Chad Lohri

Computer Engineering

When Chad completed a volunteer stint on campus tutoring disabled students in calculus, he was offered a paying job. When he completed a research internship at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, or JPL, he was offered an extension to continue working on his project for the next quarter. Another talent indicator: He created CollegeBook, an iPhone app that enables students to trade textbooks with one another.

Not a bad start for a young man who was daunted by the idea of going to college at all. His parents had not attended university and had no way to guide Chad, so he enrolled in Santa Monica Community College to test the waters. He fell in love with math and physics, and decided to pursue a newfound passion for computers.

A very active child, Chad had grown up skateboarding, running track, playing the piano, drums and of course video games. “But it wasn’t until my first computer science course at my community college that I became captivated by computers, fascinated with the idea of programming. I taught myself how to code in many different languages, going above and beyond the scope of my programming course materials.” That’s when he created the CollegeBook app. “Since my internship at JPL, I haven’t had much time to work on updates, but it’s still in the app store and I have plans to expand it to all universities in the future.” No one doubts it!

“During my time at community college, I completely transformed who I was, and became dedicated to doing my best with the goal of transferring to a four-year university.” In 2016, he was accepted to UC San Diego, where in addition to technical applications, Chad is exploring the philosophical and moral potential of computers, and where he will make his mark.

“When I think about what I would like to do the in the future, I know it will involve computers, and moreover contributing to the greater good of humanity. If we just look at how much progress we have made since Ada Lovelace released her notes on the Analytical Engine and Alan Turing published his journal on machine intelligence, we must acknowledge that computers have changed the world. Currently, there is a paradigm shift in the field of artificial intelligence, or AI.

“Even Elon Musk has serious qualms about the future of AI and believes that we must be very careful as it becomes more intelligent and powerful. I am a true believer of AI and the benefits it has had thus far on society, but I also realize the potential it has to become a serious problem if it is not regulated properly.”

Chad acknowledges the help he’s received that will move him forward. “I am deeply humbled and honored to have been chosen as candidate for the Town & Gown Scholarship. This scholarship will very much help me throughout my time at UC San Diego as it will alleviate some of the hardships of being a low-income student. With this generous scholarship, I will be able to focus more on my studies and spend more time devoting myself to extracurricular activities at UC San Diego that will benefit the community. With the goal of continuing my education and specializing in ethical artificial intelligence, I thank you for allowing me to get closer to my goal.”

Chad Lohri