Isabella Sanders: Encouraging Women in STEM
Isabella Sanders double-dipped at Commencement. She earned two master’s degrees, one in operations research in the College of Engineering, and the other in geographic information science and technology in the College of Design.
“I wanted to be able to use my math undergraduate degree in an applied context which is why I came to Georgia Tech for my Ph.D. in industrial engineering. During my Ph.D. I wanted to expand my skillset, so I completed two master's to enable me to conduct research from a variety of lenses, broadening the impact," said Sanders, whose goal is to become a research professor.
Sanders is already enrolled in the MBA program at the Scheller College of Business. For anyone who’s counting, that’s two master’s degrees in hand, and an MBA in progress, while continuing her Ph.D. Her Ph.D. research focuses on fresh and cold supply chains, studying the delivery of perishables such as food and flowers, and the logistics of consolidating multiple deliveries to restaurants from different farms.
Sanders came to Tech in 2016, after earning a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from MIT.
“At MIT there weren’t a lot of women in my classes, and usually not a lot of American women, if any women,” said Sanders, who is passionate about encouraging women to pursue STEM degrees. In her second year there, she joined Undergraduate Women in Math and served as president for two years.
“A lot of women would leave math for another major, so we were trying to get women excited to stay in the field,” she said. “When I got to Georgia Tech I was looking for the same type of community.”
At Tech, Sanders was instrumental in reestablishing the graduate group within the Georgia Tech Society of Women Engineers, serving as president for the past two years. She is the graduate programming coordinator-elect and will assume the role in January. The Tech chapter was named Best New Graduate Group at the most recent Society of Women Engineers annual conference.
“We wanted to bring together graduate women from different majors,” she said. “Often in graduate school you only know people from your major. I wanted to make friends outside my major, and I also wanted more girlfriends.”
Sanders lives by a personal motto when it comes to seizing opportunities: “Take advantage of as many opportunities as you can. You never know when they will come again. You can learn from everything and everyone!”