Dr. Mena Whalen

Assistant Professor Mathematics and Statistics Department Loyola University Chicago Office Location: Loyola Hall 108

Dr. Mena Whalen is a statistician and a data scientist. Dr. Mena Whalen earned her B.S. from Missouri State University in mathematics with an emphasis in statistics in 2016. She then continued her education with a Ph.D. in statistics from Northwestern University. Dr. Whalen joined Loyola as an assistant professor in the fall of 2021. Her research concentrates on change point analysis. Change point analysis is looking at time series data and examining where in time there was a dynamic change in the mean. Her research focuses on how to analyze change point locations in time across multiple separate time series. A policy researcher might wonder when in time their policy takes effect, but what if this policy was implemented over multiple locations, how would they group together locations by their changes? She applies this methodology to Chicago neighborhoods to understand how and when some neighborhoods have a change in crime rates during COVID-19.

Other research interest includes spatial analysis, data visualization, survey sample, and network models. Areas of application interest include health policy, law and policy change, and criminology. She is an ambassador and co-organizer of the Women in Data Science (WiDS) conference for Chicago. As a first-generation college student, Dr. Whalen prioritizes supporting students from all backgrounds and establishing entry points to data science through teaching at Cook County Correctional facilities through Northwestern Prison Education Program (NPEP) and volunteering with Hacking 4 Justice.