Lucia Mulder

Dr. Ansaf Salleb-Aouissi, of Columbia University, delivered this year's ARISE keynote address.

The Advanced Research and Independent Study Exhibition (ARISE) was bigger than ever this year, with 62 students presenting culminating projects from Advanced Math/Science Research (AMSR), Advanced Humanities Research (AHR), Independent Study, and the Black Rock Scholars programs throughout the lobby and hallways of Bellas/Dixon Math and Science Center. In its sixth year, the scope and diversity of work represented a wide and inspiring range of student passions and interests.

Headlining the event was Dr. Ansaf Salleb-Aouissi, a researcher and lecturer in the computer science department at Columbia University, who delivered the keynote address, “Artificial Intelligence: The Current State of the Art.” Dr. Salleb-Aouissi’s talk was made possible thanks to the generosity of Trustee Jane Yue and Joe Tian P’19, current parents who established the Tian Family Endowed Lecture Series for AMSR and AI in 2018.

Dr. April Burch, Daniel Tian '19, Dr. Salleb-Aouissi

Dr. Salleb-Aouissi impressed upon the audience the extraordinary potential of Artificial Intelligence and the great opportunities it can provide for a better society. “AI is interdisciplinary,” she explained. “Whatever students choose to pursue as a career, they need to know enough about AI, to be ‘AI fluent,’ and be aware of its societal impacts. After all, AI is present in many aspects of their lives and will be even more present in their futures.”

After the keynote address, Crawford Family Lecture Hall was standing-room-only for the final presentation by Jimmy Lehmberg '19, who did an independent study in stand-up comedy with Jesse Howard, Berkshire’s theater director. Students then circulated throughout Bellas/Dixon, stopping at easels to ask questions and learn about their fellow students’ work. “It was very touching to see how many students came out to support their peers,” said Black Rock Scholars Coordinator Donald Anselmi. 
Student projects focused on a wide range of disciplines including computer science, biology, machine learning, language, human rights, sociology, engineering, sustainability, and the arts, among others.

“The sheer breadth of the work stands out to me,” said Dr. April Burch, director of the AMSR program. “I am always impressed with the creativity and thoughtfulness that Berkshire students bring to their projects. ARISE reflects the uniqueness of our students and the value of project-based learning that occurs in Berkshire’s signature programs.”