Students use artificial intelligence to chart paths to their dream job

May 02, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Isabelle Biase is a freshman majoring in computer science at Penn State. She is part of Aspire, a team of students using artificial intelligence (AI) as part of the Penn State EdTech Network Nittany AI Challenge, to develop a tool to help students map out their potential career path.

“As a freshman at Penn State, it is overwhelming to navigate all of the incredible opportunities offered here. I want to figure out how to most effectively use my time for success in the future,” Biase said. “The pathways alumni have taken, from joining clubs to internships, have helped them with their careers and are valuable insights to use as a way to define paths for others.”

Tyler Spagnolo, a sophomore majoring in computer science and a member of the Aspire team, said he, along with Biase and Shane Hepner — a sophomore majoring in computer engineering — are using IBM Watson Knowledge Studio to navigate those paths and bring them together in one application.

“We’ve started collaborating with multiple offices here at Penn State, such as Career Services and Development, to connect us with a large number of alumni,” Spagnolo said. “Moving forward, there will be a direct correlation between the success of our tool and how well we can collect the desired information from Penn State alumni.”

The Aspire team is one of 71 teams to apply for the chance to fund their potential solution to a real-world problem through the Nittany AI Challenge. From the applicants, 10 teams were awarded $2,500 to develop a prototype by using an AI tool.

In March, projects from the following five teams were awarded an additional $5,000 to develop a minimum viable product (MVP):

  • Aspire
  • Pathfinder: an application that uses machine-learning algorithms to recommend effective course pathways.
  • Profound: a portal that students can access to search for a professor by name and/or research area.
  • From Micro to Macro: a tool that applies machine learning to scale-up competency-based learning at Penn State.
  • LionPlanner: a solution to provide intelligent, personalized and scalable guidance about opportunities available at Penn State.

Students on each team will spend the summer developing their MVP and will pitch it to a panel of judges in September for a slice of a $50,000 prize.

Daren Coudriet, director of the Penn State EdTech Network, said the students participating in the Nittany AI Challenge are provided with hands-on experience solving real problems with AI that uniquely positions them as innovators at Penn State.

“Experience in working with AI is valued in today’s marketplace because of the widespread application of this technology,” Coudriet said. “Participation in this EdTech Network challenge will likely have a direct impact on a student’s marketability.”

For more information, visit the Nittany AI Challenge online.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated May 02, 2018