|6 Dec 2022
|United Arab Emirates
|2022 Finalists Global Student Prize
Maya Bridgman is a student at Dubai College, UAE. She is deeply passionate about increasing the accessibility of computer science, artificial intelligence, and machine learning for all students, regardless of their age, gender, location, income, and experience.
To drive the change needed to equip the young people of today with 21st century skills, Maya created an artificial intelligence club at her secondary school, which rapidly grew to be the most popular academic club at her school. After being invited to speak to teenagers at Expo 2020 and understanding that there was a real demand for accessible, digestible AI education, Maya opened branches in the US, South Africa, Qatar, and other schools in Dubai, forming the Dubai AI Society which has now amassed over 600 members across four continents with five branches. Through the Dubai AI society, Maya is able to impact youth by conducting weekly lessons both live and online to empower students to be confident in their AI skills, sharing her bespoke project-driven curriculum that increases accessibility to AI in a fun and engaging way, and teaching AI to students at events such as Expo 2020 Dubai.
To share AI knowledge with disadvantaged or underprivileged young people, Maya is also partnering with several NGOs in India, as well as the Children's Cancer Centre Lebanon, the Baghdad Business School, and the Iraqi Children's Foundation. Adapting course content and translating into languages such as Arabic and Bengali, it is her hope that as many students globally as possible discover a passion for AI or realize that AI is for everyone, students of all genders, ages, locations, skill levels, and income.
Maya is also working with the UAE Ministry of Artificial Intelligence to bring an AI workshop to over 500 schools in Dubai as one of their youth ambassadors, hoping to inspire students to understand the applications of AI by making the concepts and ethics behind AI as accessible as possible.
An avid public speaker, Maya is an enthusiastic delegate at Model Congress and Model United Nations conferences, and has moderated international youth events with Sebastián Marroquín, the son of Pablo Escobar, on preventing drug addiction and the glorification of narcotics; Jeffrey Sachs, a Stanford professor who specializes in green energy and sustainability; and Rachel Graham, who runs an addiction rehabilitation center in Texas to discuss identifying and overcoming compulsive behaviour. Maya is also Senior Prefect, Student Leader and Head of the Student Alliance at her high school, currently campaigning to implement solar panels and lower the carbon footprint at her school, and has helped design coding and VR rooms as well as a new library.
Maya has applied her technical skills through designing and building a web app that uses machine learning to analyze the audio environment of children with audio perception sensitivity, worked on a sensor that detects the temperature of people walking into a classroom to uphold Covid protocols, and has teamed up with a professor of computer science at the American University in Dubai to develop a program to teach BBC micro:bit and BitBot programming to high school and university students.
Recently, Maya has been accepted into the Cambridge Centre Institute for Research with a scholarship to work with several PhD students from the Cambridge bio-inspired robotics lab to write a research paper on brain-computer interface and the implementation of machine learning in robots to safely work closer with humans.