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Student Story: A Bertelsmann Technology Scholarship in Artificial Intelligence

As part of the Udacity Bertelsmann Technology scholarship, I was asked to write a student story to provide feedback on the overall experience. There were 3 questions on a Google form and these were my answers to those questions below.


What do you want the world to know about you?  

Loving husband and father to two wonderful kids. My passion is academia and enjoy the journey of learning. I have accumulated many certificates, diplomas, and degrees over the years. Some from self-study, some from traditional brick-and-mortar schools, and more recently from online/distance learning platforms like this Udacity challenge. I enjoy the adventure offered by learning something new to better myself and those around me. I learned this from my father and hope to pass this love of learning down to my children as well.


Why did you apply for this Scholarship?

I wanted to learn more about Artificial Intelligence and was already on the waitlist to get to Georgia Tech CS 7638 AI4R course at that time, so I applied. It was perfect because this challenge and my course complement each other. The other two tracks in the scholarship also coincide with what I currently do at work as an Enterprise Cloud Architect so getting placed into any of the three tracks - AI, Data, or Cloud track - would have worked out well.


How will you use the knowledge you gain from this program? Feel free to talk about how the Community has helped you! 

The program helped open a few more learning opportunities for me. For example, I would never open a trial Google Cloud Platform account on my own unless there was some guidance around it, which was offered through the optional project 2 where we had to use Google Cloud Platform AutoML to detect pneumonia from chest X-ray images. The program also offered a vibrant slack community which helped opened other doors to learning, like the Kaggle challenges where I submitted with 72% accuracy my answer to the Titanic challenge regarding why some passengers drowned and others survived. 

It led to becoming active on my GitHub page which was empty before the challenge but now have been filled with other repos like this AdventofCode where we solve a programming challenge every day in December. It led to joining CodeWars challenges by solving python programming katas as part of the initiative in our #python channel (am now appreciating list comprehension a lot more because of this). It led to a trial subscription to a Google Cloud Platform account for 90 days, which I also used for the Cloud Vision API to transcribe some handwritten notes made by students into readable text. That was very cool and free. The #60daysudacity challenge followed by #30_days_sprint instilled very good habits by encouraging perseverance, dedication, through continuous daily studying. I will carry this into my schooling at Georgia Tech. 

The friends I made in that slack community has now added to my LinkedIn professional network so we will likely keep in touch even after the challenge ends. I have also learned leadership and improved on my communication skills by leading two study groups where I host weekly meetings. I also hosted two events at study jam which adds to my presentation skills. Overall I have had a very positive experience from the program and with the #resources channel containing a massive Airtable list that spans multiple pages of links to go through, the program will  stay with me for a long time even after the challenge ends this March 2021.

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