TajRupt.AI Fully-Funded Summer Fellowship Program Application
TajRupt.AI is the first artificial intelligence lab in Central Asia. One of the winners of the global Transform Fund competition launched by the Islamic Development Bank’s Science, Technology, and Innovation Fund (STIF), the organization will officially commence operations in June 2019. Our mission is to transform Tajikistan into the regional hub for artificial intelligence research and entrepreneurship, accelerating the country’s course of economic development while capitalizing on the talent base of its youth in STEM fields. TajRupt.AI will complement TajRupt’s civic education effort that has been focused on development of critical thinking skills among the youth in Tajikistan since 2017.
FEllowship program Background:
Last summer, TajRupt launched a summer fellowship program as part of our civic education program enabling excelling students enrolled in liberal arts curricula in the United States to facilitate development of critical thinking skills among students in Tajikistan. In the process, the fellows gained an opportunity to become immersed into the local context of Tajikistan, balancing formal work responsibilities with informal community activities alongside the students. The fellowship program was launched with three fellows – two undergraduate students from the University of Chicago through our partnership with the Institute of Politics, and one graduate student from the Evans School of Public Policy at University of Washington. This year, the civic education fellowship includes fellows from Harvard Kennedy School and Stanford University.
Summer 2018 fellows taught activism courses on gender equality, media freedom, and globalization, led study groups on topics across economics, sociology, and literature, and conducted research on digital expansion of our curriculum. Explore the impact of their work here.
Tajrupt.ai summer fellowship:
The goal of TajRupt.AI’s summer fellowship program is to replicate our civic education fellowship within the parameters of TajRupt.AI’s mission. The summer fellows will focus on two areas of work: teaching, and applied research,
The fellows will be responsible for teaching courses across data science and artificial intelligence. Students enrolled in the courses will be comprised of academic olympiad winners in STEM subjects, representing the foremost Tajikistani students in the field. Furthermore, graduate fellows will have a chance to conduct training workshops baed on more advanced materials in the fields of machine learning and deep learning to local university-level computer science instructors.
The fellows will have an opportunity to conduct applied research at TajRupt.AI’s programming laboratory - both independently and as part of institutional research priorities. Through our partnership with Khujand Polytechnic Institute - Tajikistan’s leading technological university - the fellows will contribute to the research design of a project seeking to optimize competency-based learning through use of predictive analytics in higher education.
The following qualifications are mandatory for prospective applicants:
Enrollment in a graduate or undergraduate program in computer science;
Demonstrated passion for teaching;
Experience with research projects;
Openness to feedback;
Ability to navigate through a new context based on adaptability;
Initiative-taking and desire to pioneer new projects;
Previous experience with studying or traveling abroad is preferred.
TajRupt follows a flat organizational structure that disregards hierarchy and values mentorship. As a summer fellow, you will not have a supervisor to report to, but rather a mentor to work with. Each fellow will have a ‘support system’ pair from among local staff members who will serve as focal points of contact before arrival and throughout the fellowship period. Moreover, the fellows will work directly with the organization’s founder on day-to-day basis. We place emphasis on transforming your fellowship experience into an opportunity for personal and professional development.
As for team culture, TajRupt has introduced a ‘radical transparency’ approach that facilitates provision of open and honest feedback, encourages constructive criticism, and is focused on identifying structural shortcomings. Our bi-weekly team meetings are accompanied with post-meeting reflection periods during which the team members fill out a Google Form providing feedback to one another on a list of key team attributes, highlighting positive and negative elements of performance at the meeting, and tracking each other’s progress on feedback over time. Each individual piece of feedback is then compiled into an aggregate sheet that is accessible to all team members, maximizing transparency of the process. As a summer fellow, you will be expected to fully participate in this process.
The fellowship program is fully funded thanks to TajRupt.AI’s grant funding from the Islamic Development Bank. As such, all costs including transportation, accommodation, and living expenses will be fully covered. Furthermore, Attached is a sample budget that prospective candidates can refer to as an estimate.
We value the time that prospective applicants put into exploring our fellowship opportunity. As such, we follow one-week turnaround policy for all applications (e.g. you will hear within a week of applying whether your candidacy has advanced into the interview stage). The interview process is structured into two separate rounds: behavioral interview, and work-sample test. The following is the application timeline:
Late March - late April: Rolling interview process.
May 1st: Fellow selection finalized.
Throughout May: Virtual pre-arrival sessions and trainings, travel to D.C. for visa, etc.
Mid-June: Arrival to Tajikistan and on-boarding activities.
Late June - late August: Fellowship period.