This spring, a group of Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business undergraduate students participated in a practicum with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. They were faced with the challenging task of improving the digital experience at the hospital. They presented their findings to leadership and finished the practicum. But something was perplexing.
During and after the project, fourth-year Scheller undergraduate student Hannah Sherrill and her cohorts noted that their experience had been the most memorable they'd had so far at Georgia Tech. They also noted that the team had developed strong bonds of camaraderie and collaboration. And that the team was made up solely of women. Sherrill felt like a deeper dive was in order.
“It was truly an incredible experience, having this strong group of women together creating such an impactful project,” said Sherrill. When the term was over, she decided to delve into the conditions that had provided the team with such an unusual experience.
She discussed her options with Dr. Bill Todd, professor of the practice in strategy and management and leader of the healthcare practicum, along with Karie Davis-Nozemack, associate professor of law and ethics. In the end, they decided applying for the Diversity and Inclusion Fellows Program would be the most valuable step in turning research into applicable tools that could be used in women’s organizations as well as heterogeneous groups across Tech to facilitate team building, leadership skills, and collaboration.
Sherrill has already begun conducting interviews with her initial group to help identify the elements behind their team environment. “There was a high level of team trust so I’m looking at questions that measure motivation, extrinsic and intrinsic relationship conflict, task conflict, and organizational attachment,” she said.
Aside from interviews, she also plans to conduct emotional quotient testing to determine whether there was a high level of emotional intelligence in the group and analyze scholarly research to gain insights into what other psychologists have done in the field of organizational behavior.
As the president of the Georgia Panhellenic Society, a sorority sister, and an active member of the Society of Women in Business, Sherrill is intent on making a difference in the world. She wants to see a change in inclusivity and hopes to apply the lessons she learns to over 30 women-centered organizations on campus, nine professional and academic organizations, sorority organizations, and women’s sports teams.
Sherrill not only hopes to come away with tangible actions to increase diversity and inclusion but to learn from others. “I’m excited about the work within the Fellows Program and about expanding my perspective and learning from my fellow cohorts. I’m excited to learn more about what I can do to become an effective team leader,” she stated.