Artificial Intelligence Club: Cultivating interest in AI in Conestoga

By Brianna Fan, Staff Reporter

Artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly relevant in the job market. According to LinkedIn, hiring in this professional area rose by 32% from 2019 to 2020. As such, this field is extremely relevant for high school students who are considering their future careers. This is where the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Club steps in.

The AI Club has had a quick road to success. Founded last year, they currently have 30 members, each with varying degrees of experience in artificial intelligence. 

Each month, the club invites a guest speaker to address the importance of AI and how they have used their knowledge in their careers. These presentations feature diverse topics including medicine, business and economics. This month’s speaker was Dr. Eunsu Kang, a visiting professor of Art and Machine Learning at Carnegie Mellon University. Through a video call, Kang presented her current projects in AI art as well as what she had accomplished and learned throughout the years. These presentations expose club members to the versatility of AI.

“I think that by having these guest presenters come in and talk about their experiences and their applications, we can really encourage and empower other students to study AI beyond the scope of computer science,” said Aditya Sirohi, club founder and president. 

In pursuit of this goal, Sirohi hopes for club members to participate in hands-on activities that complement the guest speakers’ presentations. Currently, the club splits into two groups each meeting according to background knowledge, enabling the advanced group to apply their knowledge to hands-on projects, while the beginner group can focus on grasping the concepts underlying artificial intelligence. 

As the year progresses, Sirohi intends to combine these two groups for a collaborative project. For example, a project structure could be where members are writing code to differentiate between objects and ideas. With this base, students can take this introductory task and make it more difficult with complex images.  

In addition to these meetings, the AI Club has received both a statewide and international grant to establish the Teaching Digital Literacy project, which is dedicated to holding workshops and tutoring sessions for students in the district and especially other schools that are underfunded. In December, club members will teach students at Valley Forge Middle School and Tredyffrin-Easttown Middle School about AI through fun and interactive activities, such as programming robots. The hope is that these community engagements will equip members with skills that will be relevant in the future.

“We saw how important technology was just within the last year during the pandemic where we had to transition to being fully virtual and using technology every day for school,” Rhea Malik, a sophomore club officer, said. “As the world becomes more digitized, I think AI will play a huge role in future innovations and life in general.”

Brianna Fan can be reached at [email protected]