About Us


The DEI Committee in the School of Physics at Georgia Institute of Technology is committed to working to build and sustain an equitable and inclusive work environment where cultural diversity is celebrated and valued. We believe diversity benefits and enriches the development of all students, staff, and faculty in our department and community. 


Meet the Team! 

Emily Alicea-Muñoz (Co-Chair), Flavio Fenton (Co-Chair), David Ballantyne (Faculty), Chandra Raman (Faculty), Shaun Ashley (Staff), Andrew Wu, Mateo Reynoso, Danielle Skinner (Graduate Students), Nadia Qutob, Aniketh Swain, John Sullivan (Undergraduate Students) 

Dr. Emily Alicea-Muñoz, Co-Chair

I’m an Academic Professional in the School of Physics, my research focus is physics education, and I am a native of Puerto Rico. At some points in my career I’ve been one of many Latinos in the room in places with high representation (e.g., at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center), and at other points I’ve has been the only Latina in the room, feeling like the odd one out. My interest in DEI comes from wanting all people to feel represented and that they belong, to prevent them from feeling like the odd one out. Improving diversity in physics increases the pool of talent, which provides new perspectives and can lead to better science. Equity and inclusion are needed for the retention of said talent, and to ensure a climate of professionalism and camaraderie where everyone’s voices are heard and respected.


Dr. Flavio Fenton, Co-Chair

Just as I strive to give students the best education possible, I consider it equally important to offer students an environment of equity, where all can feel included regardless of diversity so that they can succeed in all aspects of their lives, from their professional to their personal lives, as success and happiness requires a good balance from both. I aim to help create and maintain a welcoming atmosphere at GT and the School of Physics for all our students, postdocs, staff, and faculty.  ​

My office is always open and is a safe space, so you are welcome to contact me, as you would for academic office hours, with any equity, inclusion, or diversity issues you would like to discuss. 


Dr. David Ballantyne

David Ballantyne is a Professor and the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies in the School of Physics. I am committed to ensuring that educational opportunities in physics and astrophysics are welcoming, supportive, and enriching for people from every background and community. 


Dr. Chandra Raman

I am a professor in the School of Physics with a specialization in atomic, molecular, and optical (AMO) physics.  My research on atomic gases spans 9 orders of magnitude in temperature and seeks a fundamental understanding of their behavior as both individual and collective quantum systems.  One of the things I have enjoyed about my role at Georgia Tech is the opportunity to mentor high school teachers and students through internships in my laboratory, particularly students from backgrounds that are underrepresented in Physics.  From these experiences I have gained a deeper understanding of how simply creating an inclusive and welcoming environment can influence a person’s path into science fields and can improve diversity.


Shaun Ashley, Staff

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is the foundation for developing a strong, progressive, and innovative cultural environment. In my roles as Faculty Support Coordinator, and the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) summer program coordinator, I work with diverse groups of faculty, students, and staff. My passion for working in multicultural and underrepresented communities is driven by my vision to increase the level of equity, and inclusion for all. Why, because I believe that a unified DEI community, will positively impact and create a truly holistic experience in our school, the institute and beyond. I am honored and excited to be a part of such a powerful initiative! ​


Edwin Chan, Postdoc

I am a postdoc in astrophysics in the School of Physics.

I strongly believe science in general, and physics and astronomy in particular, should be made accessible to all. Because each person comes from a different background, there are multiple unique ways of arriving at the same fundamental truth. This diversity is the core strength of our teaching and research: Students and teachers understand the subject matter more thoroughly by looking at it from a variety of angles, and cutting-edge research benefits from continual injection of novel ideas and tools. But it is not enough that the community be diverse; it must also be inclusive and equitable because people can thrive only if they are not restricted in the opportunities available to them, and they can be their best only if they are not distracted by unfair practices around them.


Andrew Wu, Graduate Student

My name is Andrew Wu, and I am a second-year graduate student in the GT School of Physics. My path in science through undergraduate and graduate school has taken me through exoplanets and cosmology to the physics of origami here at GT. However, throughout my time studying physics, I have observed more diverse cohorts of potential scientists become more skewed as traditionally underrepresented students in STEM get selected out of the field, whether intentionally or not. As I have overcome my own personal challenges and barriers to pursuing a career in science, I have become passionate about helping others pursue their scientific interests and breaking down systemic barriers that individuals from diverse backgrounds face when pursuing a career in science. To me, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) means that no one who is interested in science should ever question whether they belong in the scientific community based on their background or identity. As a member of the DEI committee, I aim to bring critical awareness to the issues of mental health and neurodiversity and contribute to an enriching and welcoming environment for all members of the School of Physics.


Danielle Skinner, Graduate Student

Hey! My name is Danielle Skinner, and I am a fifth-year graduate student in the School of Physics. I joined this committee because I am passionate about making physics a more equitable and inviting place. I want anyone who joins our community to feel welcomed, supported, and included. I am dedicated to making these changes within our school and within my own life. As a woman in physics, I have had my own struggles in the physics environment, but have had supportive communities and persons that have helped me get to where I am today. I want to make sure I pay it forward. I am excited to be a part of this committee, and I am willing to chat with anyone who has questions or ideas about DEI or physics-related topics. Please feel free to email me at drenniks@gatech.edu.  ​


Mateo Reynoso, Graduate Student

I am a graduate student representative of the School of Physics DEI. As an international student Diversity, Equity and Inclusion means embracing people from all different backgrounds and giving opportunities to anyone to better themselves .”​


Nadia Qutob, Undergraduate Student

I am committed to supporting the women in my department through creating safe spaces and equal access to facilities such as bathrooms.​

I also prioritize disability accommodation and mental health awareness within the School of Physics.


Jack Sullivan, Undergraduate Student

I am a fourth-year undergraduate physics student with passions for astrophysics, quantum information science, and jazz studies. While taking time away from my studies for several years, I worked with organizations such as the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), and Georgia STAND-UP to help bolster equity for minority and underrepresented communities nationwide. Since enrolling as a transfer student at Georgia Tech, I have been committed to strengthening inclusivity and fair opportunity access for all in the School of Physics.​


Aniketh Swain, Undergraduate Student

Diversity to me means having the opportunity to interact with people from various backgrounds and learn and appreciate their story. Inclusion to me means ensuring that all people are welcomed and treated with the basic respect that everyone deserves without exception. Equity to me in this context means ensuring that all students have equal access to resources and are all on a similar high footing in terms of support and opportunities.​


Previous members: 

  • Laura Cadonati (Chair, 2020-2021) 
  • JC Gumbart (Faculty, 2020-2021) 
  • Nicole Thompson (Staff, 2020-2021) 
  • Felicia Davenport (Graduate Student, 2020-2021) 
  • Brett Tregoning (Graduate Student, 2020-2021)
  • Ryan Jean (Undergraduate Student, 2020-2021) 
  • Jessica Eskew (Undergraduate Student, 2020-2021)