2021 in Review: The Top 10 Ivan Allen College Stories

Posted December 21, 2021

2021 was an eventful year at the Ivan Allen College filled with significant research, big milestones, and plenty of memories. To commemorate the year, we’ve dipped into the archives to revisit the top 10 Ivan Allen College stories, as measured by readership. From forecasting the future of the Biden administration to research meant to help marginalized communities become more resilient in the face of a changing climate, the stories reflect many of the interests of the Ivan Allen College community and our commitment to educating leaders who advance technology and improve the human condition.

No. 1: First-ever Study on Bicycling in Georgia Shows $496 Million Economic Impact

Associate Professor Shatakshee Dhongde’s economic impact analysis of the bicycling industry of Georgia’s economy, conducted with the state Department of Transportation, attracted statewide attention. It showed that bicycling-related industries and activities account for $496 million in economic activity and employ 4,529 people. “Biking is usually promoted as an environmentally friendly and a healthy means of transport, but this report is putting the focus on the economics of it,” Dhongde said.

No. 2: Ivan Allen College Faculty Provide Insight on What to Expect from the Biden Administration

Way back in January, we polled faculty members in the School of Economics, Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, and School of Public Policy for their views on what we should expect from the new Biden administration. They predicted some resistance to President Biden’s proposed stimulus package, a rapid about-face on climate change policy from those implemented by the Trump Administration, and a continuation of the Trump administration’s policies toward China, among other things.

No. 3: Georgia Tech’s Science Fiction Experts React to the U.S. Space Force’s New Uniforms

In September, the U.S. Space Force launched its prototype uniforms to mixed public reviews that drew on science fiction tropes to praise and savage the new togs. Regents Professor Lisa Yaszek, who taught a class last semester on fashion in science fiction, joined Assistant Professor Ida Yoshinaga to analyze the uniforms. “One of the things I frequently talk about is how science fiction is a global language, and this uniform is an example of that. It wants to signal the unique nature of the Space Force as the military of a technoscientific present and future. The jacket does that by referencing the great tradition of imagining space forces through science fiction,” Yaszek said. “But the rest of the outfit, which seems drawn from more traditional military workwear based on corporate suiting, reads less Flash Gordon and more Gordon Gecko,” said Yaszek.

No. 4: LMC’s André Brock Receives Grant for Lab to Study ‘Race, Difference, and Computation’

The $551,906 subgrant from the University of Michigan was part of a $4.8-million award to the University of Michigan from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which will fund the creation of the Project on Rhetoric of Equity, Access, Computation, and Humanities (PREACH) Lab. “The PREACH Lab was conceived as a space for inquiry into thorny questions concerning computers, society, and culture,” Brock said. “Given the rapid pace of technological change, there are few opportunities for reflection on how these developments could impact the world beyond a narrow instrumental focus on what the technology is and how it works.”

No. 5: Ivan Allen College Announces New Executive Leadership Team

In July, Dean Kaye Husbands Fealing announced a reorganization of the Executive Leadership Team to help the college further its goals. Aaron Levine of the School of Public Policy was appointed Associate Dean for Research and Outreach. Shatakshee Dhongde of the School of Economics was named Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Finally, Richard Utz of the School of Literature, Media, and Communication was named Associate Dean for Faculty Development. “The goal of the executive leadership team reorganization of responsibilities is to allow our College to align with our peer institutions and create a pathway for our continued success,” Husbands Fealing said.

No. 6: Celebrating 50 Years of Science Fiction at Georgia Tech

Science fiction is always a popular topic at Georgia Tech, so it’s no surprise it pops up repeatedly on this list (heads up … it shows up again at No. 8!). This October story celebrates five decades of science fiction studies, beginning with Irving “Bud” Foote and leading up to the current day. “Science fiction allows people who are not necessarily scientists or engineers to weigh in on widespread cultural and even global debates about the proper relations of science and society—and it allows scientists and engineers like my colleagues here at Tech to see how the rest of the world thinks about their work while imaginatively exploring the impact of science and technology on our lives,” said Regents Professor Lisa Yaszek.

No. 7: Ivan Allen College Selects Cassidy Sugimoto to Lead the School of Public Policy

In June, Cassidy Sugimoto took over as chair in the School of Public Policy. She came from the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering at Indiana University Bloomington. Her research focuses on science policy, scholarly communication, and scientometrics. She investigates how knowledge is produced, disseminated, and evaluated, with a particular interest in issues of diversity and inclusion.

No. 8: What to Read and Watch for Science Fiction Day 2021

For this edition of our annual review of science fiction recommendations from the Ivan Allen College’s science fiction faculty, we tied into the 50th anniversary of science fiction studies. We focused on the science fiction of 1971, a seminal year in many ways. The recommendations ranged from  The Andromeda Strain to THX 1138. Look for this year’s edition of the science fiction recommendations, coming soon!

No. 9: Interdisciplinary Team Awarded $1 Million NSF Grant for Youth Advocacy and Disaster Resilience

Allen Hyde, assistant professor in the School of History and Sociology, and Yanni Loukissas, associate professor in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication, are the Ivan Allen College investigators on this project. As our September story related, the project is meant to help youth in environmentally vulnerable communities reimagine disaster resilience and advocate for these interventions in their neighborhoods.   “We hope that this helps cultivate a new generation of leaders that are empowered to make positive social change in their community and prepare for a future that is resilient to the many disasters that threaten coastal communities in the 21st century,” said Hyde. “Our goal is to ensure that the marginalized communities most severely impacted by climate events are the central voice in the conversation for solutions.” 

No. 10: What I Wish I Knew: Tips for New Students from Current Undergrads

This video story from August offered tips to incoming students on topics such as how to succeed, how to make friends, and events not to miss at Georgia Tech.

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Michael Pearson