The integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into social work practices presents an innovative pathway to address complex social issues with greater precision, efficiency, and personalized care. This talk delves into the transformative potential of AI in redefining the landscape of social work, offering insights into how cutting-edge technologies can augment traditional methodologies to better serve individuals and communities in need.

Speaker: Amulya Yadav | College of Information Science & Technology

Blackouts are common in college students and are associated with increased alcohol-related harms. Self-report is the most common way to assess college student drinking but becomes less reliable at higher quantities of alcohol consumption. Self-report also does not tell us how students are drinking, which may be important in the prediction of harm. In this talk, I will discuss the use of alcohol biosensors to measure the manner in which students drink to predict the occurrence of alcohol-induced blackouts.  I am interested in exploring other novel approaches, including the development of new sensors to address alcohol-related harm reduction.

Speaker: Veronica Richards | Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center

About 60% of all plastics ever produced are currently in waste sites, resulting in a yearly loss of $80-120 billion USD. Additionally, plastic production, which makes up 6% of global oil use, is expected to increase to 20% by 2050. Unique conditions in landfills and the natural environment expose plastic waste to factors like high salinity, varied temperatures, and microbial breakdown which can lead to the formation of tiny plastic particles.  Our lab leverages expertise in catalysis and reaction engineering along with advanced techniques such as two-dimensional gas chromatography and artificial intelligence to study the fundamental chemistry behind mixed plastic recycling technologies.

Speaker: Hilal Ezgi Toraman | Energy & Mineral Engineering | Chemical Engineering

We will discuss a vision for applying the tools and insights of materials science to studying life from molecules to ecosystems, opening new ways of sensing and measuring the structures and processes that underpin and drive living systems. The discussion will center on the big unanswered questions in the biological sciences, and how materials science and the emerging fields of biorenewables and living materials might be applied to addressing these questions. 

JP Gevaudan | Architectural Engineering
Aida Ebrahimi | Electrical Engineering
Cunjiang Yu | Engineering Science & Mechanics | Biomedical Engineering
Vicky Nguyen | Mechanical Engineering, Johns Hopkins

Charlie Anderson | Biology
Zoubeida Ounaies | Mechanical Engineering

With so much buzz around AI in the press, we should see big payoffs in science. Yet it doesn’t seem like major advancements with chatbots and image generators in recent years have also extended to scientific breakthroughs. In this talk, I will discuss the concept of representation learning: the way that AI algorithms understand data, and a major bottleneck in repurposing existing AI algorithms to solve new problems. I will specifically highlight challenges and opportunities in materials science applications including molecular simulation, characterization, and small molecule design.

Alarming rates of mental health challenges and social isolation among today's young people have called for unique and innovative approaches to supporting student well-being.  I will provide an overview of current academic and research efforts at Penn State to support skills and mindsets related to student flourishing. We will explore what it means to flourish and why it's important to challenge the status quo of today's "college life". 

Presenter: Blake Colaianne  |  Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center