With support from Institute Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and the ADVANCE Program, the Diversity and Inclusion Fellows Program brings together faculty, staff, and students who individually and collectively advance their action, research, or teaching objectives while improving inclusivity on campus. This program is a bottom-up initiative, tapping into the creativity and diversity of thought among our campus community to crowdsource ideas that create long-term culture change.
Kinnera Banda is a senior studying Computer Science and serves as the President of the Product Management Club at Georgia Tech. A major project she is currently working on is a non-fiction book with a working title - “Is the Law Enough to Protect Women?” - with the hopes of publishing in late 2022 to help shed light on the policies tackling domestic violence, sex-trafficking, genocide etc. when it comes to women’s rights. As a Diversity and Inclusion Fellow, she hopes to advocate for sexual assault survivors and create a campus wide initiative to support them in different ways.
Dr. Baunach currently serves as the Associate Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Faculty Development. In her academic research, Dr. Baunach approaches the study of society from a structural standpoint. Her research has examined gender-based labor market inequalities, including wage differentials, labor force participation, occupational segregation and inequality, affirmative action, and sexual harassment. Her most recent research focuses on sexualities-based inequalities, including sexual prejudices, sexual disclosure and identification, HIV/AIDS prejudices, bullying, and same-sex marriage attitudes. Dr. Baunach is one of the co-editors of “Sex Matters: The Sex and Society Reader,” the most widely cited and adopted reader for courses on "sexualities and society.”
Brooke Bosley is a 4th-year doctoral candidate in Digital Media, specializing in Black Media. Her work focuses on the intersection of Afrofuturism, Black Feminism, Race & Technology, and Human-Computer Interaction. Brooke holds an M.S. in Digital Media from Georgia Tech and a B.A. in Integrated Digital Media (a self-design interdisciplinary degree) with minors in communications and mathematics from Wesleyan College. As a diversity and inclusion fellow, Brooke plans to create a program that offers a safe space and support system for Black Queer graduate students like herself. Brooke is also passionate about education and has taught several workshops for youth.
Dr. Susan Burns is Professor and Associate Chair for Administration and Finance in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. She earned a Bachelor Degree in Civil Engineering B.C.E. (1990), M.S. Civil Engineering (geotechnical) (1996), M.S. Environmental Engineering (1996), and Ph.D. in Civil Engineering (1997), all from Georgia Tech. Dr. Burns’ research focuses on applications in geoenvironmental engineering, with particular emphasis on the beneficial use of waste materials and interfacial behavior of organic- and inorganic-coated soils. She is a recipient of the NSF CAREER Award and is a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Amy W. Corn’s professional career spans 25 years of progressive leadership in financial technology (FinTech) and telecommunications defining and implementing core strategic capabilities amid industry transformation. She now leads the development of a professional education program that aligns with the evolving needs of the FinTech ecosystem for workforce development. Corn is passionate about advocating for DE&I in her career as well as her personal life, serving on the Boards of the United Way of Greater Atlanta, the Mercy Care Foundation and the City of Brookhaven Social Justice and Racial Equity Commission. She is a 2019 United Way Volunteerism Champion Nominee, 2019 Atlanta Business Chronicle Women Who Mean Business Honoree and 2018 Leadership Atlanta Alumni. Corn is an active community advocate with a purpose of implementing sustainable change focused on the identification, remediation, and prevention of oppression. As a Diversity and Inclusion Fellow, she will focus on increasing gender diversity within the financial services industry.
Jill Fennell is a Marion L. Brittain Postdoctoral Fellow in Georgia Tech’s Writing and Communication Program. Currently, she teaches English classes on writing and fantasy as well as classes on business writing and communication design. She received her Ph.D. in English from the University of Tennessee in 2019. Her research explores whiteness and affect in twentieth-century southern literature. Jill is invested in researching the affective structure of environments; she aims to cultivate environments that set up and perpetuate inclusivity. Her recent work is published in the Eudora Welty Review, the Journal of Appalachian Studies, and Arkansas Review.
Danielle Gilman is a Marion L. Brittain Postdoctoral Fellow in the Writing and Communication Program (WCP) at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Danielle earned her PhD in English from the University of Georgia where she also served as the Coordinator of the First-Year Writing Digital Learning Lab. Danielle’s research interests include twentieth- and twenty-first century British and Irish literature, archival studies, and digital learning. Danielle currently serves as Associate Editor of Notes from the Field, an extension of the Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) Collective, and as Associate Editor of College English.
Dr. JL (Joshua) Gray is a transformational management consultant, engineering professor, and community leader. Dr. Gray is the Founding President of Lukman Consulting Group and has 20 years of experience working in various industries with the United Technologies Corporation, General Electric Company, and Booz Allen Hamilton. JL is a lecturer in Georgia Tech’s Stewart School of Industrial & Systems Engineering where he is affiliated with the Center for Academics, Success & Equity and serves as an Institute Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Fellow. Additionally, he is a National Society of Black Engineers Professional Chapter President and the Healthcare Innovations Treasurer.
Taylor Gray (she/her) is a fourth-year undergraduate student from Winder, Georgia. She is studying Literature, Media, and Communication with a concentration in Communication and Social Justice and a minor in Law, Science, and Technology. On campus, she is involved with the Technique Newspaper, Ramblin’ Reck Club, GT1000/2000 Team Leader Program and works as a student assistant in the Summer and Special Session Initiatives Office at Tech. As a Diversity and Inclusion Fellow, Taylor hopes to create a safe space on campus for plus size people to learn about and move their bodies in a non-clinical and non-weight loss context.
Courtney A. Hoffman is a Marion L. Brittain Fellow and Assistant Director of Georgia Tech’s Writing and Communication Program (WCP). Her research and teaching focus on multimodal composition, technical communication, and 18th-century British literature. She has published essays on adaptions of 18th-century culture and data visualization in 18th-century novels, and is currently working on a research-based approach to rhetoric in designing posters. Hoffman has served on hiring committees for several positions during her tenure as a Brittain Fellow, and is committed to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in hiring practices for WCP specifically and for Georgia Tech generally.
Dr. Judy Hoffman is an Assistant Professor in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech and a member of the ML Center. Her research focuses on domain adaptation, adversarial robustness, and algorithmic fairness in CV and ML. She received the NVIDIA female leader in CV award (2020) and was recognized as a top 100 influential scholar in ML (2020). She co-founded WiCV which provides mentorship and travel support for early-career women. Previously, she was a Research Scientist at Facebook AI Research, Postdoc at Stanford and UC Berkeley and received her PhD in EECS from UC Berkeley.
Justina Rodriguez Jackson is a Research Associate at Georgia Tech’s CEISMC. As a member of the Research and Evaluation Team, she specializes in conducting and designing research, evaluation, and the reporting of various projects. She holds a Ph.D. in Educational Policy Studies, with a concentration in Research, Measurement, and Statistics from Georgia State University and a Certificate in Qualitative Research & College Teaching. Within CEISMC, she currently serves on the Diversity & Inclusion Taskforce and the Awards & Recognition Committee. At the campus level, she serves the Women of Georgia Tech Employee Resource Group Leadership Team as Advocacy Chair.
Emily Laurence (she/her) is the Manager of Student Engagement at the Georgia Tech Alumni Association where she advises the Student Alumni Association. Emily earned her Master's in Education in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Marquette University in 2018 and her Bachelor's in Arts with German and English degrees from the University of Wisconsin- Madison in 2016. Emily is passionate about mentorship and advocating for student interests. Emily was recognized as Outstanding Adviser from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (2020). Outside of work, she enjoys watching college football, hiking, exploring Atlanta, and spending time with her partner and friends.
Jennifer Leavey grew up in Athens and Decatur, Georgia and graduated from Decatur High School in 1991. She earned her B.S. in Chemistry from Georgia Tech in 1995, and her Ph.D. in Immunology from Emory University in 2001. Jennifer Leavey joined the faculty in the School of Biological Sciences in 2005 and is currently a principal academic professional and assistant dean for Faculty Mentoring for the College of Sciences. She also coordinates the College's educational programs related to science and sustainability including the Georgia Tech Urban Honey Bee Project and the Living Building Science Vertically Integrated Project Team.
Mark Leibert is a Professor of the Practice in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication. Leibert has operated at the intersection of Art and Technology for 2 decades. He uses his passion for art and design to foster excitement about interdisciplinary collaboration. As a Diversity and Inclusion Fellow, he plans to collect self-portraits from students to inform a machine learning project with VIP: Art & AI.
Dr. Lewis-Strickland earned her Doctorate of Education in Organizational Leadership, emphasizing Higher Education Leadership from Grand Canyon University. Her dissertation empowered black women to share their leadership resilience experiences to inspire and support aspiring black women leaders. Her passion for leadership and organizational development is fueled by the workforce's diversification and ensuring individuals and institutions are agile and capable of navigating conflicting and evolving ideals. She has more than eight years of experience directing programs that build leadership, professional, and skills capacity for students, alumni, and community members. Currently, she is the Program Coordinator for the South Big Data Hub in the Institute for Data Engineering and Sciences at Georgia Tech. In addition, Dr. Lewis-Strickland is a member of numerous professional organizations such as the International Leadership Association and the Network for Change and Continuous Innovation.
Savannah Lockman (she/her) is a Student Engagement Coordinator with the Georgia Tech Alumni Association working with the Georgia Tech Student Ambassadors and student to new alumni transition initiatives. She earned her Master's in Education in Higher Education and Student Affairs with a Social Justice emphasis from Clemson University in 2020 and her Bachelor's of Science from the University of Georgia in 2018. She is passionate about accessible and affordable higher education and challenging students to create inclusive and equitable programs and events. Outside of Georgia Tech, Savannah loves live music, exploring new breweries, and watching Survivor.
Dr. James Logan leads Georgia Technological Institute’s Quality Assurance team, with the primary focuses of accessibility testing, test management, systems and process audits, applications and web sites performance testing, and web applications security testing. He also serves Georgia Tech's continuity of operation and pandemic planning. He is very knowledgeable of accessibility compliance and a proven track record of implementing the necessary assessment programs to ensure electronic and information technology compliance within a university.
Dr. Logan holds a Doctor of Philosophy in computer information systems and information science from Nova Southeastern University, a master's degree in business administration from Rivier University, and a bachelor's degree in information systems with a computer science option from University of Massachusetts. He also received the Turner Broadcasting System cyber security visionary award and is a graduate of the Georgia Tech's Executive Development Program.
Ben Manning is a senior research scientist in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) who works in the Center for Cyber Operations Enquiry and Unconventional Sensing. He has been with ECE since March 2021. Prior to his current role, he served as a Senior Data Scientist at Socratic Arts, Senior Data Science Mentor at the University of Texas-Austin and was previously a member of the engineering faculty at the University of Georgia. He has held industry roles in Big Data Engineering, Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning Engineering and Software Engineering.
Manning was selected to participate in the Diversity and Inclusion Fellows Program for his proposal to create a matriculation program between engineering schools and potential prospective students with severe mobility disabilities that would satisfy some of the entrance requirements as part of their rehabilitation or therapy.
Maysam Nezafati is a faculty in the Department of Biomedical engineering. His main research interest is focused on brain network analysis during task (such as emotion, memory, learning …) and rest using various modalities. As an action team leader in the BME’s CD & I committee, he was able to host the “BME distinguished lectures”, to normalize African American and URM presence and excellence in academia, which could potentially disrupt latent ideas/ assumptions of the incompetence of marginalized people. By joining this fellowship, he is hopping to extend his activities in the whole institute level and motivate more people to join the cause.
Nadia Qutob is an undergraduate representative on the Department of Physics Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. She is also a lesbian, dyslexic, Muslim, Arab, Palestinian, first-generation US citizen. She has spent her first year at Georgia Tech fighting for an equal number of men’s and women’s restrooms in the Howey Physics Building, advocating for sexual assault prevention Georgia Tech’s physics department, promoting Klemis Kitchen and the STAR program for food-insecure students, and raising awareness on accessibility for disabled students in her department. All of this is in addition to her astrophysics research with the LIGO Scientific Collaboration.
Sushree Jagriti Sahoo
Sushree Jagriti Sahoo is a third-year graduate student pursuing Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering. She is originally from India and holds a bachelor’s degree from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. Her current research interests lie at the intersection of computational chemistry and machine learning. In her spare time, she likes reading, dancing, and exploring different cultures by traveling. During her undergrad, she was actively involved in working towards improving the menstrual health of underprivileged women in Delhi. As a Diversity and Inclusion fellow, she is looking forward to an exciting year of contributing to Tech’s community by working towards increasing the representation of women in STEM research.
Carrie Shepler joined the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry in 2008 after earning a Ph.D. in chemistry from Washington State University and serving as a Franklin Teaching Post-doctoral Fellow at the University of Georgia. She currently serves as a principal academic professional in Chemistry and Biochemistry and assistant dean for teaching effectiveness in the College of Sciences. Carrie works closely with the first-year chemistry program and teaching assistant training, and she is a campus advocate for mental health and well-being resources and training.
Meg Sonstroem (she/her) is an Education Abroad Advisor in the Office of International Education. Originally from Bainbridge Island, WA, Meg received her B.A. in French at Southern Oregon University and her M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration and Student Personnel at Kent State University. She has worked in the field of International Education for seven years – four years at Georgia Tech and previously at Louisiana State University. As a Diversity and Inclusion Fellow, she plans to build a support structure to make Education Abroad and International Opportunities more visible, accessible, and equitable to students of color.
Harini Sridharan is pursuing her PhD in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering after M.S in Polymer Engineering and B.S. in Chemical Engineering. She was born and raised in India and moved to USA in 2018. She loves to bake, dance, and listen to music. During her Masters, she was actively involved in promoting neurodiversity and mentored high school girls interested in STEM. She is passionate about engaging in conversations that help bring awareness to the low representation of BIPOC women in STEM research; as a DEI fellow, she is very excited to contribute to GT community by doing the same.
Faiz Syed is an undergraduate student at Georgia Tech pursuing a degree in International Affairs on the pre-med track. He hopes to leverage his passions for world politics and medicine to implement cost-effective, evidence-based, and patient-centered health and medical care programs throughout the world. As a Diversity and Inclusion Fellow, Faiz will be expanding the scope of one of Georgia Tech’s most remarkable programs, Project ENGAGES (Engaging New Generations at Georgia Tech through Engineering & Science). He will be individually mentoring low-income minority high school students in their preparation for national/international research conferences. Outside of school, Faiz enjoys performing stand-up comedy, coaching youth basketball, and volunteering at free clinics for the uninsured and underserved.
Aselia Urmanbetova (she/her/hers) is an Associate Academic Professional in the School of Economics. As a foreign-born GT alumna, Aselia's goal is ensuring that all students in her classes feel seen, heard, and equipped to succeed. The combination of different active learning modalities, that emphasize sustained connections not only with the course content, but to classmates and instructors, ensures that students stay engaged and feel good about their learning experiences. Aselia also supports students outside of the classroom by being the main advisor for Econ minors, GT Econ Club, GT NABE and ODE Chapters. Outside of work, Aselia is an avid yoga and dance practitioner.
Bruce Walker’s Sonification Lab studies human-computer interaction (HCI) in non-traditional interfaces, such as mobile devices, cockpits, vehicle displays, and multimodal interfaces in education. Particular interests include sonification and auditory displays, which are highly useful for persons living with vision impairment. This has led to decades of work on assistive technology, especially for education. Dr. Walker is passionate about making schools and educational materials more accessible for all learners. Professor Walker teaches HCI, Research Methods, Sensation & Perception, and Assistive Technology. He has over 250 publications, and has worked on projects for NASA, state and federal governments, the military, and private companies.
Kerry (she/her) currently serves as the Educational Outreach Manager in the School of Materials Science and Engineering, focusing on undergraduate student recruitment and retention. Kerry received her B.A. in English Writing from Northern Michigan University and her M.Ed. in Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education from Ball State University. She will graduate in Fall 2021 with her Ph.D. in Educational Policy Studies from Georgia State University. Kerry leads a small NACADA writing group with colleagues from across the country. As a Diversity and Inclusion Fellow, Kerry will utilize her passion of writing to create and lead writing/research spaces for non-faculty members.
Ami Waller-Ivanecky serves as an Academic Program Manager in the school of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at Georgia Tech. Prior to joining CHBE in 2012 she was the Director of Student Success & Advising at the Savannah College of Art & Design Atlanta. In 2013 Ami worked with a group of CHBE students to launch the Transfer Student Association, a student group offering social support and mentoring to incoming transfer students. In 2014 TSA became a chartered GT student organization. Her goal at Georgia Tech is to build community and increase the sense of belonging by identifying the barriers people face and building bridges to greater understanding between students, faculty and staff. Ami is a licensed professional counselor in Georgia as well as being board certified.
Katja Weber is Professor in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs. She joined the faculty as an assistant professor in 1995. She received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles. During fall 2008 she was a Visiting Research Scholar at the Graduate School of Law & Politics at the University of Tokyo, and in Nov./Dec. 2010 a Visiting Fellow at the EU Center at the National University of Singapore/Nanyang Technological University. Her research interests center around institution-building in Europe and Asia Pacific, and non-traditional security challenges. She is the Director of the Southeast Asia Study Abroad Program.
Amy Wood-Yang is a third-year Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Ph.D. student. Her research is focused on engineering microneedle patches for improved vaccine accessibility and immunogenicity. Before coming to Georgia Tech, she completed her B.S. at New York University. She is currently the outreach chair for Student Polymer Network and is helping to get graduate students involved in STEM outreach. She also enjoys drawing, painting, and discovering new restaurants and bubble tea shops. As a Diversity and Inclusion Fellow, she hopes to create an environment that can help increase the representation of women and underrepresented minorities in STEM and academia.
Sarah Wu (she/her/hers) currently serves as the academic assessment manager for the Office of Academic Effectiveness at Georgia Tech. Originally from Tainan, Taiwan, she received her B.S. in Social Psychology from Shih Hsin University and M. Ed. in Learning and Instruction from National Central University. Wu ventured to Florida State University to complete a Ph.D. in Higher Education. She is passionate about student learning, growth, and success. She is proud to be a part of the Diversity and Inclusions Fellows Program and looking forward to developing a more inclusive assessment model for undergraduate students’ General Education learning at Georgia Tech.
Shelley Wunder-Smith is the Senior Writer/Editor in the communications department of the No. 1-ranked H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering. She holds a B.A. in English from Auburn University and an M.A. in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has worked in words professionally for most of her adult life. She is dedicated to telling the many stories to be found within ISyE; as a Diversity and Inclusion Fellow, she plans to expand the “In Conversation” series that she developed to highlight a wide range of minority voices in the ISyE community.
Nazia Zakir has been working at GT for 19 years and currently is the Interim vice-president of Infrastructure & Sustainability. She has worked as the Institute's Radiation Safety Officer and AVP of Environmental Health & Safety. She has a BS in Biological Sciences and a MS in Environmental Sciences. She is excited about the expanding diversity in the GT student population. Nazia is a strong advocate for inclusivity and equity and is excited to setup an Employee Resource Group for the Asian population at GT.