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Joy Cheatham in Maynard Math and Science atrium

Joy Cheatham

“Many companies have teams with members in multiple locations, and APSU’s online classes, projects and discussions has really helped me grow as a leader.”
Major: PSM in Predictive Analytics
Hometown: Hopkinsville, Kentucky
Career: Data mining contract work

Joy Cheatham had never planned on going back to school, but after being laid off  in 2014, that’s exactly the situation the Hopkinsville, Kentucky native found herself in.

Joy Cheatham poses in Technology building
As an online student, Cheatham works on her classwork in her own time on her own schedule.

“My job had been eliminated, and I found myself researching my options when I came across Austin Peay’s PSM in predictive analytics and it really caught my eye,” Cheatham said.

“The entire course was offered online, and that was a chief concern for me, because I needed the ability to attend school full time, while still working full time as well.”

Austin Peay’s online offerings provided the right fit for Cheatham, who was able to juggle both school and work as she progressed towards her new career in data analytics — an increasingly attractive field of study to employers in the fields of science, mathematics and business.


“The online program built on my background in quality assurance and my Six Sigma Black Belt certification, giving me more in-depth knowledge in my field,” Cheatham said.

Cheatham now puts information to work as a data miner, analyzing data for patterns and relationships in order to help businesses make better decisions. And because much of her work is on a contract basis with out-of-area companies, Cheatham said, her online learning experience at Austin Peay has given her a leg up on others in her field.

“Leading real-world projects during my classes was important, but gaining experience leading ‘virtual’ teams has been really good for my career,” Cheatham said. “Many companies today have multi-location teams, and that dynamic offers unique challenges. Austin Peay’s online classes, projects and discussions absolutely helped prepare me for what I could expect (as a data scientist).”