A Dream Come True Degree
Jessica Britt was surrounded by math and science from a very young age, and when she figured out she could use it to solve problems, she fell in love.
Her grandfather attended Georgia Tech before starting up an electrical contracting company. It’s the same family business where her father worked.
“By the time I was in fifth grade I was spelling sentences saying, ‘I want to go to Georgia Tech to become an electrical engineer,’” Britt says.
Her family pushed her to follow her dream and attend Georgia Tech. Now, she’s the first person in her family to have earned a college degree.
“It’s truly a dream come true,” says Britt.
But the journey to her master’s degree in electrical engineering didn’t come without trials.
During finals week of her first year, Britt’s father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
He passed away in Britt’s junior year.
“I struggled in my classes. I’ve never had to cram for finals like I did that semester,” she says.
Luckily, during her time at Georgia Tech, Britt found something she could pour her energy into beside her schoolwork. On a whim, she joined EcoCAR, a team of nearly 50 engineers who worked together to take a Chevrolet Camaro and transform it into an environmentally friendly, fully electric sportscar.
Britt admits she knew little about cars before joining the team. Most of her knowledge came from watching the Barrett-Jackson Auto Action on television with her father.
“I was really good at guessing how much a car would cost but had no idea how they worked,” Britt explained. “Now I know how to completely design a car from a controls perspective, and I found my passion.”
In her time at Georgia Tech, she has excelled in the EcoCAR 3 Competition, winning the national SMS and Controls Presentation First Place Award, the Excellence in Leadership Award, and the Women in Engineering Award.
Now that she’s graduated, Britt will join Argonne National Labs, the headline sponsor responsible for managing the national EcoCAR competition.
“Georgia Tech doesn’t just teach you formulas and how to do homework but teaches you how to think,” Britt said. “The problems you are given are real-world problems, and you have a chance to make a real difference in the work you are doing.”