Yemissi Udacity Graduate Deep Learning Engineer Facebook Scholar

Blog School of AI Facebook Scholarship Fuels a Passion for Deep Learning

Facebook Scholarship Fuels a Passion for Deep Learning

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Last week we announced our latest collaboration with Facebook: Secure and Private AI Scholarship Challenge. This program builds on the previous momentum, aimed at a further expansion of student access to deep learning and AI tools. Just seven months ago we launched the PyTorch Scholarship Challenge from Facebook which saw 18,000 applications, 10,000 challenge scholars, and 300 full scholarship students from 149 countries starting the Deep Learning Nanodegree program in January.

This program brought together thousands of students from different countries, backgrounds, and technical aptitude. Participants expressed overwhelming excitement about learning the latest deep learning skills, as well as, having a chance to create a community of scholars.

We recently had a chance to speak with two Pytorch Scholarship students who completed the Deep Learning Nanodegree program.

Meet Yemissi Kifouly

Yemissi Kifouly was taking time off from her electrical engineering and computer science university programs when she heard about the Pytorch Scholarship Challenge from Facebook. She was familiar with Udacity but had never considered advanced skills related to deep learning and artificial intelligence.

Yemissi Udacity Graduate Deep Learning Engineer Facebook Scholar

“This technology had never interested me, in fact, AI was something I feared, there is so much fear mongering around the potential negative impacts”

After thinking it over for a few days, she had a change of heart.

“I came to the realization the AI can be scary, but maybe I could be someone who learns how to use these tools and use this technology for good”

She enrolled and, to her surprise, was immediately enthralled with the content and community. She found the lessons engaging and challenging. Through extensive note-taking, studying course materials, and working with fellow students, she was able to complete the Challenge phase.

Her hard work paid off, as she advanced past the Challenge phase and received a full scholarship to the Deep Learning Nanodegree program. This program was becoming more than just a hobby interest.

“The sign language project was really a turning point; I really began to think about deep learning as a career. I found myself looking at problems I encounter on a daily basis and assessing how I could solve them with deep learning”

Yemissi developed a new passion for deep learning and AI. She completed the Deep Learning Nanodegree program and decided to change the trajectory of her career. Instead of focusing on re-enrolling in her university programs, she will be enrolling in more Udacity courses to expand her deep learning skills.

“Before this, I was at a loss, I had spent three years, struggling to find the money to re-enroll in my university programs. After the Pytorch Scholarship and Deep Learning Nanodegree program, I have a new and firm idea of what I want to do with my life. Thanks to Udacity and Facebook”

Meet Roland Gavrilescu

Roland Gavrilescu heard about the Pytorch Scholarship during his second year at university, in London, studying electrical engineering. He learning to program as a hobby and was familiar with Udacity. Much like Yemissi, Roland had never dabbled in deep learning or AI but was curious about the technology.

“I applied on a whim, thinking it would be great to get in and learn more about these emerging technologies, but never guessed I would actually be accepted to the Challenge Phase”

He was thrilled when he received the acceptance email. As he began working through the initial lessons and projects, he was shocked by how easy it was to digest the concepts and put them to the test with a project.

“I had taken other online courses, but always found them to be too theoretical. I walked away from many of them thinking “I’ll never master those concepts, they’re just too difficult”, but Udacity was different.”

In addition to the engaging content, Roland interacted with the community of fellow students almost daily. He went so far as to contact local Pytorch Scholarship students and launch a local meetup. On a weekly basis, he and fellow students would get together and talk about the course, industry, and ambitions.

Through diligence and carefully balancing his university studies, Roland completed the Challenge Phase and received a full scholarship to the Deep Learning Nanodegree program.

“I was thrilled to continue with the program. I had developed a true interest for deep learning tools and began looking at additional ways I could put my growing skills to the test”

Roland Pytorch Deep Learning Udacity Graduate

While enrolled in the Nanodegree program, he began networking more. During one event in particular, he met the founder of a local electric autonomous vehicle start-up. He was fascinated with their work and inquired about internship opportunities. Initially, they declined, but when he was able to convince one of the founders to have coffee with him, things changed. He explained his experience with the Deep Learning Nanodegree program, his new skills, and his passion for the technology. They offered him an internship.

“I start next week and I’m so excited! I would never have met that company or come close to landing an internship, had I not taken the Scholarship opportunity with Udacity and Facebook”

Congratulations to Yemissi and Roland! They were able to uncover an entirely new set of skills and discover their passion for Deep Learning. Have you considered learning these skills? Check out the Deep Learning Nanodegree program or apply for the new Secure and Private AI Scholarship Challenge from Facebook.

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