Here’s a roundup of education briefs from around Southwest and Southside:
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Virginia Tech team selected for AI challenge
A team of five computer science doctoral students at Virginia Tech’s Sanghani Center for Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics is one of 10 university teams selected internationally to compete in the Alexa Prize TaskBot Challenge 2.
The team will design conversational assistants that help customers complete multistep tasks while adapting to resources and tools available to the user, such as ingredients or equipment, according to a news release from the university.
“For example, if a task requires an item that is not available, the taskbot should be able to adjust the corresponding subtasks and overall plan and suggest appropriate substitutes or alternative steps,” Ismini Lourentzou, assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science, core faculty at the Sanghani Center and advisor for the team, said in the release.
The challenge is sponsored by Amazon Science. Each of the participating teams has received a $250,000 grant to fund its work. In addition, teams receive Alexa-enabled devices and Amazon Web Services cloud computing services to support their research and development efforts, as well as Alexa team support.
The five members of the Virginia Tech team are Afrina Tabassum, Amarachi Mbakwe, Makanjuola Ogunleye, Muntasir Wahed and Tianjiao Yu.
The first place team, which will be announced September, will take home a prize of $500,000.
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Governor’s Fellows Program opens for applications
Applications are now being accepted for the 2023 Governor’s Fellows Program, an opportunity for rising college seniors and recent graduates to get a firsthand look at Virginia’s executive branch.
Since 1982, fellows have worked alongside the governor’s cabinet and staff, learning about state government and assisting in essential work for Virginia.
Governor’s fellows have the opportunity to learn from guest speakers who are leaders in state government and beyond. Fellows also experience state government on the road, visiting state government agencies and historic sites.
Qualified applicants must be rising college seniors, graduating seniors or graduate students. All Virginia college and university students are eligible to apply. Virginia residents who attend out-of-state colleges and universities are also eligible. Both public and private college and university students are encouraged to apply.
The deadline to apply for the Governor’s Fellows Program is March 5. Interviews will begin March 13. Applicants will be advised on decisions beginning on April 14, and the program runs from June 1 through July 28.
To apply, visit the Governor’s Fellows Program website and send the required recommendation letters to: Governor’s Fellows Program, P.O. Box 2454, Richmond, Virginia 23219. Email any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Wytheville Community College to host national signing day
Wytheville Community College is holding NC3 National Letter of Intent Signing Day on April 20. New students for the 2023-2024 school year will participate in a ceremony similar to an athletic signing.
The national event sponsored by the National Coalition of Certification Centers mirrors the NCAA’s National Signing Day for athletes who commit to play sports in college. It is designed to honor students who are entering a technical field.
Dozens of technical institutions across the country will be hosting signing day ceremonies tied together by live, nationwide simulcasts.