Georgia Tech Research Institute fosters community
GTRI reaches out to inspire young minds toward STEM, to help diverse employees find like-minded support, and enlist problem solvers to fill research positions
Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI, Atlanta) is the nonprofit applied research arm of Georgia Institute of Technology. GTRI’s eight research labs cover a variety of disciplines and technology areas, including electromagnetic effects and devices, aerospace, transportation, cybertechnology, electro-optical systems, sensors and more. Of GTRI’s nearly 1,800 employees, 400 are women and about the same number are members of an ethnic minority group.
Problem solvers sought
GTRI is hiring. “Anyone who can offer creative solutions is someone we would like to learn more about as a potential hire,” says Shatanese Reese, diversity consultant.
GTRI hires both college graduates and seasoned professionals. “We look for individuals with a wide variety of backgrounds, from aerospace, computer, mechanical and electrical engineers to anyone who has a background in information technology,” Reese says. “Specific needs vary based on the projects we’re working on. Generally speaking, we are looking for people with cybersecurity experience, software developers, Java developers, database developers, those with ScrumMaster experience, and people who have experience in embedded systems and data analytics.”
GTRI finds experienced professionals online at business and career sites, and at its own career website at www.gtri.gatech.edu/careers.
“We also do quite a bit of networking on behalf of GTRI,” Reese says. One of the main outlets is the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG), which encourages tech-based economic development in Georgia. GTRI is a member of TAG Diversity, a society within the association. TAG Diversity sponsors events that offer professionals in the technology community networking and collaboration opportunities. TAG Diversity also works to educate businesses in Georgia on the benefits of diversity in their organizations.
GTRI reps attend conferences held by organizations like the Society of Women Engineers, the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers, and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. “We attend numerous career fairs at colleges, as well,” Reese says. “This fiscal year, we are on target to attend at least fifty career fairs around the country.”
Community service at GTRI
Reese meets regularly with a core group of fifteen GTRI employees to discuss issues surrounding diversity. “We attend many diversity group meetings on the Georgia Tech campus,” Reese notes. “We’ve identified women and minority undergrad students who qualify for scholarships.” GTRI awards undergraduate scholarships and graduate research fellowships.
GTRI employees connect with the local community in various ways, like volunteering at a homeless shelter or conducting a bookbag drive for school-age children. Other initiatives include EarSketch, a program intended to get K-12 students interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.
Ear-Sketch is a music programming tool that GTRI researchers and staff members use with students around the state and the country to teach them about computer coding through creative activities. It’s just one of the GTRI programs designed to provide STEM outreach with a focus on minorities and underserved students.
Through the Georgia Tech University office of human resources, six employee resource groups were launched in 2013: Griot, for employees who self-identify as black, African or African American, or West Indian, or who are of African descent; Hola, for Hispanic/Latino employees; Introverts, which provides a safe forum for introverts to explore their unique gifts and examine the “quiet” nature of their significant contributions; Pride, for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning employees and allies; Veterans on Campus, for former military personnel; and Women of Georgia Tech, for women. GTRI has a formal organization-wide mentoring program.
“We have a forum online that is a safe venue for GTRI employees to discuss diversity matters, and we recently held a women’s networking breakfast with more than 100 attendees,” says Reese. “In my role, I’m attempting to strengthen the role of our women and minority population in our leadership ranks, and at the same time working to foster a strong community within GTRI. I’m excited about what we’re doing here.”
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