Screenshot from OMSCS new student welcome week Zoom session with Buzz, Georgia Tech mascot

Buzz Delivers a Jolt of School Pride as Part of Inaugural OMSCS Welcome Week

RAT Cap, George P. Burdell, the Whistle…there's a lot for students to learn­­ about Georgia Tech when they first arrive on campus.

Most are up to speed quickly thanks to FASET, Welcome Week, and other activities. But understanding and appreciating Georgia Tech's history and culture isn't always easy for fully online students who might never step foot on campus.

To help its incoming students get a handle on Stumpy's Bear and Sideways the Dog, the Online Master of Science in Computer Science (OMSCS) program recently held its first OMSCS Welcome Week.

The event was held for the nearly 3,000 OMSCS students starting classes on Aug. 21. Featuring virtual meet-and-greet sessions, trivia contests, student mixers, and more, OMSCS Welcome Week introduced incoming students to Georgia Tech traditions as well as the resources that are available to them.

screenshot from the inaugural OMSCS Welcome Week trivia contest
Incoming students from around the world participated in Georgia Tech trivia as part of the inaugural OMSCS Welcome Week.

"OMSCS Welcome Week is essential because it is the first extensive introduction to our program. It lets our new students know that we are real human beings here to help them every step during their grad school journey," said Ana Rusch, OMSCS associate director of Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Student Life.

OMSCS Welcome Week began on Aug. 7 with a meet-and-greet session. The session allowed new students to meet and connect with program advisors, staff, and faculty. The session was held twice – 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. – to accommodate the OMSCS program's global enrollment.

Rusch and OMSCS Executive Director David Joyner hosted two trivia contests on Aug. 8, also scheduled to satisfy the needs of students in multiple time zones.

"Which Georgia Tech fight song was sung by US President Richard Nixon and USSR Premier Nikita Khrushchev during their Kitchen Table Debate?"

This was one of Joyner's questions during the first contest dedicated to Georgia Tech trivia. Although nearly half of those participating wrongly guessed Up with the White and Gold, 31% correctly answered with The Ramblin' Wreck.

Along with answering questions about Tech’s culture and history, the new OMSCS students also had an opportunity to meet an icon of the Institute. Buzz joined the Zoom call during the trivia contest, giving the students a taste of his infectious school spirit.

“We weren't sure how a virtual visit from Buzz would work, but it went better than we ever imagined. Buzz's energy, interactions, and humor translated wonderfully. Everyone felt the jolt of Georgia Tech pride,” Rusch said.

New students and TAs had another chance to connect during a mixer on Aug. 9. More than 243 participated in the social event, which wrapped up the inaugural OMSCS Welcome Week.

Rusch says that despite this being the first time they have held Welcome Week, it was a success and will be a part of each new semester.

"We think this effort is truly foundational for community building and establishing networks of support for our students," Rusch said. "We're planting the seeds of Georgia Tech pride that will flourish throughout their time as students and alumni."