Photo by Samuel Stuart

So you went to Tech’s 2017 Homecoming game and watched the halftime show. You know Sam Medinger and Renee Copeland as the students who were crowned Mr. & Ms. GT at Tech’s 2017 Homecoming game, but who are they really? The Technique had the opportunity to ask them about their background and the roles they hope to play on campus.

Technique: Tell us about yourselves.

Copeland: I’m from Kennesaw, Georgia. I never really knew much about Tech until high school beyond driving past it when I drove through Atlanta. However, I did a campus tour and fell in love. Meeting Georgia Tech’s students and learning about the resources Tech had to offer like OMED: Educational Services sold me on coming here.

I knew that Tech would give me the resources that I needed to be successful as a student and in the real world. While on campus, I have served on the executive board of the Black Student Recruitment Team, Georgia Tech Society of Black Engineers, Omicron Delta Kappa, Women’s Club Soccer and the Biomedical Engineering Student Advisory Board. I have been a Challenge Counselor and EDGE Leader for OMED: Educational Services.  Through my extracurriculars, I really discovered what I am passionate about, retention and inclusion of minority groups and increasing diversity on campus, and how that will pertain to my career in medicine after I graduate this December.

Medinger: My journey to Tech is a little different from other students — after my first campus tour at Georgia Tech, I honestly was not sold on coming here. I was looking for a big business program and on the tour. I did not even have the opportunity to see the business school and thus ruled out coming to Tech.

Spring of my senior year, I was invited to the Dean’s Scholarship event at the Scheller College of Business. Going into the event I had already pretty much made up my mind that I was going to U(sic)GA to study finance, but it was at that scholarship event that I fell in love with the business school and Georgia Tech.

I heard from the Undergraduate Programming office about the incredible opportunities the school and Atlanta has to offer and met incredible Scheller Business Ambassadors who made me feel at home. Now, I could not be happier that I had the opportunity to attend that event and with my decision to come to Tech.

On campus, I am in a fraternity, FIJI, where I have served in multiple leadership positions including recruitment chairman and most recently on the executive board as Treasurer.

Last year, I was the president of Scheller Business Ambassadors, and I am so thankful to have had an opportunity to lead an organization that had such an impact on my life.

I am currently the president of a program called GOALSoccer which teaches elementary to middle school aged kids with special needs from the Atlanta area how to play soccer with the goal of bringing them to the Summer Special Olympics of Georgia at Emory to show off their skills.

I am also currently a Scheller College of Business Representative within SGA, a member of ODK and a GT1000 TL.

Technique: What role do you think Mr. & Ms. GT play on campus?

Copeland: Sam and I have talked about coming up with an initiative or something that we can contribute to campus as Mr. and Ms. Georgia Tech. It has yet to be decided what that will be, but that is the hope.

For now, I just hope that we can continue to inspire students to want to come to what truly is the greatest school in the world, and show our love for Georgia Tech to prospective and current students and alumni.

Medinger: The role more than anything when you become Mr. or Ms. Georgia Tech is to continue to show school spirit, be a driving force on our campus and make an impact. I know that one of my biggest goals coming into Tech was to leave this Institute a better place than when I entered. Becoming Mr. Georgia Tech is a platform in which I can continue to do that by working with the various organizations that I am involved in on campus to make a positive difference in the student experience, to give each student the opportunity to grow and to achieve their dreams.

Technique: How do you embody the Tech spirit?

Copeland: Georgia Tech, has for me, like so many others, allowed me to discover and embrace who I truly am. As a black woman, and a member of two minorities groups on campus, I have been able to use my experiences and growth in moving the campus forward in terms of diversity. Georgia Tech’s motto of progress and service is really just a lifestyle, and I hope to exemplify progress and service in my career.

Medinger: As a business student at an engineering-dominated university, it is easy to feel like you don’t exactly fit in to the culture of the school, but I think that during my time here I have worked to break that stigma. Outside of the classroom, I have gotten involved with organizations across campus that have given me the opportunity to work with so many incredible students and leaders. I have been able to serve the Georgia Tech and Atlanta community, giving back, and through that learning more about myself. Each and every day at Georgia Tech, I am challenged to be the best that I can be, and I love that about our school. I could not be more proud to be a Ramblin’ Wreck from Georgia Tech and a Helluva Business Major.

Technique: What’s your favorite spot on campus and why?

Copeland: Anywhere with a great view of the Atlanta skyline! I love that Georgia Tech is in the middle of a huge city, yet it has a campus feel. It is a constant reminder that while there is so much for us to do on campus, there are so many possibilities for how Georgia Tech can impact the surrounding communities.

Medinger: My favorite spot on Georgia Tech’s campus is sitting at the tables in the gravel just off the Skiles walkway near Tech Green …It is the central place on campus where you can observe the beautiful diversity that is Georgia Tech.

Technique: What has been your most meaningful experience at Tech?

Copeland: When I first came to Georgia Tech, I participated in the OMED Challenge Program. I like to attribute a lot my success as a Georgia Tech student to this program and office. Challenge as well as the OMED office has given me some of my best friends [and] greatest mentors. They are the people who have motivated and challenged me as a student and a leader.

Medinger: I think that my most meaningful experience at Georgia Tech was my opportunity to serve as the president of the Scheller Business Ambassadors. After meeting these ambassadors during my senior year of high school … I knew that when I came to Tech, I had to be apart of
that organization.

During my first semester, I was admitted to the club and was thrilled to help host events for prospective students. Two short years later, I was elected President of the very club that helped change the course of my life, and I was thrilled. This experience as president gave me the opportunity to serve others, work on public speaking, learn how to be a leader, make meaningful changes and be pushed out of my comfort zone.

Without Georgia Tech and those ambassadors, I would not have been given a chance to grow myself in such a great way, and for that I am forever grateful.