ThinkBig@Tech provides options

By Kalpi Desai

Contributing Writer

ThinkBig@Tech is a new program starting next fall that presents six different housing opportunities to students which enable them to explore academic interests.

The six learning options each focus around a particular theme and are led by faculty advisors. They permit students to surround themselves with other colleagues that have similar interests and also allow them to interact with a faculty member in a fun atmosphere in order to facilitate deep thinking and discussion. In addition, the program is designed to improve academic performance and increase student retention rates.

The ThinkBig@Tech communities will include approximately twenty to fifty members each. An advisor will encourage students to think deeply by visiting residence halls once a week and presenting an activity or discussion. In addition, the residents will form an Advisory Board that will assist the advisor in forming discussion topics.

The six options include: Technology and Urban Outdoor Adventures, LEGO Robotics and Outreach Community, Human Alteration: How far is too far?, Humor and Innovation, International House, and Women, Science and Technology.

Technology and Urban Outdoor Adventures will be led by Robert Burtura, ECE associate professor to further understand how modern technology affects the environment, society and humanity. Activities will include hikes along the Chattahoochee River, on-campus geocaching and discussions involving how modern technology enables people to manipulate or predict occurrences in nature.

Members in this community will focus on three major themes: biological/environmental technologies, neurotechnology and electrical/computer technology.

Each theme will be analyzed through different points of views such as personal or regulatory. This community will be held in Center Street South on the third floor.

The LEGO Robotics and Outreach Community is about building robotics using LEGO Mindstorm. Under the guidance of Jeff Davis, ECE associate professor, students will have a chance to learn how to program and design autonomous robots. In addition, members in this community will be presented with an opportunity to tutor middle school students in robotics. The community will be located in North Avenue South on the third floor.

In order to address intellectual, social and ethical questions about the combination of human and machine, “Human Alteration: How far is too far?” is a community that will hold monthly movie nights to review science fiction. Movies including Frankenstein, The Terminator, and The Matrix will be shown and discussed.

Other exercises include reading books and visiting off campus sites such as the Shepherd Center to explore the integration of human and machine.

Furthermore, a Community outreach project will be developed. Led by Steve Deweerth, BME professor, this community encourages thought provoking discussions while maintaining a fun and interesting atmosphere.

Members of Humor and Innovation experience the thrill of laughter by learning about different types of humor such as stand up comedy, improvisational comedy and cartoons.

The role of humor in journalism and in technical matters as can be seen in The Colbert Report and Myth Busters respectively will be emphasized. The advisor for this community is Pete Ludovice, CHBE associate professor, and the community will be located in Woodruff South on the fourth floor. The purpose of this community is not only to enjoy a couple of good laughs, but also to learn how to communicate and innovate.

International House at Hayes House and Fourth Street will connect US students with international students to provide means of cultural diffusion.

With Kirk Bowman, INTA associate professor, as the advisor, the intention of this community is to discuss global issues and interact with students of different cultures.

Activities will include watching foreign movies and eating different ethnic foods. With a myriad of different cultures present, this vibrant community will work with other cultural groups on campus to help spread awareness and converse about international news.

One last community is Women, Science and Technology, led by Carol Colatrella. Specifically designed for independent women looking for a chance to address personal and professional issues women face in male dominated fields, the community offers chances to have dinner with speakers and informationals to help women stand out.

In addition, this community provides a way for women to bond and to think about ways to help women progress in the future.

ThinkBig@Tech is sponsored by Georgia Tech Undergraduate Studies and the Department of Housing-Residence Life. These communities will be held both Fall and Spring semesters.

The cost is $150 each semester to support the activities and food.