ML Classes and Internships for Black & Indigenous Students

Vector Institute is committed to developing programming for Black and Indigenous students to build research and expand career pathways in AI for historically underrepresented groups. This year, Vector is pleased to announce the launch of a new machine learning course and AI internship to accelerate and expand access to knowledge of AI to Black and Indigenous students in Canada. The programming provides relevant, hands-on learning and work experience in machine learning and AI. It is designed to meet the criteria of Special Programs in line with the values of the Ontario Human Rights Code to assist underrepresented groups to achieve equal opportunity in the field of AI.

Introduction to Machine Learning for Black and Indigenous Students

Application deadline: December 15

Participate in a free six week online Introduction to Machine Learning course starting February 2022. The course will introduce common machine learning algorithms such as linear and logistic regression, random forests, decision trees, neural networks, support vector machines, and boosting. It will also offer a broad overview of model-building and optimization techniques that are based on probabilistic building blocks which will serve as a foundation for more advanced machine learning courses. Featuring two hours of lectures/workshops per week, as well as weekly tutorials to help you further assimilate the material, this course will provide a rich, hands-on learning environment.

As a part of this program, you will:

  • Receive a comprehensive introduction to Machine Learning;
  • Gain access to Vector’s weekly research talks with world class faculty and researchers;
  • Participate in career development programming with companies driving AI adoption;
  • Acquire in-demand skills and build meaningful connections to people working and doing research in AI;
  • Gain foundational knowledge and preparation in ML to apply to a Summer internship and;
  • Earn a professional development certificate of completion.

This course is being offered to individuals who meet the following criteria:

  • You are a self-identified Black or Indigenous student (Indigenous ancestry or heritage – First Nations (status or non-status), Métis or Inuit);
  • You are in second year or higher, studying at a Canadian university or college;
  • You are studying in a STEM program (Science, Technology/Computer Science, Engineering, Math) or adjacent disciplines such as Business, Economics or Life Sciences at the undergraduate, master’s or PhD level;
  • You have some coding experience, ideally with Python. You have taken statistics and are comfortable with math; and
  • You are committed to completing coursework on a weekly basis and participating in class.

When does the course run?

The course is tentatively scheduled to run from February 2nd to March 3rd, with classes held Thursdays from 3pm to 5pm EST and tutorials running Wednesdays from 3pm to 5pm EST. Capstone project presentations will take place after the course has concluded on March 17. All classes and tutorials will be online. Enrolment will be capped at approximately 30 students; a minimum of 10 students is required to run the course. We will connect with all applicants no later than January 10, 2022 to confirm participation.

Interested? Complete this short application by December 15. 

Apply to the course!

Course FAQS

Can I use this course for degree credit?

This course is a professional development offering and cannot be used for degree credit.  While Vector offers professional development to industry, health partners and students, it is not an accredited academic institution. You will receive a certificate of completion at the end of the course that you can include on your resume and LinkedIn profile.

Will there be assignments that are evaluated?

There will be course work and a capstone project that will be reviewed and graded by the instructor and TA to provide you with feedback on your progress. Capstone projects are also a great way to showcase what you have learned in the course and demonstrate your knowledge to prospective employers.

Why is Vector offering a free course on Machine Learning for Black and Indigenous students?

There are challenges facing Black and Indigenous people entering the field of Artificial Intelligence, STEM, and tech in general. Both statistical data on workforce participation (1)  and anecdotal evidence reflects that there are real barriers that require action. The purpose of Vector’s Introduction to ML course and internship programming is to increase the opportunities to build research and career pathways in AI for Black and Indigenous students in Canada. This initiative is designed to meet the criteria of Special Programs in line with the values of the Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code), to assist underrepresented groups to achieve equal opportunity in the field of AI.


(1) Based on 2016 Census data, Indigenous people make up 4% of adults in Canada but less than 2% of people working in STEM occupations are Indigenous (Analysis of 2016 Census data. Statistics Canada, “Data Products, 2016 Census.”). According to a Brookfield Study (2019) entitled Who are Canada’s Tech Workers? Indigenous people’s participation in tech occupations is less than half of non-Indigenous people’s participation in the field (2.2% vs. 5.2%). Similarly, Black people reflect 2.6% of the tech workforce but 3.5% of the population. A MaRS Discovery District analysis using a survey dataset powered by Fortay and Feminuity of tech workers in Toronto found that Black tech workers were more likely to report lower levels of diversity, inclusion and belonging compared to White, Asian, and other Visible Minorities.
I have more questions about the course. Who do I email?

Please don’t hesitate to contact if you have further questions about the application process or the course.

Summer Internships 2022: Research & Applied Internship Pathways for Black and Indigenous Students

Internships begin in May 2022. Applications open January 2022.

Gain hands-on experience in machine learning. Advance your research or career goals. Attend research, career development and commercialization talks. Open doors to new opportunities by networking with people doing research and working in AI.

Vector offers two types of internship opportunities which may take place in person or remotely:

  • Applied Internships: Work full or part-time alongside professional staff at Vector on AI and data centric projects. Applied internships may include data analysis, visualization, or automation functions, ML engineering, or project management or domain specific roles, in areas such as health and AI.
  • Research Internships: Work alongside Vector Faculty, who are world-leading researchers who are pushing the boundaries of machine learning and deep learning in critical areas such as Computer Vision, Generative Models, Healthcare – computational biology, genomics, Security, Privacy & Fairness, and Natural Language Processing.

Learn more about Vector’s internships here!

Vector & BPTN

Vector is collaborating with the Black Professionals in Tech Network (BPTN), who has partnered with top Canadian companies who will hire a total of 375 early career, Black professionals each year for the next 3 years. This includes internships and co-ops. Applied intern roles will be posted on the BPTN career portal in January as well as the Vector Digital Talent Hub. Feel free to set up a profile on the BPTN network today for internship opportunities in tech roles across the country.

The application for research interns will be posted on our website in January.

Additional Needs Based Funding

All internship positions at Vector are paid positions. Additional needs based funding may be provided to Black and Indigenous interns in the form of a stipend to reduce barriers to participating in the internship. More information about the stipend will be made available during the interview process in winter.

Vector is committed to equity, diversity and intentional inclusion within its community and encourages applications to our internship programs from racialized persons / persons of colour, women, Indigenous / Aboriginal People of North America, persons with disabilities, and LGBTQ2S+ persons.

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