Dinner Jackets with Dr. Joe LeDoux

A picture from Dr. LeDoux’s Tamale-Making Fiesta.

Want to network over a good meal? Sign up to be part of the BME Learning Commons’ newest program, BME Dinner Jackets! Not only is Dinner Jackets an opportunity to try interesting new foods for free, but it also increases your prospects of connecting to a faculty member or upperclassmen outside of the academic environment.

According to the Dinner Jackets Head Coordinator, Catherine Wallace, the concept began when she realized that SAA did not recruit many BMEs for their dinners. At the same time, she found out that the Learning Commons was looking for ways to connect faculty and students. Putting two and two together, Wallace seized the opportunity to adopt a successful Dinner Jackets program for the BME community.

What most do not realize (and what makes this program particularly special) is that many professors are often simply too busy to sit down and personally interact with students. According to Wallace, one of the professors that is planning to host a dinner had to schedule it for two months after being asked because of her busy schedule!

So how does a typical Dinner Jackets work? The event itself is held anywhere the professor or facilitator wishes; currently, these events are being hosted in a variety of locations based on the teacher’s convenience and what he or she seeks to impart to the students.

For example, Dr. LeDoux recently held a tamale making fiesta at his home, while Marty Jacobson opened up the machine shop. Other venues have included restaurants like 10th and Piedmont or Raku, with students traveling off-campus in a group. During the dinner, between six to ten students and a student facilitator talk to and pick the brains of the instructor and their significant other in the hopes of discovering a new side of the faculty member.

The opportunity to learn about a mentor’s problem-solving process and his or her journey to becoming Tech faculty is one of the most valuable lessons a student can receive. Not only can BME Dinner Jacket attendees better connect with the experts giving them knowledge inside the classroom, but they can also gain life advice from those same people about how to pursue a successful career in or even outside the field.

There is always a myriad of possible conversation topics at the dinner table – anything from MCATs to travel experiences to being in a marriage where both partners are PhD’s. In fact, if you have ever had a question about a professor (including the department chair, Dr. Bellamkonda, who will be hosting a dinner soon) or wondered from where one of his or her idiosyncrasies came, a BME Dinner Jackets is the perfect opportunity to ask!

More than fifty students have already taken advantage of this amazing opportunity and agreed that going to a Dinner Jacket event was both enriching and enlightening. If you are interested in signing up for a Dinner Jacket event, please contact Catherine Wallace at cwallace32@gatech.edu. Most dinner seats are filled within 48 hours of posting, so be on the lookout for new dates!