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Ahmet Faruk Saz
‘A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.’ - Albert Einstein
Faruk is a 3rd year Machine Learning Ph.D. student within the homeschool of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Faruk has completed his undergraduate education in Ankara, Turkey, receiving a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering. During his undergraduate education, he interned at two R&D companies, working mainly on radar systems, localization, communications, and signal processing. His current research at Tech focuses on improving communication efficiency and enhancing privacy in distributed optimization problems. Faruk likes to spend his free time experimenting with whatever is intriguing him the most at a given moment. It can be as simple as reading a book, watching a show, or, if in the mood, buying a last-minute ticket to discover some state he has never visited before. He enjoys pretty much everything outdoors, so feel free to invite him if you are going to climb, camp, hike, walk, or jump off a plane (currently in his bucket list of things to do before leaving Tech)!
Favorite Quote: “If you can dream it, you can do it.” - Walt Disney
Alesia is currently a 3rd year Mechanical Engineering major. This summer, she interned at Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation in Savannah, GA. At Georgia Tech, Alesia is involved in Connect, SMILE, M&M Mentoring, Women of Woodruff (WoW), and the Catholic Center. As an Executive Advisor for Connect, a First-Year Leadership Organization (FLO), Alesia helps first years connect to the Georgia Tech community, plan and run events, and build leadership skills. She has competed in VEX robotics competitions and FIRST World Championships for FTC and FRC, mentored robotics teams, ran cross country, created and taught Introduction to Engineering and Introduction to Architecture courses, and knows how to play piano and organ. Starting at Tech as an off campus student because of her food allergies, Alesia gained valuable skills in how to navigate new experiences with unique challenges all while having fun, and she enjoys helping others do the same!
What inspired you to become a Leadership Fellow?
After experiencing the program as a Coachee, Alesia wanted to give back by becoming a Leadership Coach. She understands how beneficial it is to have someone to talk to about leadership and help you grow as a leader in student organizations, the classroom, and life.
"That which we give makes us richer, that which is hoarded is lost.” - Shota Rustaveli
Ana is a 2nd Year Ph.D. student in the economics department. Her academic pursuits center around environmental economics, international trade, and development economics. Prior to joining Georgia Tech, Ana was a Fulbright scholar at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, where she earned a Master of Public Policy Analysis degree. Originally from Georgia, a country in Eastern Europe, she is fluent in both Georgian and English. Beyond her academic endeavors, Ana finds solace and joy in taking photos, which goes well with her love for travel and exploration. Also, she enjoys cooking Georgian national dishes and sharing them with others.
Ashwin Sankara Raman
“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood” - Marie Curie
Hailing from Chennai, India, Ashwin studied Nanoscience and Nanotechnology as he was immensely interested in how the same materials in can behave in a radically different way if made in different sizes and shapes. During this time, he had the incredible opportunity to intern at Massachusetts Institute of Technology to gauge the general field of research and experience first-hand how it is done in top notch universities. At MIT, his main focus was studying nano-magnets that can be used to tickle your brain to alleviate the symptoms of PTSD and Alzheimer’s. He also studied the mineral compositions of soil to improve agricultural yields in South America. These experiences form the core of his research methods at Georgia Tech. But, this was also the beginning for a new leadership journey as he caught a glimpse of how teamwork and leadership helps in achieving cutting edge research to tackle the world's greatest problems. At Georgia Tech, Ashwin currently works in the field of Solid-State Lithium Ion batteries, marching towards a greener future. As a PhD student, he saw the importance of leadership and teamwork in every day research and how it can be a game changer for him and his team. This spirit is what he intends to foster and help grow within the future graduates of Georgia Tech
“Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.” - Abraham Lincoln
Daamini Visaalaakshi is a second-year graduate student majoring in Aerospace Engineering. Her research focuses on helping aircraft manufacturers build the next generation of aircraft and production systems by developing advanced methods, and architectures. She completed her bachelor’s in aerospace engineering and has around six years of professional experience in the design and development of aerospace components. She also serves as VP of Professional Development in the Graduate Student Government Association. When she’s not geeking out over aerospace, she enjoys dancing, doing yoga, reading, and exploring themes in the intersection of arts and technology.
Elif Ceren Fitoz
“The owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the falling of dusk.” - G.W.F. Hegel
Ceren is pursuing her Ph.D. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering with a research focus on neural signal processing for treatment-resistant depression. She received her BS from Bilkent University in Turkey. During her time, she had several internship experiences in several companies. In GT, Ceren received 2-years of Graduate Teaching Assistantship, where she enjoyed the invaluable learning/teaching experience.
"A society grows great when older people plant trees in whose shade they may never sit" - Greek Proverb
Hasan is currently pursuing his MBA at Georgia Tech's Scheller College of Business. He earned his BS in Finance and Mathematics from Northeastern University in Boston, MA. Before embarking on his MBA journey, Hasan spent about 5 years working in corporate finance, an experience that allowed him to grasp the significance of leadership skills. After reflecting on his career, he made the conscious decision to pursue an MBA, aiming to explore new career avenues and invest time in honing his leadership capabilities.
During his MBA program, Hasan had the pleasure of interning at Kenvue (formerly Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health), where he served as a Brand Management intern. Outside of work, you'll catch Hasan playing or watching soccer, hiking, diving into sci-fi reads, and simply soaking up the outdoors.
"We can't solve today's problems with the mentality that created them." -Albert Einstein
Jacob is in his 7th year on campus after completing his bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering and then continuing onto his masters. During his time at Tech, Jacob served as philanthropy, president, and student advisor for Pi Tau Sigma, the ME honor society, and as president of Omicron Delta Kappa, the leadership honor society. He has also worked as a undergraduate tutor for the ME department (Fluids and Heat Transfer), as a private tutor (Statics, Dynamics, Differential Equations, and Thermodynamics) and as a TA (EV and the Grid). In what little free time he has, Jacob can be found playing pickup or IM sports (primarily soccer, volleyball, and basketball) or playing guitar.
What inspired you to become a Leadership Fellow?
I was a LEAD coachee my junior year while I was philanthropy chair of PTS. It was my first leadership position ever, and I was truly terrified that I would fall flat on my face, figuratively speaking. My coach not only gave me to confidence to step out of my comfort zone in my role, but also inspired me to run for president the following semester. I hope that, as a Leadership Fellow, I can support other aspiring leaders in the same way that my coach supported me.
"I cannot remember a night so dark as to have hindered the coming day." - John Brown
During his time as an undergraduate at Clemson University, Lars interned at Electrolux's Anderson plant and Bosch Rexroth's Fountain Inn plant and worked as an undergraduate research assistant for two years, resulting in an international conference presentation and a first-author paper. He received several scholarships while at Clemson and graduated summa cum laude. He is now a 3rd year PhD student Materials Science and Engineering at Georgia Tech and a recipient of the President's and Brantley fellowships.
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
Lauren is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Music whose work focuses on creating collaborative and interactive musical systems. She enjoys writing music for collaborative chamber ensembles that explore extended reality and teaching students of various age groups. Some of the musicians and ensembles she has collaborated with include the Fifth House Ensemble, Chelsea Hollow, and Strange Trace. In addition to music, Lauren enjoys spending time with her family and friends, traveling, and exploring nature.
Matthew C. Blawat Jr.
“Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal.” —Vince Lombardi
Growing up, I played football and baseball. I love sports and being involved in them led me to realize I leaned towards leading others. I’m an avid traveler, which led me to go to Georgia Tech Europe this past spring. On campus, I am a member of the Yellow Jacket Space Program, where I get to apply my schooling to hands on work. This summer I lived in Auburn, Alabama where I interned at GKN Aerospace, a composite structures production plant that makes defense and commercial pieces for aircraft. I hope to become a fighter pilot and fly the F-22 but am also interested in space travel. My leadership journey is far from over and I can’t wait to work with students hoping to progress in their own journey.
Melek D. Ozcan
“We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it as not as dreadful as it appears, discovering that we have the strength to stare it down.” Eleanor Roosevelt
Melek earned her bachelor’s degrees in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanical Engineering from Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey. She is currently a PhD student in Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory (ASDL). During her time in ASDL, she worked on projects in a variety of areas, from large-scale optimization to propulsion system design. In addition, she spent three years as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in Aerospace Engineering for graduate-level courses, improving her mentoring, communication, time management and organization skills. She focuses on the sustainable solutions in aviation and their feasibilities. In her free time, Melek enjoys watching documentaries, reading and resistance training as well as taking pictures of GT campus with her DSLR camera.
Mourin (Mo) Jarin
"Don't poison your colleagues!"
- Dr. Jianfeng Zhou
Mo is Bengali-American third culture kid originally born in Japan and grew up in Ithaca, NY. Mo completed her Bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering at the University at Buffalo (Go Bills!) before moving down to Atlanta for their PhD. Mo is also the Entrepreneurial Lead for her lab’s start up efforts developing innovative and chlorine-free water disinfection and desalination technologies. Mo has participated in VentureLab Female Founders at Georgia Tech, received the Zeitlin Entrepreneurial Impact Prize, won the CRIDC Innovation Competition, and received the NSF I-Corps Award. Mo continues to motivate students to explore entrepreneurship at Georgia Tech knowing it isn’t always about the publications, but also the potential application of institutional research. Outside the lab, Mo’s favorite things are fried chicken and boba!
Naveen Raj Srinivasan
"Don't let life randomly kick you into the adult you don't want to become." - Col. Chris Hadfield
Naveen is a dedicated aerospace engineer, armed with a master's degree from Georgia Tech and a bachelor's degree from India, currently immersed in his PhD journey. Prior to joining GT, he worked as an Impact Dynamics engineer at Bell Flight providing cost-effective rotorcraft design solutions through simulations ensuring aviation compliance. This hands-on experience provided him with a keen understanding of industry demands, fueling his drive to further his education at Georgia Tech. Currently affiliated with the Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory (ASDL), Naveen's research centers on multidisciplinary systems design optimization with a goal to improve civil aviation sustainability and affordability through innovative research.
Beyond the academic realm, Naveen indulges his culinary passions through cooking. Also, as a fitness enthusiast, he finds solace in the rhythmic cadence of running and the refreshing embrace of swimming. Recognizing the value of community, Naveen has dedicated countless hours to volunteering across various organizations, embodying his commitment to giving back. He enjoys a genuine tie to the world around him by fostering meaningful connections with people.
Naveen’s role as a Teaching Assistant for freshmen courses over the past years has illuminated the profound impact leadership can have beyond academics. Guiding students through the challenges of adapting to new environments, managing stressful situations, and upholding good mental health, Naveen understands the holistic responsibility of leadership that extends beyond directives, nurturing others to realize their true potential.
Furthermore, Naveen’s participation in LEAD coaching for two semesters has allowed him to tangibly witness the transformative effects of leadership development. This first-hand experience has solidified his conviction that leadership is not merely a position, but a dynamic force that shapes individuals and communities positively. By becoming a Leadership Fellow, he looks forward to contributing to the empowerment of future leaders by catalyzing their growth as well as his own.
'If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" - Steve Jobs
Preety is a dual-degree student pursuing an MBA at Scheller and a joint MS in Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. Prior to this, she earned her BS in Chemical Engineering from Howard University. During graduate school, she worked as a biomedical researcher, focusing on the development of novel therapeutics for pediatric heart repair. She also served as a licensing associate intern at Emory University, where she helped commercialize groundbreaking technologies emerging from research labs, bridging the gap between innovation and real-world applications.
This past summer, she interned as a senior consultant at PwC Strategy& in their Cloud and Digital practice group. In her spare time, she enjoys tending to her beloved indoor plants, translating the beauty of nature onto canvas through painting, finding peace through meditation, and staying active with invigorating Zumba classes.
“Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth” – Alan Watts
After managing, building, and designing escape games for three years, Rachel decided to return to academia to study the design of interactive media. She completed UCF’s Digital Media MA program before moving on to Georgia Tech in pursuit of a PhD. She is fascinated by the potential for real-life games and immersive experiences, using a combination of the physical and digital to craft engaging worlds and narratives for players to engage in and explore. Her interests lie in designing puzzle games that foster growth and change in players through challenging assumptions and reflection.
Don’t take life too seriously; enjoy every moment and let it surprise you.
Ritesh is working on developing algorithms to solve planning and scheduling problems arising in large-scale transportation service networks. He did his undergraduate in Industrial Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur. He enjoys biking, running and playing badminton. His advice to incoming students is to explore Georgia Tech and take advantage of the ample resources it has to offer. Focus on achieving a healthy work-life balance and get to know Atlanta; it is a beautiful city.
"People break records when they realize it's possible"
Rob's professional journey began in capital markets on the NYSE. Later, he graduated into corporate finance with Apple, then pivoted to project management and org readiness. To grow faster and diversify his skill set, he took a high-profile role with a fast-growing startup to lead growth & product initiatives. After, he continued expanding his skills through entrepreneurship and helping businesses through consulting. Rob is currently pursuing a Master of Industrial Design and an MBA at Georgia Tech. In his leisure time, Rob enjoys skiing, being active, and exploring outdoors.
"A dream is not that which you see while sleeping, it is something that does not let you sleep."- APJ Abdul Kalam
Roshani hails from the Indian state of Maharashtra. Roshani is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Economics, with a research focus on Health Economics and Development Economics. She previously earned her master's degree in Economics from Vanderbilt University and holds an undergraduate degree in Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering. Raised in a developing country, Roshani developed a keen interest in researching ways to combat poverty and enhance healthcare accessibility for underprivileged individuals. This inspired her to pursue Ph.D. in Economics. In her spare time, she enjoys reading books, cooking, and listening to music. She loves outdoor activities like traveling, hiking, and camping.
“One step at a time is all it takes to get you there.” - Emily Dickinson
Sait Kilinc is a fifth-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. His research revolves around exploring wave propagation, signal processing, and micro-electromechanical systems. Outside of his research work, he enjoys trail running, camping, and fishing.
Sanhueza, Paula Andrea
“We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better." - JK Rowling
Favorite Quote: “We do not need magic to change the world; we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already. We have the power to imagine better.”-JK Rowling
Sean has been involved on campus through Student Government Association, Grand Challenges, Consult Your Community, Asian American Student Association, and Ramblin' Reck Club among other communities. He enjoys working with students and advocating for students through his various roles. Sean has also interned at Porsche Cars North America and Deloitte with a focus on the intersection between business, technology, and transformation. Outside of classes and extracurriculars, he enjoys working out, playing volleyball, hanging out with friends, and trying new foods/experiences. With the LEAD Program, he currently also serves as the teaching assistant for PUBP 4140 Foundations of Leadership class and one of the co-directors for Teams for Tech. He's excited to continue working with students as a coach and through his various involvements in LEAD!
What inspired you to become a Leadership Fellow?: Sean was inspired by those who came before him. While becoming a strong advocate and leader on campus, he realized that he was able to learn a lot from previous leaders and that leadership requires building up other leaders. Sean understands the importance of having intentional discussions and effort to understand leadership, something that is so nuanced and intricate, and it starts here with coaching. He is passionate about investing in others and helping build communities and leaders.
“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” - Marthe Troly-Curtin
Taran is currently a 4th year undergraduate student in Computer Science, specializing in Devices and Intelligence. He is passionate about robotics and competed on VEX and FTC teams. In addition, he developed a robotics curriculum for middle and high school students during an internship at McGraw Hill. Highly interested in entrepreneurship, he has also participated in Create X Startup Launch and two semesters of Ideas 2 Prototype. In his free time, he enjoys car karaoke, attempting to spot constellations in the night sky, and playing Mario Party.
We are all like the bright moon, we still have our darker side. – Kahlil Gibran
Tavish Pattanayak is currently in his third year of PhD in Aerospace Engineering at Georgia Tech. He completed his Masters in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech and Bachelor's in Mechanical Engineering from India in 2021 before working as a department manager with Flipkart in supply chain for a brief period of time. His area of research interests are aerodynamics, system design optimization, and human factors. He has previously interned at Delhi Metro in their mechanical department. He has also worked and led an electric commercial motorbike team, an agriculture start-up, few social volunteering clubs in various capacities during his undergraduate. A strong advocate of mental health in campuses, he is the founding member of student support team for two years working towards de-stigmatizing mental health and easier access to resources for those in need. Outside work, Tavish loves to volunteer for various causes, hike, read novels, play badminton, and swim.
"When it comes to the important things in life, focus on the low frequencies!” - Len Fisk
Dario is a first-year Ph.D. student in Aerospace Engineering. He earned his Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from ETH Zurich, Switzerland. During that time, Dario worked on several sounding rocket projects and was the founder and project manager of the satellite mission SAGE (Swiss Artificial Gravity Experiment). Following his internship at Aerospacelab in Belgium, Dario joined the Space Systems Design Lab in the Fall of 2022. Shortly after, Dario received the AE Graduate fellowship for his work on modular autonomous solar power modules for GEO satellites. He is currently focusing on further growing his leadership and communication skills as an instructor / CTL associate, coach and co-director of the Teams for Tech program.
“All you have to do is take a close look at yourself and you will understand everyone else.” – Isaac Asimov
As a Ph.D. candidate in the school of economics, Vikrant studies how people react to changes in the environment and natural resources. His research focuses on environmental policies in the context of developing nations. He is passionate about teaching and wants to be an academician.
Vikrant believes our life is about finding ‘Ikigai’. In the Japanese language, iki means life and gai means purpose or meaning. Together Ikigai literally means ‘purpose of life’. Our journey is about finding this Ikigai. Great leaders and coaches helped him during this journey from a remote village in India to Georgia Tech.
Vishnesh Jayanthi Ramanathan
"Anyone can be a doubter. It's just more fun believing when nobody else does." - Phil Dunphy
Vishnesh is currently a 3rd year undergraduate student in Computer Science from Chennai, India. He is broadly interested in fields that lie at the intersection of computer science, linguistics, and psychology. His main interests are watching sitcoms, gambling his online chess elo, and sleeping. In his free time, he goes to classes, does research in natural language processing, and works as a teaching assistant for the School of Mathematics.
Never be limited by other people's limited imaginations - Dr. Mae Jemison (First women of color in space)
Vyshu is a BS/MS student who has completed her bachelor's in Computer Science and Interaction Design at Georgia Tech and starting her first year MS student in Computer Science and Digital Media specializing in Emotion AI and Ethics behind social computing. Vyshu is active in Bits of Good, ORGT, and scientific research on campus. On the professional side, Vyshu has worked with NCR, Develop For Good, and Microsoft for product management and design internships. Vyshu was raised in Atlanta and is also a first-generation immigrant. She is constantly surrounded by different cultures and is open-minded to meeting new people and cultures from diverse communities. Some hobbies include exploring new restaurants 🍜 and outdoor adventures as well as planning for her month-long travel trip in southeast Asia ✈️ , and being flexible with the timings of coachees.
"Success isn't about how much money you make, it's about the difference you make in people's lives" - Michelle Obama
Ximena studied Industrial Engineering but, convinced that there was another way to contribute to society, she decided to move towards the public policy field, firstly pursuing a Master in Management and Public Policy in Chile, to then come to pursue her Ph.D. in 2019. She is convinced that extracurricular activities are the ones that shape your professional future and that leadership and communication are the most valuable skills any person can learn. These can lead to developing successful teams through collaboration and compassion. The experience of being a Coach is a huge privilege, and she will devote her time and energy to help her Coachees to take the most out of their leadership development.