As a student, Jennifer Frix ’17 thrived in fields that used logic and numbers to find solutions and loved learning about the intersection of problem-solving and business. These interests led her to the Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering as an undergraduate and later to the Institute for Advanced Analytics as a graduate student at NC State.
Currently, Frix works for Bank of America as an assistant vice president in the Artificial Intelligence Enablement and Governance team, where she assesses artificial intelligence (AI) solutions implemented across the enterprise to identify risks or unintended consequences and ensures that the bank is following responsible AI practices including fairness, equality, transparency, and privacy. One way she ensures the bank follows these standards is by increasing the explainability of AI. Many of the modeling techniques associated with AI are very difficult to comprehend, and by increasing the explainability of these models, it is easier to gain a better understanding of the rationale behind the complex decisions associated with AI.
“When we understand how a model works, we can better ensure that it is operating with fairness and equality. Explainability is a field that is rapidly evolving and growing right now, with many companies striving to be on the forefront.”
Frix was raised in a Wolfpack family, so attending NC State was always a big dream for her. She recalls fond memories of her time at NC State and being very involved in her classes and extracurricular activities.
“To attend NC State as a Park Scholar was even more special, and an experience that will remain with me the rest of my life,” Frix shares. “My favorite highlights as a student were attending football games, tailgating in the Trinity Lot, and watching TJ Warren play basketball. I loved my time serving as a Chancellor’s Aide and an Engineering Ambassador, because I had the opportunity to share my love for the school with donors and prospective families, and to meet some amazing people. I made life-long friends throughout college and am so thankful NC State brought us together.”
While a student at NC State, Frix interned and worked on projects for companies like Disney, Coty, and Duke Energy. Upon graduation, she decided to work in banking because of the endless opportunities for analytics.
As a Park Scholar, Frix says she was inspired by the strong network of students and alumni, which helped guide her professional choices.
“Many Parks also studied industrial engineering and analytics so I was able to discuss potential career paths and opportunities with those who had gone before me. This certainly helped me define my career goals and learn about exciting opportunities.”
Frix began her career as a data scientist on model development teams at Wells Fargo in Charlotte, North Carolina. She worked on the Technology Control Modeling and Analytics team, and later on the Voice of the Customer Advanced Listening team. After those experiences, Frix transitioned to a team that governs model development teams across the bank. She discovered her passion for artificial intelligence after being recruited for Bank of America’s Artificial Intelligence Enablement and Governance team at the time it was created.
“Artificial intelligence is an emerging and dynamic technology that is increasingly used by companies to make decisions that can impact each of our daily lives in major ways, both positive and negative,” Frix explains. “I am excited to work on a team that ensures our company is balancing the power of AI with risk mitigation and the adherence to responsible AI standards.”
Throughout Frix’s career, she says that having managers and mentors who are true advocates for her career has had an enormous impact.
“These managers inspired confidence and also pushed me out of my comfort zone, which led to personal and professional growth. In addition, the opportunities I have had to present my work to higher-level executives at major milestones during projects have been extremely valuable. This time is often limited, but has been the best time to receive constructive criticism and feedback.”
Frix reminds current NC State students and Park Scholars to slow down and enjoy the time they have at college.
“Some of my most memorable and impactful experiences happened in the unscheduled, unplanned times during the days, whether it be a random conversation with a professor, getting a snack with a friend, or dropping by Peele for a conversation. It is so easy as a Park Scholar to fill up your time each and every day, but it is important to take time to appreciate the little things along the way!”