Jessica Echterhoff (MS ’22, PhD ’25) Nets CSE’s First Apple Scholars in AI/ML Fellowship

Apr 24, 2023
CSE's Jessica Echterhoff

By Kimberley Clementi

Department of Computer Science and Engineering PhD student Jessica Echterhoff has been named a 2023 recipient of the Apple Scholars in AI/ML PhD fellowship. Echterhoff, the first UC San Diego student to receive this award since the inaugural class was announced in 2020, secured a coveted spot alongside 21 other scholars from top echelon CSE programs, including UC Berkeley, Stanford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“You can’t believe how happy I am about the fellowship,” said Echterhoff. “It provides me with time and freedom to pursue my research interests, and it allows me to connect with other leading researchers in the 2023 Apple Scholars cohort.”

Established to support emerging leaders in artificial intelligence and machine learning, the Apple Scholars in AI/ML PhD fellowship recognizes the contributions of researchers at the graduate and postgraduate level and provides funding, internship opportunities and mentorship with an Apple researcher. Scholars are selected based on their innovative research, record as thought leaders and collaborators, and commitment to advancing their respective fields.

Echterhoff, who is advised by CSE Professor Julian McAuley, has already made an impact in machine learning with a project on mitigating anchoring bias in sequential decision making. Her latest research expands on the topic of data bias, approaching it from the intersection of human and data-centric artificial intelligence.

“Data is not only a technical challenge; it is also reflective of human behavior, preferences, and biases that can have consequences,” said Echterhoff, acknowledging that these consequences are often unintended. “I work to reduce data bias and to make pareto-optimal decisions in data collection, annotation, and model training to attain resource efficiency, as well as increased data quality and representativeness.”