he leads the Business/Clinical Intelligence and Data Warehouse programs for one of the nation's largest and most respected clinical care providers for children in the country. These programs encompass Children's data science efforts to deliver a data and information management architecture that addresses the challenges of rising costs while improving medical outcomes and quality of care through an integrated clinical and financial modeling framework.

Thompson previously served as vice president and director of the Business Intelligence Center of Excellence for SunTrust, the seventh largest financial services organization in the country. The information delivery franchise model developed at SunTrust has been the foundation for multiple studies on successful business intelligence competency center models.

Additionally, he has held senior leadership positions with two of the world's largest data and analytic software organizations for financial services, where he led the development of data mining and predictive analytic models in use by an estimated 6,000 financial institutions worldwide.

Thompson earned his bachelor's degree in accounting and economics from the University of Kansas, and master's degrees in finance and banking from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and predictive analysis from Northwestern University.

Following the welcome and keynote address, from 9:30-10:45 a.m., poster presentations and concurrent speaker sessions be held until 2:40 p.m. All events will take place in the Atlanta Administration and Conference Center.

Presenters will represent Penfield College, College of Pharmacy, Georgia Baptist College of Nursing, College of Health Professions, McAfee School of Theology, School of Medicine, Tift College of Education and Stetson School of Business and Economics.