Ivan Allen College’s annual Shadow Day event

IAC Student Ambassadors work to get participants and volunteers signed in. // Photos by Tyler Parker Student Publications

The Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts (IAC) kicked off its annual Shadow Day for prospective and incoming undergraduate students this past Friday, Jan. 27. 

Shadow Day is an organized event where students can come to campus to experience what liberal arts at Tech is like. The event was hosted and created by Elizabeth Miller, director of enrollment and student affairs, Andrew McGraw, academic program manager, and the Ivan Allen Student Ambassadors. 

This is the 18th year that the program has been running and is a way for students to experience what undergraduate life is like as a liberal arts student at a primarily technology and engineering focused university. 

The event allows admitted students and prospective high school juniors and seniors to get a feel for what the day to day life of a liberal arts student is like. 

Attendees of Shadow Day can expect a fully curated schedule to their specific interests and get an inside look at Tech classes. 

The format of Shadow Day begins in the morning with a breakfast mingle event where students can talk with current Ivan Allen students and faculty. The students will then follow a schedule made for them by the Ivan Allen Student Ambassadors based on their interests, which they filled out on their Shadow Day registration form. For the rest of the day, the students will get to partake in various activities such as a classroom experience, housing tour, campus tour, major interest luncheon and behind-the-scenes athletics tour. 

The Technique spoke with Student Ambassadors to learn more about what preparing for the event was like. Makenna McGuire, a fourth-year INTA and Spanish major, discussed her role on the volunteer coordination team.

 “I helped recruit volunteers to help us run the event. The volunteers are key to having the event run smoothly,” McGuire said. 

Volunteering for Shadow Day is open to all IAC students. They they have the option to sign up for various experiences, and can sign up through the Shadow Day website at shadowday.iac.gatech.edu. Students can choose if they want to lead a tour of campus, take students to their IAC classes or help with student life panels. 

“My favorite part of planning Shadow Day is being a part of the ‘behind the scenes’ work and seeing the event come together as a whole. It’s also fun being able to create the volunteer schedules because it’s almost like putting together a puzzle when you build the schedules,” McGuire said. 

Based on testimony from current IAC students, Shadow Day gave valuable insight and helped solidify their plans of pursuing liberal arts at Tech when they attended the event as incoming freshmen. 

McGuire is one of these students. She attended Shadow Day as an admitted high school senior and said that “it was the main deciding factor for why I chose to attend Georgia Tech. It’s a very rewarding experience, and I like to see all of our hard work pay off.”

More insight from the perspective of an Ivan Allen Ambassador who helped coordinate the marketing and materials for Shadow Day comes from Morgan Kang. Kang is a first-year HTS major. 

He discussed the details of his role, which includes “prepping all the materials needed for the event, including name tags, folders, schedules and posters.” 

As one of the marketing and materials coordinators, Kang kept a log of all the students, parents and panelists in attendance, including alumni and student volunteers, to ensure that there were enough materials for everyone helping out with the event. 

“My favorite thing about planning for Shadow Day was seeing everything really build up until the day of the event. Everything started with just a list of things to complete, and it was fascinating to watch how the list of items turned into filled and stacked bins ready for Shadow Day,” Kang said. 

The coordination was conducted over the course of several weeks and it “couldn’t have been done without the countless hours of volunteering by the other Ivan Allen College Ambassadors,” according to Kang. 

“It was definitely chaotic in the last week or two of planning, but especially seeing how the event turned out, I know for sure that it was worth the effort,” he said. 

The effect that Shadow Day has on students and parents alike is what motivates the Student Ambassadors and the IAC to continue this event. 

“Shadow Day to me doesn’t feel like any other recruitment event I’ve been a part of, but instead is an immersive way to represent GT Liberal Arts to prospective students and parents. We are able to showcase that Tech isn’t just a school for people interested in engineering and computer science, but for everyone else, myself included, who don’t necessarily fit the ‘stereotype’ of Georgia Tech,” Kang said. 

The next Shadow Day for accepted and prospective students will be held on Apr. 14, 2023. If you are interested in learning more about the details of Shadow Day — whether you want to register to attend as an incoming or prospective student, or would like to sign up and help volunteer — visit the IAC Shadow Day website, which can be found at shadowday.iac.gatech.edu.