Students underscore the importance of AI at President's Tailgate

October 11, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Student teams participating in the Nittany AI Challenge welcomed football fans to Penn State on game day with President Eric Barron and his wife, Molly. The students were invited to represent Penn State Outreach at the President’s Tailgate before the Purdue game on Saturday, Oct. 5, because of their work with artificial intelligence at the University.

The Nittany AI Challenge, a program of the Nittany AI Alliance, is an annual competition that offers teams of undergraduate students the opportunity to compete for awards by working with companies to develop and present AI-based solutions that solve real-world problems. Two teams attended the tailgate, LionPlanner and Aspire.

Isabelle Biase and Shane Hepner were on the team that created Aspire, a solution to help students find their career path.

“Shane and I had such a great time. It was an honor to be featured as a student team at the tailgate and to represent the Nittany AI Alliance. We really enjoyed chatting with the alumni, faculty and other guests about our experience with the Nittany AI Challenge and where it has led us since,” Biase said. “After the tailgate festivities, we bused over to Beaver Stadium and got to watch the game from the president’s box. We had a lot of fun cheering on the team while conversing with alumni about their own experiences at Penn State and why they continue to come back and support their school. Overall, it was an awesome way to celebrate Homecoming weekend!”

The President’s Tailgate offers representatives from units across the University to share and celebrate accomplishments with Penn State supporters, alumni and the community before each home football game. Daren Coudriet, director for the Nittany AI Alliance, said he was honored to be able to feature student teams from the challenge to help represent Penn State Outreach. 

"The Nittany AI Challenge, under the leadership of Brad Zdenek, provides students with a tremendous out-of-the-classroom opportunity to propose, create, prototype, demo and pitch AI-based solutions that solve real-world problems. Our challenge alumni never cease to amaze me with their innovative thinking and ability to apply artificial intelligence in ways I could not have imagined,” Coudriet said. “The upcoming 2020 challenge will be expanded to include opportunities in the areas of health, sustainability and climate change, and humanitarianism. I would encourage all students from all colleges and campuses to get involved. Not only will you have an unforgettable experience that could jump-start your career, you can be chosen to receive funding to further cultivate your idea."

Visit the Nittany AI Alliance website for more information about the Nittany AI Challenge.

  • LionPlanner talking with guests at President's Tailgate.

    Matthew Mancini and Christina Warren from LionPlanner talk with guests about the Nittany AI Challenge at the President's Tailgate.

    IMAGE: Brad Zdenek
  • Nittany AI Challenge Teams in the President's Box at Beaver Stadium.

    Both Nittany AI Challenge teams were invited to the President's Box at Beaver Stadium to watch Penn State take on Purdue during the Homecoming game on Oct. 5, 2019.

    IMAGE: Brad Zdenek
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Last Updated October 11, 2019