Faculty Fellows

We thought that you might like to get to know our faculty fellows, so here are their answers to three questions that we thought were interesting and a brief overview of their research interests.


Greg Blekherman

Research Interest(s):  Dr. Blekherman’s research is at the intersection of algebra and geometry. He works on the geometry of sets defined by polynomial equations and inequalities and applications in optimization.

Where do you like to spend time in Atlanta?  When not on campus I spend most of my time with my family: my wife and young daughter. Piedmont Park on weekends.

What piece of advice do you have for freshman Tech students?  Don't ask your professors "Will this be on the test?"

What is one thing most students don’t know about you? I like to play bridge and board games. I used to play chess competitively when I was a teenager.

Shatakshee Dhongde

Research Interest(s): Dr. Dhongde’s research focuses on how to measure global poverty, deprivation, income inequality, segregation and health disparities among population groups. She has also researched the impact of globalization policies on economic growth, income distributions and poverty within countries.

Where do you like to spend time in Atlanta? I love to spend my time in the Piedmont park as well as the adjoining botanical garden. The park and the garden look beautiful in all four seasons! My other favorite place is to jog/cycle on the Atlanta Beltline between Monroe and Irvine street. Over the years, the belt line has evolved into a colorful corridor with a vibrant atmosphere.

What piece of advice do you have for freshman Tech students? Do your work with passion. You will get the strength of pulling yourself through hard times--and there will be such times in every profession--only if you are passionate about what you do! Get excited about your work, enjoy the journey and do not worry too much about the destination!

What is one thing most students don't know about you? I have been trained for more than 15 years in the classical dance form "Kathak" in India.

Greg Durgin

Research Interest(s): Dr. Durgin research specializes in radio wave propagation. He also is interested in cellular communications, RFID, sensors, space communications, remote sensing and field theory.

Where do you like to spend time in Atlanta?  I love writing in a good coffee shop. Personal favorites are Octane and the San Francisco coffee shop.

What piece of advice do you have for freshman Tech students?  Take a curriculum that looks different from everyone else. And invest in one friendship very deeply.

What is one thing most students don't know about you?I am a certified SCUBA diver.

Ayanna Howard

Research Interest(s): Dr. Howard’s research is centered around assistive and robotics technologies – from scientific rover navigation in glacier environments to therapy robots for the home.

Where do you like to spend time in Atlanta?  When I'm not traveling, I like to spend time either at home with my family or in the gym. I also always like a good science-fiction movie at the theater.

What piece of advice do you have for freshman Tech students?  Find your passion - both in the classroom (i.e. your current career) and outside in the community.

What is one thing most students don't know about you? I'm a certified aerobics instructor and teach a weekly water aerobics class to older adults.

Javier Irizarry

Margaret Kosal

Research Interest(s): Dr. Kosal’s work in technology and international security has an interest in understanding the implications of technology on conflict/war and society and vice versa. Her research focuses on weapons of mass destruction and emerging technologies.

Where do you like to spend time in Atlanta? Beyond campus, I love spending time on the Eastside Beltline trail, at the Old Fourth Ward Park, and around Inman Park/L5P/Poncey-Highlands neighborhoods.

What piece of advice do you have for freshman Tech students? Be bold. Try. Keep trying. Try new things. Explore Atlanta and explore the world - study abroad, travel domestically and internationally, volunteer. You have more 'free' time now than you are likely to ever have in your life, even though it probably won't feel like it.

What is one thing most students don't know about you?I have over 1000 skydives.

Marius Florin Niculescu

Research Interests(s):  Dr. Niculescu’s research focuses on the economics of information systems, emerging digital business models, network economics, management and diffusion of IT products and services, mobile telecommunications, software release and pricing, software quality management, cloud computing, and security.

Where do you like to spend time in Atlanta? Piedmont Park

What piece of advice do you have for freshman Tech students?  Keep your eyes open and absorb information and knowledge. Think deeply about what would make you feel happy and purposeful in life (short or long term) and make it a priority to try to take gradual steps in the direction of those goals. Don't be afraid of changes and challenges.

What is one thing most students don’t know about you?  In the past, I briefly fancied the idea of becoming an architect.

Dong Qin

Research Interest(s): Dr. Qin’s is interested in the frontiers that bridge traditional fields of chemistry/materials science with a focus on peculiar properties and applications driven by materials and systems at the nanoscale.

Where do you like to spend time in Atlanta?  I enjoy weekend morning walks in Piedmont Park and Atlanta Botanical Gardens.

What piece of advice do you have for freshman Tech students? Start slowly but firmly to make a smooth transition from high school to college life.

What is one thing most students don't know about you? I love singing!!

Chrissy Spencer

Research Interest(s): Dr. Spencer is an evolutionary biologist with research interests at the intersection of ecology and genetics. She is also interested in the scholarship of teaching and learning. Dr. Spencer tries to bring all of these research interests into the classroom every time she teaches.

Where do you like eto spend time in Atlanta? Oakland Cemetery is one of this city's treasures. As a historic cemetery and an urban city park, it's a beautiful place to spend an hour walking among the tombs and grave markers.

What piece of advice do you have for freshman Tech students? Be present in the moment of your first semester in college. It's all to easy to be so caught up in your end goal after graduation that you forget to enjoy the learning process along the way.

What is one thing most students don’t know about you?  I'm a semi-professional musician, specializing in early music. I also organize music workshops.

Matthew Swarts

Research Interest(s): Mr. Swarts is interested in developing unmanned aerial systems for mapping, an augmented reality for decision support visualization and perfecting the spherical panoramas for evaluating perceptual experience of a place with deep learning.

Where do you like to spend time in Atlanta? I love being on the GT campus, especially at night with all the activity; but I also like to visit the Buford Dam at Lake Lanier, Hellen Georgia, and Amicalola Falls.

What piece of advice do you have for freshman Tech students? What piece of advice do you have for freshman Tech students? I would recommend not skipping through any courses just because you can test out of the course. Build a great foundation, because you will likely never have this opportunity to go deep into the understanding of how things fundamentally work.

Also, enjoy the freedom of sleeping when you can. Try polyphasic sleeping. At least you will learn to power nap.

What is one thing most students don't know about you? I learned to speak Korean from my friends in Atlanta at the GT language school. I lived in Korea a while back, and was on the news and talk shows multiple times..

Shannon Yee

Research Interests(s): Dr. Yee works on developing new energy technologies. His primary focus is on the direct conversion of heat into electricity and the fundamentals of heat transfer.

Where do you like to spend time in Atlanta?  I like to go hiking whenever I get the chance.

What piece of advice do you have for freshman Tech students? Study hard and learn fundamentals they can be applied across disciplines. Just like in sports you need a strong fundamental base.

What is one thing most students don't know about you? My middle name is a tree.
 








tweet faceb