Yellow Jackets Spend Summer in Atlanta
Though many students use the summer to go home, work out-of-state, or study abroad, spending the summer in Atlanta can be an exciting experience for Tech students.
Whether taking classes, working, or researching in a lab, those who choose to stay in Atlanta find there are plenty of ways to make the most of their summer semester.
Third-year industrial engineering major Benja Mohr is taking classes at Tech this summer.
“I like how the semester is more relaxed,” Mohr said. “The classes are still hard, but not nearly as stressful, and I seem to have more free time since there aren’t many extracurricular activities such as clubs and organizations going on.”
Initially, Mohr had to learn how to balance the additional time in his schedule. “It is kind of hard to adjust — trying to figure out how to stay productive and not just twiddle your thumbs,” he said. “Since I have so much free time, I also have less motivation to do my work.”
Luckily, Mohr has found campus to be quieter over the summer, which has allowed him to easily find open study spaces. He does have one complaint, though.
“The hours for on-campus dining services are challenging,” he said. “Everything closes by 4 or 4:30 p.m. – even Starbucks!”
After adapting to his new summer schedule, Mohr has found time to enjoy the city and take advantage of the opportunities it affords. “I feel like there is always some event to do somewhere within the city boundaries. All you have to do is look it up and go, and many are free,” he said. He’s also enjoyed campus summer activities, such as seeing Moana played at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
Mohr is looking forward to finishing the semester and travelling to Anaheim, California, in the fall to intern for Disneyland.
“I’ll be working with the industrial engineering department and am so excited to start,” he said.
On the Job
Third-year business administration major Elizabeth Bugbey works in the international CNN headquarters in Downtown Atlanta. As an intern for Time Warner, she does process documentation for the office that manages procurement of IT-related goods and services, contracts, and voice and data circuits. This is the first semester since Bugbey started at Tech that she isn’t taking classes.
“I’ve really enjoyed having a consistent schedule from day to day and not having to worry about homework and tests once I go home,” she said. “It’s nice to have free time after work without the stress of upcoming deadlines.”
The biggest change for Bugbey has been the earlier mornings – usually heading into the office around 9 a.m.
“My friends and I are all night owls, so forcing myself to call it a night when we’re all together hanging out has been a challenge. All in all, coffee has been my savior in the mornings and waking up early hasn’t been as awful as I expected.”
When not at work, Bugbey has enjoyed outdoor activities, arranging music, and spending time with friends. “The biggest thing that’s surprised me is how many new people I’ve become close with,” she said. “Since so many people are off campus, it’s like freshman year all over again when everyone is really friendly and willing to meet new people.”
Bugbey hasn’t spent much time on campus this summer, but as a member of Tech’s all-female a cappella group, Nothin’ but Treble, she did attend a FASET session to sing for incoming freshmen. With more free time, music has become a main focus.
“I’ve worked on four different arrangements this summer, some of which Nothin’ but Treble will hopefully be able to perform next semester,” she said. “I’ve also looked into attending concerts around Atlanta, researched new artists, and made plans to record some covers with other musicians in the area.”
Bugbey is looking forward to taking classes during the fall semester. As an upperclassman, she’s excited to study topics that she’s passionate about. “I will get to take my first Operations and Supply Chain Management class, start intermediate German 2001 for my minor, and work towards my Business Analytics certificate,” she said.
Sixth-year industrial design major Alberto Sainz de la Peña is spending his summer working for an Atlanta-based product design firm, Kickr, as a design engineer. Sainz de la Peña has lived in Atlanta during previous summers but is enjoying a new experience — working full-time.
“I’ve been surprised at how much I enjoy going to work and how quickly coworkers have become friends,” he said. Sainz de la Peña has found his summer schedule to be very structured, but has learned to enjoy the routine. “I am much more efficient with my time. Even though the work day can be long and tiring, at the end of the day, I am able to leave everything behind at the office and focus on things that are important to me.”
Sainz de la Peña serves as the president of the Catholic Student Organization and has spent his free time participating in the Catholic Center’s weekly programs, classes, and events. He’s also spent his extra time at the Campus Recreation Center, backpacking, and working on his startup company, Chariot Personal Transportation LLC.
“I work on my startup for a few hours every day before going to bed,” he said. “I launched the company two years ago through the CREATE-X Startup Launch Program, and I am currently working on the sixth prototype of the product.”
In the fall, Sainz de la Peña is looking forward to meeting new students, reconnecting with friends on campus, and cheering on the Yellow Jackets at Bobby Dodd. He will continue to work part-time for Kickr and plans to finish a market-ready prototype for Chariot by the end of the semester.
In the Lab
Third-year chemical and biomolecular engineering major Amanda Schaefer is spending her summer at Georgia Tech working in the lab with Hang Lu, the Love Family Professor in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Schaefer is researching the development and optimization of a microfluidic platform that provides a controlled environment for culture and differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cell (mESC) aggregates to motor neuron.
“If I’m in the middle of an experiment, a good chunk of my day goes to imaging live samples under the microscope,” she said. “If it’s a slow day, I read papers. Every day, I typically check the stem cells and passage them if needed. I’ll make microfluidic devices out of polydimethylsiloxane, a type of silicone, and prepare for upcoming experiments.”
As a Petit Scholar, Schaefer completes part-time research for the lab in the fall and spring semesters as well, but is enjoying the full-time summer hours there.
“Since I’m in lab longer, I’m able to get a lot more done each day, which is helpful in completing more experiments and gathering more data,” she said.
When not in the lab, Schaefer spends time hanging out with friends, working out, painting, and trying new restaurants in Atlanta. “I’ve been on a lot of foodie adventures with friends this summer. I love to cook and try new things, and on the weekends, I’ve gone to a lot of restaurants and places I haven’t been to before.”
Schaefer’s favorite summertime activities have been spontaneous.
“One of the best things about being near campus is that I’m able to just go for a walk or get dinner, or jump in the car and go somewhere new with friends without really planning anything,” she said.
Schaefer is looking forward to taking classes in the fall and catching up with friends on campus. As head advisor of FreShGA, the Student Government Association group for first-year students, she is excited to work with a new class of freshmen in the fall.
“I love serving as a mentor to first-years by showing them how they can become leaders in SGA,” she said.
With the summer term officially ending Aug. 5, both new and returning students are looking to the start of another fall at Tech. The fall semester begins Monday, Aug. 21.