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Sadhana Lolla named 2024 Gates Cambridge Scholar | MIT News



MIT senior Sadhana Lolla has won the prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship, which offers students an opportunity to pursue graduate study in the field of their choice at Cambridge University in the U.K.

Established in 2000, the Gates Cambridge Scholarship offers full-cost post-graduate scholarships to outstanding applicants from countries outside of the U.K. The mission of the scholarship is to build a global network of future leaders committed to improving the lives of others.

Lolla, a senior from Clarksburg, Maryland, is majoring in computer science and minoring in mathematics and literature. At Cambridge, she will pursue an MPhil in technology policy.

In the future, Lolla aims to lead conversations on deploying and developing technology for marginalized communities, such as the rural Indian village that her family calls home, while also conducting research in embodied intelligence.

At MIT, Lolla conducts research on safe and trustworthy robotics and deep learning at the Distributed Robotics Laboratory with Professor Daniela Rus. Her research has spanned debiasing strategies for autonomous vehicles and accelerating robotic design processes. At Microsoft Research and Themis AI, she works on creating uncertainty-aware frameworks for deep learning, which has impacts across computational biology, language modeling, and robotics. She has presented her work at the Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS) conference and the International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML). 

Outside of research, Lolla leads initiatives to make computer science education more accessible globally. She is an instructor for class 6.s191 (MIT Introduction to Deep Learning), one of the largest AI courses in the world, which reaches millions of students annually. She serves as the curriculum lead for Momentum AI, the only U.S. program that teaches AI to underserved students for free, and she has taught hundreds of students in Northern Scotland as part of the MIT Global Teaching Labs program.

Lolla was also the director for xFair, MIT’s largest student-run career fair, and is an executive board member for Next Sing, where she works to make a cappella more accessible for students across musical backgrounds. In her free time, she enjoys singing, solving crossword puzzles, and baking. 

“Between Sadhana’s impressive research in the Distributed Robotics Group, her volunteer teaching with Momentum AI, and her internship and extracurricular experiences, she has developed the skills to be a leader,” says Kim Benard, associate dean of distinguished fellowships in Career Advising and Professional Development. “Her work at Cambridge will allow her the time to think about reducing bias in systems and the ethical implications of her work. I am proud that she will be representing MIT in the Gates Cambridge community.”



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