DS4A Capstone Project Spotlight - Farmacy?: Combatting the Effects of a Fast-Food Lifestyle with Vertical Farming Initiatives for Black and Latinx communities in the Southern USA

In this blog series, we're proud to shine a light on some of the top Capstone projects from the second graduating class of Data Science for All / Empowerment.  Capstone projects are a critical component of the DS4A / Empowerment curriculum in which teams get together to work on projects that solve real-world data challenges faced by today’s leading companies and public sector organizations.

Meet the Team

Data Science for All / Empowerment graduate: Ali Ali

Ali Ali

An analyst that has a background in health sciences and wants to help people live better and healthier lives. I joined this program because I was curious about the world of data. I saw that it provided support to groups that were underrepresented and I felt like I would be in a comfortable space while striving to learn data science. I plan to enhance my skills in data science as I look for jobs and eventually create a startup to solve problems locally or globally.


Antoine Young 

Data Science for All  Empowerment graduate- Antonie Young

Education: B.S. in Art, Media & Technology - Eugene Lange from The New School; Certifications in Digital & Graphic Design and Design Management from Parson School of Design

A creative with decades of experience designing digital products and services. A hybrid designer with experience ranging from Branding, Interactive & Product Design for markets as diverse as VR/AR and large corporate manufacturing. Embracing change and ambiguity as an opportunity to design leading product development to calculate new features and user goals.

"I joined this program because it provides underrepresented communities new pathways in technology. To enhance my skills while understanding how to solve challenges through data science, seeing this as an 'empowerment' opportunity to benefit personally, professionally, and financially. "

Kofi Oduro

Kofi OduroBackground: Social Science, Computer Science, and Sports & Health Studies
Creative Coder & Experience Enhancer, who merges an array of mediums to provide unique experiences that promote discussion, reflection, and interaction. His creative practice is an observation of the world around us.

"I joined this program to merge elements from Data Science into my creation and creative workflow while engaging with like minded individuals that understand the range and possibilities that can be unearthed by Data Science. The ability to grow with my fellow cohort mates and make connections that will span longer than just DS4A."

Mandy Murphy

Mandi Murphy

Education: B.S. in Mathematics from Jackson State University

"I like to define myself as a change agent centered on empathy and helping others. I have a passion for analytics and I am working to create solutions to complex problems. I joined DS4A to gain skills, tools, and network so that I could start a career as an Analyst. Following the program I will continue working to inspire others and make a difference for my family, my community, and the world."



About the Project: Farmacy?: Combatting the Effects of a Fast-Food Lifestyle with Vertical Farming Initiatives for Black and Latinx communities in the Southern USA

Project Overview

We focused on fighting food related illnesses affecting minority populations in the South. The topic combined a lot of different interests that our group members had and we were all very aware of the problem because it directly or indirectly affected each of us. Our team was mentored by Mike Morelli and Ken Savage (Johnson & Johnson) and they helped us with tools that current data analysts/scientists use. Our TA Kimberly Deas helped us to narrow down our narrative while empowering us to be creative, use our collective skills, and think outside of the box.

Afyako Datafolio


Finalist Capstone Project Presentation


What was the most exciting/surprising findings from your project? 

Early on we knew what we wanted to work on, but we just couldn’t get the narrative to fit. We interviewed Erin Kirkland who wrote her Master’s thesis on Vertical Farming and her thesis was our eureka moment. We gained a lot of insight and resources from her thesis which propelled us to create a narrative that fit us and our goal.

What were some challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?

One of our greatest challenges was retaining team members. The program required more time than we initially thought. We also had a hard time gathering data that wasn’t already interpreted or visualized. The data that we did find had to be linked to other sources so that we could accurately show correlation and causation. We told our story so that each team member was involved but we made sure it was creative and fun.

What do you view as the impact of your project?

Our project impacted the DS4A program by showing the other fellows and everyone else that data doesn’t have to be boring. We were able to inspire other teams to make presentations fun and interesting to watch. Our project also has the potential to end hunger globally, allow communities to thrive, and the people within them to live healthier lives. The greatest impact is for our team members because we were able to create jobs.


Congratulations to this team, their mentors, and TA, for this accomplishment! 


If you're interested in joining our Data Science for All mission to recruit our DS4A fellows or to become a Mentor, please get in touch.