The ongoing war in Ukraine has displaced hundreds of thousands of people, including many university students. The Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU) in Lviv, has been active in their attempts to keep the students engaged and to allow them to successfully complete the academic year. To support these efforts, NYU’s Center for Responsible AI (R/AI) collaborated with UCU to recruit 18 research fellows–Ukrainian graduate and advanced undergraduate students– and host a 6-week long Summer Research Program.
As part of this initiative, that was spearheaded by Dr. Julia Stoyanovich—Director of NYU R/AI & Associate Professor of Computer Science & Engineering and of Data Science at NYU, Ukrainian students were exposed to a series of workshops and lectures on Data Science and Responsible AI. The students were also mentored by industry & academic experts on 8 research projects that culminated in several submissions to major conferences in computer science, such as one on reproducibility as an evaluation metric for differential privacy to a major Conference on AI, and an interactive introduction to Causal Inference, which has already been accepted to the VisxAI workshop at IEEE VIS 2022. The program concluded with a public virtual showcase where the students discussed and demonstrated their research and insights.
NYU R/AI intends to continue their efforts to support Ukrainian students and their academic advancements. Part of this process involves asking the students about their experience in the summer research program, to garner feedback that can be used to improve on student experiences in similar research initiatives in the future. Here, we share some of their answers to post-program interviews.
“This program had a great balance between practical and theory based learning. We spoke a lot about ethics, general fairness, philosophy and sociology. But it was also practical because we were looking at data based on everything we had discussed.”
– Anastasia Holovenko, Graduate Student at Ukrainian Catholic University
“It’s not always obvious if the AI is fair and it’s not easy to find moments in your decisions you make which is why we have AI which is sort of a reflection of what’s inside of you. So before you try to make AI responsible, you need to be responsible yourself. People who engineer or create models should really think about how their model will change the life of people around them.”
– Tetyana Herasymova, PhD Student at Ukrainian Catholic University
“I met new people and I had never worked in this field and it was new to me. I got to learn what its about and we read others papers. Previously, I only had exposure to Machine Learning research, but this time I got to read papers on sociology which gave me a new perspective because I had no idea about it before. Just learnt a bunch of new things I had never tried or experienced.”
– Andrii Standnik, Undergraduate Student at Ukrainian Catholic University
“Working and talking with Ph.D. students in this program helped me gain a perspective on what my future plans could be like. Before this program, I hadn’t given it much thought.”
– Taras Svystun, Undergraduate Student at Ukrainian Catholic University