Congratulations to Katie Marquand, our bursary student, for completing her master’s degree in Engineering in Computer Science.
We’re committed to encouraging and investing in young people who have an interest in pursuing a career in the technology sector, offering a no-strings-attached bursary which comprises a financial grant and the opportunity to work with our professional services team and other bursary students over the summer holidays.
Katie first became interested in Computer Science when Ladies College launched their Coding Club. Following her involvement, she entered the Student Robotics international competition run by the University of Southampton. Her team was the runner up and won The Rookie Award, a prize that recognises the best performance in a new team. Katie developed a strong interest in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics at this event after she helped build an autonomous robot that could flip over a box to display her team’s colour.
Katie achieved excellent results at A-level, with two A’s in Mathematics and Chemistry and an A* in Further Mathematics. This secured her place at Bristol University. Throughout her four-year degree, Katie worked with us during her holidays to gain on-the-job experience which supported the knowledge she gained from her studies.
While working with us, Katie was instrumental in helping create our new app designed to improve recycling rates in Guernsey. The ‘In the Bag’ app helps islanders understand how to correctly dispose of their rubbish by simply scanning or searching for the item on a smartphone. The app was the winning idea at our annual Idea-athon and was shortlisted for the National Technology Awards in the ‘Tech for Good’ category. The Idea-athon challenges team to find solutions to community problems.
During Katie’s first term at university she completed units in Applied Deep Learning, Systems Security, Robotics Systems, Information Processing and the Brain, Internet Economics and Interactive Devices. During her studies, Katie wrote a paper that was accepted by the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. It is the premier international conference for Human-Computer Interaction. Unfortunately, due to coronavirus the conference was cancelled so she couldn’t present but she is still officially a published academic author.
In her second term, Katie undertook her dissertation implementation and wrote a research proposal for a £1,000,000 project. Katie said: “This was a really valuable unit as it gave me an insight into how academics have to pitch their ideas and what strategies they use to help secure funding for a project.”
Katie’s dissertation title was ‘Rational Emotions and Emotional Machines’ and focused on simple reinforcement learning agents expressing emotional behaviour without explicitly simulating emotions. Her core motivation was that the general idea that AI is purely rational and doesn’t act on emotion – ignores findings from neuroscience and evolutionary biology that some emotions are rational in certain situations, meaning emotional behaviour is the optimal thing to do. Katie said: “By showing that emotional behaviours can naturally emerge in simple AI, I have introduced a new model of thinking about the future of AI which does not rule out the possibility of emotional AI.”
Katie has recently been accepted to study another master’s degree at the University of Bristol in Neuroscience Research. The topic for her masters is going to be on mapping brain connections in the cerebellum of mice. Katie said: “I’m super excited for this and cannot wait to get started in October! The C5 bursary scheme has been very beneficial for me during my 4 years of study. As well as providing financial support, the summer internships provided an opportunity to apply things I’ve learnt at university to an industry setting. They’ve also allowed me to grow as a leader, a team member and an academic by giving us freedom to work on ideas we brainstormed and therefore develop projects we care about.”
Chris Ash, Managing Director of C5 Alliance Guernsey, said that supporting emerging talent on-island is vital.
“Guernsey’s technology sector struggles when its university graduates do not return to the island, so it is our duty to attract these people back and show them that there are relevant, interesting and exciting work opportunities available here.
“We strive to collaborate and build relationships with as many young people as possible. They will be a vital part of Guernsey’s technology sector in the future. To ensure it remains vibrant and innovative, we need to offer routes into the industry – we do this both through our Bursary Scheme and the Graduate Academy.
“Congratulations to Katie on completing her master’s degree. She has accomplished so much at a young age and I’m sure she has a successful career ahead of her. We wish her all the best for the future.”
C5’s Graduate Academy allows candidates to train and develop on-island, whether that’s in a technical capacity or in other aspects of the industry such as Business Analysis or Project Management.