SLS Launches Public Interest Technology Student Fellows Program

We are so excited to introduce our inaugural cohort of SLS Public Interest Technology Student Fellows! Funded by a grant through the Public Interest Technology University Network and the New America Foundation, this program seeks to support undergraduates, especially underrepresented students, in learning to work with community partners on public interest technology projects, and through that experience, identify and embark upon public interest technology careers. Public interest technology can be defined, and pursued,  in many ways; in a compelling blog post, New America Fellows have offered this definition: "Public interest technology refers to the study and application of technology expertise to advance the public interest/generate public benefits/promote the public good." All energized by their dedication to the public good, the ten extraordinary students who compose SLS's first cohort of fellows come from communities five miles and five thousand miles from Georgia Tech, and they represent four different majors in the College of Engineering: civil and environmental engineering, mechanical engineering, industrial and systems engineering, and electrical and computer engineering. The cohort includes singers, martial artists, bakers and avid readers and writers who come to the program from a diversity of experiences and backgrounds, and begin their work together united by their common commitment to deep, reciprocal, collaborative engagement with communities.  To that end, these students join community partner organizations and faculty mentors in a Community of Practice focused on scoping technical projects, suitable for capstone and senior design, that draw on each student’s disciplinary skills to support and amplify partner vision.  The program has many wonderful collaborators; its five community partners are PlantLanta, West Atlanta Watershed Alliance, the Grove Park Foundation, TransFormation Alliance, and the Center for Sustainable Communities; our Georgia Tech partners are the Career Center and Institute Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Faculty mentors include Professors Kari Watkins (CEE), Joyelle Harris (ECE), Jonathan Colton (ME), and Chen Zhou (ISYE). You can learn a bit more about the structure of this new program here and here and learn about its relationship to SLS’s Summer Internship Program, in which these students will also be participants. Read on to learn a little about the 2021 cohort of Public Interest Technology Student Fellows.

I am Jesus Gomez, Civil Engineering student concentrating in Construction and minoring in Sustainable Cities. My dream is to create positive change in the world and work for a more sustainable society. 




My name is Adaugo Achionye and I am a 4th year Mechanical Engineering major with a minor in Global development. On campus, I am involved with the Office of Undergraduate Education, Reslife, and the African Student Association. My hobbies include reading a good book, spending time with my friends and family, and trying new restaurants!



I am Stella Carrasco, a third year Industrial Engineering undergraduate student at Georgia Tech. I am very passionate about technology, sustainability, and working with the community. On my free time you can catch me going for a walk or listening to a podcast.



My name is Sivalika Bagrodia and I am a second-year Industrial Engineering student. I am originally from India but have lived and grown up in Dubai for the last 13 years. My on-campus involvements include holding committee chair positions within Student Government Association and MOVE. I am extremely excited and grateful for the opportunity to be a Public Interest Technology Fellow for this year!



I’m Sarah Rincon, an Environmental Engineering major from La Quinta, California. I’m excited to be a part of this program because I believe working with and learning from community partners is so important and crucial to helping create more sustainable communities.




I’m Shalin Jain, a first-year Mechanical Engineering student who enjoys working on personal passion projects such as a trash can that sorts out recyclables from non-recyclables.  I dedicated much of my time in high school to community service roles and aspire to work on projects that combine this passion with my engineering degree. In my free time, I am an avid martial artist and I make videos with friends for their YouTube channel, 8th Period. 


I’m Tuelo Rapotsanyane - a self-driven young man with the will and desire to positively impact the community by being an instrument of change through education, social innovation and climate change activism.




Hi! I am Zeina Diarra, a second year electrical engineering student at Georgia Tech. I am passionate about novels and love writing as well. I am looking forward to getting to know everyone!




My name is Deni Dimitrova and I am a first-year EE major from Virginia Beach, VA! I am a member of the GT Solar Racing Team and Meetings Coordinator for my residence hall. I am also an avid baker/foodie and a huge tennis player.


I’m Zion Martell, a third-year Environmental Engineering student from Marietta, GA. I am especially interested in sustainability and environmental justice. In my free time, I like to do puzzles, read books, and sing in the a cappella group, Nothin’ but Treble.