The Blackburn Institute’s 2023 Annual Symposium will take place on Friday, August 25 and Saturday, August 26, 2023 at the Bryant Conference Center. Please see the schedule below for event times, dates, and audiences.

2023 Annual Symposium Schedule

Please read each event carefully to ensure that you are included in the invited audience(s).


11 - 11:50 a.m.Advisory Board Meet and Greet and Check-InAdvisory Board, Blackburn Society
12 - 1:15 p.m.Advisory Board LunchAdvisory Board, Blackburn Society
1:30 - 4:30 p.m.Advisory Board MeetingAdvisory Board, Blackburn Society
2 - 3:00 p.m.Fellows Feature Webinar (Online)
Demystifying AI: Applications, Approaches, and Responsibility
Presenter: Mr. Darren Mowry, Managing Director, North America, Google Cloud
Full Blackburn Community
4:30 - 5 p.m.Fellows and Students Check-InFellows and students
5 - 6:15 p.m.Opening Session: Frank A. Nix Memorial Lecture on Ethical Leadership
Data Fluency – Preparing for an AI-Driven Future
Keynote Speaker: Mr. Joshua Jones, CEO of QuantHub
UA Community, Free and open to the public
6:30 - 8:30 p.m.Blackburn Community DinnerFull Blackburn Community
9 - 11:59 p.m.Late Night Fellows Reunion ActivitiesFellows, Advisory Board, Blackburn Society


8 - 8:45 a.m.Breakfast with MimosasFull Blackburn Community
9 - 10:15 a.m.Breakout Sessions

Session I: Balancing Progress and Responsibility: Perspectives on Federal AI Policy
Moderator: Ms. Meghan Dorn, Manager of Federal Policy at TechNet
Panelists: Ms. Sophia Warner, Legislative Aide, U.S. House of Representatives; Ms. Yardena Wolf, Chief of
Staff, U.S. House of Representatives

Session II: The Future of Rural Health: AI-Powered, Smart, and Connected
Presenter: Dr. Jiaqi Gong, Associate Professor of Computer Science at the University of Alabama and the Director of the Sensor-Accelerated Intelligent Learning Laboratory (SAIL Lab)

Session III: Bevill State’s Carl Elliott Institute: Inspired by the Blackburn Model
Presenter: Mr. Patrick Dutton, Associate PATHWAYS Supply Chain Planning Specialist, Northrop Grumman
Full Blackburn Community
10:15 - 10:35 a.m.Coffee BreakFull Blackburn Community
10:40 - 11:55 a.m.Breakout Sessions

Session IV: Utilizing AI to Support City Processes and Citizen Engagement
Moderator: Dr. Stephen Dawe, Chief Technology Officer, City of Opelika
Panelists: Dr. Kenny Brock, President & Chair, Alabama Artificial Intelligence Center of Excellence; Dr. David Paradice, Harbert Eminent Scholar in Information Systems and Analytics, Harber College of Business; Mr. Andrew Albrecht, Co-founder & CEO, AUBix

Session V: Fairness and Representation in Automated Speech Recognition
Presenter: Mr. Jay Cunningham, Doctoral Candidate in Human Centered Design and Engineering at the University of Washington

Session VI: Utilizing Psychedelic Medicine to Alleviate Alabama's Mental Health Crisis
Panelists: Ms. Fanicy Sears, Owner of eMotion Therapy, LLC, Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist; Mr. Kenton Bartlett, Owner of Kenton Bartlett Counseling, Licensed Professional Counselor; Dr. Dave Barnhart, Pastor of Saint Junia United Methodist Church and Author; Mr. David Carn, Attorney at McLaughlin, PC
Full Blackburn Community
12 - 1:15 p.m.Blackburn Community LunchFull Blackburn Community
1:30 - 2:45 p.m.Breakout Sessions

Session VII: Afterward: Hearing the Voices of Alabama Victims, Survivors, and Communities Impacted by Violence
Presenters: Ms. Leah Nelson, Research Director, Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice; and Mr. Ronald McKeithen, Re-entry Coordinator and Advocate, Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice

Session VIII: Responsible AI Technology: A Tool for Political Campaigns and Civic Engagements
Presenter: Mr. Suhail Kahn, Director of State and Local Government Affairs, Microsoft

Session IX: Navigating the Autonomous Future of Traffic Safety
Presenter: Dr. Jeremy Pate, Director, The University of Alabama Center for Advanced Public Safety
Full Blackburn Community
3 - 3:30 p.m.Closing Coffee & Dessert BreakFull Blackburn Community
3:30 - 5 p.m.New Student Reflections or Pre-Trip Meeting for Huntsville Travel ExperienceBlackburn students