The FOCUS program, held each year over the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, is designed to encourage African-American students to pursue advanced degrees in science and engineering.

FOCUS is first and foremost a graduate school marketing program. The program's goal is to make minority students aware of the benefits and the increased opportunities of a graduate degree, then recruit them to pursue a graduate degree at Georgia Tech. However, if students do not choose to enroll at Georgia Tech, the hope of FOCUS is that they will at least choose another graduate school. The program is open to all students who meet the academic criteria and will find the program beneficial.

From the beginning, student participation in FOCUS has been by invitation only. FOCUS administrators and volunteers contact universities across the nation, asking for nominations to the program. This process enables Georgia Tech to attract those most highly qualified. Through the years, Tech has developed a strong network with the historical black colleges and universities, and majority institutions have been supportive and cooperative in identifying their top students.

Focus concludes with Georgia Tech’s King Week Ecumenical Service on Sunday.

FOCUS 2004
FOCUS 2004
FOCUS 2004
FOCUS 2004

On Saturday, January 17, Mr. Sundiata Jangha, a Ph.D. candidate in Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech, spoke at the "Alumni Breakfast" on "Why go to graduate school?" In a nutshell his answer was " A B.S. degree today is like a high school degree for our parents. It will get you by, but it's just not enough." Other pointers that he gave us were to "Be prepared," and "A Ph.D. is not for everyone." He mentioned that "One thing that will keep you [grounded! is your sense of spirituality. For those who were interested in obtaining doctorate degrees, he said that "Obtaining a Ph. D. is a mental marathon. People run marathons to finish, not to come in first." Finally he left us with a motivational quote from Jesse Jackson: "It is your attitude not your aptitude that will control your altitude." Later on that evening we were taken on a tour of the Dr. King Center and to bring the night to an end, there was a party.

Danielle Graves, ONR Research Student

On day two, there was a break out session in which we were separated into different groups according to our major. We heard from the graduate school coordinator and some faculty members in the department of Computing and Mathematics. Then, we attended student panels in which students from our prospective department spoke on their experiences. Later on that night, we were honored to attend the President's dinner. We heard from Dr. G. Wayne Clough, president of Georgia Tech. We also heard from America's Wireless Strategic Marketing Manager, Dr. Dannellia Gladden- Green

On day three, we attended the Alumni Breakfast. Its speaker Sundiata Jangha, Ph.D Candidate in Mechanical Engineering, spoke on why you should attend Graduate School. He stated that a bachelor's degree will eventually be what a high school diploma was for our parents, if they even received one. "A PhD is not for everyone". "It is for those who want to contribute something new to their field and for those who plan to branch off into researching". "If you're not one of these people then a PhD is not for you" according to Mr. Jangha. Later on, we visited the King center. On the last day, we attended the King Celebration Ecumenical Service where we heard from Dr. Stewart Bums. Dr. Bums is one of the foremost experts on all the source materials on Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement. He has written the only published history of the Montgomery bus boycott. Daybreak of Freedom, which he helped develop as the award winning HBO dramatic film, Boycott. This concluded the end of the conference.

This conference was all that I expected and more. I left this conference with motivation to the tenth power. Now, I have enough motivation to feed the entire ONR family. In the future, if Georgia Tech does not end up to be the institution in which I will pursue graduate studies, I will always remember FOCUS 2004 and the impact it made on my life!

Joanelle Baptiste, ONR Research Student