Nittany AI Alliance preps students for development and leadership roles in AI

Students holding large checks.

Student teams SchizophrenAI, iLenz and LexNectare were awarded for the solutions they developed during the 2022 Nittany AI Challenge at the "AI for Good Expo" on Sept. 8. 

Credit: Trish Hummer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Students advancing solutions in health, education, environment, and humanitarianism are making a difference in the world around them through the work they are advancing as part of the Nittany AI Alliance. Several of them received additional funding to continue their work in the AI space at the “AI for Good Expo” on Sept. 8.

Akanksha Anand is earning her Master of Professional Studies in data analytics at Penn State Great Valley and is part of the student team awarded $15,000 for creating iLenz, a tool that uses AI to provide early detection of eye diseases and promotes regular monitoring at home. The team developed the solution while competing in the 2022 Nittany AI Challenge.

“It was an awesome experience working with the team for a wonderful project which will impact many people,” Anand said. “I am really delighted and humbled to be selected as the winner and this gives us a real motivation to move forward on this project.”

Anand’s team members, who are also working toward a Master of Professional Studies in data analytics at Penn State Great Valley, include Abhay Chamu Haridas, Dominic Thomas, Namratha Sri Mateti and Parv Bhatt.

Two other teams competing in the 2022 Nittany AI Challenge were awarded $5,000 each to continue to develop their solutions:

—LexNectare is a tool designed to guide lawyers or law students who are providing pro bono service through the legal elements of a claim maximizing the chance of client success. It was developed by Anthony Fernando, Scott Lovejoy, Jeremy Garcia, and Lyubomir Avdzhiyski, all students at Penn State Dickinson Law in Carlisle.

—SchizophrenAI is a tool designed to assist medical professionals in objectively identifying schizophrenia through web-based examinations. It was developed by Loc Phan, Eberly College of Science; Maria Czura and Gia Nguyen, College of Informational Sciences and Technology; Carlton Jarmon, Smeal College of Business; Parker Sell, Thomas Foltz, John Keeling, Frederick Sion and Samarth Tehri, College of Engineering. All students are enrolled at Penn State University Park.

Brad Zdenek, innovation strategist for the Nittany AI Alliance, said students followed their passion in developing impactful solutions.

“Through the year-long Nittany AI Challenge, these teams looked for solutions that will make this world a better place by providing equitable access to legal resources, inexpensive diagnostic tools and cutting-edge developments in mental health to rural areas and developing countries,” Zdenek said. “They have done so while under extreme pressure from balancing the workload and many distractions of student life. These students, along with the students across all our programs, are truly among the best of the best at Penn State.”

Five students who are alumni of the Nittany AI Challenge and Advance programs are being recognized for their work in the AI space with awards of $1,000 each from the “AI Excellence Awards in Penn State Outreach sponsored by Jonathan and Alana Dambrot.” Recipients are Patrick Elisii, Mark Del Grande, Joshua Famous and Ritik Parmar from the College of Engineering; Jianxiang Gao from the College of Engineering and Eberly College of Science.

Elisii is also president of the Nittany AI Student Society. He said his experience with the Nittany AI Alliance, along with feedback from society members, led his executive team to launch the newly formed “Nittany AI Leadership Academy.”

“This program is intended to prepare first- and second-year students for the Nittany AI Challenge and Advance programs,” Elisii said. “The curriculum contains a combination of introductory, technical and entrepreneurial lessons, giving students a foundation for performing well in the more advanced Nittany AI programs.”

Nittany AI Alliance programs are made possible through funding provided by industry leaders and collaborators including Dataiku, Leidos, Microsoft, IBM, Lockheed, and John Deere.

Visit the website to learn more about AI programs and events.

The Nittany AI Alliance is a service of Penn State Outreach.