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2017
Kylie Behnke

Photo of Kylie Behnke

Kylie Behnke, an Illinois native, graduated summa cum laude from Knox College with a B.A. in Data Analytics and a minor in Economics after three years of study. She was the John C. Weigel prize recipient for graduating as the senior with the highest academic achievement in her class.

Kylie pursued data analytics to blend her enthusiasm for math and her strength for creative problem solving. When her school didn’t offer a major in the field, she designed the “Data Analytics” major, which was ultimately accepted and offered by Knox College’s curriculum committee. A hybrid of mathematics, computer science, and economics, the degree unified the knowledge needed for a multi-dimensional field. The degree also included independent research to address crucial analytics topics not covered in any of Knox’s existing courses.

As a senior, she was selected to complete an undergraduate honors research project. She investigated student retention at Knox College and built a predictive model to identify students likely to leave prior to graduating, thus improving retention rates. Working closely with anonymous student data, Kylie gained experience with SQL and R. Plus, this project gave her perspective on the necessity of data preparation and its role in an analytics project. In addition to her research aimed to benefit her school, Kylie stayed active on campus by tutoring math and computer science. With over 100 hours of tutoring logged, she utilized excellent communication skills and linguistic flexibility while she earned her level III master tutor certification through the College Reading and Learning Association.

Kylie has had three internships on two data science teams within the HERE organization, a mapping technologies company. Throughout her time on both teams, she frequently worked preparing and cleansing data for algorithm development. She improved her Java skills while creating a polygonal circle generator using spatial math. Her most recent project was a predictive model for quality control using R, MS Excel, and RapidMiner. At HERE, she was also able to learn about agile software development methods and how they’re practically used within an organization.

Kylie decided to pursue a Master’s degree in Analytics at Northwestern University to merge her educational experience with real world problem solving skills. She is eager to work closely with businesses on industry projects to prepare for a career of data science in an increasingly data-driven future.