Jan 29, 2020 | Atlanta, GA
For almost three decades, the Georgia Tech Focus Program has attracted top, diverse students from across the nation to its campus.
The annual graduate-recruitment weekend program provides participants an overview of Georgia Tech’s graduate degree programs, including information on financial resources, and assistance with the application and decision-making processes involved in selecting a graduate school.
Focus Scholars – undergraduate college and university students – learned of the benefits of receiving an advanced degree, while Focus Fellows – doctoral students who are one or two years away from graduation, and postdocs – learned the advantages of pursuing a career in academia.
“I know Georgia Tech has a great track record of not only having some of the best engineering programs in the country, but it is also known for bringing in some of the best, most diverse students from all over the world."
The 2020 program brought together 184 Scholar participants and 19 Focus Fellows (the largest Fellow cohort to date), from over 90 colleges and universities across the U.S.
“For me, it was important to visit the campus to learn first-hand about graduate opportunities here are Tech,” said Alexandria Hicks, a University of Chicago third-year undergraduate student. “I’m interested in graduate programs that really look to help minority students find avenues to succeed.”
Florida International University undergraduate Heriberto Nieves shared Hicks’ sentiment.
“I’m especially interested in Georgia Tech’s biomedical engineering program,” Nieves said. “I was drawn to the Focus Program after taking on an internship here last summer. I want to know even more about what Tech has to offer, especially to someone like me.”
“In the current era of high technological innovation, globalization, and interdisciplinary scholarship, any agenda towards progress and excellence must be inclusive, diverse, intentional, and dare I say, ‘focused,’” said Sybrina Atwaters, director of the Focus Program and OMED: Educational Services, a unit of Institute Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion’s Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion. “Focus 2020 represented an Institute-wide commitment of over 40 faculty, staff, graduate students, and alumni dedicated to meeting this aim.”
The three-day program included opening and closing dinners; the annual President’s Dinner – which included a fireside chat featuring Charles Isbell, dean of the Georgia Tech College of Computing – department and lab visits; workshops; and panel discussions on mentoring and graduate admissions led by Georgia Tech alumni and faculty members.
“For 28 years now, Georgia Tech has offered the Focus graduate-recruitment program on the same weekend our nation celebrates the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr.,” opened Archie Ervin, vice president for Institute Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, at the Friday President’s Dinner. “The Focus Program encourages the nation’s best and brightest diverse students to pursue graduate studies and careers in academia.”
Five-year sponsor Intel Corporation also presented two Intel Fellowships worth $10,000 each to recipients at the conclusion of the President’s Dinner.
Since its 1991 conception and opening weekend in January 1992, more than 3,200 students have participated in the program. Hundreds of former Focus Scholars are among Georgia Tech alumni who have earned master’s and doctoral degrees, while several Focus Fellows – a program initiated in 2000 – are current Georgia Tech faculty members.
The Institute currently ranks third in the country in doctoral degrees in engineering awarded to all racial/ethnic minority students and number one in doctoral degrees in engineering awarded to African Americans and Asian Americans.
“I know Georgia Tech has a great track record of not only having some of the best engineering programs in the country, but it is also known for bringing in some of the best, most diverse students from all over the world,” Nieves added. “That’s impressive to me.”
To learn more about the Focus Program, visit focus.gatech.edu.