'Illuminate Tech' Speaker Series to Feature Students

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On Wednesday, Nov. 13, graduate and undergraduate Student Government Association (SGA) are partnering to host a new speaker series called Illuminate Tech, where three students will talk about struggles they’ve experienced during their college careers and how they have persevered.

The event will be held from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in the Student Center Theater.

Illuminate Tech will feature three student speakers:

  • Vivek Garimella, undergraduate student in mechanical engineering
  • Linda Nhon, graduate student in chemistry
  • Kantwon Rogers, graduate student in computer science

Through sharing their personal experiences, each student has a unique message they hope their peers can take away from the event.

“I want Tech students to know that they aren't alone as they work through challenges, and that a bad day, week, month, or year doesn't have to define them,” said Garimella. He plans to recount how discovering certain passions, programs, and people on campus helped him overcome the pressure he faced in his early years at Tech.

The student speakers come from a wide range of backgrounds, which they believe makes it even more important for them to share their stories.

“I acknowledge that my position as a young, black, queer male in power is not the persona that many people have the opportunity to learn from and interact with,” said Rogers. “I want to be the role model that the younger version of myself needed to see when growing up.” His talk will focus on turning setbacks into altruism and lifting others as you climb, as guided by his personal mantra, “Be great, do great, and help someone out today.”

Linda Nhon was also motivated to share her story because of her background: She’s a first-generation college student and a Khmer (Cambodian)-Vietnamese American. Her talk will discuss micro-aggressions she has faced as a woman and minority graduate student.

“I am speaking because I know that there are other students like myself who have felt invisible and even at times helpless when trying to navigate the unknown,” Nhon said. “I wanted to share my story to encourage those students to keep going and let them know that they are not alone in their struggles.”

Illuminate Tech seeks to build on the spirit of previous SGA speaker series, including Inspire@Tech and Revolutionaries, which featured faculty members from departments across the Institute. By showcasing students in similar roles, SGA hopes to share previously hidden stories to inspire Tech students and spark conversation around important subjects. Visit the campus calendar for more information about the event.



  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:gwyner3
  • Created:11/06/2019
  • Modified By:Kristen Bailey
  • Modified:11/12/2019