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Changing the Face of Engineering

Feb 19, 2016

Through a commitment to diversity Georgia Tech is dedicated to changing the face of engineering. The College of Engineering awards more graduate degrees in engineering to African-American students than any other school in the United States and ranks second when it comes to undergraduate degrees. Nationally 4% of engineering degrees are awarded to African-American students, but since 2000 Georgia Tech has awarded 2,673 degrees to black students, accounting for 6.1% of the total engineering degrees awarded in that timeframe. At the undergraduate level the percentage increases to 8.8%.

Here are some of our many alumni, faculty, and students who are bringing a new look and new perspectives to their fields:

  • Gary and LeShelle May. Gary S. May is the Dean of the Georgia Tech college of Engineering and Southern Company Chair and his wife Leshelle is a senior software manager at CNN. Both are graduates of Georgia Tech's School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and they were recently named a Tech Power Couple of Atlanta. Dean May has made encouraging diversity within STEM fields a focal point of his career and has been instrumental in recruiting and mentoring minority students.
  • Wonya Lucas, who holds a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering, was recently named president of Public Broadcasting Atlanta (PBA).
  • Gregory Triplett, who earned his Ph. D. in electrical and computer engineering at Tech, is the new associate dean of graduate studies for the School of Engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU).
  • Industrial engineering graduate Guy Primus is is a entrepreneur and Hollywood visionary who has a plan to change the way we see the world through virtual reality.
  • Suzanne Shank is a civil engineering graduate and CEO of both Siebert Financial Corporation and Siebert Brandford Shank & Co, She is the first black woman to head a publicly traded financial services institution.
  • Aerospace graduate Christopher Jones was recently named the 2016 Black Engineer of the Year at the 30th annual Black Engineer of the Year Award (BEYA). Jones is corporate vice president and president, Northrop Grumman Technology Services.
  • Ayanna Howard, Linda J. and Mark C. Smith Chair Professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech, founded Zyrobotics, a company that produces educational mobile technologies for children with special needs.
  • A biomedical engineering graduate and associate professor  in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University, Manu Platt is a leading HIV researcher and is currently working on a predictive model for guiding breast cancer therapies.
  • Reginald DesRoches, Karen and John Huff School Chair and Professor in the Georgia Tech School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, was recently honored as one of  University of California, Berkeley's most distinguished alumni.

Leading the Way

Studies show that having an example or role model to follow makes success more attainable. As Georgia Tech continues to recruit the best and the brightest they can be confident that those who have come before them have achieved great results in their fields. In addition to those already listed, other African-American College of Engineering alumni include:

  • Robert L. Dixon, Senior VP & Global CIO PepsiCo, Inc.
  • Calvin Mackie, 2003 recipient of Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring, former Tulane professor 
  • Mark Randolph, Senior Vice President, Customer Solutions Engineering, DTS, Inc.
  • Mary Spio, President and Founder, Next Galaxy Corp, former deep space engineer with Boeing and Intelsat
  • Bob Stargel, Vice President, Global Nonwovens Product, Kimberly-Clark Corporation
  • Glenn Wright, Senior Vice President Shell Energy North America

Recent Graduates

Many of Georgia Tech's recent graduates have been assisted by CEED, the College of Engineering's Center for Engineering Education and Diversity. CEED strives to maintain Georgia Tech’s reputation as a diversity leader by being a hub of information for prospective students, current students, industry, and the community at large. The office collaborates with other Georgia Tech offices and student organizations as well as alumni, national organizations, corporations, the K-12 community, and other universities to create and support a diversified engineering workforce. CEED's graduates are thriving in academia and private industry, moving on to graduate programs at schools including Stanford and the University fo South Florida and employers such as Emory University Hospital, McKinsey and Company, Jacobs, and GTRI.