For more than a quarter of a century, Barbara Christopher has worked in communications roles across the Georgia Tech campus. Most recently, she has served as the communications manager for the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE), a position she has held for nine years until her upcoming retirement at the end of 2016.
There will be no retirement celebration honoring Christopher and her many contributions to the School. When the offer was made for such a celebration, Christopher requested instead that the funds be directed to support a promising ISyE undergraduate student in need of financial assistance. ISyE doubled the funds for the establishment of the Christopher Scholarship, which is providing critical resources for Donte Preston, a junior hailing from Dallas, Texas.
“This is a perfect way to retire. My family struggled financially, and I wanted to help someone who faced similar circumstances. I can’t think of a nicer way to celebrate my tenure at Georgia Tech,” said Christopher.
Recently Preston took a break from studying for exams to meet with Christopher before the end of the semester. He explained that he had always planned to stay in Texas for college — until he visited Georgia Tech.
“I loved it from the moment I stepped on campus,” Preston said. While it was a tough decision to attend an out-of-state university, he was “convinced that my investment in my education would be returned in the future,” and he has since set out to be the best industrial engineer he can be. Beyond studying and his involvement with organizations like the Georgia Tech Society of Black Engineers and the Student Alumni Association, Preston shared his interests and experiences with Christopher, discussing how he likes to spend his free time (reading) and what superhero he would be (Batman, because he doesn’t have superpowers and must rely on his brain to help other people).
Describing how he felt when he learned he had been chosen as the recipient of the Christopher Scholarship, Preston said, “I was not expecting it at all. Receiving the scholarship was the assurance I needed. I can’t express how grateful I am.”