Food for Thought, Soul, and Campus: Georgia Tech’s Community Garden

At the heart of Georgia Tech’s campus, a student-run garden provides community and fresh food.

An aerial shot of the community garden. The garden has multiple planting stations, both in rows and U-shapes. Also visible are multiple picnic tables and the pergola.

Since 2012, the community garden on Georgia Tech’s campus has offered a green space for students to get their hands dirty, learn more about self-sustenance, and take a break from the bustle of campus life to get some me time.  

“Being a large technical school, there are a ton of experiences you can’t get anywhere else that will feed your career,” said Eli Winterscheidt, community garden director and fourth-year materials science engineering major. “Things like the garden exist to feed you as a human being. Students come here and can get their hands in the dirt; they get to experience what it’s like to have fun and get outside.” 

At the beginning of last year, the space allocated to the community garden tripled in size, adding additional beds, a pergola with picnic tables, and the ability for the garden to become ADA accessible.  

Students Organizing for Sustainability (SOS), the largest sustainability-focused student organization on campus, manages the garden and solicited input from the student body to inform the expansion’s design.  

Since then, Winterscheidt has enjoyed the learning curve of managing more space and opportunities for students to get involved. Every other Saturday, SOS hosts community garden workdays, which see anywhere from two to 80 participants, depending on the weather and time of year. 

On those days, students and others who are interested in working in the garden get the opportunity to connect and complete different tasks for the benefit of the crops grown in the garden. Some of the produce is given to Klemis Kitchen, an on-campus food bank for students in need, upon harvest. 

The garden grows a variety of produce: radishes, herbs, and figs from a fig tree grown from a cutting of Jimmy Carter’s own fig tree, to name just a few. 

As Winterscheidt prepares to graduate in May, he advises future Georgia Tech students to prioritize self-care in college. 

“Take time for yourself,” he said. “You’re a human being first, and then you’re a student, and then you can get involved on campus. Taking those priorities and getting them straight, and really understanding what it means to feed yourself before you feed your career.” 

To get involved with the community garden, connect with SOS on their Instagram or website, or go to a community garden day.

Georgia Tech Names New Executive Director of Scholarships and Financial Aid 

Effective July 1, the new director will assume the role.

Katie Conrad headshot
Katie Conrad was selected for the executive director role.

After a national search conducted by WittKieffer, Enrollment Management at Georgia Tech has selected Katie Conrad as the new executive director of the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid (OSFA). She will assume this role beginning July 1, 2024. 

“We are thrilled to welcome Katie as the new leader for the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid,” said Paul Kohn, vice provost for Enrollment Management. “With her expertise and vision, we eagerly anticipate the strides she will help us make in advancing our financial aid initiatives. Together, we will continue to expand access for all students.” 

Since August 2016, Conrad has served as the senior associate director of financial aid at Florida International University in Miami, Florida. Her previous positions include director of financial aid at Midway University in Midway, Kentucky, and associate director of student financial aid at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.  

Conrad holds a Bachelor of Arts in business administration from Transylvania University and a Master of Science in social and philosophical studies in education from the University of Kentucky. She has earned the Certified Financial Aid Administrator (FAAC) designation. 

Conrad currently serves as the vice president for training at Southern Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (SASFAA). With 22 years of experience in the financial aid profession, she has held numerous leadership roles within her state and regional financial aid associations. She has a passion for education, lifelong learning, and promotes educational access and success. 

Georgia Tech Admission Announces Final Round of Decisions

In total, over 8,200 were admitted as first-year students this year, with Tech aiming to enroll 3,900 first-year students across Summer and Fall 2024.

Nearly 60,000 students applied for admission into the 2024 first-year class at Georgia Tech this year, with 8,250 receiving admission offers.  

The admit rate for Georgia residents was 33%, and 10% for non-residents. Admitted students hail from 111 countries, all 50 states (plus the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands), 130 Georgia counties, and 3,025 high schools. Of these admitted students, 10% are first-generation college students. 

“We are dedicated to recruiting students who align with Tech’s mission to develop leaders who advance technology and improve the human condition,” said Mary Tipton Woolley, interim executive director of the Office of Undergraduate Admission. “This year’s admitted students showcase tremendous academic talent and impact on their schools and communities.” 

The Office of Undergraduate Admission received a record number of first-year applications during both Regular Decision and Early Action application periods. And following intensive travel efforts across the state of Georgia, applications from Georgia students increased 13% this year. 

“As we’ve intensified our focus on recruiting students from across our state, I’m proud of the work our team did to visit 60 more counties than in past years,” said Woolley. “Expanding access starts in our home state.” 

To support the Institute’s strategic plan to expand access and provide opportunities for all enrolled students, from the 8,250 students offered admission, Tech aims to enroll approximately 3,900 students in this first-year class. This represents a 4% student increase from last year and a record high for the Institute.  

Currently, over 2,000 students have accepted their admission offer by paying their enrollment deposit. But Tech has extended the enrollment commitment deposit deadline to May 15 for incoming first-year students classified as Georgia residents. The deadline for students classified as non-Georgia residents remains May 1.  

In the coming weeks, Undergraduate Admission and departments across campus will host multiple tailored campus visit events for admitted students. 

“The admission team has and will continue to work hard to recruit top students, but we can’t do our work without the support of deeply engaged campus partners who are committed to helping us enroll a fantastic new class,” said Woolley.  

View the 2024 first-year admitted profile below or on the admission website.

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Community Market Brings Local Food, Other Small Businesses to Heart of Campus 

Craving Mediterranean food? Want a pair of student-crafted earrings? The Community Market seeks to serve students by providing a time and place for food vendors, student artists, and campus organizations to connect with Georgia Tech students.

The Wednesday Community Market set up along Tech Green.

Though campus is often buzzing with activity, Community Market days bring a unique energy to Georgia Tech. With novel cuisines to try, various campus organizations to connect with, and art for sale lining the sidewalks, students can take a pause from their day to explore student life and support small businesses. 

The market takes place between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Wednesdays along the southern edge of Tech Green, and in Tech Square at Centergy One Plaza on Thursdays at the same time. The Thursday market is a recent addition following student requests and hosts similar vendors and opportunities. 

While the market initially emerged to provide a variety of healthy food options for students, it has since expanded to serve additional student requests in the form of supplemental vendor options and opportunities to showcase avenues to get involved on campus. 

“The idea began because we want to create community around sustainability,” said Malte Weiland, senior sustainability project manager at Tech’s Campus Services department. “We want it to be a functioning community for students, and we’re also taking care of that community through support for both students and vendors.” 

Moroccan cuisine, roasted nuts, teas, and local honey are just a few of the regular offerings on the food side, while jewelry, crochet, and clothing are some of the common wares showcased by student entrepreneurs.  

Student organizations can set up for free, provided sustainability plays a role in their initiatives. Student entrepreneurs can also sell their work for free, a perk that many Tech students find helpful in sharing and profiting from their work. 

Bella Brunner, third-year mechanical engineering student as well as manager and frequent vendor for the Community Market, noted that the low barrier for entry for students encourages exploration of their entrepreneurial side without encountering the prohibitive costs often associated with selling at markets.  

Beyond that, Brunner emphasizes the importance of the market for enhancing student life. 

“The market provides a valuable space for students to connect with their peers and forge new relationships,” said Brunner. “Whether it’s bonding over a shared love of pastries or discovering a mutual appreciation for handmade crafts, the market fosters a sense of camaraderie and belonging among students, enhancing their overall sense of community on campus.” 

The Community Market is always open to hearing what students want to see at the market and welcomes suggestions and feedback. 

“We are continually improving to meet student needs,” said Weiland. 

Students and others can connect or learn more about becoming a vendor at the Community Market on their Instagram.  

Scholars Weekend Welcomes Top Students to Tech

The annual Stamps Scholars Weekend brought students and their families to campus to learn more about the Institute and participate in the conclusive round of interviews to identify Stamps President’s and Gold Scholars.

On March 8 and 9, over 100 admitted students attended Stamps Scholars Weekend.

On March 8 and 9, the Office of Special Scholarships invited 108 admitted first-year undergraduate students to Stamps Scholars Weekend, a celebration of these students and their accomplishments. 

A portion of this weekend involved interviews as part of the final selection process for the Stamps President’s Scholarship and the Gold Scholarship programs. These scholarships are awarded to the top 1-2% of each admitted class. 

“This is a highly competitive scholarship process and the students invited to Stamps Scholars Weekend are truly exceptional,” said Chaffee Viets, director of the Office of Special Scholarships. “Through multiple rounds of review, they’ve showcased not just their academic excellence, but also genuine curiosity and a commitment to making a positive impact on the world. Reaching this stage in the scholarship selection process is a significant achievement, and it’s an honor to recognize their accomplishments and celebrate their journeys during Stamps Scholars Weekend.” 

The Stamps President’s Scholarship Program provides a full ride to cover tuition, fees, housing, a meal plan, books, academic supplies, and a stipend for first-year students to purchase a laptop. In addition to covering immediate education expenses, the program also provides enrichment funds, faculty guide mentorship, annual cohort retreats, access to the nationwide Stamps Scholars Program network, and more resources for personal and professional development. 

This year, 50 of the scholars attending Scholars Weekend will receive the Stamps President’s Scholarship. This marks an increase of 10 spots from previous years thanks to the generous philanthropy of E. Roe Stamps IV. The remaining attendees will receive the Gold Scholarship. 

The Gold Scholarship award varies by residency, with Georgia residents receiving a tuition, fees, and books scholarship, and non-residents receiving an out of state tuition waiver. 

Both programs go above and beyond to support scholars and provide a close-knit community for students to thrive in.  

Stamps Scholars Weekend allows students to learn more about Tech and for the scholarships team to determine which program is the best fit for each student.  

On Friday, students connected with other scholars, toured campus, met a current Tech student to serve as their host, and attended a celebration banquet.  

On Saturday, alumni, faculty, and staff interviewed students for characteristics of scholarship, leadership, progress, and service, which act as the pillars of the two scholarship programs. To conclude the weekend, students had the opportunity to take photos with Buzz and the Ramblin’ Wreck. 

“Since 2016, Stamps Scholars Weekend has stood out as a highlight in our selection and recruitment process,” said Christal Dimas, associate director of the Office of Special Scholarships. “By extending invitations to these exceptionally talented individuals, we provide them with the chance to envision themselves as part of the Yellow Jacket family, while giving us a deeper understanding of who they are beyond their applications. This weekend also serves as a way to engage various stakeholders, including parents, faculty members, campus partners, current students and staff, in meaningful interactions with these prospective scholars. It’s an amazing weekend to be a part of!” 

Decisions will be announced Friday, March 15.  

Georgia Tech Extends First-Year Deposit Deadline to May 15 for Georgia Students

The enrollment deposit deadline for incoming first-year Georgia students is now May 15. The deadline for non-Georgia students remains May 1.

Tech Tower

Georgia Tech has extended the first-year enrollment deposit deadline this year for Georgia students from May 1 to May 15. Students who attend high school in Georgia or have been classified as a Georgia resident for tuition purposes may take advantage of this extension. 

The extension is designed to provide Georgia students and families additional time to evaluate financial aid offers from other colleges where they have been admitted.

“Choosing a college is one of the biggest and most exciting moments for these students and their families,” said Steve McLaughlin, provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs. “They need a full financial picture to make such an important life decision. This extension will help Georgia students make an informed decision on their commitment.”

The Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid plans to release estimated financial aid notifications in the coming weeks to students who completed their financial aid applications by the priority deadline.

Current and prospective students alike should complete the shortened, simplified 2024-25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is now available, if they have not yet done so. While the priority deadline for institutional aid has passed, applications are still being accepted and used to evaluate students wishing to apply for need-based aid.

“The updated FAFSA is designed to ease the process for students and families navigating the financial aid application process,” said Paul Kohn, vice provost for Enrollment Management at Georgia Tech. “Unfortunately, the changes to the form and timeline have created challenges with the transmission of FAFSA data to universities and, undeniably, posed challenges for many.”

While Georgia students have a new deposit deadline of May 15, the enrollment deposit deadline for non-Georgia students remains May 1. Extensions beyond a student’s deadline will be considered if space remains in the first-year class.

This deadline extension is a one-time measure for the 2024 admitted first-year class. Upcoming deposit deadlines for transfer students have not changed.

For student perspectives and more information on financing a Georgia Tech degree, visit our website.

Stamps President’s Scholars Program Expands to Welcome 10 Additional Exceptional Students

The Stamps President’s Scholars Program will add 10 spots to the prestigious program beginning in the 2024-25 academic year, thanks to generous philanthropy from E. Roe Stamps IV.

A group of students and staff stand on a mountain top all wearing turquoise 'Tech Trek' shirts. They are holding a flag that reads 'Georgia Tech Stamps President's Scholars'
Stamps President’s Scholars and staff on the annual outdoor leadership ‘Tech Trek,’ which has visited locations such as Banff National Park, Belize, Alaska, and beyond.

In a testament to its commitment to fostering academic excellence and cultivating future leaders at Georgia Tech, the Stamps President’s Scholars Program will expand in the upcoming academic year. Thanks to the generous philanthropy of E. Roe Stamps IV, the program will support 10 additional students, increasing future cohorts from 40 to 50 outstanding scholars.

“These 10 additional spots will undoubtedly attract even more high-achieving students to the Institute,” said Chaffee Viets, director of the Office of Special Scholarships. “Dr. Stamps’ philanthropy ensures that the program’s impact will endure, continuing to support scholars working on medical research, humanitarian support, ethical AI development, entrepreneurship, and philanthropy.”

The Stamps President’s Scholars Program provides a full ride to cover tuition, fees, housing, a meal plan, books, academic supplies, and a stipend for first-year students to purchase a laptop. In addition to covering immediate education expenses, the program also provides enrichment funds, faculty guide mentorship, annual cohort retreats, access to the nationwide Stamps Scholars Program network, and more resources for personal and professional development.

The Office of Special Scholarships selects Stamps President’s Scholars before they begin their first year at Georgia Tech. Scholars are identified from their undergraduate application for first-year admission and follow-up interviews.

Stamps President’s Scholar and fourth-year biomedical engineering student Haaris Jilani describes the program as instrumental in navigating his undergraduate journey and becoming a well-rounded individual.

“It allows me to get out of my sphere and be with more than just my immediate peers in biomedical engineering,” said Jilani. “I get to speak with people at the top of their fields from diverse backgrounds and get new perspectives on my work. It’s a testament to the mentoring provided by the program.”

Jilani first became passionate about conducting research when he was 15 years old. Though he’s covered a variety of different subjects, he started to focus on stem cell research upon his arrival at Georgia Tech. In addition to using the network provided by the Stamps Scholars Program to broaden his horizons, Jilani uses the program’s enrichment funding to attend conferences and connect with professionals in his field.

Outside of research and the classroom, Jilani enjoys his involvement in the Muslim Student Association, where he connects with other members of his religion on campus and engages with advocacy efforts. He has also started an educational outreach program, teaching science-related topics in Atlanta-area schools, an endeavor that affords him the opportunity to learn and to give back to the local community.

After he crosses the stage and receives his diploma in May, he’ll leave for a year to attend Imperial College London to continue his education and research as a Marshall Scholar. As he wraps up his time in the Stamps Program, he advises future Stamps President’s Scholars to use the opportunity to benefit their community.

“To be where I am today is an immense blessing. The majority of the world doesn’t have that privilege,” said Jilani. “To have this blessing — there’s a lot that you can do with it. Every day you get out of bed is an opportunity to do good and help someone. You can build towards something so that at the end of your life, you have a legacy that benefits those that come after you.”

You have the opportunity to extend assistance to an even greater number of students. Your philanthropic backing for scholarships and fellowships enables Georgia Tech to attract and nurture the most brilliant and talented individuals, both locally and globally. Make a meaningful impact today.

Follow Stamps President’s Scholars on Instagram to see the latest accomplishments of scholars.

Highlighting Arts at Tech with Georgia Tech Creatives

Georgia Tech students Lekha Gowda and Akbar Khan spotlight the artistic side of Tech students with on-campus organization Georgia Tech Creatives (GTC). The organization hosts art workshops, demonstrations, thrift markets, and other events for Tech students to enjoy.

Akbar, Lekha, and another student pose for a photo while sitting on a stone wall adjacent to Tech Green.
Akbar Khan (left) and Lekha Gowda (center) with another GTC member at a GTC Paint and Sit event. Image Courtesy of Georgia Tech Creatives, @gtcreatives on Instagram.

In tandem with Georgia Tech Arts and other campus resources, Georgia Tech Creatives (GTC) founders Lekha Gowda and Akbar Khan encourage Tech students to fully embrace their creative side. While Tech students are known as leaders in technology and innovation, GTC emphasizes how the arts complement the two concepts by allowing students to explore and expand their interests.

The initial idea for the club came during a photoshoot. Fourth-year architecture major Khan was honing his photography skills, and fourth-year business administration major Gowda was exploring her interest in modeling. The more they talked during the process, the more they realized the need for a creative space on campus.

“We’d both been struggling to meet other creatives here,” said Gowda. “We realized we knew of a lot of creative people at Tech, but it was hard for us to meet one another because there wasn’t an effective, dedicated space for us to connect.”

Thus, the foundations of GTC were set. Initially, Gowda and Khan aimed to host an on-campus market for artists to connect and sell their work. It was during the planning process they realized having a dedicated community would be even more beneficial.

“We realized it was a pretty big task to bring all these people together. It would make more sense if we created the community and then built the events around that,” said Gowda.

Since Fall 2022, when the club started, their executive team has grown to 12 students, all of whom started off coming to meetings, and stayed due to their shared appreciated for the GTC mission. Gowda, Khan, and their team have grown GTC to nearly 3,000 followers on Instagram and have hosted dozens of events on Tech’s campus, with some events bringing out over 400 students. For them, the fast rise of the club is a testament to the community and the intersection of creativity and technology within Tech students.

“You can find 20 different ways to code something to produce the same output, so I think that the narrative of saying engineering or coding isn’t creative is limiting,” said Gowda. “So many students here have convinced themselves that they can’t be artistic because they’re in STEM. But, if they integrate both, they can improve their craft even more.”

An intentional part of the design of GTC is that there’s no membership fee to join. Without a fee to participate, people who don’t typically find themselves leaning into their artistic side can show up and learn something new. For both Gowda and Khan, growing not only participation in the art scene but art appreciation among the student body is a key mission of the club.

Khan’s advice for prospective students is to keep in mind that Tech has many artistic resources. When he first came to Tech, he had no idea there was an arts department or a full-blown recording studio in the School of Music. Through GTC, they’ve built some awareness around these parts of Tech, but Khan wants prospective students to know about them too.

In addition, Gowda and Khan both encourage prospective students to hold on to their artistic outlet as they continue their education.

“For students considering Tech, I think it’s important to know that your artistic side doesn’t need to die out. We want to support you in doing the opposite. You can create and still pursue your degree,” said Khan. “It’s all about balancing and finding ways for the arts to plug in to your major, too.”

What’s in a Promise?

For Cameron Barnett, the G. Wayne Clough Tech Promise Program was likely the only way she could attend Georgia Tech. Now freshly graduated with a debt-free degree, she reflects on her time at Tech and mentor relationship with professor and Tech Promise donor Bill Todd.

Cameron Barnett poses with Buzz
Cameron Barnett poses for a photo with Buzz.

When Bill Todd, Professor of the Practice in the Scheller College of Business at Georgia Tech, first met Cameron Barnett, she was another student in Todd’s open office hours — discussing class, life, and everything in between.

At some point, the G. Wayne Clough Tech Promise Program — which provides a debt-free degree experience at Tech — came up in conversation. Todd, a proud advocate and donor to the program, was discussing his involvement and hopes for the scholarship. Little did he know, Barnett herself was a Tech Promise recipient.

Upon hearing Todd’s words about the scholarship and his personal support, Barnett began to cry.

“Tech Promise changed my life,” Barnett said. “It’s probably the only reason I was able to come to Tech.”

A 6-year-old Barnett was sold on attending Tech following a conversation with her mom discussing the rigor and prestige of the Institute compared to other universities in the state. From then on, Barnett describes her drive to attend Tech as a passion.

However, as the eldest of seven and unable to take out loans, Barnett knew that paying for college was a non-starter without meaningful financial help from the Institute.

Professor Bill Todd

As she researched scholarships to decide whether she could make her Tech dream a reality, she discovered the Tech Promise program. When she was admitted to Tech, she was not initially given the scholarship, but she contacted the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid to explain her situation. Afterward, the office allotted her a space in the program.

Todd and Barnett have maintained a close mentorship since their initial meeting. When asked to describe Barnett, Todd is quick to describe her wit in class, her perseverance, and her sense of gratitude. Gratitude, in particular, is something Todd finds most compelling about Tech Promise and the value it brings out on campus.

“The culture that created Tech Promise didn’t come out of thin air,” said Todd. “We have a culture of appreciation, a culture of gratitude that makes it possible for us to support students in this way.”

Barnett graduated in December 2023 with a degree in business administration. Among her favorite classes were Todd’s as well as one where she served as a business consultant for the Campus Recreation Center, developing a plan for improvement to boost student engagement and functionality of the center. In Todd’s classes, she enjoyed writing case studies evaluating certain business aspects of healthcare systems.

Now, Barnett is taking a gap year from school to prepare for the LSAT and apply for law school while also working as a project manager at Koch Industries. Reflecting on her time at Tech, she describes it as transformative.

“I love to learn, so being able to do that at the level of Georgia Tech was exciting for me,” said Barnett. “Tech challenged me, and I really enjoyed that. I was never bored, and there was always something meaningful to contribute to.”

Barnett joins over 1,000 Tech Promise scholars who have graduated from the Institute without taking on any debt. Not only does it provide a debt-free education, but in Todd’s experience, it also reshapes the entire system of a Tech Promise recipient’s community.

“Every Tech Promise student that we fund is another step forward,” said Todd. “And it’s not just that student who is affected by the scholarship – it’s their entire ecosystem. Their family, their friends, their church, their community. Suddenly, it makes a college education a possibility where it historically has not been, for more than just the student receiving the Promise.”

Philanthropic support for scholarships and fellowships makes it possible for Georgia Tech to recruit the brightest, most talented students from around our state and around the world. Support students today.