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Grace Magny-Fokam

Artificial Intelligence Researcher, Founder/CEO of Folia, and Student at the University of Maryland: College Park

College Park, Maryland, USA / Black/African American

👩 she/her/hers

🎓 Student in Computer Science, Concentration in Machine Learning & Minor in Statistics at the University of Maryland: College Park

😁 Grace wrote a book called "InnovateHer: A Black Girl’s Guide to Tech and Social Innovation." The book denotes her experiences as a minority student trying to enter the technology industry, as well as her advice for young students facing similar scenarios. Her book is scheduled for release in January 2024!

Grace Magny-Fokam

Grace uses machine learning to develop climate and agricultural technologies that address global challenges.


Grace utilizes her passion for computer science to research and develop AI technologies that address global challenges, especially the climate crisis. She developed Folia, a novel AgriTech device that can detect major foliar diseases in farm crops. The device utilizes deep learning technology and acts as an early warning system for farmers to remove diseased crops before they infect others, thus minimizing potential crop loss! Her innovation has received nearly $10k in funding. It has been recognized by organizations such as Google, Microsoft, the U.S. National Security Agency, SAE International, and the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT)!

Grace Magny-Fokam


Watch: How AI Can Help and Hurt the Environment

  • What are the ways you could see using AI to make positive impacts on the environment?


Grace first learned about computer science in Middle school (grades 6-8, ages 11-14)

“If I could speak to my 11-year-old self, I would tell her to pursue her passions with confidence and dignity. Don't be afraid of exploring your love for mathematics and computer science simply because you may be underrepresented in either field. Although it may be daunting at first, it gives you the opportunity to be the change that you want to see and to be the trailblazer that you know you can be. Follow your dreams, stay motivated, and change the world!”

Watch: How AI Can Help and Hurt the Environment


Ethical or Moral Impacts of Computing: “One of the largest, ongoing moral dilemmas with AI is the outsourcing of empirical data (to train models) via the internet, which often comes without the consent of the original creator(s). Though this is an issue with many popular AI models like ChatGPT, in all of Grace's research projects, she and her research teams were always sure to gather the consent of all parties involved before proceeding with a research investigation to maintain ethical standards.”

Good: Grace's work in computer science has had a significant positive impact on multiple fronts. Her development of Folia, an AgriTech device powered by AI, helps address global challenges such as crop diseases and food security. It serves as an early warning system for farmers, reducing potential crop losses and promoting sustainable agriculture.
Additionally, her collaboration with organizations like the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to develop AI models for predicting forced displacement demonstrates the potential of AI in addressing humanitarian issues and supporting vulnerable populations.

Neutral: Grace's work primarily falls under the category of positive impact due to its focus on solving global challenges and promoting ethical AI. However, it's essential to consider potential neutral impacts, such as the standard ethical considerations and challenges in AI research and deployment. Still, these do not diminish the overall positive contributions.

Negative: Grace's work does not exhibit any explicit negative impacts. However, it's essential to acknowledge that AI technologies, if not ethically developed or deployed, can potentially have negative consequences. Grace's commitment to ethical standards and consent in her research projects helps mitigate these risks, ensuring a responsible approach to AI development.

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