Georgia Tech welcomes its alumni back to campus for Homecoming every year. But this year, we’d like to honor those who came home and stayed: alumni who work in the College of Computing. They’re serving their alma mater by constantly working to make it even greater.
In all, 24 faculty and staff members in the College are Yellow Jacket alumni. Of these, 19 – including Dean of Computing Charles Isbell (ICS 90) – are College of Computing alumni. Four of them earned all three of their academic degrees from the College.
Because of their unique perspectives, we asked GT Computing graduates Charles Isbell, David Joyner, Jennifer Whitlow, and other Georgia Tech alumni working at the College of Computing to talk about their paths back to the College, what they carry with them from their time as students, and about how they would like to see the College continue to grow and evolve in the coming years.
See the dropdown menu above or the buttons below for full Q&As, a list of all Tech graduates working at the College, and a gallery of photos from “back in the day.”
One of the College’s triple graduates, David Joyner (CS 08, MS HCI 09, and Ph.D. HCC 15), asks, “Is it coming back if I never really left?”
Following his undergraduate and graduate studies, and toward the end of his Ph.D., Joyner took a job with Udacity. The job, however, was on campus working to develop what would become Georgia Tech’s groundbreaking Online Master of Science in Computer Science (OMSCS) program.
During his stint with Udacity, Joyner says he discovered that he loved teaching online. “So, when I had the opportunity, I jumped back over to the College of Computing to continue working in the area.” He joined the College as a lecturer in 2015 and is now the College’s execuive director for online education and OMSCS.
“Honestly, I can’t say I’ve ever had much of a long-term plan. I expected to work on it [OMSCS] for a year while finishing my Ph.D. and then move on to whatever was next. I never considered staying at Georgia Tech after graduation, but I didn’t have an alternative plan either, really,” says Joyner.
Another graduate that never really left campus before coming to work in the College is Jennifer Whitlow (CM 09). Now the College’s director of computing enrollment and engagement initiatives, Whitlow says she had always thought about a career in education, but not at Georgia Tech.
“Growing up, I always thought that at some point in my professional career I would be a K-12 teacher,” says Whitlow. “Throughout my time as a student, I was really involved with several student organizations and as a student assistant for the Office of Outreach, Enrollment, and Community.”
It was this, coupled with her on-campus experiences, that led Whitlow to realize that working with college students could be an option. “I preferred working with students over a traditional corporate job, but I still wanted to be able to use my degree.”
As it turned out, the timing was on Whitlow’s side. Just as she was about to graduate, a new position opened in the College focused on the recruitment and enrollment of new computing students.
“It felt a bit like fate,” Whitlow says.