Students and faculty from across campus enjoy annual Dinner with a Professor event

April 25, 2024

On April 19th, the Center for Statistics and Machine Learning hosted undergraduate students and their favorite faculty members for the center’s annual Dinner with a Professor event. This year, the invited students and faculty got together over a 4-course meal at the Princeton restaurant Mistral to reflect on the semester, talk about research, life, and all other topics that arose.

“This was a super event for all concerned,” said Professor Emeritus in the Department of Art & Archaeology, James Marrow. “I was grateful indeed to have been invited.” 

Students and faculty chat and get service at the Princeton restaurant Mistral

Photo credit: Katie Kolodner.

Marrow attended the event through the invitation of Sunrit Panda, a junior in the Department of Operations Research and Financial Engineering (ORFE). Students enrolled in the CSML minor program are welcomed to invite faculty from any department on campus as their guest for the meal.

The 329 undergraduate students enrolled in the CSML minor program come from a variety of disciplines across departments all over campus. Students minoring in SML major in not only computer science but also art, physics, political science, and more. Dinner with a Professor is just one way CSML works to foster and celebrate the cross-campus reach of machine learning at Princeton. 

The relaxed and interdisciplinary environment of the event instigated conversations between students and faculty that moved beyond the more typical academic exchanges of lectures and office hours. “We had many interesting discussions, ranging from the pros and cons of academic jobs versus quant jobs, highlights from student senior theses, travel plans for this summer, to the question of whether sharks know that camels exist,” said Amir Ali Ahmadi, a professor in ORFE. Ahmadi received his invite to dinner from two ORFE seniors – Sophia Fang and Katie Kolodner.

Students and faculty have a discussion over dinner

Students and faculty enjoyed informal chats which covered a wide range of topics over the course of a meal at Mistral. Photo credit: Katie Kolodner.

The unique event allows for faculty and students to get to know each other better in a more informal way that encourages community building across disciplines. Day Yi, a lecturer for CSML who attended as the guest of Department of Computer Science junior Matt Drapkin, echoed Ahmadi’s sentiments. “In what other setting can students and professors relive their childhoods, share future plans, and explore the world that revolves around Taylor Swift!” said Yi.

menu for dinner with a professor meal at Mistral

The attendees of Dinner with a Professor enjoyed a 4-course meal at Mistral. Photo credit: Katie Kolodner.