Students present research at Capitol

Photo by Rob Felt / Student leaders were honored in the state House and Senate Chambers during Georgia Tech Student Day at the Capitol. Buzz on the stairs in the Capitol building.

For the last four years, the Student Government Association has organized the Georgia Tech Day at the Capitol as an opportunity for students to experience the workings of the state government and meet with legislators.

This year, however, seven of the approximately 40 students at the Capitol spent the day presenting their research or senior design as part of the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program’s (UROP) effort to increase the presence of student research at the Capitol.

“…a world-class university providing unmatched higher learning to over 20,000 undergraduate and graduate students”

“Graham Goldberg had reached out to me about [having students present research] and I thought it was a great idea, being able to get some of the student work in front of the legislatures and some of the visitors,” said Dr. Christopher Reaves, Director of Undergraduate Research and Student Innovation. “It’s good to let the state know that we appreciate their support, and given their support, this is the outcome of some of their efforts.”

The day started with Chick-fil-a sandwiches and presentations by notable Tech alumni and representatives including State Representative Buzz Brockway, Captain Rhett Jaehn, President G. P. “Bud” Peterson and many others. During his presentation, Captain Jaehn, commanding officer of the U.S.S. Georgia, spoke of the importance of his time at Tech as an Aerospace Engineering student, not only for the technical knowledge he gained but for the endurance and critical thinking he developed.

After the presentations, students mingled with legislators and other visitors and presenters stood in front of posters and prototypes to present their work.

One group demonstrated a new design for forceps that use suction rather than compression.

Another showed the results of using special vibration feedback gloves on learning to play the piano.

The presentation seemed to be well received by lawmakers and visitors alike. One senator was so impressed that he met with one of the groups individually to talk about their project.

At the end of the event, the students had the opportunity to watch the session of the Georgia House of Representatives from the balcony.

Speaker of the House David Ralston, a University of Georgia Law School graduate, began by “indulg[ing] the rodent,” i.e. Buzz, Tech’s mascot, allowing him to stay as long as he stayed seated during the session. Nonetheless, Speaker Ralston praised Tech for its importance in research and innovation and expressed his fondness of the Institution “except for one Saturday in the Fall.”

After several presentations including one by an FDR impersonator and a few other votes, the House voted to pass a resolution, House Bill 40, welcoming Tech to the capitol. It praised Tech as “is a world-class university providing unmatched higher learning to over 20,000 undergraduate and graduate students.”