Moses Namara with news article
Moses Namara with news article

Clemson Doctoral Student Named to MIT Technology Review’s ’35 Innovators Under 35′

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CLEMSON, S.C. — Moses Namara’s interest in computers started at a young age, playing games on his computer. Wanting to learn how games and programs are developed, he chose to study computer science, which led him to Clemson University, where he’s currently a doctoral-degree candidate emphasizing in human-centered computing.

As he’s progressed in his studies, Namara co-created an academic program to support Black artificial intelligence (AI) researchers. For his efforts, he was named one of the 35 Innovators Under 35 by the MIT Technology Review.

“In most of my computing classes, I was mostly the only Black person in my class, and increasingly so the numbers continued to dwindle as I got higher up the ladder,” he said.

He said interest in AI sparked when he noticed that computers were making decisions, on our behalf, without much intervention by humans. Through his work, he helps shape the future of artificial intelligence by encouraging other young Black students, to not only become interested in AI, but also serve as a mentor, helping them land their first job through additional creative programs.

Namara’s path led to Clemson, thanks to an undergraduate advisor. His educational journey started at Montgomery College, then he completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Maryland. Namara went to Clemson for graduate school and finished his master’s degree in computer science before starting his doctoral work.

“I specifically came to Clemson for graduate school, but I didn’t know about Clemson at first but learned from my advisor at an academic conference that would help guide me along the way,” he said.

Namara is also a user-experience researcher intern at Facebook, where he conducts research on Facebook products aimed at improving users’ experiences.

Namara said he hopes to not only recruit for the Black and AI academic program and encourage students to apply for graduate school, but he also wants people to be in an environment where they feel supported. 

“I want to make Clemson an attractable place for people to come to,” he said. 

Namara said he hopes to teach when he’s finished with his studies.

“I hope that at the end of my graduate program that I will be able to teach my students in a classroom what I’ve learned to impact the next generation of researchers and students who come after me,” he said.

You can see the complete list of the MIT Technology Review’s 35 Innovators Under 35 here.