In a groundbreaking achievement for Black women in the tech industry, Erika Hairston and Arnelle Ansong, co-founders of an AI Tutor, had their artificial intelligence (AI) platform acquired by Google on January 29. The platform functions as a chatbot, offering assistance to students whenever they have questions or encounter confusion on a particular concept. What sets it apart is its ability to provide not only textual answers but also relevant video timestamps for visual clarification.
Both Hairston and Ansong, graduates of Yale and Stanford, respectively, established the AI Tutor in 2018 to address the needs they identified as students. The program, launched in 2022, focuses on mentor-led support for students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs). It evolved as a solution to the limitations posed by mentor availability.
The acquisition of the AI Tutor by Google is a remarkable career milestone for the co-founders, contributing to the representation of Black women in the tech industry, where they currently make up only 3%. The purchase holds significance not only for Hairston and Ansong but also for inspiring more women and students of color to venture into the technology field. The co-founders emphasize the importance of disrupting the narrative around women of color in tech and showcasing their capability to create valuable technology.
As the number of women graduating in computer science remains low, especially women of color, the AI bot aims to support underrepresented groups. By promoting the use of AI tools among college students, Hairston and Ansong envision building intuition for prompt engineering and fostering interest in the technology sector.
Repurposed article originally published in Her Campus