It is rare that a student gets the opportunity to be in the room with a senator. But Georgia Tech’s first cohort of GTDC students were able to celebrate the program’s launch in Washington, D.C. with three people – Senators Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, and former Senator Sam Nunn.
A key aspect of the GTDC: Pathways to Policy program is insight into the people and organizations that make decisions that impact the lives of all Americans. The first GTDC semester and the 13 students who initiated the program were celebrated with an event in Washington, DC on October 24th
GTDC: Pathways to Policy, a partnership between the School of Public Policy and the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, offers Georgia Tech students from all majors the opportunity to spend a comprehensive, transformative semester in Washington, DC. Students participate in courses, internships, research opportunities and extracurricular activities, including with Georgia Tech alumni. The program trains and equips students for policy-related careers in government agencies, the private sector and NGOs, where they can help solve national and global challenges.
The launch event brought together GTDC students not only with Senators Warnock, Ossoff and Nunn, but also with Georgia Tech leaders and a large group of Georgia Tech alumni who live and work in the DC area.
In his remarks, Warnock praised the Georgia Tech alumni and students who worked for his office and said he looked forward to working with more.
“It has been my experience that hiring Georgia Tech graduates is a good idea,” said Senator Warnock. “Indeed, they are some of the most conscientious and hard-working people working on the Hill. And I’m excited that there will be more opportunities for Georgia Tech students to gain insight into what’s happening in Washington, DC.”
Ossoff emphasized that Georgia Tech is highly regarded worldwide and plays a key role in research and innovation related to national security, energy and healthcare, and that its students and graduates have much to contribute.
“I think it’s critically important that young people and students have access to Congress and the federal government and understand how that collaboration works,” Ossoff said.
Former Senator and Georgia Tech Distinguished Professor Sam Nunn told students that working and learning in D.C. would have a big impact.
“I was 23 years old when I first came to DC after law school… and I can assure you that from my perspective, your year will be truly transformative,” Nunn told the students. “It will enlighten you about both the opportunities and challenges of public service in a way that no textbook can really adequately explain.”
The event attracted a significant group of Georgia Tech alumni, and connecting alumni living and working in DC with GTDC students is another important aspect of the GTDC program. Kaye Husbands Fealing, dean and Ivan Allen Jr. chair of the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts, noted in her remarks that DC alumni would like to help students interested in careers in public service.
“When I meet with alumni to talk about GTDC, I usually get the following response: ‘What do you need?’ How can we help? “What can we do to embrace, speak to, lead, guide, and mentor the students who work at the intersection of STEM, politics, social sciences, and more at Georgia Tech?”… That’s exactly why this one is Room full tonight,” Husbands Fealing said.
Georgia Tech President Ángel Cabrera also addressed the crowd.
“Educating and supporting graduates with expertise in technology and policy is critical to solving global challenges,” said Cabrera. “We are very excited about this program. We need to fill every member of the congressional office, every committee, with people who know technology and science and who can apply that knowledge to make better policy.”
Although GTDC students have only been in DC since August, many already report getting a lot out of the experience.
“This program is extremely beneficial in many ways! Not only does it provide the opportunity to live and work in such a beautiful place, but it also allows you to build professional contacts and mentorship, maintain personal relationships with the other GTDC students, and understand each other.” “You can take different paths step towards success and learn concrete skills that you can use in future endeavors,” said GTDC participant Parker Alderman.