Lawrence Amadi ’16
When Lawrence Amadi ’16 is asked, “What do you do?” his reply is, “I’m a teacher. I teach computers to be smarter.” Lawrence graduated from Coppin as a computer science major and math minor and was amused by the peculiarity of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Lawrence became interested in the field after competing in Walmart’s 1st Collegiate Innovators Challenge in 2014. The idea his team pitched had some elements of AI. “It was data science to be exact. I like to think that’s why we won the competition.”
Artificial Intelligence is a branch of computer science. “AI,” he explained, “is about giving computers/machines autonomy. The goal is to transfer human knowledge to computers. But first you [must] dumb down the knowledge for the computer to understand and then hope it eventually outsmarts you on the topic. I know how that sounds, very “sci-fi-ry”.”
The opportunities and compensation also make AI attractive to Lawrence. “Whether your goal is to be a very well compensated employee or a disruptive CEO, the possibilities with AI are boundless.” According to Glassdoor, a job and recruiting site, for the past four years AI has been named the number one job. “If money isn’t motivation enough,” Lawrence teased, “how about flexibility? You can easily switch niches as your interest evolves.” His advice for students interested in AI is to pay attention in math and computer science classes. “But also branch out to other disciplines like the arts, life sciences, and business to identify overlapping opportunities.”
Lawrence is currently working towards a PhD. from Illinois Institute of Technology. His research focus is the visual branch of AI. “I’m trying to push the frontiers of vision-enabled AI and make significant contributions to the literature with my research.” He also views AI as a key to social good and to solve and alleviate real-world problems. “I want to use it to make meaningful changes in people’s lives,” he added.
While at Coppin, Lawrence admitted he had some challenges, but he is a proud Eagle. His four years were engaging and exciting. “The Honors College and Coppin took a chance on me and gave me a lot of opportunities to explore and evolve, that I probably wouldn’t have had at other institutions.” In many ways, he shared, Coppin help mold him into the person he is today. “I am today and will be forever grateful for that. I was very lucky to have many mentors that really looked out for me. People like Dr. Elaine Sykes, Dr. Nicholas Eugene, Ms. Claris Tate, Mrs. Delores Smith, Dean Ronnie Collins, Dr. Katherine Cameron, Dr. Jamal Uddin, Dr. Ahmed El-Haggan, Mr. Charles Below, and so many others made my experience at Coppin invaluable.
Where does this young data scientist see himself in the next five years? “Who knows. Chances are I will be working in research and development or in a machine learning role in some tech company. Or, maybe I might start my own.” Soar Lawrence Amadi. The sky is the limit for this Eagle.