Zane Durante

2020 Astronaut Scholarship Recipient

Zane Durante

Zane Durante is a rising senior pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and a Bachelor of Arts in Applied and Computational Mathematics. Eager to dive into artificial intelligence projects at USC, Zane joined the Center for AI in Society, Student Branch (CAIS++) in the fall of his freshman year. His first completed project used machine learning to detect skin cancer from medical images. He has continued to teach and conduct research with CAIS++ throughout his undergraduate career and served as the club’s Vice President for Curriculum this past year. He is currently collaborating with linguists to develop machine learning algorithms to document and preserve endangered languages. Additionally, Zane’s research at USC’s Signal Analysis and Interpretation Lab (SAIL) involves using machine learning and AI to understand communication and behavior patterns in children and detect deception in speech. He received two USC Provost Undergraduate Research Fellowships to develop this project throughout the spring and fall of 2019, has already presented and published much of this project, and has additional plans to publish more recent findings. Zane’s work with SAIL continues this summer as he joins a new project that uses machine learning to generate real time MRI videos of the human vocal tract given a person’s speech. This work will be funded by a third Provost Fellowship for the summer semester. Zane plans to continue his research with SAIL for the duration of his undergraduate career and apply to graduate school this fall to pursue a PhD in artificial intelligence or machine learning, focusing on natural language processing or computer vision to solve problems facing human health and well-being. He previously won the Astronaut Scholarship for the 2019/2020 academic year. As a part of this honor, scholars receive up to a $10,000 award; expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. for the “Innovators Gala”; mentoring by an Astronaut Scholar alumni, C-suite executive, or astronaut; opportunity to participate in the Professional Development Program sponsored by RBC; the opportunity to participate in multiple Foundation events; and membership in the Astronaut Scholar Honor Society.

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Making Children’s Voices Heard in the Courtroom

Goldwater Scholar wants to use AI to help ensure justice where children are involved