Global Scholars, in partnership with InterVarsity’s Emerging Scholars Network, is delighted to announce that we have awarded the 2023 Christian Scholars Foundation Legacy Grant to Dr. George D. Montañez. Dr. Montañez, a faculty member in computer science at Harvey Mudd College, is producing an impressive set of new research in machine learning, and training the next generation of machine learning scholars and professionals. Titled “Understanding Bias in Artificial Learning,” his project will advance knowledge in the crucial area of reducing harmful impacts of bias in machine learning and artificial intelligence systems. The project continues a strong track record of work on artificial intelligence and machine learning fields, with an emphasis on mentoring and including undergraduate scholars in the process of producing new knowledge. The Christian Scholars Foundation Legacy Grant contributes funding to support research during a sabbatical period, which will contribute to a larger project.
One of the key questions for the fields of artificial intelligence and machine learning is whether people can use the tools of the field in a way that decreases harms from bias, rather than increasing them. Dr. Montañez is contributing knowledge to help solve that problem and others in these growing fields. Through the model he has developed for his Amistad lab, which engages undergraduate researchers in the publishing of new scientific knowledge, Dr. Montañez contributes to the field in these ways, among others:
1. Publishes new research that answers necessary technical questions about bias in machine learning and other key problems
2. Engages undergraduate students in research work and equips them for research careers
3. Mentors a diverse group of students in a way that builds the field’s capacity to understand both technical knowledge and ethical impacts in machine learning.
Dr. Montañez has won a number of awards, including a Best Paper Award at ICAART 2020, a Claremont Colleges 2020 Diversity Mentor Award, and a Harvey Mudd 2021 Outstanding Faculty Member Award, which is “awarded to a faculty member who has gone above and beyond their job role to serve as a mentor for students and/or student organizations and embody Mudd values, such as collaboration and care for the campus community.”
The Christian Scholars Foundation Legacy Grant committee is delighted to support this project. Please stay tuned for further updates on Dr. Montañez’s work. You can read his bio below.
Bio for George D. Montañez
After earning his PhD in machine learning from Carnegie Mellon University, George Montañez became a data scientist with Microsoft (AI+R), and is currently an assistant professor of Computer Science at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, CA. He holds an M.S. in computer science from Baylor University and a B.S. in computer science from the University of California Riverside. A former NSF Graduate Research Fellow and Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellow, he previously served as an intern at Microsoft Research and Yahoo! Labs during graduate school. His research lies at the intersection of machine learning, algorithmic search and information theory. His work has garnered five conference awards, including Best Paper at CIKM 2014 and ICAART 2020. He is passionate about mentoring and teaching, and has worked with nearly 90 undergraduate student researchers, being awarded a Diversity Mentoring Award by the Claremont Colleges Consortium and the Iris and Howard Critchell Assistant Professorship from 2019-2022 in recognition of his mentoring efforts inside and outside the classroom.
About the author:
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