Education / Scholarship

2017 Undergrad Scholarship Winner: ‘This is Huge for My Family’

DRI Foundation - Undergrad scholarship winner picWhat can you say about DRI Foundation Scholarship winner Michael Tatum Jr.? A lot. But let’s start here: The Georgia Tech student is a peer leader; a Division 1 cheerleader; a member of Eta Kappa Nu, the Electrical and Computer Engineering Honors Society;  an Engineers Without Borders Prototyping Researcher; a volunteer at Youth Life Foundation of Richmond where he mentored underprivileged kids; a STEAMSport  mentor volunteer, helping kids prepare for robotics competitions; a homeless outreach volunteer through his church; and, oh yeah, he also conceived, starred in, and edited a Georgia Tech student staff member recruitment video.

He’s a busy young man. It’s a wonder he had time to apply for the scholarship, but it’s no surprise that he won it!

The son of DRI International CBCP Michael Tatum Sr., Michael Jr. will be starting his senior year this fall and is a computer engineering major and computer science minor at The Georgia Institute of Technology where he has a 3.76 GPA. “I’m so proud of him,” said Michael Sr. “And so grateful to the DRI Foundation. This is a huge help for us!”

Michael Jr. says his father’s career has definitely been a “big influence.” As a freshman, Michael Jr. was selected to be a member of the Grand Challenges Living and Learning Community, which asks small groups of students to tackle pressing problems. His group chose campus safety, a choice he says was “inspired by my father.” Michael Jr.’s essay details the solution they came up with, so be sure to give it a read.

Michael Jr. says his dad’s work “is a model for me in terms of working in computer security. What I’m doing is my way of doing something similar to what my dad does and using what he’s taught me about.”

Asked if he feels his peers are as attuned to emergency preparedness and response, Michael Jr. had this to say, “I think in a lot of ways we’ve become kind of numb to it because we hear it on the news all the time, like with the London terror attacks. You just hear about it all the time, so we’re kind of think that world’s so big that could never happen to us. And we just kind of arrogantly blow it off.”

That’s why he believes easily accessible technology that’s integrated into students’ lives is the way to go. “Kids aren’t going to remember a seminar.  So, I think it’s good to have an application, just because it’s easy, will have everything you need, and it’s something you always have because you have your cell phone on you pretty much all the time.”

Asked if he had anything to say to the DRI Foundation, Michael Jr. was silent for a moment and then said, “Wow. Just a huge thank you because this is huge for my family with the cost of me being an out of state student. It’s a huge help, and I just want them to know that they’re really making a difference.”

Well, making a difference is certainly something Michael Jr. knows a thing or two about himself.

Click here to read Michael’s winning essay.