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WAI Volunteer of the Month: Kristina Jonkuviene


Marisa Tschopp - WAI Chief Research Officer and ambassador for WAI Switzerland says:

”Kristina is one of the volunteers supporting the Swiss Women in AI chapter from day one. She was always there when I asked for help, her commitment was beyond all expectations. She excelled at co-leading our work for the EU horizon proposal on tackling Bias in AI. I am extremely thankful to have such a reliable, authentic and skilled women on our team.”

Q: Tell us a little about yourself.

I originally studied Applied Mathematics as a Bachelor degree and after some work experience finished a Master in Management. Recently, I have received the Machine Learning diploma at EPFL extension school: my capstone project was about the detection of lumbar pain using infrared images and AI. I used machine learning to separate patient cases from healthy control cases, based on thermal images of the back.


Currently, I am an associate partner at Gooliver, a management consulting boutique, advising business and governmental bodies on strategy, service design, performance excellence and compliance. I see machine learning as one of the very powerful tools in our toolbox to support our clients’ development.


As for hobbies, you are likely to find me at jazz events or playing football.



Q: What motivated you to take an active part in WAI?

For my Personal Growth - To expand my network with people working in the AI field, partake in the most interesting AI events (for example AMLD), see new machine learning applications and get recommendations which books and courses are the best to build a skill set.


By being active in a community, I learn more than by being a passive member.

For WAI’s Impact - The problems we discuss are very topical: machine learning algorithms’ fairness, inclusiveness, privacy etc. We need to have more open conversations in our society regarding AI usage, benefits and pitfalls.



Q: What did you do when volunteering for WAI?

I have participated in preparing, together with EU partners, the Horizon proposal on how to tackle bias and discrimination in AI in order to obtain European funding, under the leadership of Marisa Tschopp - WAI Chief Research Officer and ambassador for WAI Switzeland. We are expecting a decision on funding later this year.


I have been organizing live and online events for WAI Global and Switzerland, including producing marketing material, connecting with sponsors to support our initiatives. So we can attract new members and amplify WAI brand recognition.


I have also been helping individual WAI members with their AI projects, for example by being a test user for the mental health Kintsugi App developed by one of the WAI members in our Slack community.


Q: What is the most rewarding part of your volunteer role?

Meeting globally recognized experts in a field, like Professor of Computer Science at UC Berkeley Stuart Russell (author of the amazing book “Human Compatible: Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control”) and Professor of Ethics and Technology Joanna Bryson.


Spending time with like-minded people from diverse background, as well as having a big network to ask questions and receive immediate answers: on Slack, we can connect to any network’s member and ask for advice, information or help.


Feeling I am part of the solution rather than the problem!


Q: What have you found challenging when volunteering?

Carving time for AI initiatives in a busy schedule has been the most challenging between working in a consulting company, looking after the wellbeing of myself and my family and continuing to invest into myself to keep up with changes in the AI field.


This said, most of the time, the WAI activities’ deadlines are not so tight that I could not manage to find a couple of hours in a week or two for WAI activities.


Q: Would you have any advice for anybody looking to volunteer?

Regardless of your background or experience, you can do very little alone compared to a group of people. If you want to have an impact, WAI can help you in achieving your goals in exchange for your contributions to the network.


 

We’d like to sincerely thank Kristina for her initiatives and her great work!


If Kristina's story inspired you and you’d like to volunteer too, you can easily apply here:




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