Hello!  I'm Jess Behrens!

Accomplished, multifaceted analyst with a background in ecology.  Proven expertise spanning traditional & geo-statistics, machine learning, data visualization, cartography, and relational database technology. Success applying multiplatform information technologies and relational databases in environmental, public health, and other settings for reporting, analytical, and cartographic purposes.

Data Scientist

About Me


Data Visualization & Network Analysis

Tools: Access/VBA/SQL, R, Gephi, python, & excel.

Having always loved to play & watch basketball, I decided that publicly available data on the Men's College Basketball Tournament was an ideal way to learn data science. I've put together 4 interactive python visualizations to illustrate some of what I've learned during this process of finding, cleaning, transforming, analyzing, & visualizing the data.

Statistics & Database Programming

Tools: Access/VBA/SQL, R, SAS.

I first learned to write SQL code as part of the West Nile Encephalitis Monitoring program 20 years ago. I've used SQL code w/VBA for numerous projects & ERP integrations since. Trained in statistics using SPSS, I've become familiar with SAS & R for multiple projects that span basic descriptive statistics to complex regression analysis.

Map in Grass

Geographic Information Systems

Tools: ArcGIS, QGIS, MapINFO, R

​As a trained cartographer, I have 14 years of experience working with most of the major GIS packages.  While I've worked most with ESRI's ArcGIS products, including the Network, Spatial, Geo-statistical, & Modelbuilder extensions, I also have experience in R, QGIS, & MapINFO.

Research Analyst

Vanderbilt University

  • Using igraph in R & Gephi, performed social network analysis & visualization of an author citation network focused on 50 years of cancer research (>5000 clinical trials & >28,000 authors).

  • Integrated jupyter notebooks (python), python for QGIS, & ArcPy to automate the API based process of downloading Open Street Map road data for various environmental projects.

  • Applied Python & R to create random & conditional forest machine learning models for the classification & visualization of road entropy in Peruvian villages for environmental projects.

  • Utilized Postgresql, excel, python, & R for data management on projects.

Research Data Analyst

Northwestern Univeristy

  • Applied ordinary least squares, geographically weighted, & logistic regression methods in a SAS & ArcGIS based iterative regression analysis of penetrating trauma wounds & liquor licenses.

  • Employed distance weighted economic measures & price elasticity in an ArcGIS, Access (T-SQL), & VBA based analysis of Emergency Department wait times in Chicago Area hospitals.

  • Spearheaded research into the use of Monte Carlo, machine learning (Kriging), & geostatistical simulation as tool’s for developing precise epidemiological risk estimates from EHR diagnoses.

  • Employed factor analysis, PCA, & k-means cluster algorithms to develop a national scale dataset of transformed census data elements by census block group for use in predicting epidemiological risk.

  • Utilized SAS, SQL, excel, & python for data management & transformation.

Epidemiology Specialist

State of Missouri

  • Spearheaded technical & cartographic support for the Missouri ESSENCE program by undertaking data management (SSRS)/spatial & statistical analysis of Missouri ESSENCE data in SAS & ArcGIS.

  • Developed regression model for the 2009 H1N1 flu season using ESSENCE, SAS, ArcGIS, and Microsoft Access.

  • Authored SAS & VBA code to automate the production of a time series study of 2009 influenza season.

Health Data Analyst

University of Nebraska Medical Center

  • Played critical role in gathering, tabulating, and analyzing data from diverse governmental agencies to compile comprehensive biennial report using Access, VBA, & Excel on state health service sector.

  • Provided statistical support, analysis, & data management in SAS, SPSS, & Excel.

GIS/Database Analyst

Hilton Hotels Corporation

  • Spearheaded new property restrictive area covenant check process by coordinating with franchise development, legal, & IT departments to ensure concordance with existing franchise obligations.

  • Liaised with programmers to improve a Minnesota Map Server (MMS)/dimensional model SQL Server based intranet mapping system, shortening duration of site selection & approval process.

  • Created multiple T-SQL batch process stored procedures to integrate Hilton Hotels Restrictive Area Covenant text data from our SQL Server with a companywide ERP system.


Degrees & Institutions


As a student in the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology (GDPE), I did my research & thesis with the CDC's Division of Vector Borne Infecious Disease (DVBID). My focus was on Geographic Information Systems & Remote Sensing. Developed significant Access & SQL skills working on the West Nile Encephalitis Monitoring Program.


Ongoing, active application of social & economic network modeling to a 15 year study of the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament.  Involves application of economic & evolutionary game theory, specifically a measure called the ‘Key Player’ index, to Tournament teams.  This project involves extensive use of Jupyter Notebook, python, VBA, & R, specifically the use of random & conditional forests.


My coursework focused on medical & cultural anthropology while also minoring in geography

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