Hudson County Boys & Girls Club members participate in launch of AI program
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Hudson County helped launch the Artificial Intelligence Pathways Institute (AIPI) this summer.
The three-week program that began in July involved underrepresented students in Grades 9-11 who have a passion for technology and who are traditionally underserved in fields related to science, technology, business and education. engineering and mathematics (STEM).
The Hudson County Club was one of three organizations nationwide to be selected as a pilot site. Twelve high school teens participated in the three-week full-day program, and upon successful completion of the program, each participant received a financial allowance of $ 500 and a new laptop, as well as new skills and a certificate. from Carnegie Mellon University, a school considered one of the leaders in artificial intelligence.
“We are grateful to have been chosen for this important program which will open the door to careers for our members in fields ranging from artificial intelligence to computing to engineering, careers that have not traditionally been not been open to people of color and women, ”said Gary Greenberg. , Executive Director of BGCHC. “I have seen how engaged young people have been over the past few weeks and look forward to continuing this program as part of our after-school program this fall and next summer.”
AIPI has been recognized twice and received a PASmart grant. The program was started by the Boys & Girls Club of Western Pennsylvania. Young people there are linked to project-based learning, mentoring / career exposure and links to higher education and industry through the study of IT, Artificial Intelligence , robotics, engineering and other closely related subjects.
Since 2019, PPG Industries and the Western Pennsylvania Club have been partners with AIPI, and this year corporate management support from NVIDIA, a computer systems company, was also part of the assessment process. As a new addition to the program over the coming year, BGCWPA and PPG will develop a Computer Pre-Learning Program to provide training paths for AIPI program participants.
As part of the real-world, project-based curriculum of the program, student groups are tasked with participating in a judged session where they present solutions to community social justice challenges of their choice using the l ‘IA. Students are introduced to computer programming specific to robotics, coding, human-centered design, and other topics.
“We were given NVIDIA robots that use the same intelligence as self-driving cars,” says Janet Wallach, director of development for the BGCHC program. “The kids would then program the AI using Python.”
BGCHC teams have developed projects that include programming AI into robots to identify and collect litter and identify litter on beaches. Another team used AI to identify emergencies and call 9-1-1 when dealing with seniors who may have dementia and provide an address and phone number for seniors who don’t know where they are. are found.
“Every kid I spoke to after the program ended said the same thing: it was hard, but it was worth it,” Wallach says. “One of the questions we asked ourselves was, ‘Are these kids going to pass this program for three weeks, full time? when they are not going to the beach with other children. And they didn’t even ask about it. They did not question it. They were all deeply involved.