Sadhana Lolla awarded 2024 Gates Cambridge Scholarship

MIT senior Sadhana Lolla has been awarded the esteemed Gates Cambridge Scholarship, providing her with the opportunity to pursue her graduate studies at Cambridge University in the U.K.

The Gates Cambridge Scholarship, founded in 2000, caters to exceptional candidates from countries other than the U.K., offering comprehensive scholarships for postgraduate studies. Its primary objective is to establish a global cohort of future leaders dedicated to enhancing the well-being of individuals worldwide.

Lolla, a senior hailing from Clarksburg, Maryland, is currently specializing in computer science while also undertaking minors in mathematics and literature. Her academic journey at Cambridge will involve an MPhil program focusing on technology policy.

Her future aspirations encompass leading discussions on the utilization and advancement of technology for marginalized groups, including the rural Indian village where her family resides, alongside delving into research on embodied intelligence.

During her tenure at MIT, Lolla has engaged in research on secure and reliable robotics and deep learning within the Distributed Robotics Laboratory under the guidance of Professor Daniela Rus. Her research initiatives have ranged from strategies for mitigating bias in autonomous vehicles to expediting the design processes of robots. Additionally, her collaborations at Microsoft Research and Themis AI involve crafting frameworks that account for uncertainties in deep learning, impacting domains like computational biology, language processing, and robotics. She has showcased her work at prestigious conferences such as the Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS) and the International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML).

Outside of her research pursuits, Lolla spearheads efforts to enhance global accessibility to computer science education. She plays a key role as an instructor for the renowned class 6.s191 (MIT Introduction to Deep Learning), a prominent AI course attracting millions of students annually. Serving as the curriculum lead for Momentum AI, a program offering free AI education to underprivileged students in the U.S., she has also imparted knowledge to numerous learners in Northern Scotland through the MIT Global Teaching Labs initiative.

Lolla has showcased her leadership acumen by directing xFair, MIT’s major student-led career fair, and contributing as an executive board member for Next Sing, where she endeavors to make a cappella music more inclusive for students from diverse musical backgrounds. When she’s not engaged in academics or activism, she finds joy in singing, solving crossword puzzles, and baking.

“Sadhana’s extensive research contributions in the Distributed Robotics Group, her altruistic teaching efforts with Momentum AI, and her professional exposures collectively position her as a capable leader,” remarks Kim Benard, associate dean of distinguished fellowships in Career Advising and Professional Development. “Her upcoming stint at Cambridge will provide her with valuable time to contemplate strategies for mitigating biases in systems and ponder over the ethical dimensions of her work. I take immense pride in the fact that she will be a representative of MIT within the Gates Cambridge community.”

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