nunnschoolgt:

Sponsored by the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, the Georgia Tech Model United Nations (GTMUN) Competitive Team keeps up the momentum at a recent competition, MUN-E II, hosted by Emory University. After receiving a spot in the top 75 North American teams ranking by Best Delegate, GTNMUN spent April 3-6th at Emory University competing in Emory’s Model United Nations crisis competitions. 

With committees such as Team of Rivals: Abraham Lincoln’s Cabinet, 1861-1865, Iran Goes Green: the Uprising of 2009, and The Sopranos; GTNMUN addressed current, past and imaginary issues spanning from slavery to Iran’s election process to assassination attempts. To participate in each of these committees, all delegates utilized their leadership, public speaking, and creativity skills to sway public opinion, resolve critical issues, and create entirely new nations. Vanderbilt University, University of Georgia, Georgia College and State University, Agnes Scott University, Clemson University, the College of William and Mary were just some of the universities present to compete in the four day competition. 

The GTNMUN team returned with 8 individual distinctions and second place overall amongst all competing universities. The awards were:

- Verbal Commendation to Hari Tiwari (Industrial Engineering),

- Verbal Commendation to Dylan Radford (Mechanical Engineering),

- Honorable Mention to Jacob Whitfield (International Affairs),

- Honorable Mention to Shilpa Anju Suresh (Industrial Engineering),

- Outstanding Delegate to Joseph Rondone (Public Policy),

- Outstanding Delegate to Anna Hunter (Economics and International Affairs),

- Best Delegate to Taylor Prichard (History Technology and Society),

- Best Delegate to Andres Marcuse-Gonzalez (Economics and International Affairs),

and 

- Outstanding Large Delegation to the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Congratulations to all winners of the final conference for the 2013-2014 academic year! The GTNMUN team will start fall recruitment soon, and anyone interested in joining the GTNMUN team should contact Joseph Rondone via e-mail at jrondone3@gatech.edu

mattjosey1:

Gotta love being greeted back on campus by my favorite mascot. #buzz #gt #fridaybuzz (at Tech Green)

Georgia Legislative Internship: a first-hand look at the Georgia Legislature

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Georgia Tech’s President, Bud Peterson, with the Georgia Tech GLIP interns for the Spring 2014 legislative session. 

During the Spring 2014 semester I interned at the Georgia Capitol with Chairman McKoon, 29th, of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Chairman Millar, 40th, of the Senate Retirement Committee. 

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Senator Millar, 40th, Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle, and me on Sine Die just before midnight. 

Everyone will tell you that internships help determine whether or not you appreciate that job as prospective employment, however they do not tell you about the relationships you build and the last impressions they leave. While I do not believe becoming a Senator or Representative is in my future, I do believe my future in governmental affairs is confirmed. While interning I faced challenges like everyone, however facing these challenges helped me grow as a person, student, and employee in immeasurable ways. 

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Interns tend to travel in packs to grab lunch and run errands within the Capitol. I happened to enjoy the company of these interns from Georgia College and State and the University of Georgia to deliver paperwork to the Senate Floor and pick-up bills from the Secretary of Senate. 

Now to get away from the sappy stuff… I chose a great session to intern with the Georgia State Senate. During my time at the Capitol, Senator Jason Carter started his campaign to contest Georgia Governor Deal’s reelection for Governor. The interaction between Southern Democrats and Republicans was so eye-opening in terms of the methods by which the two parties must work together. Most of them are friends, but they are friends who argue and disagree on the Senate Floor. 

 Aside from the gubernatorial race, the GOP and the Democrats started the process of preparing for their respective primaries; this caused a swirl of rumors as well as illuminated alliances between the Senators and their favored candidate. The process of politics just seemed to continually magnify as the session drew closer to a close. It is easy for students to learn or read about the maneuvering of politicians, but it was a completely different experience witnessing it. 

Even though I enjoyed witnessing the politics and upcoming races, I still had a job to do. As an intern for two chairmen I had a large to-do list to complete every day. From registering and assigning Pages, sending meeting notices, drafting and sending letters, preparing bills, printing and packing committee folders, prepping committee rooms, noting committees, typing committee meeting minutes, handling constituent concerns, etc. are just some of the duties I was assigned. My work days never tended to end at the same time either. I have worked various internships throughout my college career, but this internship was the first to demand either extremely short workdays or workdays that never seemed to end. 

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The Georgia State Legislative Session for 2014 ended on March 20th a.k.a. “Sine Die.” Sine Die is Latin meaning ”without assigning a day for a further meeting or hearing.” This is the longest legislative day usually, starting at 8 a.m. the Senators vote and pass and deny bills until midnight when the Session ends for the year unless a “special session” is voted necessary. Luckily for the GLIP interns there was no “special session” extension this year.

One of the most touching parts of my internship was answering the constituent phone calls. People from all over the state, country, and even Canada would call with concerns about the legislature. Constituents would call with genuine questions about the legislative process and details about bills they were tracking. Others would call with amazing stories begging for any help the Senator could provide to help handle their situation. Others would call simply to leave their opinion with their Senator about a bill/issue.

Working with the Georgia State Senate for the 2014 legislative session taught me the importance of keeping an open-mind with all issues, the skills Georgia Tech has given me to work in a fast-paced environment, and the increased necessity for voters to stay informed. This internship was a valuable experience, and I highly recommend that every college student intern at least once during their college career.

&& Remember stay informed and VOTE! 

Link to Gov. Deal’s website:

http://dealforgovernor.com/

Link to Sen. Carter’s website:

https://carterforgovernor.com/

Link to the Georgia General Assembly:

http://www.legis.ga.gov/en-US/default.aspx

Link to the Georgia Legislative Internship Program:

http://www.legis.ga.gov/intern/en-US/default.aspx

IAC Freshmen Survival Guide- Participation

If you’re anything like I was as a freshman, you have a hard time participating in some class discussions. Either you’re super shy, you’re afraid that your answers are completely laughable, or you just have no interest in some topics. But, unfortunately, there is no room in your grades to be silent in class. I learned this the hard way by getting some pretty low grades for participation in my first semester classes. It’s not that I wasn’t paying attention in classes: I was always absorbing material. I was just so shy and intimidated by college classes that I was afraid to speak up! But the fact that I said nothing didn’t send the right messages to my professors.

Educators want to see that you are attentive in class and that you are willing to listen to what they say and care about what they’re teaching. Participation points are a way for them to engage their classes so they’re not talking to the walls. They’re also great freebie points to make up for some lower test grades! So instead of being a wasted seat in a classroom, engage! 

Here’s one of my famous bulleted lists to suggest some ways to make the most of your participation grade:

  • Put the phone away. Even if your professor doesn’t have a no-cellphone policy, it is extremely disrespectful to be on Facebook throughout the entire class period. Close the laptop, put your phone in your backpack, and listen. 
  • Going along with the no-phone rule, pay attention. It seems self-explanatory, but even a few simple nods and eye contact with your professor can give you a leg up on the participation scale. If you look like you’re listening, the professors notice. 
  • Be quick. If you’re like me, I like to let my ideas marinate in my mind, which lets me develop them further. However, that also means that other people might jump on those ideas and claim them first. Say what’s on your mind and then add to it later to avoid having your ideas snatched out from under you!
  • Ask questions. If you’re not one to have philosophical or brilliant ideas, ask questions about the material. It’s a great way to show your interest in a topic if you’re not so sure about it. 
  • Volunteer. Another way to participate in class is reading for the class. Particularly in language or literature classes, professors will ask for a volunteer to read a passage or quote. Volunteering to read shows that you’re an active member of the class. 
  • No answer is a stupid answer. Even if you answer a question with the completely wrong answer, it shows that you’re trying. Don’t be afraid to be wrong, because being wrong helps you learn what is right. 

So, tomorrow in class, be part of the class; don’t just be in the class. 

There are so many opportunities and involvements to pursue as a Georgia Tech student, but the key is finding something that fits you! For me, I grew up in studios being trained to dance so that had always been something I hoped to continue in college along with my Ivan Allen College degree. I can say without a doubt that auditioning for the Goldrush Dance Team was one of the best decisions I have made in my time at Georgia Tech!

So if you’re dancer who already attends Tech or an incoming freshman this fall, come find out what it’s like to cheer on the Jackets from the field!

Auditions are THIS WEEKEND! And further information can be found on http://www.gtgoldrush.com/#!auditions/c1rop

Up with the WHITE & GOLD :)

Catalyzing Advocacy in STEAM: My Visit to Capitol Hill

Capitol Hill

“I’m just a bill. Yes, I’m only a bill…”

This week I transitioned from advancing informal science learning to advocating for it on Capitol Hill. I was one of several graduate students from different colleges/universities selected to participate in Catalyzing Advocacy in Science and Engineering (CASE). This two-and-a-half (more like three) day pilot policy program in Washington D.C. aimed to teach non-policy science/technology grad students about Congress, the federal budget process, and effective STEM communication. We also met with Members of Congress and congressional staff.

Here are the highlights:

Day One: “Science for Policy” vs. “Policy for Science”

science policy slide

An introduction to science and technology policy.

pol·i·cy
noun
  1. a course or principle of action adopted or proposed by a government, party, business, or individual.

Science policy is concerned with the policies that affect the conduct of the science and research enterprise, including the funding of science, often in pursuance of other national policy goals such as technological innovation to promote a variety of issues. Science policy’s goal is to consider how science and technology can best serve the public. We learned how to distinguish between basic vs. applied scientific research.

Kelvin Doe. D.I.Y. engineer from Sierra Leone.

Kelvin Doe. D.I.Y. engineer from Sierra Leone.

Basic science research can stimulate breakthroughs that lead to an explosion of new technologies and approaches. Basic research lays the foundation for advancements in knowledge that lead to applied gains later on, occasionally as a result of unexpected discoveries. Through basic research I was able to connect the work and practices of hip-hop pioneers Grandmaster Flash and Rammellzee who created technological innovations such as the DJ cross-fader to Sierra Leonean teenager (and DJ) Kelvin Doe who taught himself engineering and recently wowed scientists at MIT.

My techno-vernacular Wordle.

My techno-vernacular creativity Wordle.

A new art form emerged from hip-hop. Turntablist (scratch DJs) take small bits and pieces of music from different locations on vinyl records and create new compositions. A mixer and a couple of turntables become their instrument. This emerging art form again put demands on crossfaders that current state-of-the-art designs could not meet. –Rane Corporation

The first two years of my study at Georgia Tech arose from a general curiosity about these and other uses of science and mathematics in hip-hop and afrofuturistic cultural production. This early work laid the foundation for what I am doing now (applied research). My exploration of techno-vernacular creativity – cultural art and technology created by underrepresented ethnic communities – laid the foundation for culturally situated arts-based learning. The latter project is focused on a particular problem which is increasing interest and motivation among underrepresented ethnic learners who are uninterested or disengaged in STEM.

Albert Einstein teaching a physics class at Lincoln University (HBCU in Pennsylvania) in 1946.

Albert Einstein teaching a physics class at Lincoln University (HBCU in Pennsylvania) in 1946.

We also learned the difference between science for policy and policy for science. Science for policy coordinates the participation of scientists in policy processes. This would be like bringing Albert Einstein to Capitol Hill to help create a new bill to support diversity in science and technology innovation. Policy for science is what legislators do when they decide on how to fund the systematic pursuit of knowledge (see Harvey Brooks). For example, the House of Representatives science committee has drafted a bill that, in effect, would replace peer review at the National Science Foundation (NSF) with a set of funding criteria chosen by Congress. To help us better understand science and technology policy a CASE workshop facilitator had us role play what happens during the federal budget and appropriations process:

Students will break into groups and be given an example of the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) appropriations bill, by agency and program, and then work on allocating funding for each program/agency within the constraints of congressional budget allocations.  At the end groups will present their budgets to the entire group to explain their rationale.

This activity was fun and I enjoyed engaging with other grad students as we discovered how arbitrary the process is and why advocacy and lobbying is necessary. When congresspeople look at the CJS appropriations bill they are provided with the most general of descriptions. Only 22 members of Congress have more than a basic education in science and technology, yet, they are expected to make important decisions on how science/tech agencies like the NSF and DARPA are funded. Advocates and lobbyists work to educate their representatives in Congress on breakthroughs that impact the issues they care about. They don’t wait around for Congress to decide first, then react afterward.

Day Two: Learning How to Talk to Congress

The importance of lobbying and advocacy.

The importance of lobbying and advocacy.

On the second day we were required to dress in suits to learn how Congress really works. This is how I learned about Congress as a kid. Hint – “I’m just a bill…“:

Judy Schneider, a Specialist on Congress at the Congressional Research Service, and an adjunct scholar at the Brookings Institution Center for Public Policy Education, came to tell us that this was “not Schoolhouse Rock.” Schneider was quite dynamic and interactive. She summed up Congress in three words: policy, politics, procedure. All three have to be in balance before things can get done in Congress.

Judy Schneider is a Specialist on Congress at the Congressional Research Service

Judy Schneider is a Specialist on Congress at the Congressional Research Service.

Another session provided an overview of the do’s and don’ts of communicating with Members of Congress and staff. Four students volunteered to tackle an issue and present it to a panel of experts as if they were congresspeople. After each presentation there was a constructive critique and discussion. Another panel provided us with a perspective on the important role that lobbyists and advocates play on behalf of S&T (science and technology policy). The closing session gave us an opportunity to discuss next steps and how to take what they’ve learned and apply it in practice back on campus. For homework I came up with pitches for 3-4 Georgia congressmen: one Democrat and three Republicans.

Day Three: Meeting Members of Congress and Staff

Entering the congressional office.

Entering the congressional office.

After some coaching we visited four members of Congress and their staff. I talked about my research, working with local school administrators, teachers, and students in Gainesville, GA and East Lake, GA, and getting National Science Foundation (NSF) funding to develop a novel approach to STEM education. The aim was to advocate for federal agencies such as the NSF and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). I talked about Advancing STEM Through Culturally Situated Arts-Based Learning that convened scientists, mathematicians, educators and artists at Georgia Tech (just last Friday and Saturday). It was important to highlight key issues for each congressperson/staff member and show how federal funding for my work supports their issues, e.g. education. After shaking a lot of hands and getting some business cards we headed for the airport and for home.

Advocacy Days are opportunities for advocates to visit with members of Congress and their staff but graduate students can also form groups on their campuses and get the word out to their communities about what is happening and what people can do to take action. Worried about NSF funding? Get a group together, sign petitions, or write letters (or call) your representatives. Get their attention AND show them why their decisions matter. I tell the stories of Grandmaster Flash/Rammellzee/Kelvin Doe or my observations of 4th and 8th grade students to bring home the point that creative expression creates a space for innovation which can lead to increased test scores, more students in STEM, or more people trained for high-tech jobs.

Next Steps

The other Georgia Tech graduate student Bradley Reaves and I met briefly with students from Emory who have already started a science policy group. They discussed inviting GT students as well as students from other colleges/universities to join. GT can also form their own local group and we can share what we’ve learned to help students engage in S&T in the near future.

This an animation using only primitive objects and transformation matrices in Processing for CS 3451 Computer Graphics at Georgia Tech.

IAC Freshmen Survival Guide- For Crying Out Loud!

Since we’re sneaking up on the last month of the semester, it’s almost time for the most stressful weeks of school. Soon, you’ll have tests to study for, finals to think about, and about a million little assignment due dates that you forgot about. As a freshman, this stressful period might be new to you. Hey, it’s still new to me, and I’m finishing up my second year!

I even called my mom today and told her that I really just needed a hug. (I thought that would be better than walking up to all of my friends and torturing them with unexpected embraces.) While she couldn’t magically appear with her arms wide open, she did give me some good advice that she told me repeatedly when I was a freshman. Now, I’ll pass it on to you!

Sometimes, the stress of schoolwork can overload your mind and make you feel small, unprepared, or like a failure. Your friends are getting jobs, your sister is the president of three clubs, and you’re in your dorm studying for an Economics test. If you ever need encouragement (or a hug!), just remember that you’re smart. It sounds simple and quick, but it’s true. My mom always says, (rather, yells) “YOU GO TO GEORGIA TECH, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! People from all over the world know about that school, and you got in.”

It’s true. We’re all pretty awesome here! We go to one of the most difficult schools in the country, and along with our rigorous coursework and strenuous assignments, we’re also busy with extracurricular activities, jobs, and finding time to sleep. Give yourself a break before beating yourself up for going to bed instead of studying. You’re allowed to feel stressed. You’re allowed to take breaks. You’re allowed to watch some TV as a study break (only one episode though. I’m watching you…) 

So, as you transition into these last few weeks, remember that it will be difficult, but it will be worth it. We’re all smart, and when we graduate, we’ll be among the most qualified people in the workforce. I mean, we go to Georgia Tech, for crying out loud!

Check out the new website for the School of Public Policy!

It’s that time of year again! The Student Government Association campaigning season has begun!

SGA has three different branches: the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial…just like our US government. However, spring time is when the banners start going up, social media sites are covered with initiatives, and candidates debate issues about our college! These student leaders have several goals, but their main objective is make Tech a better place for the students they serve. As the History, Technology, and Society Rep in the Undergraduate House of Representatives for two years, I definitely have seen the kind of drive and dedication SGA students bring on and off the clock!

Be sure to become an educated voter this semester and check out the platforms! They are your voice, Georgia Tech! Make sure that you are heard!

http://www.roseenbanner.com/

http://bandesploder2014.com/

http://www.noruts.com/platform.html

If you go to Tech, you would have definitely heard by now why this spring break just made history! The T off of TECH tower was stolen and later recovered to the shock and amazement of many students who heard the news. Here at Georgia Tech, stealing the 5 foot T has become something of a tradition-fueled and unattainable feat that freshman hear about when they first walk through the doors at FASET Orientation. Over the past year, GT had launched a campaign to “keep the T in Tech” so that students would stop taking t’s off of street signs and buildings by claiming tradition……the original stories were built around the taking of Tech Tower’s T long ago. While there are mixed feelings about the theft, many students are still just amazed that someone was able to pull it off! Check out this news report regarding the event!

Spring break is undeniably the most wonderful and biggest tease of the semester….it’s a time for a little relaxation, catch up, and sanity right before the final stretch of school. Taking advantage of this time is crucial, and nothing feels much better than a trip to the beach. :)

For this reason, I joined a group of Tech students on a trip down to Sanibel Island, Florida! We had a diverse mixture of History, Technology, and Society majors, International Affairs majors, Business majors, mechanical engineering, and aerospace engineering majors all together! Needless to say, it was quite the mixture….and that’s exactly what I love about being in the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts at Georgia Tech! I’m constantly surrounded by minds that work differently than mine, ideas that challenge my own studies, and personalities of every kind. As an HTS major focusing in history and sociological concepts, I can study the topics I love and understand a good deal about other relevant areas going on in the technology fields. Spring Break is a good time to relax and enjoy a beautiful beach sunset with friends….but I’m so blessed to attend a college where I receive the kind of specialization I need with the diversity I want.

As I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel this last semester as a Tech student, I’m also beginning to really appreciate how bittersweet being a senior can be. Of course, I’m receiving a top quality education from arguably the MOST AMAZING college I could have asked for….but then again, I find myself at the crossroad of excitement for the future and reminiscence of the past four years.

For that reason, I wanted to go ahead and highlight one of my favorite involvements as a student here at Georgia Tech: being on the Goldrush Dance Team. No other opportunity has given me more school spirit, pride, work ethic, time management skills, best friends, and epic memories than being  a member of this team for three years. We dance at every home football game, men’s and women’s basketball games, certain away games, and select bowl games/tournaments. Just this past month, we were able to all travel as a team for the last time to Greensboro, North Carolina for the ACC Basketball tournaments (picture above).

With all of this in mind, I’m excited about the team that will carry on GT’s proud tradition of spirit next year! If you’re a high school or university aged dancer at all interested in what it takes to dance in college, then I’d like to highly recommend our dance clinic on March 30! All of the information can be found at the link below. :) Or consider auditions on April 11-13! There is nothing like being so intimately connected to tradition….this could be the next step!

http://www.gtgoldrush.com/#!clinics/c2nu

Go Jackets! :)

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