Common Question Areas Points of contact
Student applications & registration (processes, policies)
IT issues - Application & peer evaluation
Peer evaluations and the VIP Grading Tool (access and use)
Starting a VIP Team Ed Coyle
Sponsorship for a VIP team or the VIP Program Leah Misemer
Request a speaker/presenter Speaker Request Form
Frequently Asked Questions Prospective Students FAQ  | Current Students FAQ
VIP Program Administration
Edward Coyle
Director, Arbutus Center for the Integration of Research and Education
Director, VIP

John B. Peatman Distinguished Professor
Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar
Phone: 404.894.8136
Office: Klaus 3132
Edward J. Coyle is the John B. Peatman Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar. He is the Founder and Director of the Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) Program, which integrates research and education by embedding large-scale, long-term teams of undergraduates in the research efforts of faculty and their graduate students. He is also the Director of the VIP Consortium, a set of 35 (and growing) universities that have VIP Programs and work together to improve, evaluate, and disseminate it. Dr. Coyle was a co-recipient of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering’s 2005 Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education. In 1998, Dr. Coyle was elected a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) for his contributions to the theory of nonlinear signal processing. He has received a number of other awards, including the 1997 Chester F. Carlson Award from the American Society for Engineering Education and the 1986 Paper Award from IEEE Signal Processing Society. His current research interests include systemic reform of higher education, signal and information processing, and wireless and sensor networks.
Julie Sonnenberg-Klein
Executive Director, VIP Program
Phone: 404.894.8142
Office: Klaus 3134
Julie holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Physics and a Masters of Education in Education Organization and Leadership, both from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. She is now pursuing a PhD in Educational Policy Studies with an emphasis on Research, Measurement and Statistics at Georgia State University. Julie has coordinated academic programs, summer undergraduate research programs, departmental recruiting for graduates and undergraduates, as well as community outreach programs. She began her career at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign Department of Physics, moved to the the University of Colorado Boulder Department of Physics, and then joined the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2004.
Leah Misemer
Assistant Director, VIP Program
Office: Klaus 3117

Leah Misemer holds a PhD in English from University of Wisconsin-Madison with a specialization in visual rhetoric and popular culture. She comes to VIP from Georgia Tech’s Writing and Communication Program, where she taught first year writing and worked in the Communication Center while a Marion L. Brittain Postdoctoral Fellow. In VIP, she facilitates and develops relationships between the program’s current and potential stakeholders both at Georgia Tech and globally. Her specialties include marketing, communication, event planning, and interdisciplinary program building.

Deon O'Bryant
Assistant Director, VIP Program

Office: Klaus 3115

Deon holds a PhD in Biological Science from Clark Atlanta University with a focus on age-related initiation of prostate tumorigenesis. Before coming to Georgia Tech, Deon served as Faculty Lead and Assistant Professor of Biological Science for the School of Science, Math and Health Professions at Atlanta Metropolitan State College. In VIP, he serves as the liasion between VIP and department administration and curriculum committees for the development and adoption of academic policies that further enhance the undergraduate experience in academic scholarship and exploration.

Academic Team  
Chris Malbrue
Christopher Malbrue
Academic Program Manager
Office: Klaus 3130
Chris Malbrue manages key operations of the VIP program and serves as the primary point of contact for faculty. He has studied Computer Science at Morehouse College and also Marketing at Kennesaw State University. Chris joined Georgia Tech in 2008 and previously was the Admissions Coordinator for Electrical and Computer Engineering Graduate Program and has over 15 years of experience in higher education.
Mitsuko Ito
Academic Program Coordinator
Phone: 404.894.9362
Office: Klaus 3128
Mitsuko supports student registrations and hiring for the VIP program, and serves as an additional point of contact for faculty and students. She has studied Biology and International Studies at International Christian University (Tokyo, Japan) and Peace & Justice at Eastern Mennonite University. Having multiple certifications in advanced healing modalities, Mitsuko enjoys collaborating with various campus units offering workshops and supporting well-being initiatives since she first joined CREATE-X/ECE/Georgia Tech in 2017.
Chris Malbrue
Makesi ("Mah-ke-zi") Hamilton
Application Developer II
Office: Klaus 1348
Originally from Tinidad and Tobago in the Caribean, Makesi graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in Civil Engineering in 2007.  He later transitioned into software development, which has been his carreer for the last seven years.  Makesi is always ready for any water related activities - pool, beach, river etc - on hot days!
VIP Student Ambassadors
Aniyah Bussey - Lead VIP Ambassador
About Me
I am currently a fourth-year undergraduate student studyig Computer Science with focuses in People and Media. I am part of the "Embedded Systems Cybersecurity" VIP team where I serve as the team lead for the Fire Team. Our goal is to examine and assess the cybersecurity that exists on the fire alarm control panel using reverse engineering software/skills to work towards committing a side-channel attack on the fire alarm system. I originally joined this VIP to gain cybersecurity experience, but it has contributed so much more in terms of my professional development and technical skillset; I've truly never done anything like this in my classes and probably never would have if it weren't for this VIP project! When I'm not working on this project or in class, I enjoy making beaded jewelry, going on picnics, and watching British Netflix shows.
Abhinav Vishnuvajhala
About Me
I'm currently a junior undergraduate CS major at Georgia Tech, and I've been part of two VIP projects so far: "Language and Politics in the New South," and "LIDAR Robotics research." These two experiences have shaped my experience at Georgia Tech in an incredible way by sparking my interest in artificial intelligence and human-computer interaction. Working in a VIP has provided me mentorship by working alongside senior undergraduate students, master's students, and even professors. I believe it is a great way to get involved in research in any field, and personally helped me transition to the college life when I was a first-year, both academically and socially. As a VIP ambassador, I seek to introduce the whole Georgia Tech community, especially incoming first-years, to the opportunity to engage in hands-on research while making personal connections, with a low barrier to entry and a high return on investment!
Greg Lanier
About Me
I am an M.S.E.C.E. student with a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and currently lead Smart Stadium's SensorNet team. I specialize in in wireless IoT systems development, and have been on the team for 5 years. After graduation, I will be returning to Texas Instruments as an Applications Engineer for the Mixed Signal Processors (MSP) team. In my free time, I enjoy music performance, guitar tech repairs, and programming digital signal processing applications for use with music production tools.
Iris Wu
About Me
I am currently an undergraduate student studying Music Technology at Georgia Institute of Technology. Born in Tokyo, grew up in Shanghai and came to Atlanta for college. I translated a short story by Japanese writer Kenji Miyazawa into English, and wrote an interview based biograph of Japanese translator of the Lord of the Ring series as a member of East Asian VIP group, and am working on analyzing computer generated melody for VIP this fall.
Jason Jagielo
About Me
I am currently a Third-Year Computer Engineering undergraduate with threads in Cybersecurity and Systems & Architecture from Kildeer, IL. I have been involved in Georgia Tech VIP since Fall 2022. I am a member of the Secure Hardware VIP Team, where I am specifically involved in the Dynamic Compiler Subgroup. The team aims to leverage the security benefits of hardware to reduce the attack surface for adversaries, where I have specialized in creating a software compiler on a hardware platform. On campus, I am also involved with the Georgia Tech Catholic Center and Greek Life.
Katelyn Potts
About Me
I am a third-year electrical engineering student from South Carolina. It is currently my third semester on the EcoCAR VIP team, and I am on the propulsion and controls modeling sub-team. I originally joined the VIP program because I wanted to get involved in interdisciplinary undergraduate research, and this program has many different opportunities for that. Besides VIP, I am an electrical and computer engeineering ambassador, and I am a member of the boxing club. When I'm not in class, I enjoy playing the viola, weightlifting, and playing tennis.
Kristin Purmort
About Me
I am a third year neuroscience student also pursuing a minor in industrial design. I have been apart of the AccessCORPS team for the past year and now lead our research team. While the AccessCORPS team as a whole works on remediating GT courses to improve their accessibility, the research team focuses on learning the additudes and knowledge towards accessible design on the Georgia Tech campus so that we can plan out our course of action for the later semesters. The research team is currently creating a survey and interview research project with our study population being GT students with disabilities. We hope to gauge how their disabilities effect their GT education, how supportive GT is towards them, and ask them if they have any reccomendations for our team on how we improve the accessibility of the course. Outside of VIP, I work part time with GT CEISMC at North Clayton Middle School.
Minkyung Oh
About Me
I am a third year computer science major with threads in people and media, and I have been a part of "Getting to Know U" VIP since fall of 2022. Until its conclusion in the spring semester, I was on Institue Communications Data Portal sub-team, where I made Tableau data visualizations of IRP catalog for the Institue Communications department. For this semester, I am working as a team of one (with advisor) on a larger scale project called CollabNext, working more on the SQL database side of it. I joined VIP to fulfill my capstone requirement, but I have gained much interest and skills in data analytics and visualization through it. Outside of the VIP, I work at Robotarium by Georgia Tech and organize hackathon (HackGT) as a member of HexLabs.
Natalia Vidal
About Me
I am a second-year student studying Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. My hobbies are running and trying new foods. I am on the Decarbonized Fertilizer Manufacturing Team where we work to create more sustainable fertilizers. This VIP just started a year ago, and I am enjoying learning so many new things with my team! We are primarily working with chemical and mechanical engineers, but other majors are encouraged to join.
Owen Mason
About Me
I’m a member of the Gaming for Electric Power Grids VIP where I lead the game design subteam. The goal of the Gaming for Electric Power Grids VIP is to create a playable simulation of how the power grid interacts with natural disasters like wildfires to gather data on how to respond to these events. As the design team leader my role is to lead discussions for design new systems and mechanics and provide planning and goals for our implementation and graphic design subteams. The VIP program has been an amazing experience for me and I’m always excited to share that with new students.
Rithesh Rajasekar

I’m a 3rd year undergraduate student at Georgia Tech studying Computer Science, focusing on the Intelligence and Information Internetworks threads. I am a proud member of the Low Cost Aerial Autonomy VIP where I lead the Artificial Intelligence (AI) sub team to develop real time path planning algorithms for aircrafts. The VIP program has given me countless opportunities including networking with both students and professors and working on industry and research-oriented applications. I also love dabbling in any projects related to machine learning, AI, computer vision, generative AI, and low-level systems. In my free time, I love to work out, play tennis, and watch Netflix.

VIP Student Employees
Jordan Jones
Year: 4th
Major: Computer Science
Jisue Park
Year: 3rd
Major: Neuroscience
I've been working for the VIP program since October 2022!
IT Team
VIP Application Form & VIP Peer Evaluation



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