Last March, after a series of disappointing rejections from the year-long AI residency programs that have been cropping up lately, I applied to the OpenAI Scholars program. By late April, I learned that I had been accepted to the inaugural class! 🎉
OpenAI Scholars offers 6-10 individuals (8 for this class) from underrepresented groups the opportunity to study deep learning full-time over the summer, under 1:1 mentorship and with a stipend + AWS credits. Even neater, it frames itself as a stepping stone into the field and into the longer residencies, which clearly require more existing ML experience than I currently have. I’m thinking about it as a cross between an internship and a scholarship!
The program is remote-friendly but also invites scholars to work from the OpenAI offices in San Francisco; so this summer, I’ll be spending time both in Seattle and SF.
This past month (…it’s only been a month!) since my program acceptance has been a whirlwind of activity. I’ve been balancing program logistics (including an upcoming trip to SF for orientation), brainstorming big project ideas with my awesome and supportive mentor, writing my own syllabus for the summer, solidifying my foundational knowledge of deep learning/linear algebra/probability theory/natural language processing (Deep Learning book - THANK YOU) - all the while wrapping up job essentials so that I can take leave from my 5-year tenure at Microsoft.
This is the opportunity that I’ve been looking for for over 6 months, and I am so hyped and grateful to now have it. I am doing everything that I can think of to make the most of this! Stay tuned - this blog will be active throughout the summer as I share my progress!