A Clemson University Ph.D. student who helped start academic programs to support Black artificial intelligence researchers is making MIT Technology Review’s new global list of “35 Innovators Under 35.”
Moses Namara, 29, holds a Master of Computer Science from Clemson and is now pursuing a doctorate in human-centered computing under the guidance of Associate Professor Bart Knijnenburg.
Some of the previous honorees to make the magazine’s list have gone on to become household names, including Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page.
“To be among that group is an honor,” Namara said.
Namara co-created academic programs for the nonprofit Black in AI. The programs provide support to Black junior researchers as they apply for graduate school, navigate graduate school and then look for jobs after graduation.
The annual list runs online and in the magazine’s July/August issue, recognizing outstanding innovators who are younger than 35.
“This is an enormous honor that is a testament to the incredible work that Moses is doing, both for his Ph.D. and for the scientific community in general,” Knijnenburg said. “This award, of course, also reflects very positively on the School of Computing and on Clemson University as a whole.”
Namara, who was born in Uganda, said his path to Clemson began when he was an undergraduate student researcher at the University of Maryland, College Park. He met Knijnenburg at an academic conference. Knijnenburg encouraged Namara to apply to Clemson.
Clemson has become home for Namara in the five years he has been at the University. He arrived single and is now married to Rehemah Nansamba, who is a medical doctor. They have two children.
“The environment at Clemson has fostered my success, straight from the leadership of the School of Computing and the University in general,” Namara said. “Students come first in my experience.”
Amy Apon, the C. Tycho Howle Director of the School of Computing, said Namara’s position on the list is well deserved.
“This recognition puts Moses in the same group as some of the most influential innovators in the world,” she said. “His success will not only help spread the word about his great work but also boost the international reputation of Clemson University’s School of Computing. I offer him my deepest congratulations on this high honor.”
Namara’s research centers on online user privacy as technology becomes more advanced and more deeply integrated into people’s daily lives. He has been selected by Facebook as an Emerging Scholar in 2017 and Fellow in 2020, an honor that pays tuition, a stipend and travel funds to professional events for up to two academic years.
Building on his summer 2020 internship experience, Namara is currently working as a user experience research intern at Facebook.
Namara, who is strongly considering becoming a professor after graduation, expects to receive his doctorate in May 2022.
Among those lauding Namara for making the list was Anand Gramopadhye, dean of the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences.
“Black communities are underrepresented in computer science, and Moses’ work is helping close the gap,” Gramopadhye said. “He is well positioned to become a transformative leader in the field. Making the list is a well-deserved honor.”
To view the magazine, go here.
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