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National Institute on Artificial Intelligence in Society

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NIAIS Experts

Sacramento State University has over 1800 faculty members, most of them with advanced degrees and diverse expertise in many disciplines and professional fields. Several faculty members research artificial intelligence and machine learning. We publish here a sample list of experts in AI applications in contemporary society.

Diego Bonilla

Diego Bonilla Profile ImageDiego Bonilla was awarded the Doctoral Prize for his dissertation, "The Medium is the Measure of Itself." ​​He created the Digital Communication and Information Minor​​, served on the California Open Educational Resources Council​​. Diego leads the Advancing AI Literacy @ SacState FLC, a faculty learning community focused on the multi-dimensional role of AI in higher education and its wider societal effects, particularly on social justice.

Dr. Bonilla and Dr. Mata authored "Big Data," a generative video poem. In Dr. Bonilla’s "Uku Pacha," a generative virtual reality short film, AI played a crucial role in enhancing the 8K resolution footage. Dr. Bonilla’s latest work is "Scholarly Stanzas: A Communication Studies (and related fields) Songbook," an AI-driven project that blends generative art with poetic dialogue. Website: Programming hypermedia experiences | Hypermedia Online

Haiquan (Victor) Chen

Haiquan Chen HeadshotDr. Chen is an Associate Professor in Machine Learning with the Computer Science department and the founding director of the CSUS Data Science and IoT Lab. As an expert on deep graph neural networks (GNNs) and large language models (LLMs), he has partnered with Harvard Medical School, UC Davis Medical Center, Emory University, and University of Rochester on Big Data and AI-driven medical and psychiatric diagnosis projects. His works are published at the flagship AI/machine learning venues. Chen obtained his Ph.D. degree in Machine Learning from Auburn University in 2011. His recent research tackles key challenges on training highly-performing deep learning models with low/limited resources, such as data imbalance and label sparsity. His research vision is to bridge the “last mile” gap between state-of-the-art AI research and local AI practice.

Chia-Jung Chung

Chung PhotoChia-Jung Chung is a Professor in the College of Education and serves as an Assessment Consultant in the Office of Academic Program Assessment. Her research primarily focuses on educational technology and assessment. She is the Co-Principal Investigator for the CS4NorthCal initiative, an NSF-funded project aimed at scaling an evidence-based model for computer science teacher preparation. This initiative supports high school teachers dedicated to achieving excellence in computer science education throughout Northern California. As an instructor of Educational Technology in the era of AI, she is committed to educating student teachers about generative AI tools among other instructional technologies. Her teaching explores the use of these tools in K-12 classrooms and empowers future educators to make informed decisions about integrating AI into their teaching practices. Additionally, she studies methods to incorporate generative AI into learning activities and assessment in higher education settings, and explores AI's transformative role in improving student learning outcomes

Rebecca Friedman

Rebecca Friedman profile picRebecca Friedman holds a BA in Communication, an MBA and is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP). She is a part-time Instructor at CSUS in the College of Business. Rebecca is the Founder and President of Koru Strategies, focused on the needs of technology and professional services firms. Rebecca has more than 20 years of experience, including consulting at a leading professional services firm, managing government technology education events and strategic workshop delivery, and project management and execution.
Rebecca served as the Media Services Director and unofficial “Chief Technology Translator (CTT)” for Los Angeles County’s Internal Services Department (ISD). Before joining ISD, Rebecca was a National Conference Director for e.Republic’s Government Technology division an events, media, and research company focused exclusively on state and local government technology and education development. At Deloitte Consulting, Rebecca worked on state and local government projects in the US and Canada, focusing on leading change management and training efforts. Rebecca serves as a North American Advisor to the Public Sector Network, a Mentor with CivStart, and is a founding Board Member of GovTAP. She also serves as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), advocating for youth in foster care.

Heather Gold

Heather Gold HeadshotDr. Heather Gold, the Executive Director of Educational Programs at Gateway Community Charters, serves students from TK-12th grade in the greater Sacramento region. She spearheaded the creation of the organization's first professional learning and growth department and recently initiated the AI Maverick Leadership Collaborative. Also, an instructor for new teachers and a mentor for administrators, she advocates for redesigning the educational landscape to meet students’ future needs by utilizing technology as a tool for fostering inclusive, innovative, and equitable education. Her expertise in instruction and organizational leadership is underscored in her research, which explores the barriers and supports faced by leaders of nationally acclaimed, future-forward 21st-century K-8 schools.

Hogan Hayes

Hogan Hayes profile pictureDr. Hogan Hayes is an Associate Professor of Rhetoric & Composition serving as the Coordinator for both the Sac State Writing Program and the University Reading and Writing Center. He is the Vice-Chair of the English Department and Vice President of the CSU English Council. Before taking on these roles, Dr. Hayes led a team that revised the large-scale writing assessment program for upper-division students at Sac State, introducing ePortfolios and reflective self-assessment as instruments that contribute to a comprehensive assessment of student writing. His research and teaching focus on writing development in college settings and the resources that support such development.

Matt McCormick

Matt Mccormick HeadshotProf. Matt McCormick is in the Philosophy Department at CSUS. He teaches courses on the Philosophy of Artificial Intelligence, Decision Theory, Game Theory, Inductive Logic, and Philosophy of Mind. He has also done extensive research on the question of AI consciousness in Philosophy of Mind, Cognitive Science, and Computer Science. He leads a teaching colloquium at CSUS that focuses on issues surrounding AI and education. He has given public talks on ethical issues and AI, AI consciousness, the Singularity, and AI related issues. His YouTube Channel including lectures on Philosophy of AI and Philosophy of Mind is here. He has also done a series of podcasts with Algo on Building Artificial Consciousness.

Lisa Romero

Lisa Romero profile picLisa Romero is a Professor in the College of Education. Her research focuses on socio-cognitive aspects of schools and learning, particularly for historically marginalized youth. Her scholarship has been published in high-impact journals and she is the recipient of an Outstanding Scholarship and Creative Activity Award. She is Co-PI of the Pathways Fellows program, a U.S. Department of Education funded grant, designed to provide students with experiences in conducting education research and prepare them for doctoral study. As an early adopter of A.I. in the classroom, she is interested in how generative AI can be utilized to improve teaching and accelerate learning especially for first-generation college students. One of her current projects involves infusing AI into teaching quantitative research methods not only to make challenging content more accessible but also to provide educational leaders with high-demand data analytic skills for a data-rich world.

Nitin Roy

Nitin Roy headshotNitin Roy is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health with a focus in Occupational Safety. His expertise and research interests lie in the field of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Deep Reinforcement learning and Mathematical Optimization with applications in safety engineering, public health, healthcare planning, safer thermal control, supply chain resilience and network analysis. He holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Texas A&M University and a Bachelors in Chemical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras with minors and certificates in Operations Research and Safety Engineering. See Faculty Profile and Linkedin Profile

Bryan Sanders

Brian Sanders profile pictureDr. Bryan P. Sanders is an educator, researcher, and developer with 30 years of teaching experience. He is focused on expansive uses of AI in pursuit of decentering the classroom, intentionally returning the computer to learners, and rebuilding how we think together. His pioneering dissertation reimagines classroom spaces, minutes, and outcomes with computing at the heart. Recently, he was invited to publish in the Journal for California Teachers of English about teaching and learning with ChatGPT in the ELA classroom. He consults with startups and established businesses looking to pivot to use AI and computing. He was invited to serve as a resource expert in the upcoming October 2024 AI + ELA Curriculum Committee Conference.

Alexander Sidorkin

Alexander Sidorkin profile pictureAlexander "Sasha" Sidorkin is the Chief AI Officer at Sacramento State University and the founding Director of the National Institute on AI in Society. He is the author of Embracing Chatbots in Higher Education: The Use of Artificial Intelligence in Teaching, Administration, and Scholarship, Routledge, 2024. Sasha has a blog on AI in Society and is leading a professional learning community on designing writing assignments with the use of AI.

Joseph Taylor

Joseph Taylor profile pictureJoseph Taylor in an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Information Systems and Business Analytics in the College of Business at California State University, Sacramento. He received his PhD from Washington State University, and an MBA in International Management from Thunderbird. Before completing his PhD Joseph worked 17 years for Walmart Stores, Inc., eventually becoming the director of IT strategy, innovation and governance in the Information Systems Division. He developed feasibility analysis and proof of concept projects for emerging AI capabilities, working with leading technology companies. His research focuses on the potential impacts of AI tools and networking platforms on organizations and society through the changing nature of work.

Kevin Vandergriff

Kevin Vandergriff profile photoKevin Vandergriff, is a Lecturer in Philosophy department. He developed the AI Writing Tutor Chatbot, boosting course pass rates from 60% to 80%. Kevin holds a B.A. in Philosophy, and is pursuing an M.S. in Computer Science at Johns Hopkins University, emphasizing Artificial Intelligence. He is also working towards a PhD in Philosophy at the University of Birmingham, UK. His work includes developing ethical AI algorithms and exploring AI's educational impacts.