Mississippi AI Collaborative Receives Prestigious Grant from data.org Supported by Microsoft Jackson, Mississippi — November 15,2023
The Mississippi AI Collaborative (MAIC) proudly announces it has been awarded a significant grant by data.org. The Generative AI Skills Challenge issued a call for best-in-class organizations training and upskilling teams on generative AI to drive social impact and advance socioeconomic mobility. Five awardees from a pool of nearly 600 applications across 93 countries were selected. The Mississippi AI Collaborative, a partnership between The Mississippi Coding Academies, Jackson State University, The Mississippi Chapter of the Computer Science Teacher Association, and The Bean Path, was the chosen awardee for North America.
Fostering Generative AI Upskilling in Mississippi Education
With Microsoft’s support, data.org’s grant serves as a pivotal marker in the Mississippi AI Collaborative’s commitment to promoting digital inclusion, socioeconomic mobility, and skill acquisition for historically marginalized groups. The initiative is on track to deliver AI fluency to over 4,000 Mississippians by June 2024, focusing on underserved communities.
Empowering Educators and Students with AI Innovation
This grant will inaugurate the MS CSTA “Educator AI Lab,” an engaging workshop series curated to arm educators with the expertise to infuse AI into their teaching. It will also support advanced upskilling and certifications in generative AI across the state through the MS Coding Academies.
Cultivating a Community-Centric AI Ecosystem
A central feature of this endeavor is the formation of an AI Agency, poised to become the nerve center for Jackson State student skill enhancement and small business digital upgrades. The agency, housed in the Bean Path Makerspace founded by Dr. Nashlie Sephus, will champion community-driven generative AI initiatives, propelling local empowerment and innovative breakthroughs.
About the Mississippi AI Collaborative
The Mississippi AI Collaborative is guiding Mississippi’s transition into an AI-powered future that puts people first. Through community partnerships, education programs, and entrepreneur guidance, we are ensuring Mississippians can actively participate in and benefit from AI innovation.
Our approach focuses on co-designing human-centered AI systems that reflect Mississippi’s values. We envision an AI-enabled future that drives progress and shared prosperity with the human perspective at its core. MAIC partners with schools, companies, government, and community groups to shape how AI can address our most pressing challenges, from healthcare to transportation.
“The support from data.org, with Microsoft’s backing, is a game-changer for our initiative,” said Bob Buseck, Executive Director of the Mississippi Coding Academies. Buseck’s diverse background from serving in the U.S. Army to leading tech advancements in various sectors fuels his passion for using technology for positive change. About the grant project he said, “It’s a testament to the potential of what we can achieve here in Mississippi – creating an inclusive AI ecosystem that uplifts every community member.”
Dr. Brittany L. Myburgh, Co-Principal Investigator from Jackson State University, brings a critical eye to the intersection of art, technology, and society: “This project is about more than just technology; it’s about shaping an equitable and inclusive future where education and AI go hand in hand to open new doors for our students and educators.”
Throughout this project, Krystal Chatman, the President of the CSTA-MS Chapter and a champion for equitable tech use in education, will advocate for inclusivity in this rapidly evolving digital landscape.
Anik Kurkjian, with her extensive experience in marketing development, community-led STEAM programs, and her role as Director of the Makerspace at The Bean Path, will be a driving force for integrating creativity and innovation into the project.
Join Our Vision
The Mississippi AI Collaborative invites you to be part of this transformative journey. For more information on our programs and participation, please visit our websites and follow our social media channels.