Faculty of (machine learning) Year Presentation Speech

As part of the student government organization at Cornell Tech, I was honored to introduce and present the 2016–2017 Faculty of Year Awards during our Recognition Ceremony. This year the awards went to Deborah Estrin, Huseyin Topaloglu, and Greg Pass. Below are my remarks and a video of the event.

Please excuse the blurriness at the beginnning!

On behalf of the student governance and the overall student body, it is with great pleasure that I, along with my fellow liaisons Omri and Greg, will be presenting the Faculty of the Year Awards.

This Award honoring 3 Faculty members is voted on by the students as a reflection and recognition on the past year of one of the most important fundamentals of what makes our educational institute more than an educational institute. These faculty in particular can be thought of as the support vector machines of our campus. As students, they are the models under which we can conduct our supervised learning. By giving us a variety of training examples from finance models to computer models and even presentation models, they have been able to help us through non-linear navigations by teaching us bigger picture understandings through the fact that we learn best by looking at our inner products.

Unlike Support Vector Machines though, our teachers are not binary, and these faculty members have proven their commitment to students and Cornell Tech outside of the classroom through their availability, mentorship, and maybe just a few homework extensions.

As we graduate into the world of unsupervised learning, we leave much stronger through the compassionate guidance of these faculty which is why we honor them today.

So, enough with the machine learning, let’s get these awards out:

To start, is the faculty member that I can say with great confidence is almost exclusively the reason that I am standing here today. Deborah Estrin, with her long list of accomplishments and current titles that I won’t go through, is the epitome of what this award is: through her classes, her role as Dean, and fundamentally who she is as a person embodies the type of passion and dedication that truly shifts the student experience into a more positive for anyone who is able to interact with her.

Deborah has taught us health tech, networking, how to communicate more effectively, and the importance of taking the stairs.

I know that she hates praise so I will keep this short: Deborah thank you for being such an awe-inspiring leader, role model, mentor, and friend.

If you enjoyed this, you may enjoy my speech given at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute Graduation Celebration to the inaugural Health Tech program here.