LSU Team Presenting at SAS Global Forum

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 Lauren Agrigento & William Taylor

April 16, 2019

BATON ROUGE
 - A team of LSU E. J. Ourso College of Business students is one of eight student groups selected to present to data professionals during the 2019 SAS Global Forum held April 28 – May 1 in Dallas. Lauren Agrigento, a master’s of science – Analytics candidate from Homewood, Illinois and William Taylor, a Master’s of Science – Analytics candidate from Westwego, LA make up the LSU team known as Statistically Significant Others. Joni Shreve, a senior instructor in the Stephenson Department of Entrepreneurship & Information Systems, serves as the team’s advisor.

This appearance will be the second time Agrigento has been included in the top eight and presented. Last year, her team analyzed data from the 2016 National Study for Drug Use and Health to assess the demographic, socioeconomic, psychological and behavioral factors associated with the misuse of prescription opioids.

“I am very excited to be a repeat competitor at the SAS Global Forum Student Symposium,” said Agrigento. “I’m proud to represent LSU for the second time, and I hope I can bring home a win!”

This year, the topic is another hot topic: human trafficking. The primary objective is to create a set of detailed profiles of web advertisements known to recruit victims into human trafficking and use those profiles to classify other advertisements into the same category. The data used in this study are advertisements involving the sex trade scraped from Backpage.com. These advertisements provide evidence of certain key factors that are indicative of human trafficking. Some factors associated with human trafficking are phone numbers, locations and geographical range, frequency of ads and specific syntax usage.

Statistically Significant Others used contextual analysis to build a profile of ads that were likely to be human trafficking recruiters, as defined by Louisiana State Police. After applying this profile to a more comprehensive set of ads, Agrigento and Taylor were able to plot the ads on a map to see the size and movement of human trafficking groups. From the predictions, they could link phone numbers to each other to identify networks.

The LSU team will compete against groups from Purdue University, Oklahoma State University, Kennesaw State University and the University of South Florida.

About SAS

SAS is the leader in analytics. Through innovative software and services, SAS empowers and inspires customers around the world to transform data into intelligence. SAS gives you THE POWER TO KNOW®. SAS began at North Carolina State University as a project to analyze agricultural research. Demand for such software capabilities grew, and SAS was founded in 1976 to help customers in a variety of industries – from pharmaceutical companies and banks to academic and governmental entities.

About the E. J. Ourso College of Business

Since its establishment in 1928, the E. J. Ourso College of Business has continuously improved and expanded its offerings for students and alumni. Additionally, the college has made it a priority to provide its faculty with the resources it needs to further research in every aspect of the business world and to produce industry leaders for a global work environment. For more news and information about the E. J. Ourso College, visit lsu.edu/business.

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Elizabeth Eaton
E. J. Ourso College of Business
225-378-7833