AAAI-21 Undergraduate Consortium


The Undergraduate Consortium (AAAI-UC) hosted at the 2021 AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI-21) will offer undergraduate students an opportunity to enrich their conference experience by:

  • presenting and receiving critical feedback about their work in a professional, academic setting;
  • meeting prospective graduate advisors;
  • receiving mentoring about the advantages (and disadvantages) of pursuing graduate studies in AI as well as practical early career advice;
  • expanding their professional network to include AI experts, current graduate students, and undergraduate peers; and
  • providing advice, tools, and resources for successfully applying to and attending graduate school in an AI-related research.

The second AAAI-UC will be held in conjunction with the AAAI-21 conference. Instructions for applying to the Undergraduate Consortium can be found below. We welcome applications from all undergraduate students exploring a career in AI research, particularly those who have contributed to an AI research project and for whom UC mentoring will be helpful in key career decisions. We especially encourage applications from students who identify with groups that computing has traditionally underserved and also students who have limited resources related to graduate school at their home institutions.

Students accepted into the 2021 AAAI-UC program will be expected to attend the UC events and meet with their assigned mentors to discuss their research career path and to receive feedback as they revise and submit a final version of their application materials as well as prepare a virtual presentation of their research summary. Accepted students will have their registration fees covered to virtually attend the 35th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI-21) and are encouraged to fully engage in the conference events and activities. The schedule of events and activities from the 2020 AAAI-UC is available here.


Important Dates

  • Deadline for submitting application — Monday, Sept. 28, 2020 (Anywhere on Earth; UTC-12)
  • Undergraduate Consortium virtual events — Dates TBD!


Call for Applications


Application Instructions

Applicants to the Undergraduate Consortium must submit the following materials in full for full consideration for the program via the submission site linked above.
The deadline for the full application package is Monday, Sept. 28. When you submit, you will need to provide your name, university affiliation, expected graduation date, contact information, a personal statement and an AI research summary as well as your advisor’s name and contact information.

1. Personal Statement

The AAAI UC personal statement is inspired by NSF’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program. Our hope is that a thoughtfully constructed personal statement with feedback from AI professionals will provide you a useful starting point in your future graduate school and fellowship applications.

Prepare a 2-3 page personal statement that discusses both (1) your journey towards an AI research career (so far!) and (2) your specific role and contributions in the AI project you presented in your research summary (see 2. AI Research Summary). Please structure your statement however you would like, but include answers to the following questions.

Your journey towards an AI research career:

  • What fascinates you about your research area?
  • What interests you about pursuing a career in AI research?
  • What leadership skills and unique characteristics could you bring to an AI research career?
  • What barriers, if any, have you encountered and/or overcome in your pursuit of AI research?
  • What do you expect to gain from presenting and participating in the UC?
  • What do you think you can contribute to the UC?

Your specific role and contributions in the AI project:

  • Please give a short 2-3 sentence synopsis of the research that appears in your research summary, in language that a broad audience can understand.
  • Did you work in a team and/or independently?
  • What was your role in this research project? For instance, in what ways did you assist in the design or implementation of algorithms, assist in the design or implementation of an evaluation of a research question, contribute to the analysis of results, or otherwise contribute specific ideas to the project?
  • What impacts might your research have in a broader societal context?


Personal statements must be written using the NSF GRFP statement formatting guidelines, which require standard 8.5″x 11″ page size, Times New Roman font for all text, no smaller than 11-point, except text that is part of an image, 1″ margins on all sides, and no less than single spacing (approximately 6 lines per inch).

2. AI Research Summary

Submit a two-page extended abstract that summarizes a significant AI project that you have been involved in, including the research questions being investigated, a highlight of important related work, the significance of your work, and possible future directions. Be mindful of the following:

  • Although you are encouraged to have your advisor review your research summary, it must be written entirely by you. It is okay to use the first person voice in the research summary. Your research summary should not contain passages written by others, including research teammates or collaborators, without attribution.
  • Students are free to submit research summaries based on the work reported in a regular paper submitted to the AAAI-21 or another conference. Research summaries will be reviewed by the AAAI-UC program committee and decisions will be made independently of the outcomes of related full-paper submissions. However, if you were not the sole author of the work submitted to another venue, you must write your own description of the work that clearly highlights your contributions to the project.
  • Include a title for your work (please do not title it “Research Summary”).
  • Remember that the audience for your research summary includes people who are knowledgeable about AI but not necessarily experts in the narrow topic of your project. Introduce the content at a high enough level so that the general AAAI audience can understand your work, but also include enough low-level detail so that the experts will appreciate your unique contributions. Low-level detail would include description of how you conducted your research, the types of experiments you ran, the literature you reviewed, the data you collected and analyzed, and specifics of the results you found and what they might mean.
  • The research summary MUST be 2 pages, in AAAI 2-column format, including references. Yes, this is tricky to do — but learning how to produce a concise statement of your research interests is very important!


AI Research Summary must be written using the AAAI-21 Author Kit.

Advisor’s Supplementary Information Form

A request will be emailed to an advisor who can speak towards your AI research interests and abilities, asking them to provide supplementary information about you. Your advisor should be a faculty member, post-doc, or professional researcher with a graduate degree. They will be asked short questions about your contributions to the research; your progress through your undergrad program; and how your advisor believes you can contribute to, and benefit from, participating in the Undergraduate Consortium. Note that a letter of recommendation is NOT required (and none will be accepted).


Review Process

The Undergrad Consortium organizing committee solicits applications covering any topic area and methodology within Artificial Intelligence. Applications will be reviewed according to the following criteria: clarity and completeness of submission packet; stage of progress through undergraduate degree program (applicants must be actively enrolled in a post-secondary, undergraduate degree program at the time of submission); evidence of significant personal contributions to an AI research project; and assessment of contribution to and benefit from participating in the UC.



Support for the 2021 Undergraduate Consortium is graciously provided by AAAI, with additional support generously provided by the Artificial Intelligence Journal and National Science Foundation (DUE 1946637).


Undergraduate Consortium Co-chairs

Eric Aaron, Colby College
Jim Boerkoel, Harvey Mudd College
Mehmet Ergezer, Wentworth Institute of Technology


Undergraduate Consortium Organizing Committee

Sloan Davis, Google Research
Nate Derbinsky, Northeastern University
Richard G. Freedman, SIFT
Maria Gini, University of Minnesota
Michael Guerzhoy, Princeton University
Ayanna Howard, Georgia Tech
Maria Hwang, Fashion Institute of Technology
Anna Rafferty, Carleton College
Anita Raja, Hunter College, City University of New York
Lisa Torrey, St. Lawrence University

For more information about last year’s AAAI-UC, please visit:

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