Nunn School Student Leaders React to First Encounter with President Cabrera

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President Ángel Cabrera's first day on the job included unpacking items for his office, meeting with members of his cabinet, processing HR paperwork as well as having lunch with Georgia Tech student leaders. Two of the seven students were Sam Nunn School of International Affairs majors and two others minor in the subject.

Emmett Miskell, second-year International Affairs major and Residence Hall Association (RHA) executive president, was one of these students invited to lunch. As RHA president, he oversees the organization's functionality and success at a local and campus-wide level. Since being elected in February, Miskell has been working to grow the organization's advocacy efforts. He serves over 8,800 student residents and wanted to discuss with President Cabrera some opportunities and areas of concern for his residents.

Genevieve Onyiuke-Kennedy, a fourth-year International Affairs major, was another student invited to lunch based on her leadership roles on campus. She currently serves as the president of Pride Alliance, which prepares different events for LGBTQIA+ students and allies as well as advocating for LGBTQIA-inclusive environments on campus. Onyiuke-Kennedy also serves as the vice president of Student Life in Student Government Association and is the team leader in the GT 1000 Diversity Section. For Onyiuke-Kennedy, this lunch was an opportunity to share her perspective on these parts of student life. 

Why Was it Important to Attend?

Emmett Miskell: For this year, I've set two main priorities to guide our organization: impactful programming and residential advocacy. Our meeting with President Cabrera was incredibly important towards making progress on the residential advocacy side of our organization. As I mentioned before, the resident population at Georgia Tech makes up a substantial portion of Tech and the voice of the residents can be a powerful force for change on campus. The first topic that I brought up with President Cabrera was the current situation of mental health here at Georgia Tech. We discussed several different ways that residents can be involved in future decisions and how to begin approaching several long-terms goals regarding mental health. 

Genevieve Onyiuke-Kennedy: It was important for me to attend because it is necessary that the voices of those who are of one or several marginalized identities are invited to tables of discussion where plans for the future are being made. Though this lunch was an introduction between a number of student leaders and the new president, I believe it marked the beginning of new connections and which sort of voices the president wants to hear from. I am pleased to see that President Cabrera has already demonstrated that including the perspectives of the LGBTQIA community on campus is important to him in forging his path as the new president.

How was Your Experience Meeting President Cabrera?

Emmett Miskell: Our lunch with President Cabrera went incredibly well! He was pleasantly personable and he's quite a humorous person. Additionally, he reiterated numerous times that he thoroughly enjoys spending time with students and working with them to create a positive change on campus. I cannot tell you how meaningful it was for me to see our institute's new leader spend an entire hour during his first day at Georgia Tech with students. Often times, actions speak louder than words, and this opportunity perfectly exemplified that. My hope is that President Cabrera continues to have conversations with students (not just student leaders) and ensures that every engaged party has a voice in the decision-making process at all levels of the institution. Most fumbled decisions that I have witnessed at Tech have occurred because students were left out of this process. Students are the core of our campus, and from my initial impression of President Cabrera, it is my belief that he will lead Georgia Tech with this mindset and continue to build a strong campus community.

Genevieve Onyiuke-Kennedy: I had an overall positive experience meeting President Cabrera. I found him to be a charismatic and fairly open individual, who seemed excited to collaborate with students who seek to improve the student experience at Tech. He spoke about including students in the process of creating a new strategic plan for Georgia Tech, and how he intends to provide to students support when possible. I believe that if he follows through on his intentions to understand and respond to student concerns and elevate the voices of others where it is needed, he will be a great fit for Georgia Tech.


  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: jpalacios9
  • Created: 09/25/2019
  • Modified By: jpalacios9
  • Modified: 09/26/2019


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