Penn State Berks student team is finalist in Nittany AI Challenge

Resilient Resumes builds web app to help students create better resumes
Nittany AI Challenge

The Resilient Resumes team is comprised of project lead Amie Croteau, far right; junior in information sciences and technology (IST); Ethan Adams, not pictured, junior in IST and security and risk analysis (SRA); and Ian Morrissey, far left, junior in SRA and minoring in IST, all students at Penn State Berks; and Bryan Cruz, center, junior in computer science at Penn State Harrisburg.

Credit: Penn State

WYOMISSING, Pa. — A team of Penn State Berks students wants to help their fellow students in their job search. Appropriately named Resilient Resumes, the team was one of 20 finalists in the Nittany AI Challenge at Penn State University Park on April 3.

Resilient Resumes has developed a web application designed to walk the user through the resume creation process, asking guided questions to assure that the user has included all necessary information. Then the resume will be analyzed utilizing artificial intelligence and the application will output recommendations to help the user improve various features in the resume.

The Resilient Resumes team is comprised of project lead Amie Croteau, a junior majoring in information sciences and technology (IST); Ethan Adams, a junior with a double major in IST and security and risk analysis (SRA); and Ian Morrissey, a junior majoring in SRA and minoring in IST, all students at Penn State Berks. They are joined by Bryan Cruz, a junior majoring in computer science at Penn State Harrisburg. Faculty advisers are Abdullah Konak, professor of IST, and Yuan Xue, assistant professor of IST, both from Penn State Berks.

“The idea came about from brainstorming [for the Nittany AI Challenge] and frankly, frustration from trying to get an internship,” explained Croteau. “I'm a non-traditional student, so my resume looked very different. I wanted it to be really good before I sat down with Career Services.

“We wanted to create a tool that can give students feedback immediately after writing their resume and confidence when they are applying for an internship or job," Croteau added. "That's where Resilient Resumes was born.” 

Adams explained, “Amie started up the project with a proposal for a resume feedback application. Dr. Konak offered to bring me on board and the rest is history. This experience has been really exciting! I am the machine learning lead for our team, so I am responsible for creating the algorithm that turns a student resume into a resume marked up with feedback and ratings.”

Cruz said he knew Croteau from Reading Area Community College: “I’m a student at Capitol [Harrisburg] campus but I live in Berks County. I asked Amie if she wanted to do anything for the Nittany AI Challenge and it turned out that she was looking for people to join the team.

“We have all been through the pain of refining a resume – it’s a long and painful process. My role on the project is designing and programming the web application, which gathers the data and shows the student feedback," said Cruz. "I also helped design how the data is organized on the backend so the artificial intelligence can analyze it.”

To enter the challenge, teams were asked to submit solutions using the artificial intelligence platform of their choosing to address real-world problems facing students at the University. AI companies including Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Oracle offer hands-on workshops during the challenge to assist students with development.

Penn State student teams submitted more than 63 proposals during the Idea Phase of the 2019 Nittany AI Challenge. Twenty of those teams have been selected by a panel of judges to receive $500 from the Nittany AI Alliance to move their idea forward and develop a prototype.

Each of the teams receiving prize money were required to submit a prototype of their original proposed project on April 3. All participants were eligible to submit prototypes for evaluation, regardless of success in the first phase. Up to 10 prototype submissions were awarded $1,500 prizes to further support the development of a minimum viable product (MVP) for the third phase of the challenge.

"This experience was an amazing opportunity for me as the project lead,” stated Croteau. “I am looking to pursue a career in software management and this project gave me a chance to experience a close-to-real-world opportunity. Thankfully, my entire team was onboard and motivated to meet the milestones needed. We are looking forward to continuing development and sharing with the community how to make their resume resilient to the marketplace.”

Konak explained the value of this project to students.

“Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies are changing the world in a way that we have not seen since the widespread use of the Internet," said Konak. "There is a tremendous interest in these technologies among our students. With this project and some other initiatives at Penn State Berks, we aim to create research-based experiential learning experiences for our students. 

“Personally, I am grateful for funding from the Frederick H. and Austra Gaige Fund to Support Innovation and an Institute of CyberScience Seed Grant. I also would like to thank Alexa Wojciechowski, Coordinator of Placement and Internships in Career Services, for providing us with valuable expertise in this project," Konak added.