Pasadena Teens Excel in AI Capabilities at Yearly Bootcamp

by | Nov 11, 2023

Pasadena High School students recently demonstrated their impressive skills in practical artificial intelligence (AI) at the highly anticipated Mark Cuban AI Pasadena Camp. The immersive bootcamp, organized by the Pasadena Educational Foundation (PEF) in collaboration with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), provided local high school juniors and seniors with a unique opportunity to explore the world of AI and prepare for their future academic and professional pursuits.

Thanks to the support of the Mark Cuban Foundation, NASA JPL, and Caltech, 25 exceptional students from various schools within the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD), including Pasadena High School, John Muir Early College Magnet, Blair High School, and Marshall Fundamental, were chosen to participate in this prestigious program. Guided by mentors with extensive knowledge in AI, machine learning (ML), and data science, these students had the chance to delve into a wide range of AI concepts and skills throughout the bootcamp.

The curriculum covered different areas of AI, including computer vision, machine learning, natural language processing, and generative AI. Through hands-on activities and project-based learning, the students developed their own AI applications, exploring innovative uses of AI across various fields. Their impressive projects included skin cancer detection, pharmaceutical differentiation, art design exploration, and even the replication of home security tactics seen in the iconic movie “Home Alone.”

Importantly, the bootcamp not only focused on technical skills but also emphasized the ethical considerations surrounding AI. Students engaged in thought-provoking discussions on critical topics such as TikTok recommendations, smart home assistants, facial recognition, and self-driving cars. By addressing these issues, the program aimed to cultivate conscientious and ethical AI users and creators who understand the potential impact of AI on society.

One of the most memorable highlights of the bootcamp was the valuable insights and mentorship provided by experts from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). This firsthand exposure to real-world applications of AI further fueled the students’ passion for the field and expanded their horizons.

Mitch Aiken, Associate Director for Educational Outreach at Caltech, expressed gratitude for the local partnership that made the bootcamp possible. The collaboration between PEF, JPL, Caltech, and the App Academy at Pasadena High School proved exceptional, providing a truly unique and enriching learning experience for the participating students.

Equipped with a solid foundation in AI, these high school students are now better prepared to tackle the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead as they continue their education in college. The skills acquired during the bootcamp have positioned them for success in a world where AI continues to shape various industries.

Chris A. Mattmann, co-founder of the Mark Cuban AI Pasadena Camp, emphasized the significance of AI education, stating, “AI is becoming increasingly prevalent in our society, and it is crucial that young minds are equipped with the skills and knowledge to navigate this AI-driven world.”

The outstanding success of the bootcamp demonstrates the unwavering commitment of the Pasadena Educational Foundation, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the California Institute of Technology to provide local students with opportunities to explore and excel in the field of AI.

Looking ahead, the partnership between PEF, JPL, Caltech, and the App Academy at Pasadena High School will continue to foster the growth and development of AI education within the Pasadena Unified School District. By nurturing the next generation of AI enthusiasts and professionals, this collaborative effort is paving the way for a future where AI is responsibly and thoughtfully harnessed for the benefit of society.

The annual Mark Cuban AI Pasadena Camp has once again proven to be a transformative experience for high school students in Pasadena. With the support of renowned institutions and dedicated mentors, these young minds are now equipped to embrace the challenges and possibilities that AI offers, ensuring a future where AI is harnessed for the greater good.