Five Women Receive Leadership Excellence Awards at the Diversity Symposium Reception

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the graduation of Georgia Tech’s first two female graduates, Diane Michel and Shirley Clements Mewborn. In celebration of the milestone, the Leadership Excellence Awards were created to honor women faculty, staff, and alumnae who are excelling in leadership, collaboration, and innovation.

Five Leadership Excellence Award winners were recognized at the Diversity Symposium Reception on Thursday, September 15, hosted by Institute Diversity, the Center for the Study of Women, Science, and Technology, Women in Engineering, and the Women’s Resource Center.

“This year, the Leadership Excellence Awards were established to celebrate and recognize the outstanding contributions of women in the Georgia Tech community. Recognition opportunities are one of the impact areas of the recently announced Gender Equity Initiatives,” said Archie Ervin, vice president of Institute Diversity.

Through their work, award recipients are women leaders who have accomplished one or more of the following:

  • Built communities and raised the capacity of others to collectively advance the Institute’s potential.
  • Either had national or international impact, or if at the regional level, attracted wider recognition.
  • Created needed institutions, initiatives, and/or programs.
  • Transformed their chosen field and presented fundamental and influential research contributions.

Award recipients included:

  • Meltem Alemdar, assistant director and senior research scientist, Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing (CEISMC)
  • Sherry Farrugia, chief operations and strategy officer, Pediatric Technology Center
  • Elizabeth Mynatt, executive director, Institute for People and Technology
  • Sungmee Park, co-founder and CTO, Sarvint Technologies Inc.
  • Jacqueline J. Royster, dean and Ivan Allen Jr. Chair, Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts

Meltem Alemdar’s research focuses on improving K-12 STEM education and evaluating K-12 STEM initiatives that target low-income and minority students. In 2009, she established CEISMC’s Evaluation Group to provide research and evaluation support for projects across Georgia Tech, the Georgia Department of Education, other higher education institutions, and the greater Atlanta community.

In her role at the Pediatric Technology Center, Sherry Farrugia works to build and sustain public-private partnerships and manage Georgia Tech and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s $20 million research portfolio. She also serves on multiple boards and was appointed to the Governor’s Council for Child Welfare. Farrugia has 25 years’ experience in the health information field, working in data analytics, data visualization, and clinical and financial outcomes.

In addition to her role at the Institute for People and Technology, Elizabeth Mynatt serves as a distinguished professor in the College of Computing and director of the Everyday Computing Lab. She is the chair of the Computing Community Consortium and a member of the National Academies Computer Science and Telecommunications Board. Mynatt has been recognized as an Association for Computing Machinery Fellow and a member of the Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction Academy.  

While at Georgia Tech, Sungmee Park co-invented the world’s first Wearable Motherboard™, or “Smart Shirt.” She received the Jang Yeong-Sil Award from the Korean Ministry of Science and Technology for the development of HeaTex in 2008 and the Korean Prime Minister’s New Growth Business Award in 2010. In 2011, Park was inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Engineering Alumni at Georgia Tech.

Jacqueline J. Royster’s research explores the intersections of the history of rhetoric, feminist studies, and cultural studies with a primary interest in the connections between human and civil rights. She has received several awards, including The Winifred Bryan Horner Award from the Coalition of Women Scholars in the History of Rhetoric and Composition and being named a Fellow of the Rhetoric Society of America.

To learn more about the Leadership Excellence Awards, visit


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  • Leadership Excellence Award Recipients

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Annette Filliat

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Institute Diversity