September 9, 2020 | Atlanta, GA

The nominations are in, and the inaugural class of the College of Sciences Staff Advisory Council is preparing for its first virtual meeting later in September.

According to its mission statement, the Council represents and advocates for the diverse collective body of staff within the College and will interact directly with the Dean of the College of Sciences. The Council serves as a liaison between the staff and College leadership, providing an avenue for a significant contribution of staff expertise. The Council aims to use these perspectives to provide recommendations to the Dean of the College, as well as to inform leadership members within each independent school regarding staff matters.

Please join us in welcoming the Council’s 15 members from across the College of Sciences, and in learning more about each member’s background, work, goals, and interests in serving:


Emma Blandford
Assistant Director of Living Learning Communities, Dean’s Office:

Background: I have a unique position to be able to interact with folks from across the college in order to best serve my students. I interact with first-year students on a daily basis, and connect them with the resources that they need on campus to be most successful. The team of amazing staff in the College of Sciences makes this college not only work, but run like their home-away-from-home. I have also been a part of the working group that formed the initial College of Sciences Advisory Council voting process, mission and vision.

Why I’m joining the Council: As a member of the council I would work to learn about the wide variety of positions, responsibilities, and needs of the professionals across our college. I am also interested to serve in a way that allows folks to be more than who they are at work, to introduce holistic wellness opportunities and connections to inclusive programming in order to support the whole-person experience.


Paula Ewers
Faculty Support Coordinator, School of Biological Sciences:

Background: Strong service-oriented skills, educational background, high level of attention to detail and results driven workforce professional with proven success in demonstrating expertise in service management and coordination. Professional in customer service, project management, team management, and budget management.

Why I’m joining the Council: Throughout my years of experience in the College of Sciences I have identified areas of opportunity and areas of success, and I would love to assist in building a stronger culture. I want to give back to this amazing college and provide feedback where I can.


Shantel Floyd
Research Administrative Manager, School of Chemistry and Biochemistry:

Background: I have a strong understanding of processes both on the finance and administration side. I have 5-plus years of experience supporting a center with a focus on broadening participation (development of unique programming). I also have experience partnering with people in the College of Sciences and the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. I am trusted by colleagues and I have the ability to relate to colleagues on all levels. I was chosen as a Chemistry representative on several pilots. I mentor new staff and those starting new programs like those that I've run in the past. I have also partnered with IBB on several projects and events. I have the ability to create great working relationships across the board.

Why I’m joining the Council: Serving on this council will enable me to stay connected with activities that will help my fellow staff members in both education and the working environment, and to help with collaborations and open communication channels throughout all levels of the Institute. I will also have the opportunity to actively participate and contribute to conversations and solutions about the goals of the campus community.


Susan Harris
Financial Administrator, School of Chemistry and Biochemistry:

Background: I have 30-plus years working with sponsored project funding. I have 10-plus years working in academic units with faculty and admin teams. I have a deep respect for the process and want everything to be done within policy.

Why I’m joining the Council: I am hoping this team will be able to help identify and address concerns in their departments, and we can help make Georgia Tech a better place for all.


Chung Kim
Academic Program Coordinator, School of Biological Sciences:

Background: I've been working at Georgia Tech’s School of Biological Sciences for the past three years as an academic program coordinator. My favorite, most fulfilling aspect of this position is interacting with and supporting our graduate students to successfully complete their degrees. I consider myself to be a good listener, team player, and a detail-oriented person.

Why I’m joining the Council: I believe that by being part of the College of Sciences Staff Advisory Council, I would play an important role in building bonds among the staff, faculty, and administration. If given an opportunity, I would be glad to contribute my time and efforts in making a positive difference for the College and its schools.


Gary Longstreet
Academic Program Manager, School of Physics:

Background: First, I'm honored to be nominated. With more than 20 years in higher education, I offer a very diverse background, having worked for both public and private universities. At Georgia State University, I served on the Staff Advisory Council for several years and then represented staff on the University Senate Committee as a senator.

Why I’m joining the Council:  I understand the needs of staff and the valuable role we play at all different levels. With everything happening in the world today, it is vital that staff be heard, supported, appreciated, and understood that we make things happen at the Institute and beyond.


Lea Marzo
Assistant to the Chair, School of Mathematics:

Background: I have been in higher education for over 13 years, six of those years at Georgia Tech. I have also been a graduate student for eight years and I believe that I can offer some insight from both a staff and a student perspective.

Why I’m joining the Council: I would like the opportunity to serve on the College of Sciences Staff Advisory Council because I will put the interests of the workers above my own. I believe that I am a team player and will work to the best of my abilities to ensure that the voices of the staff members are represented.


Erin Nagle
Faculty Affairs Administrative Manager, Dean’s Office:

Background: After three years in the College and at Georgia Tech, I have met many wonderful staff members whose own stories and experiences I have enjoyed hearing about. I believe in a strong sense of community where staff contributions are highlighted and explored. I am a good listener and problem solver, and I genuinely care about staff development and morale. Budgets are tight and that limits what can be spent on development activities, but discussion and community building are free.

Why I’m joining the Council: Outside of our evolving national issues, College staff are facing multiple challenges on a routine basis right here on campus. Processes are frequently changing, and ‘newness’ has been our constant companion. It is difficult to keep up with our changing local environment and also keep on top of important work endeavors. I feel that strengthening our sense of community and support network within the college is our most powerful tool in facing ongoing challenges.


Alison Onstine
Laboratory Manager, School of Biological Sciences:

Background: My position as manager for the Biology teaching labs provides me with both a student-facing role and a window into the challenges facing staff within research labs. It’s my hope that these varied perspectives will help find commonalities in the challenges that staff in both traditional academic and research roles face. I will use all the tools at my disposal to foster the trust needed to become an effective representative for CoS staff.

Why I’m joining the Council: I see the amazing efforts already underway to bring voice to staff within the College and am eager to bring my skills to benefit these initiatives. Staff at Georgia Tech, in my experience, are challenging to unite as a group because of their disparate roles within the Institute. Due to our new social distancing challenges, there is more urgency than ever for staff to come together and build the community necessary to effectively be heard by administration.


Chinneta Pettaway
Research Administrative Manager, School of Mathematics:

Background: I have many years of experience prior to Georgia Tech working directly with chairs and executive management. I was able to form diverse leadership teams, which helped improve morale and retention within the department. My years at Georgia Tech working for the former Dean of the College of Sciences and the other leadership members allowed me the ability to understand the mission and vision of the College. I was able to utilize that knowledge with my transition to the School of Mathematics, to help with the development of the newly formed Southeast Center for Mathematics and Biology.

Why I’m joining the Council: I'm interested in serving on the College of Sciences Staff Advisory Council to help bring awareness and understanding to issues occurring on the school level. I'd like to advocate for the staff in the schools to help improve a safe and healthy work environment for everyone regardless of race, color, or creed. Importantly, we need to add to an effective communication avenue between management and staff. This will allow staff members to feel comfortable speaking about problems without fear of being reprimanded.


Ruth Pierre
Academic Program Coordinator, School of Chemistry and Biochemistry:

Background: I am very passionate and have a strong desire to help others. I interact with staff, students, and faculty at different levels and enjoy getting to know and collaborate with people on projects. As a staff member for over seven years, I have been involved with various offices across campus and listened to concerns, comments, and complaints from various staff. I’m personable, have a willingness to take charge, excellent organization skills, and a strategic thinker are several strong skills set that would be a positive addition to the Staff Advisory Council.

Why I’m joining the Council: I want to be involved with the College of Sciences Staff Advisory Council to help bring about positive change. I want to be a voice of changes that affect policy and procedures for staff. We are in critical times and need people who can represent diverse viewpoints across a broad spectrum of topics. I would like the opportunity to work with other staff to create productive and positive outcomes.


Renay San Miguel
Communications Officer, Dean’s Office:

Background: I spent 25 years in journalism, including 10 years at national broadcast and cable TV news outlets. I currently use my position to tell the stories of the great research going on within the six schools of the College. I also tell the stories of the interesting, talented people behind that research, and the staff and students who make up the Georgia Tech College of Sciences community. My skills include communications in writing, audio podcasting, and video hosting/production/editing.

Why I’m joining the Council: The College of Sciences has been very good to me. As a staff member, I've appreciated the kindnesses extended to me by administrators and other staff members. I want to pay it forward by assisting the Advisory Council as it helps staff deal with day-to-day and long-range goals and challenges.


Kathy Sims-McDaniel
Development Assistant, Dean’s Office: 

Background: I have worked as a teacher, counselor, program coordinator and event planner, just to name a few occupations. In my spare time, I have also volunteered on several different social projects.

Why I’m joining the Council: I believe the combination of my education and experience will make me a highly motivated addition to the Staff Advisory Council. I would like to serve on the Council because I feel I can be an advocate for our colleagues, and can work collectively with fellow Council members as a vehicle for positive change.


John Wallom
Information Technology Professional Manager, Academic and Research Computing Services (ARCS):

Background: I have been in higher education information technology support for 21 years, and in that time I helped create student worker run IT support centers, worked on several institution wide committees, and worked with University System of Georgia security groups to establish best practices for smaller USG institutions. On top of a broad technical knowledge, I have also worked to establish several new teams, from entire institute support teams to new units within a college. I believe that experience will help when forming the first College of Sciences Staff Advisory Council.

Why I’m joining the Council: I have always stepped up to voice my concerns when staff are in need, or are not being taken into consideration. The staff of the College of Sciences needs to have people who will be an advocate for them, and I believe that I am someone who can definitely fill that role.


Casey Whitt
Financial Administrator, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences:

Background: I will bring skills related to the position of Financial Administrator. In a previous position I also served on a college staff advisory council, periodically working on grievance hearings and coordinating a benefits fair. Also, I volunteered on various carnivals, including one that educated employees on proper protocol in case of a fire.

Why I’m joining the Council: I want to serve on the College of Sciences Staff Advisory Council because I believe that I can represent the opinions of the staff in a fair and impartial manner, and assist the Council to relate ideas and solutions that will assist the department to grow as a team with the College administrators.

September 17, 2020 | Atlanta, GA

Ten College of Sciences researchers, staffers, and students are among those named as 2020 Faces of Inclusive Excellence at Georgia Tech. The publication with the names of those honored was distributed during the Institute’s 12th annual Diversity Symposium on September 9.

The ten are among 57 Georgia Tech faculty and staffers named in the annual Faces of Inclusive Excellence publication from Institute Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The publication recognizes “a diverse group of faculty, staff, and students who are committed to advancing a culture of inclusive excellence at Georgia Tech, and who have distinguished themselves in their research, teaching, and service.” 

The theme of this year’s Diversity Symposium is “Understanding Accessibility as Inclusion: Georgia Tech’s Pathway to Accessibility,” which will highlight members of the Tech community who are paving the way for an accessible and inclusive campus. 

“When you dive deeper to explore the source of Georgia Tech’s greatness, you discover this diverse group of faculty, staff, and students reveals the true faces of inclusive excellence,” says Archie W. Ervin, Vice President of Georgia Tech Institute Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Georgia Tech President Ángel Cabrera adds that scientific and entrepreneurial advances "only matter if they drive positive change that helps all of us live better lives. That’s why accessibility and developing the technologies that fuel it are so vital. Indeed, accessibility’s chief goal is to use technology to ensure no one is excluded from exercising their rights as humans and enjoying their freedoms as citizens — mobility, safety, communication, education, personal development, civic participation, and more."

Join us in congratulating the College of Sciences personnel named to the Faces of Inclusive Excellence. Following are their names, titles, and why they were selected:

Flavio H. Fenton 
Professor 
School of Physics 

Fenton was elected Fellow of the American Physical Society, and serves as Provost Teaching and Learning Fellow 2018–20. He participated in “Rostros Fisicos,” a project to promote Hispanic/ Latinx physicists across the world. 

Jennifer B. Glass 
Associate Professor 
School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Glass serves on the College of Sciences Faculty Diversity Council, and has spearheaded efforts to remove the GRE requirement from the Institute’s graduate admissions due to the inherent bias of the test. Her 2018–19 Georgia Tech Diversity and Inclusion Fellow project, in collaboration with School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Ph.D. candidate Minda Monteagudo, “A Database of Databases of Diverse Speakers in STEM,” has become a widely used international resource. 

Neha Gupta 
Academic Professional and Director of Scheduling 
School of Mathematics 

Awarded the CIOS Student Recognition of Excellence in Teaching: Class of 1934 Award. As the coordinator of the Math 1551 course and an advisor for math majors, Gupta interacts with some of the most diverse groups of students on campus. She also aims to build community among math majors and reaches out to underrepresented students about opportunities that they may be unaware of. 

Nasrin Hooshmand 
Senior Research Scientist 
School of Chemistry and Biochemistry 

Hooshmand contributed to important discoveries in the field of nanoplasmonics, and applied these insights to signal detection and amplification, biological sensing, drug delivery, and their use in the photothermal therapy of various medical conditions, including cancer. She published her research outcomes in prestigious journals such as the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Hooshmand strives to create an inclusive learning environment for students from different backgrounds. 

Joseph Lachance 
Assistant Professor 
School of Biological Sciences 

Lachance developed a new technology for detecting genetic associations with prostate cancer in men of African descent. He led a diverse team of researchers to study health disparities and the evolution of genetic disease risks. 

Marissa Kawehi Loving 
NSF Postdoctoral Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor 
School of Mathematics 

Kawehi Loving co-authored an article published in the December 2019 issue of the Notices of the American Mathematical Society entitled “Broadening the Horizons of Teaching and Diversity in Math Departments.” She co-founded SUBgroups, an online peer-support program for first year math graduate students that launched during the Fall 2019 semester. 

Judith Taylor 
Faculty Affairs Administrative Specialist 
School of Mathematics 

Taylor is a voting outreach organizer. She coordinated a math and English summer program in 2018–19 and has spent three years coordinating faculty affairs for the School of Mathematics. Taylor manages the visa application process, welcoming and onboarding newcomers, and supporting them throughout their experience. 

Prasad Tetali 
Regents Professor 
School of Mathematics and School of Computer Science 

Tetali was appointed director of Georgia Tech’s interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in algorithms, combinatorics, and optimization, and is currently co-chair of the recently formed Equity, Diversity, and InclusionTask Force in the School of Mathematics. He is also co-lead on a virtual research center at Georgia Tech on polynomials as an algorithmic paradigm. 

Samuel Weiss-Cowie 
Undergraduate Student 
College of Sciences and School of Modern Languages 

Weiss-Cowie presented in Korean at the American Association of Teachers of Korean annual conference. His presentation was on new methods in Korean pedagogy.    

Yao Yao 
Assistant Professor 
School of Mathematics 

Yao is a recipient of the Sloan Research Fellowshipand the National Science Foundation Early Career Development (CAREER) Award for her research in nonlinear partial differential equations. 

 

September 18, 2020 | Atlanta, GA

This story was originally published by Georgia Tech Machine Learning.

A mathematician by trade, Molei Tao typically uses mathematics to design algorithms and solve physical science problems like how planets move. Recently, he became attracted to machine learning, an area that according to him, contains numerous interesting problems that are mathematically exciting and can benefit from modern mathematical tools.

This year, Tao, an associate professor in the School of Mathematics, published his first machine learning conference paper, and this work was awarded the best paper award at the 23rd International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics (AISTATS).

His paper, Variational Optimization on Lie Groups with Examples of Leading (Generalized) Eigenvalue Problems, details a natural way for adding momentum to the gradient descent optimization in non-flat spaces. In flat spaces, the approach of adding momentum for accelerating the training of machine learning models has already been tremendously successful, and this new progress expands the applicability of the popular and powerful idea.

Tao felt fortunate to win this recognition. He and his co-author, Tomoki Ohsawa of the University of Texas at Dallas, had read many classical works from previous proceedings of AISTATS. Impressed with the quality of work, the authors chose to submit their first draft to it.

“We really did not think of winning the award at all. The completion of our work was around the AISTATS submission deadline, so we just submitted happily,” said Tao. “This submission confirmed to me how vibrant the machine learning community is. They are open to new ideas and many people made real efforts to understand this theoretical work and ask good questions.”

Tao was also encouraged by the collaborative and interdisciplinary environment provided by the Machine Learning Center at Georgia Tech (ML@GT) where Tao is also a faculty member.

“Georgia Tech is full of leaders in machine learning with different areas of expertise. We are proud of how Molei continues to innovate and further connect machine learning to real-world problems, both physically and computationally, and look forward to his future accomplishments” said Irfan Essa, ML@GT executive director.

Tao stated that winning this award encouraged him, and hopefully other mathematicians and scientists, to continue searching for fusion of ideas and creating new venues of applications.

September 17, 2020 | Atlanta, GA

Ten College of Sciences researchers, staffers, and students are among those named as 2020 Faces of Inclusive Excellence at Georgia Tech. The publication with the names of those honored was distributed during the Institute’s 12th annual Diversity Symposium on September 9.

The ten are among 57 Georgia Tech faculty and staffers named in the annual Faces of Inclusive Excellence publication from Institute Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The publication recognizes “a diverse group of faculty, staff, and students who are committed to advancing a culture of inclusive excellence at Georgia Tech, and who have distinguished themselves in their research, teaching, and service.” 

The theme of this year’s Diversity Symposium is “Understanding Accessibility as Inclusion: Georgia Tech’s Pathway to Accessibility,” which will highlight members of the Tech community who are paving the way for an accessible and inclusive campus. 

“When you dive deeper to explore the source of Georgia Tech’s greatness, you discover this diverse group of faculty, staff, and students reveals the true faces of inclusive excellence,” says Archie W. Ervin, Vice President of Georgia Tech Institute Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Georgia Tech President Ángel Cabrera adds that scientific and entrepreneurial advances "only matter if they drive positive change that helps all of us live better lives. That’s why accessibility and developing the technologies that fuel it are so vital. Indeed, accessibility’s chief goal is to use technology to ensure no one is excluded from exercising their rights as humans and enjoying their freedoms as citizens — mobility, safety, communication, education, personal development, civic participation, and more."

Join us in congratulating the College of Sciences personnel named to the Faces of Inclusive Excellence. Following are their names, titles, and why they were selected:

Flavio H. Fenton 
Professor 
School of Physics 

Fenton was elected Fellow of the American Physical Society, and serves as Provost Teaching and Learning Fellow 2018–20. He participated in “Rostros Fisicos,” a project to promote Hispanic/ Latinx physicists across the world. 

Jennifer B. Glass 
Associate Professor 
School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Glass serves on the College of Sciences Faculty Diversity Council, and has spearheaded efforts to remove the GRE requirement from the Institute’s graduate admissions due to the inherent bias of the test. Her 2018–19 Georgia Tech Diversity and Inclusion Fellow project, in collaboration with School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Ph.D. candidate Minda Monteagudo, “A Database of Databases of Diverse Speakers in STEM,” has become a widely used international resource. 

Neha Gupta 
Academic Professional and Director of Scheduling 
School of Mathematics 

Awarded the CIOS Student Recognition of Excellence in Teaching: Class of 1934 Award. As the coordinator of the Math 1551 course and an advisor for math majors, Gupta interacts with some of the most diverse groups of students on campus. She also aims to build community among math majors and reaches out to underrepresented students about opportunities that they may be unaware of. 

Nasrin Hooshmand 
Senior Research Scientist 
School of Chemistry and Biochemistry 

Hooshmand contributed to important discoveries in the field of nanoplasmonics, and applied these insights to signal detection and amplification, biological sensing, drug delivery, and their use in the photothermal therapy of various medical conditions, including cancer. She published her research outcomes in prestigious journals such as the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Hooshmand strives to create an inclusive learning environment for students from different backgrounds. 

Joseph Lachance 
Assistant Professor 
School of Biological Sciences 

Lachance developed a new technology for detecting genetic associations with prostate cancer in men of African descent. He led a diverse team of researchers to study health disparities and the evolution of genetic disease risks. 

Marissa Kawehi Loving 
NSF Postdoctoral Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor 
School of Mathematics 

Kawehi Loving co-authored an article published in the December 2019 issue of the Notices of the American Mathematical Society entitled “Broadening the Horizons of Teaching and Diversity in Math Departments.” She co-founded SUBgroups, an online peer-support program for first year math graduate students that launched during the Fall 2019 semester. 

Judith Taylor 
Faculty Affairs Administrative Specialist 
School of Mathematics 

Taylor is a voting outreach organizer. She coordinated a math and English summer program in 2018–19 and has spent three years coordinating faculty affairs for the School of Mathematics. Taylor manages the visa application process, welcoming and onboarding newcomers, and supporting them throughout their experience. 

Prasad Tetali 
Regents Professor 
School of Mathematics and School of Computer Science 

Tetali was appointed director of Georgia Tech’s interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in algorithms, combinatorics, and optimization, and is currently co-chair of the recently formed Equity, Diversity, and InclusionTask Force in the School of Mathematics. He is also co-lead on a virtual research center at Georgia Tech on polynomials as an algorithmic paradigm. 

Samuel Weiss-Cowie 
Undergraduate Student 
College of Sciences and School of Modern Languages 

Weiss-Cowie presented in Korean at the American Association of Teachers of Korean annual conference. His presentation was on new methods in Korean pedagogy.    

Yao Yao 
Assistant Professor 
School of Mathematics 

Yao is a recipient of the Sloan Research Fellowshipand the National Science Foundation Early Career Development (CAREER) Award for her research in nonlinear partial differential equations. 

 

September 9, 2020 | Atlanta, GA

The nominations are in, and the inaugural class of the College of Sciences Staff Advisory Council is preparing for its first virtual meeting later in September.

According to its mission statement, the Council represents and advocates for the diverse collective body of staff within the College and will interact directly with the Dean of the College of Sciences. The Council serves as a liaison between the staff and College leadership, providing an avenue for a significant contribution of staff expertise. The Council aims to use these perspectives to provide recommendations to the Dean of the College, as well as to inform leadership members within each independent school regarding staff matters.

Please join us in welcoming the Council’s 15 members from across the College of Sciences, and in learning more about each member’s background, work, goals, and interests in serving:


Emma Blandford
Assistant Director of Living Learning Communities, Dean’s Office:

Background: I have a unique position to be able to interact with folks from across the college in order to best serve my students. I interact with first-year students on a daily basis, and connect them with the resources that they need on campus to be most successful. The team of amazing staff in the College of Sciences makes this college not only work, but run like their home-away-from-home. I have also been a part of the working group that formed the initial College of Sciences Advisory Council voting process, mission and vision.

Why I’m joining the Council: As a member of the council I would work to learn about the wide variety of positions, responsibilities, and needs of the professionals across our college. I am also interested to serve in a way that allows folks to be more than who they are at work, to introduce holistic wellness opportunities and connections to inclusive programming in order to support the whole-person experience.


Paula Ewers
Faculty Support Coordinator, School of Biological Sciences:

Background: Strong service-oriented skills, educational background, high level of attention to detail and results driven workforce professional with proven success in demonstrating expertise in service management and coordination. Professional in customer service, project management, team management, and budget management.

Why I’m joining the Council: Throughout my years of experience in the College of Sciences I have identified areas of opportunity and areas of success, and I would love to assist in building a stronger culture. I want to give back to this amazing college and provide feedback where I can.


Shantel Floyd
Research Administrative Manager, School of Chemistry and Biochemistry:

Background: I have a strong understanding of processes both on the finance and administration side. I have 5-plus years of experience supporting a center with a focus on broadening participation (development of unique programming). I also have experience partnering with people in the College of Sciences and the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. I am trusted by colleagues and I have the ability to relate to colleagues on all levels. I was chosen as a Chemistry representative on several pilots. I mentor new staff and those starting new programs like those that I've run in the past. I have also partnered with IBB on several projects and events. I have the ability to create great working relationships across the board.

Why I’m joining the Council: Serving on this council will enable me to stay connected with activities that will help my fellow staff members in both education and the working environment, and to help with collaborations and open communication channels throughout all levels of the Institute. I will also have the opportunity to actively participate and contribute to conversations and solutions about the goals of the campus community.


Susan Harris
Financial Administrator, School of Chemistry and Biochemistry:

Background: I have 30-plus years working with sponsored project funding. I have 10-plus years working in academic units with faculty and admin teams. I have a deep respect for the process and want everything to be done within policy.

Why I’m joining the Council: I am hoping this team will be able to help identify and address concerns in their departments, and we can help make Georgia Tech a better place for all.


Chung Kim
Academic Program Coordinator, School of Biological Sciences:

Background: I've been working at Georgia Tech’s School of Biological Sciences for the past three years as an academic program coordinator. My favorite, most fulfilling aspect of this position is interacting with and supporting our graduate students to successfully complete their degrees. I consider myself to be a good listener, team player, and a detail-oriented person.

Why I’m joining the Council: I believe that by being part of the College of Sciences Staff Advisory Council, I would play an important role in building bonds among the staff, faculty, and administration. If given an opportunity, I would be glad to contribute my time and efforts in making a positive difference for the College and its schools.


Gary Longstreet
Academic Program Manager, School of Physics:

Background: First, I'm honored to be nominated. With more than 20 years in higher education, I offer a very diverse background, having worked for both public and private universities. At Georgia State University, I served on the Staff Advisory Council for several years and then represented staff on the University Senate Committee as a senator.

Why I’m joining the Council:  I understand the needs of staff and the valuable role we play at all different levels. With everything happening in the world today, it is vital that staff be heard, supported, appreciated, and understood that we make things happen at the Institute and beyond.


Lea Marzo
Assistant to the Chair, School of Mathematics:

Background: I have been in higher education for over 13 years, six of those years at Georgia Tech. I have also been a graduate student for eight years and I believe that I can offer some insight from both a staff and a student perspective.

Why I’m joining the Council: I would like the opportunity to serve on the College of Sciences Staff Advisory Council because I will put the interests of the workers above my own. I believe that I am a team player and will work to the best of my abilities to ensure that the voices of the staff members are represented.


Erin Nagle
Faculty Affairs Administrative Manager, Dean’s Office:

Background: After three years in the College and at Georgia Tech, I have met many wonderful staff members whose own stories and experiences I have enjoyed hearing about. I believe in a strong sense of community where staff contributions are highlighted and explored. I am a good listener and problem solver, and I genuinely care about staff development and morale. Budgets are tight and that limits what can be spent on development activities, but discussion and community building are free.

Why I’m joining the Council: Outside of our evolving national issues, College staff are facing multiple challenges on a routine basis right here on campus. Processes are frequently changing, and ‘newness’ has been our constant companion. It is difficult to keep up with our changing local environment and also keep on top of important work endeavors. I feel that strengthening our sense of community and support network within the college is our most powerful tool in facing ongoing challenges.


Alison Onstine
Laboratory Manager, School of Biological Sciences:

Background: My position as manager for the Biology teaching labs provides me with both a student-facing role and a window into the challenges facing staff within research labs. It’s my hope that these varied perspectives will help find commonalities in the challenges that staff in both traditional academic and research roles face. I will use all the tools at my disposal to foster the trust needed to become an effective representative for CoS staff.

Why I’m joining the Council: I see the amazing efforts already underway to bring voice to staff within the College and am eager to bring my skills to benefit these initiatives. Staff at Georgia Tech, in my experience, are challenging to unite as a group because of their disparate roles within the Institute. Due to our new social distancing challenges, there is more urgency than ever for staff to come together and build the community necessary to effectively be heard by administration.


Chinneta Pettaway
Research Administrative Manager, School of Mathematics:

Background: I have many years of experience prior to Georgia Tech working directly with chairs and executive management. I was able to form diverse leadership teams, which helped improve morale and retention within the department. My years at Georgia Tech working for the former Dean of the College of Sciences and the other leadership members allowed me the ability to understand the mission and vision of the College. I was able to utilize that knowledge with my transition to the School of Mathematics, to help with the development of the newly formed Southeast Center for Mathematics and Biology.

Why I’m joining the Council: I'm interested in serving on the College of Sciences Staff Advisory Council to help bring awareness and understanding to issues occurring on the school level. I'd like to advocate for the staff in the schools to help improve a safe and healthy work environment for everyone regardless of race, color, or creed. Importantly, we need to add to an effective communication avenue between management and staff. This will allow staff members to feel comfortable speaking about problems without fear of being reprimanded.


Ruth Pierre
Academic Program Coordinator, School of Chemistry and Biochemistry:

Background: I am very passionate and have a strong desire to help others. I interact with staff, students, and faculty at different levels and enjoy getting to know and collaborate with people on projects. As a staff member for over seven years, I have been involved with various offices across campus and listened to concerns, comments, and complaints from various staff. I’m personable, have a willingness to take charge, excellent organization skills, and a strategic thinker are several strong skills set that would be a positive addition to the Staff Advisory Council.

Why I’m joining the Council: I want to be involved with the College of Sciences Staff Advisory Council to help bring about positive change. I want to be a voice of changes that affect policy and procedures for staff. We are in critical times and need people who can represent diverse viewpoints across a broad spectrum of topics. I would like the opportunity to work with other staff to create productive and positive outcomes.


Renay San Miguel
Communications Officer, Dean’s Office:

Background: I spent 25 years in journalism, including 10 years at national broadcast and cable TV news outlets. I currently use my position to tell the stories of the great research going on within the six schools of the College. I also tell the stories of the interesting, talented people behind that research, and the staff and students who make up the Georgia Tech College of Sciences community. My skills include communications in writing, audio podcasting, and video hosting/production/editing.

Why I’m joining the Council: The College of Sciences has been very good to me. As a staff member, I've appreciated the kindnesses extended to me by administrators and other staff members. I want to pay it forward by assisting the Advisory Council as it helps staff deal with day-to-day and long-range goals and challenges.


Kathy Sims-McDaniel
Development Assistant, Dean’s Office: 

Background: I have worked as a teacher, counselor, program coordinator and event planner, just to name a few occupations. In my spare time, I have also volunteered on several different social projects.

Why I’m joining the Council: I believe the combination of my education and experience will make me a highly motivated addition to the Staff Advisory Council. I would like to serve on the Council because I feel I can be an advocate for our colleagues, and can work collectively with fellow Council members as a vehicle for positive change.


John Wallom
Information Technology Professional Manager, Academic and Research Computing Services (ARCS):

Background: I have been in higher education information technology support for 21 years, and in that time I helped create student worker run IT support centers, worked on several institution wide committees, and worked with University System of Georgia security groups to establish best practices for smaller USG institutions. On top of a broad technical knowledge, I have also worked to establish several new teams, from entire institute support teams to new units within a college. I believe that experience will help when forming the first College of Sciences Staff Advisory Council.

Why I’m joining the Council: I have always stepped up to voice my concerns when staff are in need, or are not being taken into consideration. The staff of the College of Sciences needs to have people who will be an advocate for them, and I believe that I am someone who can definitely fill that role.


Casey Whitt
Financial Administrator, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences:

Background: I will bring skills related to the position of Financial Administrator. In a previous position I also served on a college staff advisory council, periodically working on grievance hearings and coordinating a benefits fair. Also, I volunteered on various carnivals, including one that educated employees on proper protocol in case of a fire.

Why I’m joining the Council: I want to serve on the College of Sciences Staff Advisory Council because I believe that I can represent the opinions of the staff in a fair and impartial manner, and assist the Council to relate ideas and solutions that will assist the department to grow as a team with the College administrators.

September 1, 2020 | Atlanta, GA

Every year, the College of Sciences reserves a date in early fall to host a special awards dinner that honors several faculty members for exemplary teaching, research, mentoring, and community development during the previous school year.

Of course, like many other plans in 2020, this year’s event had to be put on hold because of the pandemic — but that hasn’t stopped the College from honoring faculty with special sponsored awards that spotlight innovation in both lecture halls and labs.

Please join us in congratulating seven faculty members receiving College of Sciences awards for outstanding work during the 2019-2020 school year, and in thanking our alumni and friends who make these awards possible:

Eric R. Immel Memorial Award for Excellence in Teaching

Chris Jankowski, Director of Graduate Advising and Assessment and Assistant Director of Teaching Effectiveness, School of Mathematics

This award is presented to a faculty member in recognition of exemplary teaching in foundational undergraduate courses (classes that are typically taken by a selection of different majors) in the current or previous academic years.

Cullen-Peck Scholar Awards

Steve Diggle, Associate Professor, School of Biological Sciences; Jennifer Curtis, Associate Professor, School of Physics; and Chris Reinhard, Assistant Professor, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

These awards will recognize research accomplishments led by College of Sciences faculty at the associate professor or advanced assistant professor level.

Leddy Faculty Family Fellowship

Stefan France, Associate Professor, School of Chemistry and Biochemistry

The award will be made to further the goals of the College by supporting development of the research and training program and quality of instruction of a faculty member in the College. The major criteria for selection will be proven accomplishments in research and teaching, the potential impact of the award on the career development of the recipient, and his or her interest and capacity in advancement of pedagogy and actual methods and practices of teaching.

CoS Faculty Mentor Award

David Sherrill, Professor, School of Chemistry and Biochemistry 

Since 2002, the College of Sciences has supported various forms of formal mentoring for junior faculty. In addition, each of its schools has its own faculty mentoring program where, through informal consultations, the members of the community share their experience, provide advice and encouragement, and help the next generation succeed. The College and its ADVANCE Professor jointly established the College of Sciences Faculty Mentor Award to recognize these mentors.

Ralph and Jewel Gretzinger Moving the School Forward Award

Raquel Lieberman, Professor, School of Chemistry and Biochemistry

This award recognizes the leadership of a school chair or senior faculty member who has played a pivotal role in at least one of the following areas: Diversifying the tenured or tenure-track faculty composition in view of gender or race; creating a family-friendly work environment; or providing a supportive environment for junior faculty.

 

September 1, 2020 | Atlanta, GA

Every year, the College of Sciences reserves a date in early fall to host a special awards dinner that honors several faculty members for exemplary teaching, research, mentoring, and community development during the previous school year.

Of course, like many other plans in 2020, this year’s event had to be put on hold because of the pandemic — but that hasn’t stopped the College from honoring faculty with special sponsored awards that spotlight innovation in both lecture halls and labs.

Please join us in congratulating seven faculty members receiving College of Sciences awards for outstanding work during the 2019-2020 school year, and in thanking our alumni and friends who make these awards possible:

Eric R. Immel Memorial Award for Excellence in Teaching

Chris Jankowski, Director of Graduate Advising and Assessment and Assistant Director of Teaching Effectiveness, School of Mathematics

This award is presented to a faculty member in recognition of exemplary teaching in foundational undergraduate courses (classes that are typically taken by a selection of different majors) in the current or previous academic years.

Cullen-Peck Scholar Awards

Steve Diggle, Associate Professor, School of Biological Sciences; Jennifer Curtis, Associate Professor, School of Physics; and Chris Reinhard, Assistant Professor, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

These awards will recognize research accomplishments led by College of Sciences faculty at the associate professor or advanced assistant professor level.

Leddy Faculty Family Fellowship

Stefan France, Associate Professor, School of Chemistry and Biochemistry

The award will be made to further the goals of the College by supporting development of the research and training program and quality of instruction of a faculty member in the College. The major criteria for selection will be proven accomplishments in research and teaching, the potential impact of the award on the career development of the recipient, and his or her interest and capacity in advancement of pedagogy and actual methods and practices of teaching.

CoS Faculty Mentor Award

David Sherrill, Professor, School of Chemistry and Biochemistry 

Since 2002, the College of Sciences has supported various forms of formal mentoring for junior faculty. In addition, each of its schools has its own faculty mentoring program where, through informal consultations, the members of the community share their experience, provide advice and encouragement, and help the next generation succeed. The College and its ADVANCE Professor jointly established the College of Sciences Faculty Mentor Award to recognize these mentors.

Ralph and Jewel Gretzinger Moving the School Forward Award

Raquel Lieberman, Professor, School of Chemistry and Biochemistry

This award recognizes the leadership of a school chair or senior faculty member who has played a pivotal role in at least one of the following areas: Diversifying the tenured or tenure-track faculty composition in view of gender or race; creating a family-friendly work environment; or providing a supportive environment for junior faculty.

 

June 2, 2020 | Atlanta, GA

Despite the current worries and stressors facing researchers because of the Covid-19 pandemic, an overview of the grants awarded during the 2020 fiscal year shows the state of the College of Sciences research program remains strong, according to Julia Kubanek, Associate Dean of Research.

“This year, assistant professors among our six schools have been recipients of an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator award, a Cottrell Scholar award, a Sloan Research Fellowship, and four National Science Foundation CAREER awards,” says Kubanek, who is also a professor in the Schools of Biological Sciences, and Chemistry and Biochemistry. “Other early and mid-career faculty have been named Kavli and Scialog Fellows, experiences that will expose these faculty to additional collaborative and funding opportunities through engagement in elite research networks.”

Kubanek says multiple large-scale, broadly conceived proposals for center funding and graduate training grants, led by science faculty, are currently under peer review. “These future projects will grow our leadership and impact in research communities across psychology, biological sciences, chemistry and biochemistry, earth and atmospheric sciences, physics, and mathematics,” she says.

Here are the major grants and awards presented to College of Sciences faculty in FY20 (links lead to previous coverage of the announcements during the Spring 2020 and Fall 2019 semesters):

Collaborative Covid-19 Research Receives National Science Foundation RAPID Grant

Antibody testing research, led by Biological Sciences’ Joshua Weitz and Emory University professor Benjamin Lopman, earns an NSF urgent funding grant to further study Covid-19 ‘shield immunity’.

Rahnev Receives Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award

School of Psychology assistant professor Dobromir Rahnev is one of two Georgia Tech winners of the Office of Naval Research's Young Investigator Program Awards. Rahnev will research how the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps can use technology and science to update and enhance job skills training.

Elisabetta Matsumoto Is 2020 Cottrell Scholar for Research on the Math and Science Behind Knitting

Elisabetta Matsumoto, an assistant professor in the School of Physics, is a 2020 Cotrell Scholar thanks to her research on the mathematics and physics hidden in the knots and weaves of knitting.

Jenny McGuire, Lutz Warnke Receive NSF CAREER Awards

A pair of College of Sciences professors -- Jenny McGuire in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences/School of Biological Sciences, and Lutz Warnke of the School of Mathematics --  are receiving coveted National Science Foundation CAREER Awards, which will fund future research for five years.

Colin Parker, assistant professor in the School of Physics, and Henry (Pete) LaPierre, assistant professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, have also just received FY20 National Science Foundation CAREER Awards.

Georgia Tech Faculty Awarded Research Fellowships by Sloan Foundation

Yao Yao, assistant professor in the School of Mathematics, is among 126 early career researchers selected to receive 2020 Sloan Research Fellowships. 

Scialog: Signatures of Life in the Universe Fellows Named

Four College of Sciences early career scientists – Jen Glass, Chris Reinhard, Gongjie Li, and Amanda Stockton – are named Scialog Fellows for a new research initiative, Signatures of Life in the Universe.

Pamela Peralta-Yahya to Collaborate with Caroline Genzale on NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Award

Pamela Peralta-Yahya, assistant professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, is part of the collaborative effort to study innovative aerospace concepts.

M.G. Finn to Collaborate with Susan Thomas on $3.2 Million National Cancer Institute Grant for Follicular Lymphoma Research

Susan Thomas, Woodruff Associate Professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, collaborates with Professor and School of Chemistry and Biochemistry Chair M.G. Finn, to try to improve treatment of follicular lymphoma.

Dobromir Rahnev Awarded $2.2 Million by NIH to Study Architecture of Metacognition and a Promising Treatment for Neuropsychiatric Disorders: TMS-fMRI

An assistant professor in the School of Psychology will get more than $2 million in National Institutes of Health grants for two research proposals that focus on the brain's decision-making abilities, and on a promising treatment for neuropsychiatric disorders. 

Physics Researchers Awarded $2.3 Million to Develop NSF Einstein Toolkit for Astrophysics

NSF awards effort led by Pablo Laguna and Deirdre Shoemaker for the development of the Einstein Toolkit Ecosystem: Enabling Fundamental Research in the Era of Multi-Messenger Astrophysics

Georgia Tech Leads Team Effort to Reduce Georgia’s Carbon Footprint

Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, incuding Kim Cobb with the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, are leading a first-in-the-nation effort to help identify solutions to help reduce Georgia’s carbon footprint in ways that are economically beneficial.

Georgia Tech Researchers Receive EPA South FL Initiative Award

One of the grant recipients is Neha Garg, an assistant professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry. The funding will support the protection and restoration of water quality, corals and seagrass in South Florida. 

Fall 2019:

$1.7 M Grant for Robotic Soil Subsurface Explorer

An interdisciplinary research group from Georgia Tech, including School of Physics Professor Daniel Goldman, has received a grant from the National Science Foundation to design an advanced self-propelled robot to explore the soil subsurface and record a range of signals as it advances.

Lachance Gets $1.88 million Award

The National Institutes of Health is supporting Petit Institute/School of Biological Sciences Assistant Professor Joe Lachance’s research strategy, which includes the analysis of ancient and modern genomes, mathematical modeling, and the development of new bioinformatics tools.

A Summer Bounty

When it rains, it pours. That’s how it felt last month when email after email from School of Psychology Acting Chair Mark Wheeler arrived in various inboxes, sharing the joyful news of a new award. The announcement of a $334,000 grant to Dobromir Rahnev in May has been succeeded by seven other research awards to eight faculty members.

Georgia Tech, Institut Pasteur Receive $2.5 M NIH Grant to Study Phage Therapy

Joshua Weitz of the School of Biological Sciences is part of a team of U.S. and French scientists who will research the interaction between bacteriophage, bacteria, and the innate immune response to enable use of phage therapy, even with patients with impaired immune systems. 

School of Mathematics Associate Professor Is Now a Kavli Fellow

A prestigious honor for young scientists is presented to Georgia Tech's Michael Damron, associate professor in the School of Mathematics. The Kavli Frontiers of Science Symposium, part of the National Academy of Sciences, issued its invite to Damron, one of a long list of Georgia Tech researchers to receive the fellowship.

July 6, 2020 | Atlanta, GA

Fifteen K12 math teachers attended the first Atlanta Math Teachers Circle Summer Workshop on July 1, 2019, at Georgia Tech School of Mathematics. The workshop, a day-long outreach event organized by SoM Assistant Professor Lutz Warnke, aimed to give participants tools to enhance their teaching, as well as provide networking opportunities. Participants attended four 75-minute lectures given by professors from Georgia Tech, Emory, and GSU, as well as hands-on problem sessions and unstructured networking time. 

The organizer Lutz Warnke also worked with the local "Intown Atlanta Math Teachers' Cirlce", an organization run by faculty at Emory, Georgia Tech, and GSU. This was the first time a Math Teacher's Circle event was held at Georgia Tech.

The goal of the event was to engage and train K12 math teachers in an effort to increase enthusiasm about the art of mathematical problem solviing, in a way that the teachers could bring back to their classrooms and, hopefully, spread the enthusiasm around. Many of the problems were suitable for teaching at schools in class, including some problems which would challenge even the brightest students.

The four 75-minute talks were:

  • Unusual Distances, Josephine Yu, Georgia Tech
  • Finding Fake Coins and Other Weighing Problems, Lutz Warnke, Georgia Tech
  • The Mathematics of Bicycle Tracks, BHree Ettinger, Emory
  • Mathematics of Games, Olga Glebova, Georgia State University

Nearby school districts and systems that were represented include Atalanta Public Schools, Decatur City School District, Dekalb County, and Fulton County, with several teachers representing schools which historically serve students from under-represented and low-income communities, including Cedar Grove Middle School, Cross Keys High School, abd Miller Grove High School.

Funding was provided by SoM and Emory. 

There are plans to offer the workshop annually. 

September 1, 2020 | Atlanta, GA

The newest edition of the SoM yearly publication The ProofReader is now available online at the link below.

ProofReader 2020

Volume XI Contents

  • Meet Six Graduating Students from the College of Sciences Fall 2019 Graduates
  • School of Mathematics’ Summer REU Program Hosts its Largest Session Yet
  • New Faculty Member Alex Blumenthal In the News for Recent Work
  • Honors
  • Georgia Tech Researchers, Alumnus Reflect On Moon Landing’s Impact on Science
  • Faculty Awards
  • Recent Promotions
  • Georgia Tech Launches Frances O. Hite Scholarships to Support Women in Mathematics

  • Student Research Awards and Honors

  • TA Awards
  • Featured Article: How to Get Far with Small Effort, By Rafael de la Llave
  • Robin Thomas Tribute
  • External News
  • Alumni Contribution by Ben Elkins: Felix Hausdorff's Poem "Den Ungeflügelten"

Pages

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