What a growth journey! 24 months ago Mahzad Khoshlessan started as a Junior Data Scientist and now works as a Research Scientist on 3D Computer Vision & Robot Perception at the Stevens Institute for Artificial Intelligence.
Read about her journey from joining her first Omdena AI Challenge, to speaking at Deeplearning.ai in front of more than 1000 people, to becoming an AI Product Owner, and now considering to enter an entrepreneurship program.
Station 1: First Omdena Machine Learning Project
At the time I learned about Omdena I was a recent graduate with theoretical Machine Learning knowledge. I think it would be valuable and aspiring for others to learn about my journey with Omdena since two years ago. I participated in my first project with the World Energy Council. In the first project, I learned how to look at a machine learning problem from different views.
We had no data and gathering the right data and asking the right questions were especially important for the project to move in the right direction.
Station 2: Paid Omdena Project + AI Product Owner Role
My second experience with Omdena was for a paid project as a computer vision research engineer. I was about to finish my intensive product management bootcamp when I noticed Omdena is accepting applications for product owners. I submitted my application and thankfully I could join Omdena as a product owner where I got the chance to put my new product management knowledge into practice.
Station 3: Speaking at Deeplearning.ai in front of 1000 people
Along the way, I also got invited to present at one of our previous projects on a session for Omdena’s Africa chapter and later for a much larger audience (around 1000) in an event organized by Deeplearning.ai.
This was such a great opportunity for me as I was always afraid of speaking in public. The encouragement and feedback was so great that I got more confident in my ability to speak in public and now I do it with less fear.
Besides the product ownership role which was an amazing experience, the whole conversation during the PO’s weekly meeting, with the Head of Projects (Harini), The CEO (Rudradeb), and other product owners have been so rich and mind-blowing. Learning about the challenges other product owners are facing, receiving feedback from them on best practices to handle challenges faced over the course of the project, discussing new strategies for increasing collaborators’ engagement and getting impactful outcome for future projects, etc are great examples of that.
Station 4: Learning about Entrepreneurship
In Omdena’s meeting, I got the chance to expose myself to a start-up environment where I could see how they developed their products considering the company’s vision, current outcome, and user’s feedback. Recently, I have been thinking about having my own start-up but I was holding back as it was so scary. When I found that Omdena supports its members to build their own company I reached our to them. I got recommended for Founder Institute’s Omdena fellowship opportunity and was awarded the fellowship. In Founder Institute’s Omdena fellowship, I can receive mentorship and feedback in the process of developing my idea, finding a market fit, etc.
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