Building a Community of Changemakers in AI

Princeton AI4ALL ‘18 students in a lecture. Photo credit: Princeton’s Office of Communications

Once high schoolers take their first step into the AI field by graduating from an AI4ALL summer program at one of our six sites, they become AI4ALL alumni and join our thriving community that is nearly 250 strong. These young women and men range in age from high school sophomore to college sophomore, and they hail from around the US and around the world, from places like Canada, Thailand, and Saudi Arabia.

To continue building on their diverse and multidisciplinary interests in AI, we offer them access to resources and programming like: grant funding to support their own outreach or research initiatives, connection with mentors and peers, and opportunities to participate in field trips, internships, and conferences. Read on to see how AI4ALL alumni have taken these opportunities and made them their own. Hear from alumni in their own words here.

Leadership Through AI4ALL Alumni Grants

“After Stanford AI4ALL, I recognize I have the power to utilize my knowledge and passion to motivate others.” — Stephanie, Stanford AI4ALL ’17 alum

AI4ALL alum Stephanie Tena Meza from Salinas, CA recently completed AP Computer Science A and found that she was one of only a few girls in the class (and the youngest girl, at that!). To inspire her peers to take AP Computer Science A and AP CS Principles — a new class offering this school year — and to build a network among girls interested in tech, she plans to use an AI4ALL grant to create a computer science club at her school.

Stephanie’s Stanford AI4ALL classmate, Taylor Fang, was similarly inspired to bring AI to her local community in Logan, Utah. To do so, she created GET: Girls Explore Technology, a workshop series aimed at middle school girls, funded by an AI4ALL grant. In the club’s first year, it included lessons about artificial intelligence, hands-on projects, and guest speakers, all with the goal of inspiring young women to enter tech fields.

After seeing the ideas and ambition from participants, Taylor was reminded “how important it is to have diverse technological representation,” and that GET represents an important opportunity “for more girls to gain knowledge and confidence in advanced fields like artificial intelligence.” She won a follow-on grant this summer to grow the club and plans to add a peer mentoring element to the club to help members share their newfound tech knowledge and start to develop teaching skills.

How does it work?

Alumni are encouraged to apply for an AI4ALL Alumni Leadership grant of up to $1,000 to fund their AI and CS outreach initiatives (like clubs, workshops, and hackathons), research projects, and conference attendance. Often, projects center around social good, accessibility, and diversity & inclusion in tech. Grant applications open twice per year — usually in the spring and fall.

AI Research Project Fellowship

AI4ALL alum Viansa Schmulbach sadly lost a family member as a result of the ambulance shortage in San Francisco. Because of her experience, she was inspired to tackle the ambulance shortage issue with her AI4ALL Research Project Fellowship in spring 2018. Along with AI4ALL alumni Esther Cao and Trisha Sengupta and a mentor from IBM Watson, Viansa and her teammates worked to tackle the ambulance shortage issue for their AI4ALL Research Project Fellowship in spring 2018.

Together, they created a program that uses natural language processing (NLP) to prioritize emergency dispatch calls and plots emergency call sites on a map to help dispatchers make quicker and more informed decisions about where to send rescue crews.

AI4ALL alumni at a Research Project Fellowship meeting

How does it work?

Through the Fellowship, AI4ALL alumni apply to work with a mentor in AI in small groups on an AI research project over three months. After weekly meetings with mentors where teams learn to formulate, code, and write about an AI research project, fellowship participants present their research to other alumni, staff, mentors, their families, and community members.

Alumni who participated in the spring 2018 AI Research Project Fellowship produced a number of impactful projects that tackled issues like healthcare quality, water contamination, wildfires, and detecting abusive language online. Read more about the program and delve into a few of the projects here.

Watch Aarzu (Stanford AI4ALL ‘17) explain her group’s AI Research Fellowship project

AI Thought Leadership: Exploring AI through Field Trips, Conferences, and Writing

“I never knew AI could be used for this!,” exclaimed an AI4ALL alum attending a field trip to NVIDIA headquarters in Santa Clara, CA.
AI4ALL alumni at a NVIDIA Field Trip

To learn more about AI career pathways, alumni are invited to field trips at leading AI companies and technology conferences. These opportunities are also an excellent way for alumni to network with AI professionals, and to learn about pathways in AI, ranging from industry, to policy, to academia, and more. Conferences they’ve attended or spoken at include Techonomy, NVIDIA GTC, MIT Tech Review’s EmTech Digital, H2O World, and The Dream Corps + AI4ALL’s AI Summit: Designing a Future for All. At these conferences, alumni had the opportunity to learn (or teach!) about AI through hands-on activities and lectures, talk about their own research and outreach, while also sharing their impressions in blog posts.

Amy (Stanford AI4ALL ‘15), Ananya (Stanford AI4ALL ‘16), and Myra (Stanford AI4ALL ’15) presenting their AI project at the AI Summit: Designing a Future for All

AI4ALL alumni are also encouraged to join the IEEE Global Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems High School Committee. Through this committee, co-chaired by AI4ALL, alumni discuss ethical issues in AI and write reports that are used to inform other IEEE work. Most recently, 17 AI4LL alumni and high school committee members responded to IEEE’s Ethically Aligned Design v2 (EAD v2) paper, highlighting their hopes and concerns regarding the future of AI. Their responses were published as an official feedback doc to the paper, which you can read here. If you’re a high school student interested in learning more about or joining this committee (even if you haven’t participated in an AI4ALL program), email us at contact@ai-4-all.org.

Internship and Job Opportunities

We’re working to connect our alumni with internships, formal research positions, and other opportunities to build the AI and other skills they’ll need in research, teaching, curriculum development, and working on a technical team. Alumni have worked at or with organizations like H2O.ai, Affectiva, MIT, and Tolstoy.ai. We look forward to expanding this roster for next summer. Interested in hiring our stellar alumni? Get in touch at contact@ai-4-all.org.

We’re excited to move into the 2018–2019 school year to offer even more opportunities to our growing alumni community!


Interested in joining our bright and motivated alumni community? Participate in an AI4ALL summer program! Applications open later this year. Sign up for our newsletter to be notified when applications are open, or check our website.