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Director and omed director for a day working together

By Victor Rogers


May 12, 2023

Student is OMED Director for the Day

Kantwon Rogers gains insight into the role of a higher education administrator. 

Computer science Ph.D. student Kantwon Rogers’ long-term career goal is to become a university president. He knows the job requires expertise in community building, fundraising, and negotiation, in addition to academic achievements. So, when the opportunity arose to gain insight into higher education administration as the “director for the day” in the Office of Minority Educational Development (OMED), he jumped at it.

“Being director for the day is perfect for me because I always attribute much of my success at Georgia Tech to OMED,” Rogers said. “I have been a part of so many OMED programs. I was a Challenge student, served as a Challenge counselor, and now I teach a course in the Challenge Program. I have been a benefactor of so many of OMED's services, so now I’m analyzing it on the other side.”

Rogers has earned a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, a master’s in electrical and computer engineering, and another master’s in human computer interaction at Georgia Tech. Now he’s working on his Ph.D. in computer science, researching human robot interaction and trying to understand when is it OK for robots to lie to or deceive humans.

One of a dozen students who applied to be OMED director for the day, Rogers recently spent a day with OMED Director Sybrina Atwaters, serving as director in her place. “He isn’t watching me do my work, he’s actually doing it,” said Atwaters, who came up with the idea.

The schedule for the day included multiple meetings with undergraduates, a data meeting to examine the performance of first-year underrepresented minority students, a meeting with Slalom Consulting, and a meeting with Archie W. Ervin, Georgia Tech’s vice president for Institute Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

“This is such an eye-opening experience,” Rogers said. “There are proposals to review quickly and give feedback. Then there’s a meeting with a corporate visitor and another with a member of the president’s cabinet. Everything is very fast paced and you're constantly having to juggle multiple commitments at once. You really have to embrace the chaos."

He also gained a greater appreciation of the work that goes into providing services for students.

“I have been at Tech for 12 years, but I never stopped to think about what it takes to make things happen,” he said. “The forethought and planning required for so many services is staggering, and then there are last-minute and spontaneous situations you also have to account for. It has been fascinating, and I have been pleasantly surprised that many of my technical and non-technical skills I have learned throughout graduate school are applicable in this different domain. Even through this brief experience, I've gathered a better idea of my strengths as a leader and the aspects I want to improve upon to help with my future leadership goals."  Full Story