This week, the Technique spoke to students taking lesser-known niche minors to learn what drew them in and what they plan on doing with their unique educations.
Yassin Watson, sixth-year BIOL and IE major, was one of the first students to minor in the relatively new Social Justice program and explained the platform it has given him as a socially conscious citizen.
“Growing up as a native Atlantan, I have always been very passionate about social activism due to the strong historical role of our city in the American Civil Rights Movement and its since-continued capacity as a hub of advancing social change,” Watson said. “Taking these classes over the years has exposed me to endless opportunities to civically engage with my local community and beyond.”
Watson also emphasized his gratitude for the break the diverse course load within his minor has given him from the STEM-focused culture at Tech.
“I believe that Georgia Tech’s Social Justice minor program is a unique experience to explore long-studied but oft-overlooked phenomena of societal disparities across many aspects of human identity, such as gender, race, age, ability, etc., particularly as they are shaped by and coincide with the advancement of technology.”
Watson also spoke about the unique classes the Social Justice minor offers, particularly praising the History of the Civil Rights Movement class, Gender Studies Through Women in Speculative Fiction and African American Literature Through Contemporary Black Authors.
“The last course I took was Gender and Technology, where we discussed how the histories of different nations have resulted in the gender gaps that we see today in workforce distribution, educational opportunities and overall social dynamics,” Watson said. “I was pleasantly surprised to learn that computer science is a woman-dominated industry in Malaysia and was grateful to have the opportunity to conduct my semester-long research thesis on ‘The Queer Politics of Veganism.’”
Through his pursuit of the overlap of social justice and science, Watson plans to champion and uplift underrepresented populations in whatever career he follows.
Another niche minor offered at Tech for students to further their education the Institute is Law, Science & Technology.
Peyton O’Malley, third-year BSBA-Finance student, spoke to us about the legal awareness she has been able to incorporate into daily life as a result of her minor.
“I am extremely interested in understanding how the law affects me as an individual, the industry I am about to enter and my communities,” O’Malley said. “Specifically, I have enjoyed learning about intellectual property, contract law, internet law and cybersecurity law.”
Law, Science & Technology uses real-world sources, often from Atlanta, to teach their students.
O’Malley appreciates the pre-law advising available to her as well as the combination of professors, speakers and attorneys from Atlanta who interact with her.
Currently, O’Malley is taking Information Security Policies (CS 4725/6725), where she is learning strategies to make cyberspace more secure in an age of high risk.
She is also taking PUBP 4650, Internet Law, where she is given an overview of the impact the internet has had on the U.S. legal system and the accommodations it makes to meet current societal and political desires.
When asked what she plans to do with her minor in the future, O’Malley said that she hopes to be better informed about the rights of her community, as well as the legal aspects of business and the politics of law.
Somewhat on the other side of the spectrum is the Sports, Society and Technology.
Stephen Nash, a third-year IAML major and soccer coach, is currently taking this minor to combine both his academic and extracurricular interests.
“I think the most unique thing about our minor is the quality of our faculty,” Nash said.
“I’ve had professors who have written bestselling books about sport history and I’ve even had one who helped coach the Canadian women’s national basketball team.”
Nash’s favorite course so far is the History of Sports class, which is teaching him the impact of societal leanings on the sporting landscape that exists today.
“I’m hoping to use my increased knowledge of changes in the sporting landscape to better perform as a soccer coach today and hopefully to move toward sports business later in life with an eye toward improving access for underrepresented groups, and especially women, in sports,” Nash said.
All of these minors reflect the interdisciplinary possibilities the Institute offers.