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2021 Shark Tank Open

Interdisciplinary Applications of Artificial Intelligence Emphasizing Public Safety earns 2021 Shark Tank Open Funding

St. Cloud State University's Interdisciplinary Applications of Artificial Intelligence Emphasizing Public Safety: A Multi Campus Collaboration to Develop and Offer a Minnesota State System Wide Course on Applications of Artificial Intelligence across the Criminal Justice System collaborative course is one of six pitches that earned almost $25,000 in grant funding at the Minnesota State Educational Innovations 2021 Shark Tank Open

Criminal Justice faculty and IT departments from St. Cloud State and Minnesota State University, Moorhead are collaborating with technical specialists from IBM to develop, teach and provide technical support for a dual enrollment course on applications of Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing to address the ethical concerns associated with these applications across the criminal justice system. This collaborative course offering will be available to students via a Hyflex model, and will encourage collaborations among students, faculty, IT staff, guest speakers, and IBM technical specialists.

This course offering was pitched by Dr. Lindsey Vigesaa, Dr. Mary Clifford and Dr. Katie Richardson Jen from Criminal Justice Studies on April 8 and was chosen out of 16 highly competitive finalists for this year's large seed funding competition. The selection panel cited they viewed this pitch as something that was important in keeping current in the field and noted the importance of this type of project particularly with the backdrop of recent and ongoing issues identified in policing. 

The Shark Tank Open is Minnesota State Educational Innovation’s premier innovation event, drawing educators from across 37 colleges and university for a day of reimagining education. Faculty and staff innovators had seven minutes to virtually present their innovate project ideas to a panel of judges – known as the sharks – in an effort to receive up to $25,000 in innovation funding.

A total of six St. Cloud State teams presented their ideas at the Shark Tank Open, with the topics of those six teams including:

  • “Supporting Autistic Student Success Initiative (SASSI)” – Drs. Theresa Estrem and Rebecca Crowell
  • “St. Cloud State University Mobile Make It Lab” – Dr. Kurt Helgeson
  • “Center for International Disability Advocacy and Diplomacy” – Dr. Kathryn Johnson
  • “Interdisciplinary Applications of Artificial Intelligence Emphasizing Public Safety: A Multi Campus Collaboration to Develop and Offer a Minnesota State System Wide Course on Applications of Artificial Intelligence across the Criminal Justice System” – Drs. Lindsey Vigesaa, Mary Clifford and Katie Richardson Jen
  • “An intelligent feedback generation and content recommendation system for students to improve their learning experience” – Dr. Maninder Singh
  • “Innovating the Science Classroom for Widespread Engagement” – Drs. Matt Davis and Matt Julius

In addition to those presentations, St. Cloud State faculty also held innovation workshops at the Shark Tank Open, including the topics of Virtual Reality featuring Mark Gill from the College of Science and Engineering and Digital Badging featuring Dr. Kannan Sivaprakasam from Chemistry and Dr. Plamen Miltenoff from University Library.

SASSI earns 2021 Shark Tank Open Funding

St. Cloud State's Supporting Autistic Student Success Initiative (SASSI), pitched by Dr. Theresa Estrem and Dr. Rebecca Crowell from Communication Science and Disorders, was also awarded grant funding at the 2021 Shark Tank Open.