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Center for AI Learning students showcase research
Media Contact
Ashlee Gardner

In the week leading up to finals, students from Emory’s Center for AI Learning presented their experiential learning AI research to project sponsors from the Better Business Bureau and Invest Atlanta. The audience included Emory faculty, staff and peers, creating a diverse gathering of attendees celebrating student innovation in AI.

"This opportunity for students to engage with real-world clients and present tangible outcomes is truly special," remarked Tommy Ottolin, senior program coordinator at the Center for AI Learning. “I’m proud of the work they have done this past semester and I know that our project sponsors have been equally impressed.”

In its inaugural year, the center has facilitated 24 curricular and cocurricular projects involving more than 130 students. These projects cover intriguing topics, from leveraging AI to analyze artwork to assess children’s school readiness to applying machine learning models for forecasting startup growth in Atlanta.

Project sponsors come from internal Emory programs, labs and departments, and external Atlanta organizations. Students roll up their sleeves, applying AI skills to hands-on projects. As they navigate their projects, students not only gain AI competencies but also valuable experience in project management, client service and team dynamics—essential skills for their future careers.

Ottolin emphasizes the pivotal role of AI education within Emory's AI.Humanity initiative. He underscores the center's commitment to expanding its experiential learning repertoire, aiming to match even more students with inspiring projects that foster their growth as ethically minded AI practitioners.

Kevin McAlister, an assistant teaching professor and director of undergraduate research in the Department of Quantitative Theory and Methods, organized many of the student projects through his department's Data Think experiential learning program. McAlister will be instrumental in expanding this program and advising how other departments can build their own experiential learning programs in partnership with the center.

"Kevin has been a huge part of our program's success. He brings so much energy and enthusiasm to the process of forging sponsor relationships and matching the right students to the right projects. Seeing these projects enable students to make real-world impacts is fulfilling and makes me want to do more, especially in schools and departments that do not have programs like this today," says Ottolin.

Interested in exploring experiential learning or have an idea for a project? Reach out to the Center for AI Learning team. For a deeper dive into the center’s experiential learning opportunities, watch this video.

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