Project Description

Parker Avery Infuses Retail Industry Focus into University of Rochester Undergraduate “STEM for All” Summer Research Program

Parker Avery assists the university with retail industry projects and partnerships to prepare students for a successful post-graduate career

ROCHESTER, New York. May 26, 2022—The Parker Avery Group, an Atlanta-based retail consulting and strategy firm, is pleased to announce its expanded support for the University of Rochester’s (UR) STEM For All 2022 research program.

The purpose of the program is to involve undergraduate students from UR and other Rochester area colleges and universities in research projects that combine mathematical techniques and real-life data science-related objectives. Particularly focused on recruiting participants who are women and members of underrepresented groups, the STEM for All 2022 program is sponsored by UR and directed by mathematics professor Alex Iosevich.

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STEM for All is a month-long summer program during which participants will work on intensive research projects outlined by billion-dollar, global companies,” said Iosevich.  “What’s really notable about our research programs is that women and underrepresented communities make up about 60% of the participants.”  Participation in similar STEM programs from these groups typically hovers around 25%.

George Arutyunyants, Senior Director of Analytics at The Parker Avery Group, provided direction and advice on the program’s overall structure, focus, and content. George and other members of the firm’s advanced analytics team will serve as industry mentors to support the program’s participants.

“Parker Avery has been instrumental in outlining retail and CPG industry-related projects, code details, and other elements that make the students excited to participate,” continued Iosevich.  “These contributions also result in valuable work that will be shared with the larger data science community.”  All work produced by the students is open source and published on GitHub.

An example within the industry is an economic indicators project suggested last year by The Parker Avery Group. Working under the direction of Iosevich, the project team was comprised of University of Rochester undergraduates and a local high school student. The team compiled a list of publicly available sales data sets, such as Costco total retail sales, Maryland car sales, and a comprehensive list of economic indicators including the consumer price index (CPI), unemployment, COVID-19 statistics, and others. Using this combination of data, the team conclusively showed that economic indicators significantly improve the accuracy of neural network-driven forecasting/demand planning models, particularly in the COVID-19 era.

Iosevich stressed that undergraduate research experiences give students the confidence and independent thinking skills to enter the workplace and handle responsibilities outside of the academic setting. He concluded, “Industry partnerships are a critical bridge to preparing these students for a successful post-graduate career.”

"Parker Avery has been instrumental in outlining retail and CPG industry-related projects, code details, and other elements that make the students excited to participate."

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