La Jolla News Nuggets: AI institute, Girl Scout Gold Awards, new jazz venture, fundraisers, more

Andrew Kahng, a professor at UC San Diego's Jacobs School of Engineering, is the director of the TILOS AI institute.
(Courtesy of UC San Diego)

AI institute led by UC San Diego lands $20 million grant

A new research institute led by UC San Diego has been awarded $20 million from the National Science Foundation to pursue breakthroughs in artificial intelligence across a wide swath of industries, such as cyber infrastructure, health care, education, semiconductor design, agriculture and communications networks.

The grant announced July 29 was part of $220 million that the NSF invested in 11 artificial intelligence research institutes across the country after a 10-month competition. The funding will be provided over the next five years.

The UCSD-based center is called The Institute for Learning-enabled Optimization at Scale, or
TILOS. Its work will center on how artificial intelligence can drive lower costs, faster roll-outs, improved energy efficiency and other benefits. — The San Diego Union-Tribune

La Jolla Girl Scouts earn Gold Awards

Meredith Hunter, Lauren Nitahara and Emerson Takata (from left) have earned their Girl Scout Gold Awards.
Meredith Hunter, Lauren Nitahara and Emerson Takata (from left) have earned their Girl Scout Gold Awards, the most prestigious Girl Scout achievement.
(Courtesy of Meredith Hunter, Lauren Nitahara and Emerson Takata)

Meredith Hunter, Lauren Nitahara and Emerson Takata, all recent graduates of high schools in La Jolla, have earned the Gold Award, the highest achievement in the Girl Scouts.

To receive a Gold Award — earned by only 5 percent of eligible Girl Scouts nationwide — a Scout must demonstrate accomplishments in leadership, community service, career planning and personal development, choosing a local or global issue to address through research, planning and execution.

Hunter, a 2020 graduate of The Bishop’s School, made a documentary to inspire more girls to pursue an education in computer science. The documentary is available at

Nitahara, a 2021 graduate of La Jolla High School, aimed to help 10- to 14-year-olds develop cultural tolerance and take a more positive view of cultural differences. She developed 11 video workshops, each spotlighting a different country via a cooking lesson, art projects and cultural trivia. The workshops are available at

Takata, a 2021 LJHS graduate, conducted comprehensive interviews with 15 La Jolla senior citizens to connect her generation with older ones and remind families of the importance of being proud of their heritage. She compiled the footage into videos that her interviewees can share with their families and future generations.

For information about Girl Scouting opportunities in La Jolla, email Elena Savignano at

Athenaeum jazz coordinator launches new venture with two outdoor concerts

Veteran Athenaeum Music & Arts Library jazz program coordinator Daniel Atkinson didn’t have to look far to secure a venue for his new San Diego Jazz Ventures.

It debuts with outdoor concerts by bassist Ben Williams on Aug. 21 and vocalist Gretchen Parlato on Aug. 28 at The Alexandria at Torrey Pines, a few miles north of La Jolla’s Athenaeum.

The COVID-19 pandemic led to a 16-month postponement of last year’s planned launch of San Diego Jazz Ventures. The nonprofit organization is designed to complement the ongoing jazz concert series at the Athenaeum, which Atkinson has guided since its inception in 1989. He also is the driving force behind the 25-year-old Athenaeum jazz series at Scripps Research’s California Auditorium (formerly the Neurosciences Institute Auditorium).

The Alexandria at Torrey Pines is at 10996 Torreyana Road, San Diego. Tickets to this month’s concerts are $50 for general admission and $100 for front-row seating with complimentary tapas. Admission includes a complimentary glass of wine for guests 21 and older. For more information, vist — The San Diego Union-Tribune

La Valencia to donate part of key lime pie sales to Shelter to Soldier

The La Valencia Hotel will donate a portion of sales of its seasonal key lime pie to Shelter to Soldier.
(Courtesy of La Valencia Hotel)

The La Valencia Hotel at 1132 Prospect St. in La Jolla will donate a portion of sales of its new, locally made key lime pie to San Diego nonprofit Shelter to Soldier.

Shelter to Soldier adopts dogs from local shelters and rescue organizations and trains them to become psychiatric service dogs for post-9/11 combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress and injuries associated with their service.

The seasonal pie, priced at $18, will be available for purchase at lunch and dinner. Both the pie and the donation promotion will be available for an indefinite time.

American Cancer Society fundraiser planned for La Jolla Country Club

Professional golfer David Leadbetter will be on hand at the 18th annual San Diego Invitational on Monday, Aug. 30, at the La Jolla Country Club.

The event, co-chaired by George Young and Dr. Paul Murphy, raises money for the American Cancer Society to fund research.

Leadbetter has offered to play alongside the highest-bidding foursome.

During the event, Dr. Anne Truitt from Skin Surgery Medical Group Inc. will provide free skin checks to those in attendance.

Local American Legion post to present hike around La Jolla

La Jolla’s American Legion Post 275 will present a fundraising hike at 9 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 22, with a loop around La Jolla, starting and ending at Hennessey’s Tavern, 7811 Herschel Ave. Participants who purchase a $25 ticket get a commemorative shirt.

The hike will raise funds for the local post, which has been in La Jolla since 1924, and will double as a celebration of Rotarian Max Gurney’s 100th birthday. At the end of the hike, American Legion District 22 and Post 275 will present a certificate of appreciation to Gurney for his service during World War II.

Learn more at

La Jolla High student named to Student Leaders internship program

Ebony Crandle, 17, of La Jolla High School is one of four San Diego County students or graduates recently selected for Bank of America’s 2021 Student Leaders nationwide internship program.

They will intern for eight weeks at nonprofits in their communities for $17 an hour and will receive a Chromebook. Ebony is interning at the YMCA of San Diego County. She said she has focused on promoting diversity in her school by discussing social justice topics in a blog she launched last year, as well as volunteering with the ACLU. — The San Diego Union-Tribune

Better Business Bureau offers essay scholarship contest

The Better Business Bureau Serving the Pacific Southwest is presenting its Ethical Torch Essay Scholarship Contest for incoming and current high school students and will award up to $5,000 in scholarships to winners.

Students must submit an essay of up to 400 words on the topic of “The Importance of Ethics and Integrity in the Community.” There is no entry fee, and the deadline for submissions is Sunday, Aug. 29.

Five scholarships will be awarded in the amounts of $500, $750, $1,000, $1,250 and $1,500 to help students pay for college tuition and other expenses. Winners will be recognized at the annual Torch Awards for Ethics celebration on Wednesday, Sept. 15.

Applications are accepted at To request a paper application or for more details, email

La Jollan joins UC San Diego Foundation board

La Jolla resident Sheri Jamieson is one of nine new trustees who recently joined the UC San Diego Foundation board, which works to connect the university with community partners and resources to launch programs.

Jamieson, who received a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from UCSD in 1973, has served on the La Jolla Playhouse board for 15 years and founded and served as president of the University Art Gallery board and created the Arts and Humanities Dean’s Advisory Council in 1995. She was one of the early board members of UCSD Health’s Moores Cancer Center and one of its founding donors.

— La Jolla Light staff compiled this report.