Gisele Bennett, ’87: Director, Georgia Tech Research Institute

Gisele Bennett, ’87: Director, Georgia Tech Research Institute

“I run an optics and photonics research lab at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI). We have an annual budget of $50 million, and our projects range from modeling and simulations of electro-optical systems to building hardware and sensors that are used by the Department of Defense. I also supervise Ph.D. students at the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.”

“[What attracted me to GTRI] is wanting to build things that people use and working on applied research activities as opposed to fundamental research activities. My current position gives me the best of both worlds — being in an academic environment as well as an industry-like environment.”

“Collaboration is significant and important. I oversee 168 people at the research lab, and you can’t conduct research without collaborating with people from other disciplines.”

“One critical element [of the UCF experience] was being involved in professional societies. My adviser at the time, Dr. Ron Phillips, set an example for me as a student that’s been very influential on my career. I learned the importance of getting involved, understanding the diversity of the work and seeing how different research elements come together.”

“I am extremely proud to be one of the first CREOL [Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers] grads, and I was delighted to see UCF push for a College of Optics and Photonics. UCF is one of the top three optics and photonics programs in the country. I’m trying to figure out ways to collaborate with [UCF] colleagues.”