While the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the way Higher Education Institutions operate worldwide, it has not deterred the solid determination of our top students. Earlier this year, Faculty of Engineering students at the University of Balamand (UOB), Elissa Nabhan (MS Electrical Engineering), Hanna Abdel Massih (MS Computer Engineering), and Joy Awad (BS Computer Engineering) completed a remote internship at the Technology for Human Wellbeing (HumanTech) Institute at the School of Engineering and Architecture (HEIA) Fribourg – Switzerland. This research institute works on innovative projects that combine humanities and innovative technologies such as virtual/enhanced reality, machine learning, etc. The institute comprises about twenty people, including professors, collaborators, doctoral students, and trainees. The internship was completed under the supervision of UOB Alumna and doctoral student at Fribourg Mira Kamali and the team of researchers there.
Elissa, Hanna, and Joy had to endure the challenges of adjusting to the remote work environment. However, they were thrilled to be part of the projects they were working on. The internship mainly focused on applications of Artificial Intelligence to human-machine interaction, whether in implementing a virtual caretaker for the elderly or a copilot for semi-autonomous vehicles. Joy remarked that the internship was most useful and informative for her as she was exposed through hands-on application to the world of AI and the various tools and programming languages the project entailed.
With the support of their mentors, Elissa, Hanna, and Joy had a remarkable experience. Furthermore, they have been offered to opportunity to complete their master’s projects through a collaboration between the University of Balamand and HEIA Fribourg.
Vice President for Internationalization and Engagement and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering Prof. Rami Abboud congratulated Elissa, Hanna, and Joy on their exceptional work throughout the internship. He also thanked Dr. Walid Karam, who was instrumental in arranging this opportunity along with Alumna Ms. Mira Kamali. Prof. Abboud emphasized that initiatives like these truly help us take Balamand to the world and bring the world to Balamand. He added, “I’m proud of all that has been accomplished so far and I look forward to building on and advancing this collaboration with the help of Dr Walid Karam to further our expertise and collaborations in the field of AI.”