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FICO Partners with Historically Black Colleges and Universities to Launch Educational Analytics Challenge that Empowers Students to Innovate with AI and Analytics

Posted: September 12, 2023

Bowie State University and Alabama A&M University are in pilot with FICO’s analytics program to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in data science, engineering and technology fields

BOZEMAN, Mont., September 12, 2023 


• The FICO® Educational Analytics Challenge program is in pilot with students at Bowie State University and Alabama A&M University.
• The first-ever FICO program presents students with a real-world analytic challenge to identify and mitigate bias in data and decision models using historical housing data.
• Students additionally will learn how AI guardrails and Responsible AI are needed to protect and safely advance analytic practices.

Global analytics firm FICO today announced the launch of its new FICO® Educational Analytics Challenge program created for students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The semester-long program features remote mentoring from FICO data scientists and in-person lectures by FICO’s Chief Analytics Officer, Dr. Scott Zoldi. The program is currently in pilot with students at Bowie State University and Alabama A&M University.

The FICO® Educational Analytics Challenge is a program created to help promote diversity, equity and inclusion in data science, engineering and technology fields. FICO has had a long-standing commitment to innovation and views diversity as critical for success.

“We are thrilled to partner with FICO in the classroom to help sharpen our students’ analytics skills and improve access to career opportunities in data science, engineering and technology,” said Dr. Velma Latson, technology and security department professor at Bowie State University. “We pride ourselves on equipping our students to be innovators and future industry leaders. Thank you to FICO for providing an opportunity for students to learn and think critically about how technology and AI impacts critical decisions made by organizations; this will be a valuable tool for our participating students as they enter the workforce.”

“Being a part of the educational analytics program launch is extremely important to us as it provides our students with experience in solving a real-world problem, and encourages diversity, equity, and inclusion in data science,” said John D. Jones, Ph.D., provost and vice president for academic affairs at Alabama A&M University. “We are committed to teaching skills and challenging our students to empower the next generation of innovators and social justice seekers driven to stamp out analytic bias. Our data science network is thankful to be supported by Dr. Scott Zoldi and FICO’s team of mentors.”

The FICO® Educational Analytics Challenge presents students with a real-world analytic problem to solve focused on bias identification and mitigation in housing data and resultant decision models. The pilot program allows students to work in teams to sharpen their analytics skills and provides access to FICO analytics subject matter experts for technical/project support and mentoring opportunities. The project also provides financial support to enhance analytics study for each participating HBCU and create potential career opportunities for students for employment after graduation.

“One of the biggest challenges of building predictive models is identifying and handling inherent biases in the data,” said Dr. Scott Zoldi at FICO. “To help further inclusion by fighting biases in models, we are training and supporting a diverse and talented group of young people to drive the future of AI innovation and propel Responsible AI practices forward. I am pleased to be able to meet with students at their schools to both share ideas at lectures and engage in informal mentoring conversations.”

The pilot program is currently running at Bowie State University and Alabama A&M University for the fall 2023 semester.

About FICO

FICO (NYSE: FICO) powers decisions that help people and businesses around the world prosper. Founded in 1956, the company is a pioneer in the use of predictive analytics and data science to improve operational decisions. FICO holds more than 200 US and foreign patents on technologies that increase profitability, customer satisfaction and growth for businesses in financial services, insurance, telecommunications, health care, retail and many other industries. Using FICO solutions, businesses in nearly 120 countries do everything from protecting 2.6 billion payment cards from fraud, to improving financial inclusion, to increasing supply chain resiliency. The FICO® Score, used by 90% of top US lenders, is the standard measure of consumer credit risk in the US and has been made available in over 40 other countries, improving risk management, credit access and transparency.

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FICO is a registered trademark of Fair Isaac Corporation in the U.S. and other countries.


Julie Huang

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