Two Ph.D. Students Recognized as 2021 Apple Scholars – A First for Georgia Tech Students

Machine learning Ph.D. students Joanne Truong and Andrew Silva have been recognized as 2021 Apple Scholars. The program honors the contributions of emerging leaders in engineering and computer science at the graduate and post-graduate level.

Truong and Silva are members of the program’s second cohort and are the first Georgia Tech students to be awarded the scholarships.

Apple Scholars receive a two-year mentorship with an Apple researcher in their field, support for their research and academic travel for two years, and internship opportunities. Truong and Silva were selected based on their record as thought leaders and collaborators, their innovative research, and commitment to push the boundaries of machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Truong is a second-year robotics Ph.D. student whose research improves robot’s capabilities to physically interact with their environments to improve a human’s quality of life. Her research also examines how virtual agents can inspire creativity through conversations and demonstrations. Truong is co-advised by School of Interactive Computing (IC) Associate Professors Dhruv Batra and Sonia Chernova.

“I’m looking forward to developing new connections for future collaborations with my Apple mentor, and brainstorming new research directions. It’s an honor to be one of the first Georgia Tech students to be recognized by the program, and shows that students should not self-select when applying for scholarships or other awards,” said Truong.

Truong was also recently named a 2021 Adobe Research Fellow.

Silva is a second-year doctorate student advised by IC Assistant Professor Matthew Gombolay. His research combines machine learning and robotics to study how interactive intelligence can be improved and leveraged for a variety of tasks. Silva is specifically interested in multi-modal or contextual problems and low-data situations. This research will ideally lead to humans and robots being able to have a two-way dialogue and with humans having the ability to tweak how robots or digital agents work to fit their lives or expectations.

“I’m thrilled to be named an Apple Scholar and encouraged by their support. I’m excited to grow the field of interactive and interpretable machine learning research with Apple’s mentorship, and to integrate Apple’s design- and product-centric mentality into my future research. It’s an honor to be among the first Georgia Tech students to be receive this award,” said Silva.

Read Apple’s announcement of the 2021 Scholars.

Press Contact:

Allie McFadden

Communications Officer

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