CAIS++ is the student branch of the USC Center for AI in Society (CAIS). Our undergraduate students work on innovative projects to promote the development of AI applications for social good.
Jordan Cahoon, 2022 CAIS++ Co-President, is a junior majoring in computer science and double minoring in bioinformatics and quantitative biology.
Let’s meet CAIS++ 2022 Co-President Jordan Cahoon. Born in Seattle, WA, Jordan is a junior majoring in computer science with a double minor in bioinformatics and quantitative biology. Before starting her journey at USC, Jordan worked in a parasitic worm lab where she used several machine learning algorithms to analyze how mice recover from worm infections. During that time, she discovered her interest in machine learning and the vast amount of applications of this technology. In her freshman year at USC, Jordan joined CAIS++ to learn more about the field. “I loved how CAIS++ was not just an artificial intelligence club, but rather an organization that focused on using artificial intelligence to promote social good,” said Jordan.
As co-president, Jordan works alongside Allen Chang to build faculty relationships, increase engagement within the club community, and place a greater emphasis on their machine learning projects. Together, they oversee the club’s initiatives, such as their machine learning curriculum, social events, guest speakers, and recruitment.
It’s time to get to know more about Jordan!
What does a typical day look like for you?
In the school year, my day can drastically change throughout the week! In general, I spend the day juggling classes with meetings for my various jobs and extracurricular commitments. During breaks, I love to grab food with friends. We usually end up going to the Law Cafe for their delicious salmon bowls! Some days I also need to go to the Health Science Campus for my lab in the Center for Genetic Epidemiology. At the end of the day, I enjoy decompressing by cooking dinner with my roommates.
What excites you the most about the intersection of AI and social work?
The potential for positive change! AI is fantastic because you can train a model to exceed human ability in one particular task. For instance, the power of AI in health care allows us to diagnose diseases earlier and more accurately. In research, scientists can speed up time-intensive processes by using AI models. With the easy access to computational resources using the cloud, I’m excited to see how others are able to apply this technology to different fields.
Have you learned anything new since you joined CAIS++?
Yes! Before joining CAIS++, I had little knowledge on how to code, let alone code an artificial intelligence model. Through CAIS++ curriculum, mentorship, and projects, I’ve learned so much about utilizing artificial intelligence to promote social good. But, aside from technical expertise, I’ve improved my communication skills from explaining machine learning concepts to presenting project results. Both are equally valuable, and I’m very thankful to have had the opportunity to improve these skills at CAIS++.
What would you like someone who’s interested in being part of CAIS++ to know?
Apply! Even if you don’t think you have the experience, we are looking for people dedicated to learning about AI and applying this technology to social good in different projects. Our E-Board recognizes that not everyone is super experienced — and that’s okay! We are trying to build a cohort with a diverse set of skills and backgrounds, and we hope to see your application in the pool! Apply here: https://caisplusplus.usc.edu/