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Thursday, July 25, 2024

28-year-old black lady bags PhD in Computer Science, sets record at New York University

A 28-year-old black lady named Rediet Abebe has made history as the first-ever black woman to bag a doctorate degree at Cornell University, New York.

Rediet Abebe, an Addis Ababa native who is a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows made history as the first Black woman to earn a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Cornell University in New York.

According to Atlanta Black Star, her research focused on algorithms and artificial intelligence for equity and social good.

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She mentioned in her bio that she works to design and analyze algorithmic, discrete optimizations, network-based, and computational techniques to improve access to opportunities for historically disadvantaged communities.

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Rediet is also a a member of the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director working group on artificial intelligence, and the co-founder of Black in AI, a non-profit that works to improve diversity in the field of artificial intelligence.

She is also the co-founder of Mechanism Design for Social Good (MD4SG), “an interdisciplinary, multi-institutional research initiative and workshop series with participants from over 100 institutions in 20 countries.

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She presented her Final thesis, “Designing Algorithms for Social Good,” which focused on solutions to improve societal welfare, including research addressing issues such as income shocks faced by economically disadvantaged families who are laid off or have gaps in income.

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Rediet stated that she gets inspiration for her work from her home country. She mentioned that back in Ethiopia, income inequality was universal, and quite often,  she would see “big mansions” on the same street as “plastic homes.” 

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“It’s something that’s really shaped my identity as a person, as a researcher. I realized that actually if you do computer science or applied mathematics and ultimately other fields, you can work on really interesting challenging mathematical questions,” Rediet said.

”You can do a lot of data-driven work, you can play with data. But, you can also think about problems that affect society immediately,” she added. Rediet said she hopes that through her work and organizations, she can continue to diversify the technology landscape.

Rediet bagged her bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Harvard College after which she proceeded to the University of Cambridge to bag a master’s in Mathematics. She also holds another masters in Applied Mathematics from Havard University.

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