SUNY Launches Second Year of the Chancellor’s Summer Research Excellence Fund with Special Initiative Focused on AI for the Public Good

February 16, 2024

Announcement Comes as Part of Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus Panel Event on Artificial Intelligence 

22 Internship Experiences will Focus on Artificial Intelligence Research

Albany, NY – State University of New York Chancellor John B. King, Jr. today announced the second year of the Chancellor's Summer Research Excellence Fund which will provide over 150 undergraduates with paid internships this summer at eight campuses. This will be the second year of the Chancellor's Summer Research Excellence Fund internship program, which underscores the Board of Trustees' and Chancellor's goal of every student having a paid hands-on learning experience by the time they receive their degree.

As part of the 2024 State of the State agenda, Governor Hochul has proposed the Empire AI initiative, which will provide SUNY's four University Centers and other leading New York research institutions with the opportunity to conduct groundbreaking research and lead the nation in AI research and economic development, with an emphasis on the use of AI to advance the public good.

To help support Empire AI and the nation leading work New York is doing around Artificial Intelligence, at least 22 of the 2024 Chancellor's Summer Research Excellence Fund paid internship experiences will focus on roles in Artificial Intelligence and the need to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in AI research and development.

"Like the invention of the printing press, the radio, or the internet, once every generation, a technological wave comes along that changes how we live. That is why it is critical we provide internship experiences to students in the growing field of Artificial Intelligence to apply AI to solve problems, to learn about AI ethics, and to increase diversity in STEM fields researching and innovating in this emerging technology," said SUNY Chancellor King. "Internships are absolutely vital to student success, as they offer experiences students would not otherwise get in the classroom alone."

SUNY Chancellor King and Assembly Member Michaelle C. Solages, Chair of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus, co-moderated a discussion featuring BPRHA Caucus Member Senator Kristen Gonzalez, Assembly Member Alex Bores, Assembly Member Steven Otis, and panelists from the University at Albany and the University at Buffalo regarding the need to ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion in the Artificial Intelligence workforce, and in research and development.

Artificial Intelligence biases have real world consequences, and one way to address these biases is to increase the diversity of those in the field, including ensuring that research experiences are paid and accessible to students from various backgrounds.

The internship program will expand research opportunities to students with financial need, first-generation students, and others who may face barriers to securing research experiences. Participating campuses include: University at Albany, Binghamton University, University at Buffalo, Downstate Health Sciences University, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Stony Brook University, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, and Upstate Medical University.

The Summer Research Excellence Fund, which is supported by SUNY's Empire Innovation Program, covers all student costs for the internship including, but not limited to, student stipend/salary, tuition/fees, housing, meal plans, childcare, and transportation.

These internships will be in fields including biology, artificial intelligence, machine learning, cybersecurity, physics, astronomy, engineering, medicine, life sciences, chemistry, computer science, and clean energy.

SUNY Board Trustee Courtney Burke said, "We know how critical it is for students to gain some form of internship or hands-on learning experience before they graduate. It is one of the absolute best ways to secure student success by giving students the opportunities for the learning they need. Chancellor King and the SUNY Board of Trustees are excited to again offer this opportunity, especially for those pursuing opportunities to advance Artificial Intelligence for the public good."

The Chancellor's Summer Research Excellence Fund is in addition to the $10 million annual support for student internships from Governor Hochul and the legislature's historic investment in operating funds for State-operated campuses as part of the 2023-24 enacted budget.

University at Albany President Havidán Rodríguez said, "Experiential learning opportunities like internships and research are incredibly valuable for undergraduates, and particularly so for first-generation students and those from communities that are underrepresented in higher education. The University at Albany is proud to participate in the Chancellor's Summer Research Excellence Fund which will provide paid internships to undergraduates. As one of the most diverse research universities in the nation and a leader in artificial intelligence research and education, UAlbany is committed to ensuring students from all backgrounds can excel in STEM fields. Initiatives like AI Plus on our campus, which ensures every student receives a grounding in AI, and experiential opportunities like these summer internships, provide that opportunity."

Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger said, "Binghamton University students enjoyed a one-of-a-kind experience last year through the Chancellor's Summer Research Excellence Fund. I'm pleased that SUNY and Chancellor King are extending this program to offer even more students the chance to work closely with faculty and develop skills that will prepare them for the workplace and graduate school. Expanding research access to low-income, first-generation and underrepresented students is a crucial part of Binghamton University's and SUNY's goal to increase upward social mobility."

University at Buffalo Vice President for Research and Economic Development Venu Govindaraju said, "Research sparks curiosity, driving exploration and knowledge expansion. The Chancellor's Summer Research Excellence Fund highlights the vast potential of human inquiry and the profound impact of ideas. My journey in artificial intelligence, especially in machine learning, started in school. The University at Buffalo's commitment to provide transformative educational experiences and purposeful research, with the potential to change lives, is commendable."

Downstate Health Sciences University President Wayne J. Riley said, "SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University is proud to be a part of the Chancellor's Summer Research Excellence Fund, providing 150 undergraduates with valuable paid internships. This program plays a crucial role in offering students hands-on research experience and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion, particularly in areas like Artificial Intelligence. These opportunities enhance equity for students from all backgrounds in this rapidly evolving field."

SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry President Joanie Mahoney said, "Internships and research are vital parts of preparing our students for future success through practical, real-world experience in their chosen fields. We're grateful that the Chancellor's Summer Research Excellence Fund allows us to provide these opportunities to more students by eliminating financial barriers or additional debt for a summer session. The inaugural year of this innovative program was a great success, and we look forward to partnering with the Chancellor once again."

SUNY Polytechnic Institute President Winston Soboyejo said, "Internships and research opportunities can open so many doors. On a path to becoming the State and nation's premier public polytechnic, SUNY Poly takes great pride in offering students the hands-on experiences necessary to prepare them to meet growing workforce demands in areas such as artificial intelligence, advanced manufacturing, applied mathematics, computer science, cybersecurity, engineering, robotics, the health, life, physical and social sciences and beyond. We are grateful to SUNY and Chancellor King for their continued efforts to eliminate the financial barriers that can prevent students from participating in these transformative experiences, with their investment through the Chancellor's Summer Research Excellence Fund."

Stony Brook University President Maurie McInnis said "As Stony Brook prepares its bright and talented students to lead the next generation of scientific research, ensuring the future of STEM education and innovation is inclusive, equitable, diverse and collaborative is a top priority. The generous and visionary support of the Chancellor's Summer Research Excellence Fund makes it possible for our students to excel at the highest levels by obtaining hands-on research opportunities in critical fields, such as artificial intelligence, climate science, and clean energy."

Upstate Medical University President Mantosh Dewan said, "Upstate Medical University applauds Chancellor King for providing valuable opportunities for students through these important paid internships thanks to the Chancellor's Summer Research Excellence Fund. AI impacts every sector, including medicine. Intentionally ensuring diverse and inclusive representation will benefit the health care profession and our patients."

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2022, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit suny.edu.


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