College of Artificial Intelligence Students Present New Skills to Business Professionals at AI Day in Hartford

The second student Samarth Gupta ’26 stood in front of a room full of business leaders in the AI Day in Hartford and explained why artificial intelligence can dramatically improve everyday life.

MIT has created ICU Intervene, which predicts which treatments will be most effective for critically ill patients, he said. Paypal uses AI to analyze transactions to reduce cyber security fraud. And Amazon is using image recognition to support a “smart store,” which eliminates the need to wait in checkout lines.

Gupta, a computer science and engineering major, is a student leader in the School of Business. Innovate Labswhich encourages students to experiment with a variety of emerging technologies, from drones to virtual reality.

But on Wednesday he was also an instructor, displaying a passion for data and AI that will likely make him an attractive candidate for future employers.

“When I think about AI, I’m scared and excited at the same time,” Gupta said, after his introduction to the second colleague. Anthony Prior. “AI, like anything unknown, is scary and people are worried about its impact on work. But this AI Day was a great opportunity to meet and learn from others. I want to be a part of it. I think it’s interesting to see where we’re going as a civilization.”

Samarth Gupta '26, left, and Anthony Prior '26, right, during AI Day in Hartford at the Hartford Graduate Business Learning Center (Garrett Uhde, Defining Studios)Samarth Gupta '26, left, and Anthony Prior '26, right, during AI Day in Hartford at the Hartford Graduate Business Learning Center (Garrett Uhde, Defining Studios)
Samarth Gupta ’26, left, and Anthony Prior ’26, right, during AI Day in Hartford at the Hartford Graduate Business Learning Center (Garrett Uhde, Defining Studios)

AI-Savvy College students are entering the workforce with distinct advantages

Jon Moore, executive director of Connecticut Business School’s Information Technology Institute Digital Frontiers Initiative, was bursting with pride as he watched his students’ presentations, which followed those of a host of professionals. As a faculty member, Moore has been instrumental in creating Innovate Labs that introduce students to emerging technology.

“These students are so knowledgeable, smart, thoughtful and curious,” Moore said. “They will truly shape the future of technology and business.”

Students are entering such a new field that they are not competing with people who have been doing it for 25 years, Moore said. Their future is virtually unlimited, he said.

Jon Moore, OPIM Professor and executive director for the Digital Frontiers Initiative, at AI Day in Hartford (Nathan Oldham / UConn School of Business)Jon Moore, OPIM Professor and executive director for the Digital Frontiers Initiative, at AI Day in Hartford (Nathan Oldham / UConn School of Business)
Jon Moore, OPIM Professor and executive director for the Digital Frontiers Initiative, at AI Day in Hartford (Nathan Oldham / UConn School of Business)

The Digital Frontiers Initiative (DFI) provides research, partnership and workforce development for companies.

About 20 companies approached Moore and DFI’s academic director Wei Chen at the conference on Wednesday, seeking advice, partnership, research or more information. “We were eager to co-sponsor AI Day and get the message out to companies about how we can help them,” Moore said.

“There is just incredible demand. People loved seeing what our students are learning,” Moore said, adding that he expects the emerging technology to be a part of every high school and college curriculum soon.

“In the industry, it’s moving so fast. This conference was very useful as we learned more about the challenges companies are facing,” he said.

Chen, who, like Moore, is part of the Business School’s Department of Operations and Information Management, said he expects to see dramatic changes in image recognition, workflow and video generation this year. He often hears concerns about how AI will affect the workplace.

“I don’t think there’s an industry that won’t be affected,” Chen said. “Some jobs will change, but new jobs will be created.” There were no air traffic controllers or gene editors until innovation gave rise to those specialties, he said.

At UConn, faculty are creating an AI course for business undergraduates that will begin next semester. They’re also expanding Innovate Labs, now just in Storrs, and adding it to campuses in Stamford and, ultimately, Hartford.

Students introduce business leaders to Chatbots

After Gupta’s presentation, sophomore Reis Muccino ’26 and freshmen Sophia Hatzis ’27 taught business professionals how to use machine learning to create a Chatbot. They showed each participant how to capture images of themselves smiling, frowning and with a shocked expression, and then how to train the computer model to recognize the facial expressions.

Chris Saundersa lead developer at Insurity, said creating his Chatbot was a lot of fun and a good introduction to AI, something he wants to learn more about.

About 370 people attended Hartford AI Day on Wednesday at the Graduate School of Business Learning Center in Downtown Hartford. Now in its third year, the program attracted record attendance of industry experts, business leaders and students.

Sponsored by Launc[H]artford and Capgemini, the event attracted speakers from Otis Elevator, Hartford Healthcare and numerous businesses in the insurance and financial sectors.

“We designed AI Day in Hartford to create an environment for learning, strengthening our community and inspiration,” said Michelle Cotedirector at Launc[H] and one of the organizers of the event. “This year we saw the energy from everyone involved reach a whole new level. It was impressive to witness the peer mentoring, knowledge sharing and collaboration throughout the day.

Other keynote speakers included students Pete CenaFounder of Digital Surgeons, Dan O’KeefeCommissioner of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, and Paul DrennanSenior Vice President and Chief Data Science Officer at Hartford.

There was standing room only at many of the Hatford AI Days presentations. (Garrett Uhde, Defining Studios)

‘Challenges we can go and solve’

Graduate student Geetha Sree ’24, who will earn her master’s degree in Business Analytics and Project Management in May, was excited to attend the event. She is interested in retail and e-commerce.

“It was a great event and I enjoyed the skill building. I’m excited about the business implications and the challenges that we can go and solve,” she said. “When I go through job descriptions for data science, they’re looking for employees who are familiar with AI. Even without experience broad, you already have an advantage.”

She said her fellow graduate students are excited about the future, many of whom are eager to apply artificial intelligence to insurance and financial services.

“For me, I think data is exciting and I want to use it to recommend the right products and tailor things to customer needs.”

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