Smith MMAI program awarded scholarships in Artificial Intelligence

Five Queen’s students among first to receive honours

The Vector Scholarships were given for the first time in Dec. 
Credit: 
Journal File Photo

Five students from Smith School of Business have been awarded Vector Scholarships in Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the honour’s first year. 

Levi Burns, Meghan Fotak, Tyler Hennick, Victoria Sopik, and Brian Yee were announced as recipients by the Smith School on Dec. 17. They’re all students in Queen’s Master of Management in Artificial Intelligence (MMAI) program at Queen’s.

Smith’s MMAI program educates its students in the technical principles of AI, while preparing them for the ethical, economic, and societal implications of the technology. The program also focuses on the application of business management and communications to AI.

Yee told The Journal in an email that the application process consisted of a nomination which required letters of reference and grade considerations.

“There is always risk and uncertainty when exploring new technology and not necessarily everyone wants to take on that risk,” Yee wrote. “Scholarships help reduce that barrier and encourage individuals to be pioneers [by] forming a community and by providing financial support.”

Yee noted the scholarship provides an invaluable opportunity to network with leading researchers in AI. He also believes it has provided a platform for students to share ideas beyond the classroom.

“The Smith students among the first cohort of Vector Scholars represent some of the best and brightest from the inaugural MMAI class,” wrote Director of the program, Stephen Thomas, in a statement to The Journal.

The Vector Scholarships in AI are merit-based, awarded to master’s students studying fields related to AI.

The scholarship was awarded to 66 students from nine Ontario universities, including Queen’s. 

“The MMAI at Smith is one of only 13 master’s programs recognized by the Vector Institute as having a curriculum that equips graduates with the skills and competencies being sought bythe   industry today,” Thomas wrote.

This year was first time the Vector Institute has offered the scholarship.

“The Vector Institute will drive excellence and leadership in Canada’s knowledge, creation, and use of artificial intelligence,” reads the Vector Institute website. “Vector has introduced the Vector Scholarships in Artificial Intelligence (VSAI) to recognize top students enrolled in core technical AI-related STEM and complementary AI-related master’s programs.”

Based on the success of the scholarship’s first round, Vector will be continuing the program. The 2019-20 competition will launch in early 2019.

“As artificial intelligence continues to be considered for every function within organizations, and the need for talent continues to grow,” Thomas wrote, “the Vector Scholarships in AI will help ensure we are attracting and graduating top talent into this burgeoning field.”

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