Isaac Robinson

Year of Graduation: 
Isaac Robinson

“Technology can be used to do incredible things and raise the standard of living of people around the world."

Isaac Robinson ‘18 wasn’t interested in computer science prior to coming to Exeter, but an introductory course with Instructor Sean Campbell was revelatory. Inspired by Exeter’s dress code, his final project was a web application that helped users color-coordinate shirts and ties. “It was a ton of fun to build,” he recalls. “I wondered what else I could do with the technology.” He dove further into the computer science curriculum, taking several more courses. “I found them widely applicable to things I was interested in, like government and politics, physics and biology,” he says. “Computer science seemed like an all-purpose tool.”

Now a senior at Harvard College and recently named a Rhodes Scholar, Robinson is interested in applying computational thinking to address public policy issues and build equity in the tech sector. As a member of Harvard’s Tech for Social Good, a student-run group developing products for under-resourced social impact organizations, Robinson is helping introduce a bill into the Massachusetts legislature related to auditing algorithms for fairness in hiring. “Hiring platforms use AI, and if the algorithms are biased in any way, it perpetuates negative biases in hiring systems,” he says.

Robinson graduates this spring with degrees in computer science and mathematics; he will pursue master’s degrees in advanced computer science and comparative social policy at the University of Oxford. “Technology can be used to do incredible things and raise the standard of living of people around the world,” he says. “It won’t solve all of the world’s problems, but it can be an incredible source for good.”

— Debbie Kane

Editor's note: This article first appeared in the winter 2023 issue of The Exeter Bulletin.