New CEE Future Faculty program selects first three fellows

Ph.D. student Courtney Di Vittorio, one of the School's first Future Faculty Fellows. (Photo: Jess-Hunt Ralston)
Di Vittorio
Ph.D. student Laura Mast, one of the School's first Future Faculty Fellows. (Photo: Jess-Hunt Ralston)
Ph.D. student Xenia Wirth, one of the School's first Future Faculty Fellows. (Photo Courtesy: Xenia Wirth)

The School of Civil and Environmental Engineering has picked three Ph.D. students for a new program focused on helping graduate students become great teachers.

Courtney Di Vittorio, Laura Mast and Xenia Wirth each will receive $3,000 as Future Faculty Fellows to help them develop their teaching skills and explore academic career opportunities.

“The Future Faculty Fellowship will allow me to explore opportunities outside of Georgia Tech to improve my teaching skills, gain a deeper perspective on the many roles of a professor, and develop connections that will aid me in obtaining a faculty position,” Di Vittorio said. “I am very grateful and honored to have this support from CEE to pursue these goals.”

“I can't wait to take advantage of the opportunities this fellowship will offer me,” Mast said. “It's one thing to teach, and one thing to take classes on teaching, but it's another thing entirely to connect with other educators at other universities and learn their best practices — really the best practices of an entire field.”

As part of the Future Faculty Fellows program, the three doctoral students are participating in a Georgia Tech Center for Teaching and Learning program designed to help graduate students learn how to be effective teachers. They’ll also teach a class with one-on-one mentoring and support from a faculty member.

“I know from experience that a fantastic professor can significantly influence a student's life, so I think emphasizing teaching as well as research is a change in academia that needs to happen,” Wirth said “I'm super happy CEE is taking steps to make future faculty training a priority by providing these opportunities.”

“This has been in the works for some time,” said Jim Mulholland, associate chair for graduate programs. “The aim is to promote and support the academic career development activities for our Ph.D. students interested in academic careers.”

That could be travel to conferences or funding agencies to build relationships, Mulholland said. It will also include helping graduate students develop their applications and interview presentations for teaching positions.

Graduate Programs Manager Robert Simon said this kind of support traditionally has come from the student’s Ph.D. adviser.

“We saw this program as a way of more formally strengthening the support of our doctoral students at the School level, something that our graduate students have asked for in the past,” Simon said.

Mulholland said the program will fund two or three doctoral students each year. Students must have passed their qualifying exam and have the approval of their faculty adviser to apply.

Applications for the next round of funding will be due in April.


Who’s eligible?
Ph.D. students who’ve completed their qualifying exam and are interested in becoming a faculty member at a college or university.

What does the program involve?
– Fellows complete the Tech to Teaching program in the Center for Teaching and Learning, including teaching a class with mentoring and support from a faculty member
– $3,000 to support travel to conferences, workshops or funding agencies

How do I apply?
Contact the Student Services Office:
Mason 1220