The BYU-Idaho Data Science Society and Artificial Intelligence Society combined into one and kicked off the semester with their first meeting Wednesday in the Science and Technology Center.
Students still have the option to participate in AI projects as a subcategory within the Data Science Society.
The success of ChatGPT sharply increased the number of students interested in participating in the former AI Society.
“Last semester, (ChatGPT) is what made (the AI Society) popular, because all of these sophomores and freshmen were like, I’m interested now,” said Tyler English, the previous president of the AI Society and a senior studying computer science.
English said that working with AI requires a base knowledge of data science, part of the reason for the merger of the two societies.
“The Data Science Society is like an umbrella over AI since it encompasses it,” English said.
The first several weeks of the semester, society meetings are spent in data science and AI “boot camps” where more experienced students teach anyone who wants to participate.
As the first society meeting opened, J. Hathaway, a BYU-I professor of data science, reminded students that classes they take won’t be included on their resume. However, they can and should put down student societies they participated in.
“A lot of the big opportunities I’ve had have come from the Data Science Society,” said Spencer Driggs, the vice president of communication for the Data Science Society and a senior majoring in data science. “The company I work for now started as a project for the society. If you put in the time and effort it can lead to a job, great connections and experiences.”
Participating students gain experience working on projects for real companies that contract with BYU-I. Projects for this semester include work for the city of Rexburg, a global dental corporation, the Wilford Woodruff Papers, a mental health company and others.
“You learn a lot … but you also meet a lot of people,” English said. “If you do nothing else, at least you can make some friends.”
The Data Science Society meets every Wednesday from 6-7 p.m. in room 394 of the Science and Technology Center.