2 Panthers earn Fulbright Awards | FIUNews

Researching AI in the judicial system

Teresa Schuster ’22 is an alternate for the Fulbright award. That means if more funds become available, she may be selected for the award.

If so, Schuster would travel to Estonia to research the country’s pioneering use of artificial intelligence (AI) in its judicial system. Specifically, she would study how the use of AI impacts the public’s perception of judicial transparency and fairness. She began studying this topic while volunteering for a youth court program in Miami and decided to continue her research in Estonia while participating in a summer program in law at the University of Tartu in 2021. As a Global Learning Fellow at FIU, Schuster also researched the transparency of algorithms used in US judicial systems.

“When using algorithms in judicial systems, we have to balance accuracy and transparency, maximizing both,” Schuster says. “I’m interested in ways we can harness technology to improve courts’ accountability to the people.”

Schuster began FIU as a dual enrollment student while homeschooling, and wasted no time getting involved in campus activities. She joined the university’s wildly successful Model United Nations team and became assistant news director for student-run media, PantherNOW.

She participated in programming through FIU in Washington, DC — the university’s hub in the nation’s capital — while interning at the Heritage Foundation, where she learned about regulatory and social reform programs. During the internship, Schuster worked with researchers on projects studying the federal Child Tax Credit (which helps families get a tax break), Medicare, Medicaid, education policy and civil rights law. In the spring of 2022, she interned with Congressman Chip Roy and became a Hamilton Scholar through FIU in DC. As a Hamilton Scholar, she took the Washington Seminar, an FIU Honors College course, and advocated before the Department of Energy on behalf of FIU AI research being conducted in the College of Engineering and Computing.

Schuster says her time at FIU — including with FIU in DC’s team and the Global Learning team — was invaluable in helping her refine her career goals and shape her views on education policy.

Her internship in DC led to a job opportunity this spring. She began working as the press assistant for Representative Chip Roy in April, before graduating from FIU this May.

Students and alumni who’d like to learn more about Fulbright can contact prestigious@fiu.edu and/or access resources through a free, no-credit/no-grade, online course on FIU Develop, designed to help Panthers applying for the Fulbright US Student Scholarship.

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