Georgia Tech Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts

I Am Liberal Arts! Undergraduate Profiles

Natalie Otterson- History, Technology, and Society

My Name: Natalie Otterson

My Major: History, Technology, and Society

My Minor: French

My Hometown: Marietta, Georgia


I am a very multi-faceted individual.

I love to explore new ideas and concepts. I‘ve always been interested in studying other cultures and ideas. I grew up in a household that equally valued the arts and technology, which pushed me into choosing Georgia Tech. I love new challenges – whether they are scholastic, artistic, or sportive.  I try to seize every opportunity and make the most of it.

I appreciate the exceptional attention given to the Liberal Arts students at GT.

While you’re a member of a large and well-respected university, you’re treated individually and can receive a specialized education from scholars in their field. The Liberal Arts Program at Tech isn’t a generic, cookie cutter program; it’s molded to each student. As far as what attracted me to my major, I love to read and study about the past – the way certain people, events, and extraneous influences created and molded the past. I think that learning the past is essential to learn how to better shape the future.

For me, HTS means studying my passion – history – on a well-rounded scale.

History, Technology, and Society helps us prepare for the future by understanding the past. Studying history and sociology allows for a better understanding of the evolution of societies and cultures throughout the ages.  At Georgia Tech, HTS studies interpret the influence and affects of technology and science.  As part of the Ivan Allen College, HTS students receive a superior education from experts in the field and individualized attention despite being part of a large university.

My classes and professors inspire me.

I came to Tech as an Undecided Liberal Arts major. It was through FASET that I met Dr. Amy D’Unger, the HTS Undergraduate Advisor. After having a discussion with her, I quickly decided that HTS was the right path for me. She assured me that whatever career I decided that I wanted to pursue and whatever minors I wanted to add on, we could “make it work,” as Tim Gunn says.

Dr. Flamming, too, has influenced my HTS career. He makes history approachable and fun. His enthusiasm is infectious and inspiring.

I’ve had the opportunity to take some fantastic classes at Tech, and it’s impossible choose a favorite!

Each HTS class I’ve taken has been a pleasure in its own right. I loved Research Methods with Professor Flamming and Professor Winders. Not only did they have a fantastic dynamic with each other, but they taught the fundamentals of historical writing. I was able to explore the depths of the library and expand my research capabilities.

While on the Oxford Program this summer, I had the opportunity to take Modern European Intellectual History with Professor Flamming and History of Medicine with Professor Tone. In both classes, I studied an aspect of history that I hadn’t much accounted for before. Professor Flamming was a riot and approached the subject of the evolution of thought in Europe in an approachable and readily understandable way. In Dr. Tone’s class, I learned about the impact of disease on history. For the most part, it was thought that man had the main role in his destiny and shaping history, but Dr. Tone’s class taught me that other influences such as disease shaped history.

Another favorite class was Professor Schneer’s Britian 1815-1914 Class. I am an anglophile and am particularly obsessed with the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Professor Schneer’s lectures illuminated the contradictions of the Victorian Era – the age of propriety versus the uprisings and rebellions of Women, Workers, and the Irish. I also am fascinated by British Imperialism and how, through Imperialism, the cultures of the affected countries and the ‘mother country’ were influenced.

I also thoroughly enjoyed Global Consumers in the 20thCentury with Professor Smith. As a consumer, I really liked studying how consumption was related with culture, class, and citizenship. The rise of consumerism came out of the Industrialization of the 19thcentury, my favorite era, and came into its own through the World Wars.

Studying in Europe was the experience of a lifetime.

I just came back from a fantastic Study Abroad program in Europe.  For four weeks, I toured cities in Europe and exploring the art, culture and music of the areas.  After that, I spent six weeks in Oxford, England, studying during the week and visiting areas I hadn’t seen on the weekends.  I consider this opportunity a chance of a lifetime to visit countries I might not have even visited otherwise.  I loved observing the people of each culture and appreciate how history and the arts made impacts on their lives.  It was also tremendously excited to be in London during the Olympics this summer. I was able to see how England prepared for the event and to cheer alongside. I kept records of my day-to-day events this summer on my Oxford blog, www.natalieatoxford.tumblr.com

I’m also a fish.

Ever since I was little, I loved the water.  As a toddler, I spent hours in the pool, so much that my parents called me “The Fish.”  I was on our neighborhood summer swim team since I was five, dreaming of becoming a coach when I was older.  After many lessons, not only did I coach, but I represented my high school, and now college on various teams. I love the calmness and tranquility of the water, yet the team spirit and determination of competition.  

Don’t pass up checking out Tech’s amazing aquatic facilities. insert this link using word aquatic facilities http://www.crc.gatech.edu/aquatics/

Where am I heading after graduation?

There are many paths that I can see myself taking; however, my most recent interest has been to work as a Consultant for museum exhibits.

Questions about students featured, photography, or to recommend a new undergraduate profile; contact Elizabeth Miller

Check out the videos below to hear Natalie talk about:

  • Some of the great things to do in Atlanta
  • Her amazing study abroad experience in Oxford, England

(Click video to play; double-click to watch fullscreen)

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