Former President Bill Clinton, left, participated in this weekend’s Clinton Global Initiative University program in Phoenix, Ariz. Eddie Massey III, pictured in the crowd with Clinton, introduced his proposed Artificial Intelligence in Action program. (Photo special to The T&D)
By JORDONE BRANCH
The Times and Democrat
“I was always interested in technology as a child,” says Eddie Massey III, a sophomore at Claflin University.
“I find computer programming very useful because I don’t have to wait on other companies to come out with the latest invention or computer gadget. If I need something, I can just make it on my own,” he said.
Massey traveled to Arizona for the Clinton Global Initiative University program, an initiative sponsored by the Clinton Foundation. He was able to introduce his proposed program to a number of diverse scholars, entrepreneurs and topic experts.
Thousands applied to the opportunity, but Massey was one of only 32 student commitment-makers chosen to make a difference at the conference.
The program idea that Massey has created is Artificial Intelligence in Action (AI in Action).
“AI in Action has a goal to help women, minority and low-income students gain skills in computer science and software engineering,” Massey said.
“The purpose of AI in Action is to take high school students and teach them advance topics in robotics, so they can be the game changers of the technology industry. We want our students to be prepared, not just for tomorrow’s world, but for right now,” Massey said.
He has already begun to develop the beginning stages of the program using students from Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School as participants.
After the event in Phoenix, Massey said, “My experience at CGIU was one of a kind. Seeing all the endeavors of other student commitment-makers was incredibly inspirational. The feedback I got from speakers and students will help me to sharpen AI In Action on so many levels.
“Having the opportunity to learn from the Clinton family was another exceptional part of CGIU. Although I didn’t get to have a one-on-one conversation with any of them, I will carry what I learned for the rest of life.”
The tech savvy 21-year-old Orangeburg native was discovering ways to intelligently expand his knowledge about computers well before his years at Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School.
“I started doing web design at 8 years old,” Massey said. His first self-designed website was a “tech news” site that promoted information and awareness about the latest technological innovations.
From that point on, he made the decision that he would use his skills to help others.
During his freshman year of college, Massey worked in a medical robotics lab, where he helped conduct research and develop software for autonomous robotic surgery.
The results of that project “helped make a machine to perform suturing and knot tying,” he said. Massey hopes that one day he can help many through medical robotics solutions.
Massey transferred to Claflin University from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.
The death of his father from Hurricane Sandy led him to return to his roots and begin receiving an education in Orangeburg.
“I believe that education is the key to advancement and empowerment. The public education system of South Carolina doesn’t do the students here justice,” Massey said about his decision to create computer science programs where students can learn beyond the classroom.
To read more about AI in Action, visit www.ai-inaction.org. To find out more information on how to apply to the Clinton Global Initiative University program, visit www.cgiu.org.
Jordone Branch is a correspondent with The Times and Democrat (www.TheTandD.com) newspaper in Orangeburg.