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Bridging the Gap

Sept. 29, 2015

Dr. Karen Head chats with Roddreka Rogers (left) and Marcus Georges-Hunt (right)
Chris Yandle | Communications & Public Relations

Most mornings while many men and women are just beginning their daily routine, student-athletes are already two or three hours into a very long day that includes class, projects, tutoring, workouts, and practice. Somewhere in between all of those activities, they find time to eat meals and meet with their coaches and professors.

Many times the opportunities for student-athletes to interact outside of a classroom or practice setting are limited. Thanks to the vision of Dr. Reginald DesRoches, the Faculty Athletic Representative (FAR) at Georgia Tech, a new program has been created with the aim of providing Tech student-athletes with an opportunity to engage with faculty outside the classroom.

The idea for this program came from Dr. DesRoches’ own monthly lunch interactions with student-athletes and he felt that Georgia Tech faculty would benefit from this exposure as well.

“I learned so much from (my lunch meetings with student-athletes) about their schedules and some of the challenges they face,” said Dr. DesRoches. “I thought this was something that would be great to expose our faculty to and an opportunity to engage with our student-athletes.

“We tried to match student-athletes with instructors or faculty from their major departments. The hope for this program is to bring these two communities together. Student-athletes are so busy at times that they don’t have the opportunity that regular students do to participate in activities and engage off campus.”

The first two of these faculty / student-athlete breakfast events were held Sept. 28-29 in the dining hall of the Arthur B. Edge Jr. Intercollegiate Athletics Building. Faculty attending these breakfasts were treated to a tour of the GT Sports Museum on the main floor of the Edge Building before meeting with the student-athletes and select GTAA administration for breakfast.

Monday’s breakfast featured 10 student-athletes and seven faculty members, while eight student-athletes and three faculty members participated in Tuesday’s event.

Among those participating in the faculty breakfasts were women’s tennis senior Megan Kurey, who will be the Sept. 30 “Our Stories” contributor, and redshirt sophomore pitcher Jonathan King.

“(Today) was another great opportunity Tech gives us to associate with different faculty members and learn about their expertise in different areas,” said Kurey. “It’s also a good chance for us seniors to ask pertinent questions about the next steps we need to take (after graduation).”

“I really enjoyed it,” said King. “I think it’s good for student-athletes to sit down with faculty and communicate with them (outside of class). To be able to learn about them and for them to learn about us is very beneficial. I think this program will help athletes open up with their professors in the future.”

Other student-athletes participating this week included: London Ackermann (volleyball), Malea Bell (softball), Maya Barroso (women’s track), Julian Darden (men’s track), Andrea Demick (women’s diving), Kira de Bruyn (women’s swimming), Erin Gant (women’s track), Irene Gari (women’s basketball), Marcus Georges-Hunt (men’s basketball) Adam Gotsis (football), Josh Heath (men’s basketball), Michael Hines (golf), Katherine Kerman (women’s swimming), Zaire O’Neil (women’s basketball), Roddreka Rogers (women’s basketball), Erika Staskevicius (women’s swimming), Katarina Vuckovic (women’s basketball), and Isiah Willis (football).

Participating faculty included Seletha Butler (Scheller College of Business), Dr. Nishant Dass (Scheller), Dr. Karen Head (Literature, Media and Culture), Wayne Li (College of Architecture), Dr. Gary May (Dean, College of Engineering), Lauren McDow (Scheller), Dr. Sandra Pettit (School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering), Arn Rubinoff (Scheller), Dr. Johnna Temenoff (Biomedical Engineering), and Dr. Chen Zhou (Industrial & Systems Engineering).

The program will continue to evolve during the fall semester as four more faculty/student-athlete breakfast events will be held October 26-27 and November 23-24.

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