Kendall McNeil: From Project Management to Data Science


“When I found Flatiron School, I was excited about the opportunity to level up my coding skills and gain a deeper understanding of machine learning and AI.”

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Inspired by the power of data and a yearning to explore a field that aligned perfectly with her strengths, Kendall McNeil, a Memphis, TN resident, embarked on a strenuous career journey with Flatiron School. In this blog, we’ll delve into Kendall’s story – from her pre-Flatiron experience to the challenges and triumphs she encountered during the program, and ultimately, her success in landing a coveted Data Scientist role.

Before Flatiron: What were you doing and why did you decide to switch gears?

For eight years, Kendall thrived in the world of project management and research within the fields of under-resourced education and pediatric healthcare. Data played a crucial role in her work, informing her decisions and sparking a curiosity for Python’s potential to streamline processes. However, a passion for coding piqued her curiosity outside of work, compelling her to explore this field further.

“When I found Flatiron School, I was excited about the opportunity to level up my coding skills and gain a deeper understanding of machine learning and AI,” shared Kendall.

The scholarship opportunity she received proved to be a pivotal moment, encouraging her to strategically pause her career and fully immerse herself in Flatiron School’s Data Science program for four intensive months. This decision reflected not just a career shift, but a commitment to aligning her work with her true calling.

During Flatiron: What surprised you most about yourself and the learning process during your time at Flatiron School? 

Flatiron School’s rigorous curriculum challenged Kendall in ways she didn’t anticipate. Yet, the supportive environment and exceptional instructors like David Elliott made a significant difference.

“Big shout out to my instructor, David Elliott,” expressed Kendall in appreciation. “Throughout my time in his course, he skillfully balanced having incredibly high standards for us, while remaining approachable and accessible.”

Beyond the initial surprise of just how much she loved learning about data science, Kendall was particularly impressed by the program’s structure. The curriculum’s fast pace, coupled with the ability to apply complex concepts to hands-on projects, allowed her to build a strong portfolio that would become instrumental in her job search. The downloadable course materials also proved to be a valuable resource, something she continues to reference in her current role.

After Flatiron: What are you most proud of in your new tech career? 

Looking back at her Flatiron experience, Kendall highlights her capstone project as a source of immense pride. The project involved creating an AI model designed to detect up to 14 lung abnormalities in chest X-rays. This innovation has the potential to address a critical challenge in healthcare – the high rate (20-30%) of false negatives in chest X-ray diagnoses.

“The model, still a work in progress, boasts an 85% accuracy rate and aims to become a crucial ally for healthcare providers, offering a second opinion on these intricate images by identifying subtle patterns that may be harder to detect with the human eye,” explained Kendall.

However, her pride extends beyond the technical aspects of the project. By leveraging Streamlit, Kendall successfully deployed the model onto a user-friendly website, making it accessible to the everyday user. This focus on accessibility aligns with her core belief in the importance of making complex data and research readily available.

Within just six weeks of completing the program, she received multiple job offers – a testament to the skills and foundation she acquired at Flatiron School. With support from her Career Coach, Sandra Manley, Kendall navigated the interview process with ease. Currently, Kendall thrives in her new role as a Data Scientist at City Leadership. She’s recently embarked on a “data listening tour” to understand the organization’s data needs and explore possibilities for future innovation.

“It has been a joy and, again, I really feel that I have discovered the work I was made for!” concluded Kendall.

Kendall invites you to follow her journey on social media: GitHub Portfolio | Blog | LinkedIn

Summary: Unleashing Your Potential at Flatiron School

Kendall’s story is a shining example of how Flatiron School empowers individuals to pursue their passions and embark on fulfilling tech careers. The program’s immersive curriculum, coupled with exceptional instructors and a focus on practical application, equips students with the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in the data science field.

Inspired by Kendall’s story? Ready to take charge of your future and embark on your own transformative journey?

Apply Now to join Flatiron School’s Data Science program and connect with a community of like-minded individuals. You could be the next success story we celebrate! And for even more inspiring stories about career changers like Kendall, visit the Flatiron School blog.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog is current as of April 10, 2024. Current policies, offerings, procedures, and programs may differ.

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