Alumni Titan Award

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Jay Budzik, ’95, has given back generously to IMSA. Jay served as a student network system administrator from 1993-1995, a SIR mentor from 1997-2003 and Trustee from 2008-2020. As a student at IMSA, Jay helped manage campus computer infrastructure, ensuring all students had access to computing resources. As an SIR mentor, Jay worked with aspiring computer scientists who wanted to pursue research.

He was honored to be appointed a Trustee in 2008, where he advocated for greater financial transparency that helped IMSA understand how its budget reflected institutional priorities.

He encouraged the development of program evaluation frameworks and metrics, so IMSA could demonstrate the impact of its programs to stakeholders. These efforts provided the data necessary to allow IMSA to contemplate program expansion so that more students and teachers can benefit from IMSA’s programs, and ultimately led to the passage of SB 2939.

Jay contributed to the development of the TALENT entrepreneurship program, PFS programs, and encouraged IMSA to focus on improving diversity, equity and inclusion.

Jay is CTO of Zest AI, which develops software that helps lenders of all sizes harness the power of machine learning to make more profitable and inclusive loans. His work developing ML models that use more data and better math is making it possible for people of color and previously-underserved populations to participate more fully in our economy.

Jay earned a B. S. with honors in Computer Science from the University of Chicago, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Northwestern University, where he was a Presidential Fellow.



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