Georgia Tech Bids Farewell to Faculty Advisor of 13 Years

The mentorship and guidance provided by an advisor in an educational setting are valuable beyond measure. Dr. Tom Fuller has had the pleasure of successfully leading the Georgia Tech team as a faculty advisor for 13 years.

Fuller began his tenure at the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2004 when he switched from working in the industry to academia. After graduating from the University of Utah with his Bachelor’s degree and receiving his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from UC Berkeley, Fuller spent ten years working in the industry at United Technologies before discovering the opportunity to work as a professor at Georgia Tech. Since then, Dr. Fuller has taught more than ten courses, in subjects such as Electrochemical Energy Conversion and Storage, to both undergraduate and graduate students.

Fuller first became involved with Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions (AVTCs) and EcoCAR in 2008 with EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge. After hearing about the opportunity from a student, Fuller became the faculty advisor and has held the position since then.

Throughout his years as a faculty advisor, Fuller has witnessed the impact this competition has made on students. According to Fuller, EcoCAR provides an outlet for students to pursue their passion for advanced vehicle technologies in the best way possible.

“EcoCAR is about training and developing students to work in the automotive industry,” Fuller stated, sharing his thoughts on the program. “It is an outlet for students to fulfill their interest in this field where they get to do hands-on activities and build a full-size vehicle.”

“My approach as an advisor is fairly hands-off. I always felt like it was truly a student competition. I am there to guide students and help where needed, but the students really do the work.”

Of the many experiences he has had in EcoCAR, Dr. Fuller cites attending the competitions as his favorite memory. “There could be long days, but when the students work together, they can get a lot done in such a short amount of time, and I think that’s very rewarding,” he shared.

While Dr. Fuller has left a meaningful mark on the Georgia Tech team as the faculty advisor for the past three competitions, he plans on focusing more time on education around electrochemistry and energy conversion and storage.

Fuller first published a textbook in 2018 after noticing a gap in existing books about electrochemistry and energy conversion. He is currently working on the second edition of his textbook and plans to focus more time on this in the upcoming year.

“The whole purpose of the book is to try to connect with students and meet them where they are and help them. It’s not just documenting what I know, but instead, it’s supposed to be responsive to the needs of students.”

The Georgia Tech team is immensely grateful to Dr. Fuller for his hard work and contributions over the past decade. While he has already made a difference and helped develop the next generation of talented engineers, the team knows he will continue to excel in all of his endeavors.