Meet the Graduate Student Coaches (continued)

Adrian Ildefonso


4th Year PhD Student in Electrical and Computer Engineering
“I never lose. Either I win, or I learn." - Nelson Mandela

Adrian is currently a Ph.D. student in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.   He received the B.S. degree in computer engineering from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, in 2014 and the M.S. degree in electrical and computer engineering from Georgia Tech, in 2017.   He was awarded the GEM Fellowship in 2014 and the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship in 2015. The primary goal of his research is to build more robust systems for satellites and other space-based applications.

As an aspiring researcher, Adrian believes that research skills can and should be applied to all aspects of life.  He believes that It is important to observe our environments, situations and encounters, to take note of our reactions to changes in different aspects of our lives, and to adjust our actions to better live out our values.  This constant loop of observation and adjustment is what leads to growth in the journey of life.  Adrian is excited to work with his coachees and is looking forward to the opportunity of learning from each other.

Saad Javaid


3rd Year Dual Degree PhD | MBA Student in Materials Science and Engineering & Scheller College of Business
“It’s your road, and yours alone, others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.” - Rumi

Saad graduated from the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs with a double major in Aeronautical and Systems Engineering alongside his Instructor Pilot wings with the Airmanship program. In his professional career, he managed maintenance, logistics and operations of combat aircraft. He later transitioned into academia and taught undergrad thermodynamics courses in Pakistan. 

Alex is currently a 3rd Year Dual Degree PhD-MBA Student in Materials Science and Engineering and a Fulbright Scholar. 

Saad believes that leadership grooming is one of the most essential life skills that shape an individuals personality. Having gone through formal leadership training at a military academy, Saad believes that it has instilled certain qualities and values in him that give him a well rounded, balanced take on life. He is excited to help others discover themselves and make their mark on the world and any nudge that he can provide in the right direction would be invaluable to him.


Jay Joshi


5th Year PhD Student in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
"The charts are only relevant when you're on top of them" - Noel Gallagher

While pursuing his B.S. in Chemical Engineering at Clemson University, Jay was involved in several extracurricular activities that helped him develop as a young professional and a leader. He was a founding member of Clemson’s AIChE “ChemE” car team, and was involved in undergraduate research for several years in the Chemistry Department. Jay additionally worked a temporary position as a Chemist at Atotech USA during the summers of 2012-2014, assisting with product development and process optimization projects at the company. During the school semesters, he also garnered hands-on teaching experience as an undergraduate teaching assistant in the Chemical Engineering department. Ultimately, Jay decided to attend graduate school after obtaining his bachelor’s degree. He is now a 5th yeah PhD student in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Georgia Tech, and serves as his research group’s Safety Officer. 

Through his graduate school career, Jay has had the benefit of leading undergraduate recitation courses, teaching laboratory classes, and being involved in multidisciplinary projects spanning different universities and institutions. These cooperative experiences, along with collaborative work and social activities at Georgia Tech and around Atlanta, have helped him grow immensely in both his education and social outlook. He is always looking for opportunities to develop new interpersonal relationships and meet other students. Jay is hoping to gain a more well-rounded outlook on leadership, as he believes his coachees will offer him diverse sets of personalities, backgrounds, and unique experiences that he can learn and grow from.

Simple Kamar


3rd Year PhD Student in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
"The fool didn't know it was impossible so he did it anyway" - Unknown

Simple is a 3rd year PhD student in School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, working on Intracellular Drug Delivery. He received his Bachelors and Master’s degree from IIT Chennai and is a Coal India Ltd scholarship recipient. He also interned in Politecnico di Milano, Italy and is always looking for ways to sneak out and travel the world. He has presented his undergrad research work in International Conference on Chemical Kinetics, 2015, held in Belgium.

Simple chose to become a Leadership fellow to enable students to redefine their capabilities. He believes this will give him an opportunity to not only help others grow but also to refine his own interpersonal skills and build character. He believes that he can help students see beyond the horizon through self-belief and constant motivation (yes, the horizon looks beautiful but there’s more to it beyond what’s visible).

Girish Kini


4th Year PhD Student in Mechanical Engineering
"Everything that counts cannot be counted" - Albert Einstein

Girish received his B.Tech in Mechanical Engineering from National Institute of Technology Karnataka in India. He is currently pursuing his PhD in the same field with a focus on energy efficient cooling technologies at the Sustainable Thermal Systems Laboratory. During his undergrad, he held many leadership positions in technical clubs including the Formula Student team. He interned at the Indian Space Research Organization and Bosch Ltd. 

Girish is excited to be part of this fellowship and is looking forward to many rewarding experiences for both his mentees and him. He has always been fascinated by the soft power exercised by leaders and the profound impact they have on people. He also strongly believes that there is no universal method to develop leadership and will work with his mentees on an individual basis to explore, self-reflect and help them grow at multiple levels.

Akshay Korde


4th year PhD student in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
"It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward." - Rocky Balboa

Akshay completed his Bachelors and Masters degree in Chemical Engineering from IIT Bombay in India. During his undergrad, Akshay served as a student mentor to first years and mentored 22 freshmen over the course of 2 years. He worked for a year as an Associate with PwC US Advisory before moving on to his PhD in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Georgia Tech.

Akshay believes that leadership can be learnt like any other skill. He wants to help his coachees discover their leadership potential through self-introspection and in process develop his own character. Akshay wants to grow alongside his coachees and help them develop into the next generation leaders.

Udaya Lakshmi


2nd Year PhD Student in Human Centered Computing
"Happiness is not a state to arrive at, but a manner of traveling." Margaret Lee Runbeck

In the last two years, Udaya graduated from the Human Computer Interaction program while starting her PhD in Human Centered Computing. She interned at ADP as a User Experience Researcher, adding to work experience in India as a Business Manager and mentor to a 16 person team at a design startup for seven years. In another life, she worked at Google India for two years and holds an MBA in Communication Management. Udaya is currently a 2nd Year PhD Student applying participatory design methods  for self-managed healthcare.
Udaya finds a growth mindset is rewarding not only towards achieving a goal, but also for learning to hone one's own sense of self through reflection. She believes a systematic approach to situations and outcomes let her manage the inevitable challenges that accompany change. She wants to learn with others to practice and evolve approaches that help us lead ourselves through these opportunities. The choice to be a coach contributes to her project in self-transformation. She is eager to meet her coachees and find new (awesome) ways to grow together.


Jason Lee


4th Year PhD Student in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
"Just remember, you can't climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pockets." - Arnold Schwarzenegger

Jason received his B.S. in chemical engineering from The Ohio State University in 2013. He is currently a 4th year PhD candidate in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering where he is currently working on materials for CO2 Capture. He co-oped for General Electric Lighting during his undergraduate years.

Jason chose to become a leadership fellow to improve his leadership skills while also helping others achieve their goals and gain confidence in themselves.







Jonathan Leung


4th Year PhD Student in Materials Science and Engineering
"Wisdom begins in wonder" - Socrates

During his time at the University of Waterloo, Jonathan co-oped across Canada and abroad. Jonathan has worked on developing advanced transmissions for military vehicles and developed optimized manufacturing lines for cell batteries. Co-oping in Germany, Jonathan was able to travel across France, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands and attributes travel as a key aspect of personal development. Jonathan is currently a 4th year PhD student in Materials Science and Engineering. 

Jonathan is dedicated to helping individuals develop into the best versions of themselves by becoming leaders of themselves and those around them. Jonathan believes that everyone has leadership capabilities and encourages positive leadership development through incremental changes in one’s behaviour. It is the small things that make the difference and once the momentum is built up, it cannot be stopped and better one will be. Being a coach also allows Jonathan to develop himself and improve his leadership skills. Jonathan is excited to learn and grow alongside the coachee and is excited at the opportunities and challenges that they will work on together.

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