The 2021 Undergraduate Research and Creative Arts Symposium, hosted by the William Conroy Honors College at New Mexico State University, celebrates undergraduate student research and creativity. | Photo courtesy NMSU
While assistants like Siri and Alexa are a common part of our daily lives, self-driving cars are still on the horizon. A report from the World Economic Forum predicts more than 58 million new artificial intelligence jobs will be available by 2022. Who will be steering the future of AI?
In an effort to interest more students from historically underrepresented groups in computer science and artificial intelligence, New Mexico State University is among four universities offering AI4ALL’s free College Pathways programs. NMSU was selected along with Texas A&M, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and University of North Texas.
NMSU joined this year with 50 students invited to participate this spring, and a summer immersion program is coming up.
Students can apply for the summer immersion program that runs for six weeks online beginning the week of July 5. Applications are due by 7 p.m. Saturday, May 1. Apply online
AI4ALL is a national non-profit group based in California, which designed College Pathways programming to engage an interdisciplinary group of students including those who are not computer science majors.
“You don’t have to know anything about programming to participate in this opportunity,” said Raena Cota, coordinator of NMSU’s AI4ALL effort as well as the southwest Connector for CAHSI, the Computing Alliance of Hispanic-Serving Institutions, and a member of the university’s Young Women in Computing program. “The program is designed for freshman and sophomore students who participate in a six- to eight-week course.”
The program begins with “Discover AI,” an introduction to artificial intelligence fundamentals and ethical concerns; then goes on to “Apply AI,” which builds on the first course to guide participants to develop technical skills and build an AI portfolio. Upon completion of Apply AI, students will be invited to participate in ongoing career development opportunities, including applying for internships with AI4ALL partners.
The students will earn a certificate from AI4ALL if they complete the course. Once they complete the first course, they are eligible to take the next course. Students work together in small groups on a problem and build and present their own projects, building their portfolios of those projects for their resumes.
The goal is two-fold: to get more students interested in artificial intelligence as a career but also to demonstrate the utility of artificial intelligence training for any course of study at the university.
“Understanding AI can help you in a business course, it can benefit any major, even if your degree is not in computer science,” Cota said.
Author: Minerva Baumann – NMSU