College of Sciences Announces Inaugural Staff Advisory Council

The nominations are in, and the inaugural class of the College of Sciences Staff Advisory Council is preparing for its first virtual meeting later in September.

According to its mission statement, the Council represents and advocates for the diverse collective body of staff within the College and will interact directly with the Dean of the College of Sciences. The Council serves as a liaison between the staff and College leadership, providing an avenue for a significant contribution of staff expertise. The Council aims to use these perspectives to provide recommendations to the Dean of the College, as well as to inform leadership members within each independent school regarding staff matters.

Please join us in welcoming the Council’s 15 members from across the College of Sciences, and in learning more about each member’s background, work, goals, and interests in serving:


Emma Blandford
Assistant Director of Living Learning Communities, Dean’s Office:

Background: I have a unique position to be able to interact with folks from across the college in order to best serve my students. I interact with first-year students on a daily basis, and connect them with the resources that they need on campus to be most successful. The team of amazing staff in the College of Sciences makes this college not only work, but run like their home-away-from-home. I have also been a part of the working group that formed the initial College of Sciences Advisory Council voting process, mission and vision.

Why I’m joining the Council: As a member of the council I would work to learn about the wide variety of positions, responsibilities, and needs of the professionals across our college. I am also interested to serve in a way that allows folks to be more than who they are at work, to introduce holistic wellness opportunities and connections to inclusive programming in order to support the whole-person experience.


Paula Ewers
Faculty Support Coordinator, School of Biological Sciences:

Background: Strong service-oriented skills, educational background, high level of attention to detail and results driven workforce professional with proven success in demonstrating expertise in service management and coordination. Professional in customer service, project management, team management, and budget management.

Why I’m joining the Council: Throughout my years of experience in the College of Sciences I have identified areas of opportunity and areas of success, and I would love to assist in building a stronger culture. I want to give back to this amazing college and provide feedback where I can.


Shantel Floyd
Research Administrative Manager, School of Chemistry and Biochemistry:

Background: I have a strong understanding of processes both on the finance and administration side. I have 5-plus years of experience supporting a center with a focus on broadening participation (development of unique programming). I also have experience partnering with people in the College of Sciences and the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. I am trusted by colleagues and I have the ability to relate to colleagues on all levels. I was chosen as a Chemistry representative on several pilots. I mentor new staff and those starting new programs like those that I've run in the past. I have also partnered with IBB on several projects and events. I have the ability to create great working relationships across the board.

Why I’m joining the Council: Serving on this council will enable me to stay connected with activities that will help my fellow staff members in both education and the working environment, and to help with collaborations and open communication channels throughout all levels of the Institute. I will also have the opportunity to actively participate and contribute to conversations and solutions about the goals of the campus community.


Susan Harris
Financial Administrator, School of Chemistry and Biochemistry:

Background: I have 30-plus years working with sponsored project funding. I have 10-plus years working in academic units with faculty and admin teams. I have a deep respect for the process and want everything to be done within policy.

Why I’m joining the Council: I am hoping this team will be able to help identify and address concerns in their departments, and we can help make Georgia Tech a better place for all.


Chung Kim
Academic Program Coordinator, School of Biological Sciences:

Background: I've been working at Georgia Tech’s School of Biological Sciences for the past three years as an academic program coordinator. My favorite, most fulfilling aspect of this position is interacting with and supporting our graduate students to successfully complete their degrees. I consider myself to be a good listener, team player, and a detail-oriented person.

Why I’m joining the Council: I believe that by being part of the College of Sciences Staff Advisory Council, I would play an important role in building bonds among the staff, faculty, and administration. If given an opportunity, I would be glad to contribute my time and efforts in making a positive difference for the College and its schools.


Gary Longstreet
Academic Program Manager, School of Physics:

Background: First, I'm honored to be nominated. With more than 20 years in higher education, I offer a very diverse background, having worked for both public and private universities. At Georgia State University, I served on the Staff Advisory Council for several years and then represented staff on the University Senate Committee as a senator.

Why I’m joining the Council:  I understand the needs of staff and the valuable role we play at all different levels. With everything happening in the world today, it is vital that staff be heard, supported, appreciated, and understood that we make things happen at the Institute and beyond.


Lea Marzo
Assistant to the Chair, School of Mathematics:

Background: I have been in higher education for over 13 years, six of those years at Georgia Tech. I have also been a graduate student for eight years and I believe that I can offer some insight from both a staff and a student perspective.

Why I’m joining the Council: I would like the opportunity to serve on the College of Sciences Staff Advisory Council because I will put the interests of the workers above my own. I believe that I am a team player and will work to the best of my abilities to ensure that the voices of the staff members are represented.


Erin Nagle
Faculty Affairs Administrative Manager, Dean’s Office:

Background: After three years in the College and at Georgia Tech, I have met many wonderful staff members whose own stories and experiences I have enjoyed hearing about. I believe in a strong sense of community where staff contributions are highlighted and explored. I am a good listener and problem solver, and I genuinely care about staff development and morale. Budgets are tight and that limits what can be spent on development activities, but discussion and community building are free.

Why I’m joining the Council: Outside of our evolving national issues, College staff are facing multiple challenges on a routine basis right here on campus. Processes are frequently changing, and ‘newness’ has been our constant companion. It is difficult to keep up with our changing local environment and also keep on top of important work endeavors. I feel that strengthening our sense of community and support network within the college is our most powerful tool in facing ongoing challenges.


Alison Onstine
Laboratory Manager, School of Biological Sciences:

Background: My position as manager for the Biology teaching labs provides me with both a student-facing role and a window into the challenges facing staff within research labs. It’s my hope that these varied perspectives will help find commonalities in the challenges that staff in both traditional academic and research roles face. I will use all the tools at my disposal to foster the trust needed to become an effective representative for CoS staff.

Why I’m joining the Council: I see the amazing efforts already underway to bring voice to staff within the College and am eager to bring my skills to benefit these initiatives. Staff at Georgia Tech, in my experience, are challenging to unite as a group because of their disparate roles within the Institute. Due to our new social distancing challenges, there is more urgency than ever for staff to come together and build the community necessary to effectively be heard by administration.


Chinneta Pettaway
Research Administrative Manager, School of Mathematics:

Background: I have many years of experience prior to Georgia Tech working directly with chairs and executive management. I was able to form diverse leadership teams, which helped improve morale and retention within the department. My years at Georgia Tech working for the former Dean of the College of Sciences and the other leadership members allowed me the ability to understand the mission and vision of the College. I was able to utilize that knowledge with my transition to the School of Mathematics, to help with the development of the newly formed Southeast Center for Mathematics and Biology.

Why I’m joining the Council: I'm interested in serving on the College of Sciences Staff Advisory Council to help bring awareness and understanding to issues occurring on the school level. I'd like to advocate for the staff in the schools to help improve a safe and healthy work environment for everyone regardless of race, color, or creed. Importantly, we need to add to an effective communication avenue between management and staff. This will allow staff members to feel comfortable speaking about problems without fear of being reprimanded.


Ruth Pierre
Academic Program Coordinator, School of Chemistry and Biochemistry:

Background: I am very passionate and have a strong desire to help others. I interact with staff, students, and faculty at different levels and enjoy getting to know and collaborate with people on projects. As a staff member for over seven years, I have been involved with various offices across campus and listened to concerns, comments, and complaints from various staff. I’m personable, have a willingness to take charge, excellent organization skills, and a strategic thinker are several strong skills set that would be a positive addition to the Staff Advisory Council.

Why I’m joining the Council: I want to be involved with the College of Sciences Staff Advisory Council to help bring about positive change. I want to be a voice of changes that affect policy and procedures for staff. We are in critical times and need people who can represent diverse viewpoints across a broad spectrum of topics. I would like the opportunity to work with other staff to create productive and positive outcomes.


Renay San Miguel
Communications Officer, Dean’s Office:

Background: I spent 25 years in journalism, including 10 years at national broadcast and cable TV news outlets. I currently use my position to tell the stories of the great research going on within the six schools of the College. I also tell the stories of the interesting, talented people behind that research, and the staff and students who make up the Georgia Tech College of Sciences community. My skills include communications in writing, audio podcasting, and video hosting/production/editing.

Why I’m joining the Council: The College of Sciences has been very good to me. As a staff member, I've appreciated the kindnesses extended to me by administrators and other staff members. I want to pay it forward by assisting the Advisory Council as it helps staff deal with day-to-day and long-range goals and challenges.


Kathy Sims-McDaniel
Development Assistant, Dean’s Office: 

Background: I have worked as a teacher, counselor, program coordinator and event planner, just to name a few occupations. In my spare time, I have also volunteered on several different social projects.

Why I’m joining the Council: I believe the combination of my education and experience will make me a highly motivated addition to the Staff Advisory Council. I would like to serve on the Council because I feel I can be an advocate for our colleagues, and can work collectively with fellow Council members as a vehicle for positive change.


John Wallom
Information Technology Professional Manager, Academic and Research Computing Services (ARCS):

Background: I have been in higher education information technology support for 21 years, and in that time I helped create student worker run IT support centers, worked on several institution wide committees, and worked with University System of Georgia security groups to establish best practices for smaller USG institutions. On top of a broad technical knowledge, I have also worked to establish several new teams, from entire institute support teams to new units within a college. I believe that experience will help when forming the first College of Sciences Staff Advisory Council.

Why I’m joining the Council: I have always stepped up to voice my concerns when staff are in need, or are not being taken into consideration. The staff of the College of Sciences needs to have people who will be an advocate for them, and I believe that I am someone who can definitely fill that role.


Casey Whitt
Financial Administrator, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences:

Background: I will bring skills related to the position of Financial Administrator. In a previous position I also served on a college staff advisory council, periodically working on grievance hearings and coordinating a benefits fair. Also, I volunteered on various carnivals, including one that educated employees on proper protocol in case of a fire.

Why I’m joining the Council: I want to serve on the College of Sciences Staff Advisory Council because I believe that I can represent the opinions of the staff in a fair and impartial manner, and assist the Council to relate ideas and solutions that will assist the department to grow as a team with the College administrators.