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October 20, 2020

Mercyhurst and Empower AI (formerly NCI) form AI-Capabilities Partnership

Mercyhurst and Empower AI (formerly NCI) form AI-Capabilities Partnership

RESTON, Va., Oct. 20, 2020 – Mercyhurst University has forged an academic partnership with Empower AI (formerly NCI), to support the Reston, Virginia, systems innovator in conveying the latest artificial intelligence (AI) technology to the federal government. Students are working with Empower AI’s chief technology organization in developing and training enterprise brain and animated persona capabilities.

Four students of the university’s Department of Computing and Information Science within the university’s Ridge College of Intelligence Studies & Applied Sciences, have been selected to work with Empower AI on a customized AI database, an innovation designed to transform the way federal agencies do business while creating efficiencies and reducing operational costs. Project participants include sophomore Brentyn Muir of Hobart, Australia; and graduate students Kutlu Mizrak of Ankara, Turkey; Arseniy Sklyarov of Toronto, Canada; and Alex Nicanor Kenmogne Tayou of Yaounde, Cameroon. They will be supervised by­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ Dr. Oluwatosin Ogundare, assistant professor of data science and machine learning.

"We’re excited to work with Mercyhurst University to further augment the NCI Empower® AI platform. The strength of our teams, collaborating together, promises to yield exciting new possibilities for the infusion of machine learning and data analytics capabilities into our arsenal of operational AI tools and technologies,” said Empower AI President and CEO Paul A. Dillahay. “As the public sector starts to embrace next-generation, innovative AI solutions, NCI stands ready to help our federal government customers bring these proven innovations to bear.”

Mercyhurst Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Leanne Roberts welcomed the partnership also for the experience it affords Mercyhurst students in this highly innovative arena. “Collaboration between industry and academia is a critical component of enhancing innovation through knowledge exchange, and we are proud to join NCI in this mutually beneficial enterprise,” she said.

The partnership is an outgrowth of the university’s Center for Intelligence Research Analysis and Training (CIRAT), headed by Brian Fuller, who coordinates CIRAT projects with businesses, institutions, and government agencies. Over the years, hundreds of students from the Ridge College of Intelligence and Applied Sciences have gained valuable experience, established professional networks, and earned wages on projects.

“Having this kind of academic partnership with NCI provides our students with real-world experience, makes them more competitive in the job market, and can help to open employment streams after graduation,” Fuller said.

ABOUT MERCYHURST UNIVERSITYMercyhurst University, founded in 1926 by the Sisters of Mercy, is a fully accredited, four-year, Catholic comprehensive institution in Erie, Pennsylvania. The university is home to an estimated 3,000 students and offers more than 85 undergraduate majors with nearly 70 concentrations and pre-professional tracks, as well as 10 graduate programs. Learn more at

ABOUT THE RIDGE COLLEGE OF INTELLIGENCE STUDIES & APPLIED SCIENCESNamed after Erie native Tom Ridge, 43rd governor of Pennsylvania and first Secretary of Homeland Security, the Ridge College brings together complementary academic disciplines that stress critical thinking, data analysis and collaborative decision-making. Serving as a Center of Excellence for distance and online learning, the Ridge College takes the lead in exploring, designing and developing new ways to deliver professional education. A Ridge College education helps make sense of the complex behaviors of people, organizations and governments through the application of principles, theories and technologies in innovative and exciting ways. To learn more, visit our website.

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