Coding His Path: A Student's Quest for AI Mastery at Pace University

Katie Todd
May 2, 2024
Pace student Om Gaikhe sitting in front of an old fountain and smiling for a photo.

Om Gaikhe (MS in Data Science ’24) is a committed senior at Pace University's Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. Om blends rigorous academics with active campus engagement, delving deep into software development and innovative technologies. His journey started with an early interest in programming and led him to specialization in artificial intelligence. As a student who is always participating in hackathons, contributing to research, and mentoring peers, Om embodies the collaborative, ambitious spirit of the Seidenberg community, aiming to make a significant impact in the tech industry.

What initially attracted you to Pace University, and how has the school lived up to your expectations?

Shortlisting the right universities for me to study away from home was a crucial step, especially coming from a business & finance background. Not only did I want to learn more about tech, but I also wanted to be able to apply the knowledge I had consumed before. What really attracted me to Seidenberg was the flexible electives that I could choose as I proceed with my education. Data Science has multiple applicability in the real world, but Seidenberg offered more concentrated electives around multiple fields including MBA, Finance, Marketing, Information systems & Economics. It suited just right with what I was seeking.

Can you describe a class or project at Pace that was particularly impactful for you? What made it stand out?

A class at Seidenberg that deeply impacted me was my capstone class, inspired by a paper I co-authored with Dr. Christelle Scharff and our team, titled “AI Strategies: National Strategies and Regulations.” This project, which won the Best Paper Award at the RII 2024 Research and Innovation Forum in Ravello, Italy, involved developing an AI-driven chatbot that used BERTopic and Llama 2 models to streamline literature reviews for machine learning projects. What stood out was not only the advanced technical skills I developed but also how the project transformed my approach to research. The chatbot, which handled a database of over 1.7 million machine learning publications, not only enhanced research efficiency but also inspired users by making vast amounts of information easily navigable. This capstone project was a major milestone in my academic career, showcasing how technology can revolutionize traditional academic practices and highlighting the transformative potential of intuitive AI in academic research.

How have your experiences outside the classroom, such as in clubs or sports, enhanced your education at Pace?

Representing Pace Esports team the Lapis Blus, was a splendid experience full of fun, teamwork, challenge, and healthy competition. It really helps me connect with people learning different tracks of careers. I made a few friends, we played, we won, we lost, overall, it was a good place to be in.

What has been your favorite moment or memory from your time at Pace so far?

One of my most memorable experiences at Pace occurred on an eventful day when New York City experienced a 4.8 magnitude earthquake. I was part of the organizing team for the Google Women Techmakers event, held in celebration of International Women’s Day at Seidenberg. Despite the unexpected shake-up, the event was a great success. Adding to the thrill of the day, I had the opportunity to take the stage and present a paper I co-authored, titled “Inclusion Ethics in AI: Use Cases in African Fashion”. It was both a scary and thrilling day, packed with learning and unique experiences. My friends & I always have a good laugh about that day!

What advice would you give to prospective students considering Pace University?

There will be a time when things may feel overwhelming and that’s okay. Ask for help; you will find that help will always be given to those who ask for it. My advice for any prospective student would be to remember that college/university is all about the process of learning and growth. It’s a process and you must be in love with it, so that one takes initiative to work on it. Be grateful for small victories along the way and trust that there are better times ahead if you stay on the course.

Can you share a story about a professor or staff member at Pace who has significantly influenced your academic journey?

My academic journey at Pace has been profoundly influenced by the mentorship of Dr. Kaleemunnisa and Dr. Christelle Scharff. Dr. Kaleema first recognized my potential during my initial year at Seidenberg. Her guidance was crucial; she encouraged me to seek help and introduced me to Dr. Scharff, who has been instrumental in my development. Under Dr. Scharff’s mentorship, I evolved as a research and graduate assistant, making significant contributions to the fields of AI and ML. Together, we co-authored the paper "AI Strategies: National Strategies and Regulations". Dr. Kaleemunnisa's encouragement to seek help when facing challenges and Dr. Scharff’s patient mentorship opened doors to numerous research opportunities and inspired me to embrace them fully. Their support has been invaluable in shaping my academic path.

How do you engage with the Pace community and the wider environment of New York City in your studies or extracurricular activities?

Volunteering! I think that’s been my go-to way to give back to the Seidenberg community. Helping me with gaining extra knowledge and wisdom from people across the world. I had the opportunity to volunteer at the Opportunities in Africa Summit, and it was an experience to remember. The perspectives I learned, life-stories I heard, and the networking goes a long way. Probably one of the best ways to attend conferences without breaking your wallet as a student!

More from Pace


With more than two billion people threatened by unsafe water, students and researchers at Pace's Blue CoLab are working hard to pioneer real-time water monitoring tech to ensure we all know what's in our water.


The 2024 AI Internship Experience Program at the Seidenberg School started this week! This intensive, two-week paid program for undergraduate and graduate students of Seidenberg will include a multitude of hot topics and tools in technology, a crash course in Python, GitHub workshops, networking, career development, and more.