Cornell’s First Science Communication and Public Engagement Minor Graduates Tackle Health, Racial and Medical Issues

Benjamin Fields ’20 and Serena Stern ’20 wrote to The Sun with how the science communication and public engagement minor has helped them in their post-Cornell endeavors.

Nearly 1 in 3 Americans do not believe the actual coronavirus death toll is as high as its official count. Scholars have suggested that COVID-19 health literacy is a serious and underestimated problem, making the importance of communicating science more prevalent than ever.

The science communication and public engagement minor was designed for science, technology, engineering and math majors who want to break the divide between scientists and the general public by translating complicated science concepts into more digestible terms — something that is particularly pertinent to a global pandemic.

Benjamin Fields ’20 and Serena Stern ’20 were the first two graduates to receive the science communication and public engagement minor. After graduating from Cornell, the two are now applying the skills they

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Google is providing cash awards to 76 startups through a racial equity initiative announced in June

In June of this year, as more of the world began to awaken to the many ways that people of color are systematically discriminated against amid months of protest, a wide number of companies announced initiatives aimed at improving the representation of underrepresented groups within their own ranks and as recipients of their investment dollars.

Unsurprisingly, Alphabet, among the world’s biggest and most profitable companies, was among them. Specifically, as part of Alphabet’s commitment, Jewel Burks Solomon — who is the head of the company’s nine-year-old program Google for Startups — agreed to help steer $5 million in cash rewards of up to $100,000 to select startups.

The company didn’t waste much time. Today, Solomon is announcing that the money has been committed to 76 different startups that were chosen for their geographic diversity as well as the diversity of their companies’ mission.

Solomon and her team had some help.

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Twitter is changing how it crops photos after reports of racial bias

  • Twitter said it is limiting its reliance on machine learning that helps it decide which part of a photo to crop on its platform.
  • Online users have reported racial bias on the social media firm’s image cropping tool, which automatically focuses on the part of a photo it thinks the viewer will find most interesting.
  • One Twitter user recently highlighted how the face of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is white, was routinely centered in automatic image crops, while that of former President Barack Obama was cut out.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Twitter is making changes to its photo cropping function after an investigation into racial bias in the software, the company said on Thursday.

The announcement comes after users on the platform repeatedly showed that the tool — which uses machine learning to choose which part of an image to crop based on what

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Apparent racial bias found in Twitter photo algorithm

An algorithm Twitter uses to decide how photos are cropped in people’s timelines appears to be automatically electing to display the faces of white people over people with darker skin pigmentation. The apparent bias was discovered in recent days by Twitter users posting photos on the social media platform. A Twitter spokesperson said the company plans to reevaluate the algorithm and make the results available for others to review or replicate.

Twitter scrapped its face detection algorithm in 2017 for a saliency detection algorithm, which is made to predict the most important part of an image. A Twitter spokesperson said today that no race or gender bias was found in evaluation of the algorithm before it was deployed “but it’s clear we have more analysis to do.”

Twitter engineer Zehan Wang tweeted that bias was detected in 2017 before

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Black tech organizations grow amid calls for racial justice

Amazon applied science manager Dr. Nashlie Sephus has lived in New York City, Atlanta, Silicon Valley, and Seoul while pursuing her education and work in machine learning. She knows the look of a community that’s thriving from technology and innovation, but she didn’t see that growth happening in her hometown of Jackson, Mississippi. That’s why last week she concluded an 18-month process by signing contracts to secure 12 acres of land that will be home to the Jackson Tech District.

The Bean Path, a nonprofit organization created by Sephus, will operate a maker and innovation space on the land. There will also be restaurants and residential lofts spread across eight buildings, all located near the historically Black Jackson State University.

The Bean Path’s expansion in Jackson, a city with one of the highest African-American populations per capita of any city in the U.S., is the latest example of a Black

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