Capella University Students Win First Place at Analytics Competition

Capella graduate students win local analytics event exploring Minnesota water quality and its impact on the community.

MINNEAPOLIS--()--Capella University students Murali Sastry and Jared Mehlhaff were awarded first place in the MinneMUDAC: Dive into Water Data analytics competition this past weekend in Eden Prairie, Minn. Sastry and Mehlhaff are currently enrolled in Capella’s Master of Science in Analytics degree program.

Sastry and Mehlhaff competed against 28 other teams in this experiential learning competition. Teams were tasked with providing a creative and innovative analysis of the relationship between various property characteristics and the water quality of lakes within the seven county Twin Cities region.

In the competition, Sastry and Mehlhaff were able to use knowledge and skills the MS Analytics program provides, specifically experience with SAS tools. “I wanted to pursue the MS Analytics program at Capella because it catered to my specific needs – flexible online program, good rankings, and had SAS as its vehicle to achieve coursework practice objectives,” said Sastry about his Capella education.

Mehlhaff adds, “The Capella MS in Analytics program helped us cover all aspects of the MinneMUDAC project -- from data understanding, to modeling, and then lastly, preparing a presentation. The knowledge and experience gained from doing real-world problems at Capella was critical to our success.”

In addition to receiving exposure to industry recruiters and business leaders, and access to professional development opportunities, Sastry and Mehlhaff each received just over $500 for their participation and first-place win.

“Our learners were able to showcase their abilities as analytics professionals and leaders, and we are very proud of their success,” said Rhonda Capron, EdD, dean of the School of Business and Technology. “And I especially want to recognize the Capella faculty who provided support and guidance throughout this competition and in their learning.”

Capella University teamed with analytics leader SAS to launch the Master of Science in Analytics in October, 2015. The program is designed to prepare data analytics professionals to work with, understand, and transform data to develop solutions that resolve applied problems, while effectively providing insights and communicating results to the organization.

“We’re excited to see students wielding SAS to explore serious issues facing our society, such as water quality,” said Emily Baranello, vice president, SAS Education Practice. “SAS experience with real-world data paves the way to many rewarding career opportunities."

About Capella University

Capella University ( is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Founded in 1993, the university is dedicated to providing flexible, professionally aligned online degree programs designed to help working adults advance in their careers. As of September 30, 2016, more than 37,500 students were enrolled in Capella’s bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and certificate programs. Known for its commitment to learner success, academic quality and innovations in online education, Capella pioneered competency-based direct assessment programs allowing students to learn at their own pace. Capella University is a wholly owned subsidiary of Capella Education Company (NASDAQ: CPLA). For more information, call 1.888.CAPELLA (888.227.3552).


Capella University
Alicia Amling, 612-977-4836

Release Summary

Capella University graduate students win first place at local analytics event exploring Minnesota water quality and its impact on the community.


Capella University
Alicia Amling, 612-977-4836