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Nashlie Sephus is an alumna of the National GEM Consortium, which works to increase the participation of African Americans, American Indians, and Hispanic Americans at the master’s and doctoral levels in engineering and science.

During the 2024 BEYA STEM Conference held in February, Sephus received a Student Leadership Award, which is presented in partnership with The National GEM Consortium.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from Mississippi State University, Sephus went on to receive her Ph.D. from the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2014. As a Gen Fellow, her core research areas were digital signal processing, machine learning, and computer engineering.

Currently,  Sephus is a senior scientist at Amazon, where she is known for innovative work in artificial intelligence (AI). She is the principal scientist for Amazon’s AI initiative and plays a key role in ensuring ethical considerations in AI technology development.

Sephus also founded a nonprofit called The Bean Path, which aims to bridge the tech gap. Bean Path offers free tech hours at local libraries in Mississippi, conducts workshops, and provides grants to support educational initiatives.

Furthermore, Sephus is developing the Jackson Tech District, a 21-acre hub that will be a focal point for technologists and innovators.

Sephus’ work is driven by her passion for AI and commitment to making technology accessible and equitable for everyone.

During her acceptance speech at the BEYA STEM Conference, Sephus expressed gratitude for her family, who were watching the award show online. She also thanked her colleagues and friends.

“I want to thank all who have supported the work that I’ve done with my team, The Bean Path, and everything we’ve done to bridge the tech gap,” she said. “I want to give a special shoutout to Dr. Donna Reese at Mississippi State. Dr. Byron and Lisa Williams, Dr. Ayanna Howard, and Dr. Otis Smart at Georgia Tech for helping me through some tough times. We all know we can only get here if we have people to help us. I’m thankful for those who believed in me early on, even when others did not. I look forward to carrying out the mission of tech equity in our communities.”

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