Last Day: Research Presentations, Poster Session, and Staying Involved in AI

After a quick breakfast, the girls jumped into their last research project session. They worked hard to put the finishing touches on their project boards and rehearse their upcoming presentations.IMG_4417

Much like last year, each project group had the chance to present everything they’d been working on for the past two weeks. Campers didn’t just explain the technical details of their work, they also viewed their AI research through the lens of social good. In particular, the four groups covered how to utilize natural language processing to aid disaster relief, using computer vision to make hospitals safer, writing machine learning algorithms to detect various cancers in the human genome, and programming autonomous cars to revolutionize transportation. We’re so proud of what everyone has learned and accomplished in just two weeks!

SAILORS students and staff took a camp photo at lunch, and then moved into the poster session portion of the afternoon. Members of the Stanford AI Laboratory were all invited to take a look at the four projects and ask questions.


Following the poster gallery walk was the very last personal growth session: staying involved in AI, and in computer science as a whole. Representatives from organizations like she++, Girls Teaching Girls to Code, and the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) came to speak to the girls about potential next steps they could take to expand their skill set and keep in touch with the community.

The day was concluded with an exit survey, which mirrored the questions in the survey the girls took on the first day of camp. As Profei-Fei Li had explained during orientation, rigorous and quantitative  evaluation is an integral part of SAILORS. Even though the official program has ended, the curriculum chairs will continue to work tirelessly to read through the girls’ feedback in order to continue improving this initiative for next year.feifei final

A giant thank you to everyone who made SAILORS 2016 the huge success that it was: professors, graduate students, guest speakers, project mentors, sponsors, last year’s alumni, and especially the students and their parents who made the effort to come out to Stanford every day for the past two weeks! It’s been a blast, but our hope is that this summer is only just the beginning. We’re beyond excited to add another 24 motivated girls to our alumni network and continue to champion diversity in the hugely promising field of artificial final


Day 8: Human Genomics, Stanford’s Autonomous Car, and Field Trip to Dropbox

The SAILORS arrived this morning excited for today’s field trip to the Dropbox office! But before that, they enjoyed a breakfast Q&A with Professor Gill Bejerano, who talked about how he ended up in the field of genomics despite starting college with little interest in either biology or computer science.


After breakfast, Prof. Bejerano went into more detail about how machine learning is critical for finding the “bugs” in people’s genomes that cause disease. As he explained, combing through a patient’s genome manually is too expensive and time-consuming to keep up with demand; researchers are therefore looking toward automation to solve this problem.


The girls then headed outside to see Stanford’s self-driving car in person! CS department member Dr. Brice Rebsamen explained how the car worked, but also talked about the problems that he and his colleagues encountered. From blind spots to bad weather, there are a lot of difficult issues that autonomous car researchers need to resolve in order for their vehicles to be safe and ready for the road.

Following the demo was this week’s field trip! The campers had the chance to tour the Dropbox office in San Francisco. They first met Justin Bethune, the company’s global diversity program manager. After a casual lunch, the girls split off into groups to tour the office, from the rooftop garden to the colorful working spaces.

The girls meet Judith Williams, global head of diversity at Dropbox

The day concluded with a panel featuring five female employees of Dropbox, who spoke about their background and life at the company. They also gave advice to the SAILORS girls about staying motivated while pursuing a STEM career.


We hope everyone had fun today, and we’re looking forward to the final two days of the program!

Last Day: Research Presentations, Poster Session, and More!

The last day of SAILORS kicked off with a breakfast followed by a rehearsal/preparation session with the research projects. Students spent the last session with their research projects finishing up their posters and perfecting their upcoming presentation.

Campers then presented about their research projects. All of the four groups had the opportunity to talk about both the societal impact and the technical aspect of their project. Many projects featured skits or videos that demonstrated how the project worked or how the project could solve a problem in the real world. The four research projects included self-driving cars and their impact on personal transportation, computer vision and hospital safety, natural language processing and disaster relief, and decoding the genome.

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After lunch, campers answered questions about their research projects in a poster session. Various members from the AI community learned about all four different projects and asked questions that allowed the campers to demonstrate the knowledge they’ve gained from their projects.

PicMonkey Collagel

Right before the personal growth session began, Prof. Fei Fei Li signed SAILORS program director Olga Russakovsky’s thesis! This was an exciting and inspirational moment that we all got to watch.


A personal growth session on how to stay involved in artificial intelligence and computer science followed the poster session. Representatives from various organizations, such as she++, Stanford Online High School, and many others, presented about what they are and how the students could become involved.


The day concluded with a quick survey followed by a Q/A session with Olga, who gave useful bits of advice and told her life story with the campers.

Thank you to everybody, the project mentors, professors, guest speakers, PhD students, sponsors, parents, and students, who dedicated their time and effort into making SAILORS a huge success.

We hope that all the campers had fun learning about all the different aspects of artificial intelligence. As the 24 SAILORS campers become SAILORS alumnae, we hope that they have not only become more exposed to artificial intelligence but also have found a community of friends that will support them in their current and future endeavors.

Day 8: Computational Sustainability, Google, and Research Projects

Day 8 kicked off with breakfast and a lecture from Professor Stefano Ermon. Prof. Ermon talked about computational sustainability and how machine learning could help with sustainability and conservation. Students also learned about eBird, a collaborative system where everyday bird watchers contributed observations that scientists used as data points for their research. 


After Prof. Ermon’s lecture, students had another session with their research projects.

Students from the self driving car research group are coding their robots to drive the shortest path from point A to point B.
Students from the self driving car research group coded their robots to drive the shortest path from point A to point B.

The campers then had a field trip to Google, where they enjoyed a relaxing lunch at the company’s cafeteria. Google employees, many whom conduct research in the natural language processing field, joined the students for lunch. An industry panelist followed the lunch, and the girls had a chance to ask their own questions to Google professionals.

The Google panelists talked about everything from what they liked about their job to what initially got them interested in STEM.
The Google panelists talked about everything from what they liked about their job to what initially got them interested in STEM.

The tour concluded with a stop at Google’s visitor center.


We hope that everybody had a lot of fun on Day 8, and we can’t wait for the last 2 days of camp!



Day 5: Social and Information Networks, Industry Panelist Session, and Banquet

Day 5 of SAILORS kicked off with a breakfast with PhD student Bob West. After the breakfast, West delivered a presentation on informational networks and how everything in the modern world is interconnected. The presentation also mentioned how researchers can utilize data gathered from websites like and to refine tools like speech-recognition devices.


A tutorial led by Dr. Lamberto Ballan on the nearest neighbor algorithm followed West’s lecture. Students learned how the nearest neighbor algorithm can help in image recognition and classification.

After that, the students had a lunch with AI PhD students and continued working on their research projects.

Campers in the self driving cars research project work on the board as they try to map out a path for their line following robot.

Students then had the opportunity to conduct a panelist discussion with industry professionals. All types of questions were asked, ranging from what hobbies the panelists enjoyed in high school to what work life is like.

The day concluded with a reception, which featured a keynote from Dr. Ruzena Bajcsy, EE and CS professor from Berkeley and one of the first women in robotics. In addition to explaining to us what she is currently working on, Prof. Bajcsy also shared her inspirational life story.

DSC_5212The banquet continued with presentations by program directors Fei Fei Li and Olga Russakovsky, who talked about the vision of SAILORS and plans for next year. After that, the program evaluation team presented about the specific goals of SAILORS and the financial team discussed what it took to bring a program like SAILORS to life.

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SAILORS campers also had the opportunity to present about their research projects. These projects included making hospitals safer with computer vision, assisting disasters with natural language processing, decoding DNA and finding the meaning of the genome, and evaluating and creating self driving cars.


We cannot thank enough all the people — the sponsors, mentors, teachers, PhD students, parents, professors, industry professionals, and campers — who have helped bring SAILORS to life.

With the conclusion of week 1, we are excited for week 2 and we hope the campers are too!