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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Filza Khan

Karachi, Pakistan

Major in Computer Science, Minor in Economics

Filza will serve as the Class of 2024 Student Commencement Speaker.

Filza Khan ’24 chose Knox because of the personalized service she received from the College. “I received a lot of support, not just from people who were studying here at the time, but also those who were working in Admissions. They were very open to my questions and very welcoming,” she said.

She decided to major in computer science with the goal of becoming a software developer. After discovering different opportunities in business technology, cyber security, and product management, Khan chose to add a minor in economics as well. 

To develop her skills in the industry, Khan completed a two-week internship as a front-end developer with Maple Bay, based in New York. She used her $2000 Power of Experience grant, given to every incoming student in their junior or senior year, to fund her expedition. Khan also secured a paid internship with the Galesburg Tourism and Visitors Bureau, where she worked on a group project to develop economic reports. 

On campus, Khan worked closely with David Bunde, William & Marilyn Ingersoll Chair in Computer Science, to research the impact of ethics in artificial intelligence (AI). She investigated the trolley problem and how an AI-powered car would make decisions to save lives. She also conducted a campus-wide survey to answer questions about other ethical issues, such as AI and privacy, as well as stereotypes that AI might adhere to. 

Conducting independent research allowed Khan to step outside of the traditional classroom setting and develop her skills by initiating, mediating, and successfully finishing a big project by herself while exercising creativity in her work. “When I started, Professor Bunde told me that independent study is not something he recommends to everybody because, as the name says, it's very independent. If you're someone who's used to having a certain timeline of things assigned by a professor, it's really hard to keep up with it,” she explains. 

Khan was recently named student commencement speaker for the class of 2024. She says she’s excited to make her parents proud, sharing the story of her Knox journey and the role it has played in her life. “It means so much to me,” she said. “Coming to college from an entirely different continent wasn’t easy and the fact that I get to go up there and share my values with everyone graduating, regardless of our different paths, is wonderful!” 

Looking ahead, Khan is working with the Bastian Family Center for Career Success staff and the Office of Advancement to network with alumni and apply for roles in the tech field. 

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Printed on Monday, July 22, 2024