A 29-year-old man born in Bushenyi district has made Uganda proud after being named as one of the top 35 Innovators under 35 by the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology Review in the United States. Moses Namara is employed by Facebook in the USA as a lead researcher of colour in the field of artificial intelligence.
Other previous honorees who have made the cut of the magazine include Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg plus Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page.
“We get more than 500 nominations for the list, and getting that list down to 35—a task not only for the editors at MIT Technology Review but also for our 30+ judges—is one of the hardest things we do each year.” Tim Maher, the managing editor of MIT Technology Review said.
“My win is for Uganda, and it shows how Ugandans are innovative even on a global scale,” Namara said in an interview.
He has a Master of Computer Science degree from Clemson University in South Carolina and is currently doing his Ph.D. at in Human Centered Computing at the same university.
Moses co-created academic programs for Black in AI, a nonprofit organization. The programs are geared towards supporting Black junior researchers as they apply for and navigate graduate school. The support also helps them get jobs after graduation.
He co-founded the nonprofit in 2018 with Rediet Abebe an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of California. The core goal of the outfit is to mentor Artificial Intelligence students of colour who are applying to and then attending graduate school.
Black in AI has so far mentored 400 students, of which 200 have so far been accepted into competitive AI programmes. Students are given several resources which include mentorship from professors and P.h.D students, advice on where to apply and CV evaluations.
If possible could we add a short profile of someone who has benefited from Black in AI’s work (e.g do they have a case study?)
Namara’s research focuses on online user privacy which is crucial as technology advances and becomes ever more integrated into people’s daily living.
In 2017 Facebook selected him as an Emerging Scholar and as a Fellow in 2020. The honour pays the recipients tuition, a stipend and travel allowances to professional events for at least two academic years. The Ph.D. student who is expected to get his doctorate in 2022 is considering becoming a professor after completion of his doctorate.