Interview with Loraine Nascimento on the DeepMind Scholarship Series Geared Toward Underrepresented Students

We’re excited to announce that we have partnered once again with DeepMind in offering a series of scholarships that seek to support underrepresented students in the field of AI. CDS is honored to be a part of this effort that helps to enable the next generation of researchers and engineers by building a stronger and more inclusive AI community.

We caught up with CDS Head of External Relations and Career Development, Loraine Nascimento, who oversees our Partners Program. In our chat, we discussed the history of our alliance with DeepMind and how the new scholarship series benefits students.

AM: DeepMind is one of CDS’ founding partners. Can you talk a bit about how CDS initially worked with DeepMind to develop the scholarship program?

LN: DeepMind initially supported CDS as our founding partner of the CDS partners program in 2013. DeepMind was gracious enough to provide a philanthropic gift to the program that we were able to allocate as scholarships, which allowed us to compete for the more talented applicants. As time went on we continued to see the synergy in our efforts as we both grew out of our start up phases. I am happy to report that today they have supported 20 CDS students and they are a huge part of our diversity initiative!

AM: Can you discuss some of the specific ways you’ve collaborated and strategized with DeepMind on the program to promote diversity?

LN: We have collaborated by using their abundant funding to support the scholarship expenses of students from underrepresented backgrounds. DeepMind also wanted to take their commitment a step further by mentoring the students they were supporting. This is a great experience for the DeepMind fellows because they have additional support and exposure to data science in industry. It is also a great supplement to their academic experience and allows them to grow into very well rounded data scientists.

AM: When a CDS student is awarded the DeepMind scholarship, are there specific requirements they must fulfill once that scholarship is awarded?

LN: No. That is the beauty of the scholarship because it relieves some of both the financial and academic anxiety for the student. The only expectation is that they capitalize on the opportunity and do very well in the program. DeepMind was responsible for the first African American female to graduate from CDS. One of the ways the student benefited is by being able to pursue research opportunities and internships which led her to a full time role upon graduating from CDS. This may have been more difficult if there were scholarship requirements placed on her.

In addition to the aspects Loraine was able to expound upon, CDS DeepMind scholars are also offered support from DeepMind mentors, and have opportunities to attend leading AI academic conferences as well as DeepMind events.

“We strongly encourage students who might not otherwise be able to attend NYU to consider applying to the DeepMind scholarships. AI needs a diverse range of voices, perspectives and talents, and these scholarships will empower students from underrepresented backgrounds to access master’s level study in AI,” says Obum Ekeke, DeepMind’s University Relations and Educational Partnerships.

CDS looks forward to how our partnership will continue to evolve and foster our students. For more information, please visit our DeepMind Scholarship Program for Underrepresented Students webpage on the CDS website.

By Ashley C. McDonald

Official account of the Center for Data Science at NYU, home of the Undergraduate, Master’s, and Ph.D. programs in Data Science.