Accent Stories is a series of podcasts produced by Yelena M. Rivera-Vale where our Georgia Tech community members share their personal recollections and opinions related to the way they speak. In 2017, stories included:
Halcyon M. Lawrence, Ph.D. is a native English speaker from the island of Trinidad and Tobago. She speaks a variant of British-English. At the time this podcast was recorded in 2017, Lawrence was a Marion L. Brittain Postdoctoral Fellow in the Writing and Communication Program at Georgia Tech.Sebastian F. Ruf learned to speak both English and German growing up, then later learned and subsequently forgot Spanish. His English represents his Californian upbringing while his German accent travels extensively from region to region, sometimes in the same sentence. At the time this podcast was recorded in 2017, Ruf was a Ph.D. candidate in School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech.Alba Castillo Gutierrez learned Spanish as her first language growing up and learned English starting at the age of 14 when she moved to the United States. She speaks Spanish, English, and some Portuguese and French with a Colombian, specifically a Bogotanian, accent. At the time this podcast was recorded in 2017, she was an educational outreach manager for the Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing (CEISMC) at Georgia Tech.Eugene Mangortey learned English, French, and two African languages while growing up. He speaks all four languages with a Ghanaian/British accent. At the time this podcast was recorded in 2017, Mangortey was a pursuing a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering at Georgia Tech.Carol Subiño Sullivan is proud to be a bilingual speaker of English and Spanish. A mainland U.S. born daughter of a Puerto Rican mother and a Spanish father, her family life gave her a global perspective early in life. At the time this podcast was recorded in 2017, she was a faculty teaching and learning specialist in the Center for Teaching and Learning at Georgia Tech.Mazlum (Maz) Kosma is originally from Turkey (Turkiye) where he grew up speaking his native tongue, Turkish. He learned basic English after college and when he moved to the United States attended a one-year intensive English program at a language institute in Greensboro, N.C. At the time this podcast was recorded in 2017, Kosma was an assistant director of residence life and director of graduate and family housing at Georgia Tech.Recha R. Reid learned the dialect of Jamaica, patois, and English while growing up. She proudly speaks with a distinctive Jamaican accent that is influenced by both the British and American environments in which she has lived. At the time this podcast was recorded in 2017, she was an administrative manager II for the Center for Advanced Communications Policy at Georgia Tech.Yelena M. Rivera Vale was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She learned English and Spanish while growing up and speaks both with a Puerto Rican accent. Her parents planted the seed of her love to travel since she was a child, and she hasn’t stopped traveling since then. Rivera Vale also speaks some Italian and French. At the time this podcast was recorded in 2017, she was a TV/web operations coordinator for the Georgia Tech Cable Network.Isabel Altamirano was born and raised in New Orleans. Daughter of a Peruvian mother and a Honduran father, her first language was Spanish and learned English in school. Altamirano’s Spanish accent shows her family and upbringing influences with a strong tilt towards Peruvian with hints of Central America and Cuba, while her English can be considered "mid-Atlantic." At the time this podcast was recorded in 2017, she was a subject librarian for three engineering majors and Chemistry.Sravanthi Meka learned both English and Telugu simultaneously. Born in New Orleans, and having lived in Mississippi and Georgia, her accent has a broad range of Southern, even when she speaks Telugu. At the time this podcast was recorded in 2017, Meka was the marketing manager for Georgia Tech Housing and Conference Services.
B-School D&I is a blog that chronicles the efforts at Georgia Tech’s Ernest Scheller Jr. College of Business to increase diversity and promote inclusion. The blog describes implicit bias training for new MBA students and involvement in Management Leadership for Tomorrow, a national nonprofit dedicated to developing African-American, Latino, and Native American business leaders. The intention of the blog is to serve as a source of information and inspiration for other Georgia Tech departments and colleges, Scheller alumni, and business schools nationwide.
Ben T. Zinn Combustion Laboratory Experience
This project aimed to improve the quality of experience for all of our students and researchers in the Ben T. Zinn Combustion Laboratory, a large lab on campus with shared resources around critical lab infrastructure and equipment.
There were two key deliverables from the project. The first was the development of a slide deck on “Lab Culture,” which will be presented as part of an “All Hands” meeting twice a year. The second was the standing up of a graduate student lab, “Onboarding/ Knowledge Transfer Committee.” This committee is focusing on onboarding activities, lab socials, formalized mechanisms for transferring critical knowledge more uniformly to new students, and identification of points of contact for new students, so they know who to talk with if they need help on a particular matter.
The Culture Xchange
The Culture Xchange is a concept that couples self-exploration with intimate experiences, creating bonds amongst our Georgia Tech community members. By defining one’s identity and introducing it to a colleague as an actual experience, we will address issues and biases individually blocking the realignment of Tech culture.
Diversity Interventions: What Works and Why
This mini-project focused on reviewing various intervention activities that have been implemented and evaluated for their effectiveness. It compiles a list of best practices for enhancing inclusion on campus.
Ernest Scheller Jr. College of Business Ph.D. Student Brown Bag
On April 28, 2017, the workshop, “Leveraging Diversity in the Classroom: Understanding Intercultural Communication and Implicit Bias,” explored intercultural communication and implicit bias in the classroom. Dean Stephanie Ray from the Office of Diversity Programs facilitated the workshop. Those who completed the program received a certificate of completion, which can be added to their CVs.
Icebreaker Series – Human First Edition
Icebreaker Series – Human First Edition is a series of activities, games, and events where we step outside of our norm, enough to share creativity and understanding, so we may find even the simplest of ways to connect with each other. We might act and react, watch cartoons in another language, play a game of mad libs, have dance lessons together, or perhaps even take a camping trip; the possibilities are endless. By developing the arts and crafts of connecting individuals from diverse backgrounds in various settings implemented by sharing ideas, problem-solving, and creating solutions to overcome daily challenges, we build and foster a diverse community. This kind of community leads the charge in providing safe spaces for each individual to grow and respect differing perspectives, celebrate uniqueness, yet transcend inclusive excellence where ever they set foot.
Intentional Inclusion is an online training module that focuses on issues of diversity and inclusion. All faculty, staff, and students would be required to participate in this training on at least an annual basis and incentivized for completing the training. The topics include helping majority faculty, staff, and students become aware of issues that people from various racial and ethnic backgrounds may experience on this campus and in their communities; learn how to intentionally create a classroom, research lab, or professional environment that is inclusive and safe for everyone; and have the tools to challenge stereotypes or discrimination within their settings.
Organized in collaboration with the ADVANCE Program, Queering STEM is a new conversation series that explores the experiences of being openly LGBTQIA in STEM fields. The main goal of this group is to create a space for professional development and peer mentoring among graduate students, postdocs, researchers, and faculty at Georgia Tech. Some of the issues discussed include managing discrimination at both institutional and workplace levels, advocating for yourself and for policy/culture change, networking and mentorship, and how to successfully navigate the job market.
The Race Circus
On October 26, 2017, the Makeshift Circus Collective presented a video to attendees of their performance piece, The Race Circus Project, which explores themes of race through the circus arts. After the screening, facilitators from Makeshift led a discussion with campus community members on the themes raised by the performance.
Talking Race@Tech: Student Voices
On March 7, 2017, Talking Race@Tech: Student Voices was a three-hour event that created a safe space for the assembled students to voice and work through their experiences of race on campus. The symposium featured a panel of six student speakers; a response from School of Literature, Media, and Communication Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies Nihad Farooq; an audience Q&A; and small group discussions.
Understanding Graduate Attrition
Graduate attrition is not widely studied. This project attempts to begin understanding graduate attrition at Georgia Tech by defining and identifying it. It is hoped that this information can be used as a tool to help guide diversity and inclusion efforts in the campus graduate student community.