Meet the Graduate Student Coaches

Choose by first letter of last name of coach.

A | B | D | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | O | P | Q | R | S | W
Rupa Anne
Viswa Sri Rupa Anne
3rd Year PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering
"Surround yourself with people who challenge you, teach you and, push you to be your best self" - Bill Gates.
Rupa is a Ph.D student working in autonomous and connected transportation. She completed her Bachelors in civil engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IITM) in Southern India, Right after, she moved to Georgia to pursue her masters in Transportation Engineering at Georgia Tech. During her time as a masters' student, she worked as a graduate researcher at GTRI. This experience motivated her to pursue a doctoral program in the field of emerging technologies in transportation. Outside of academics, Rupa may be found painting, baking (especially cupcakes) or boxing.
What inspired you to become a Leadership Fellow?:
As an undergraduate student I benefited from a mentorship program. The program helped me grow both academically and personally. Providing coaching support for another student is very rewarding and inspiring.
Shuaib Balogun
Shuaib Balogun
3rd Year PhD in Material Science and Engineering
"Sometimes you need to get knocked down before you can really figure out what your fight is and how you need to fight it." - Chadwick Boseman
During his undergraduate career, Shuaib interned at the 3M and worked as a research assistant in a catalytic laboratory. Additionally, he worked as a 3-year residential assistant as well as a 3 year teaching assistant at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Upon graduation, he was bestowed the great privilege of being a 21st century leader by the Chancellor of UMass Amherst for his exemplary leadership in the community. Shuaib is currently a 3rd Year PhD Student in Material Science and Engineering and has interned at Applied Materials, Corning Incorporated, and is an NSF GRFP, GAANN, GEM and Presidential Fellowship recipient.
What inspired you to become a Leadership Fellow?:
Shuaib believes that the ability to listen and have bipartisan discussions are important towards driving change and understanding within a community. He wants to help others develop skills that will make them better members of society that can emphasize with others and drive positive change.
Ritesh Bhatt
Ritesh Bhatt
1st Year MS in Mechanical Engineering
“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” -J.R.R. Tolkien
While an undergraduate student at Georgia Tech, Ritesh served as a leader in many campus organizations, including the Invention Studio and India Club at Georgia Tech. He interned in India at MakerGhat, where he prototyped a low-cost plastic bottle crusher to facilitate waste management. Some of his hobbies include photography, creating art, and working on fun projects in the Invention Studio such as a DIY star tracker.
What inspired you to become a Leadership Fellow?:
Ritesh was a coachee in the Leading Edge program in Fall 2019, where he learned the importance of being introspective and mindful to further self-development. Through one-on-one coaching, he was challenged to rethink and analyze the thought process behind all the different situations he faced in college, whether with friends, classmates, or instructors. Ritesh recognizes the importance of a helping hand and some additional perspective when practicing self-development, which is why he wanted to be a coach himself. He is excited to take this journey of leadership development with his fellow coaches and coachees, and hopes to grow as a leader, student, and friend while guiding others to do the same.
Lauriane Donang
2ne Year Master of Architecture
“It always seems impossible until it's done.” - Nelson Mandela
Lauri graduated with her bachelor’s degree of Science in Architecture at the University of the District of Columbia in Washington DC. She was involved in different leadership initiatives such as Board Member of the National Organization of Minority Architect Students (NOMAS) and Vice President of Community Service in the National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS). Lauri transferred to Tech (Fall 2020) in the midst of a pandemic to pursue her master’s degree. She’s passionate about design, sustainability and aspires to become a Designer with her own firm around the world. Her philosophy is to create an environment that’s in harmony with its roots while looking up to its branches. Just like a tree, she wants to stay true to her roots because they shaped who she is and who she will be, while allowing herself to grow in different ways looking up to the future.
What inspired you to become a Leadership Fellow?:
As a coachee in the Leading-Edge program in Fall 2020, Lauri’s everyday purpose is to know more today than she did yesterday, and she accomplishes that by getting out of her comfort zone. She learned the importance of acknowledging her strengths and weaknesses in order to work further on her self-development. Lauri got out of this experience so much more than she expected that she also wanted to help someone through this journey. Being a leader is about helping someone while learning in the same process, and that’s the beauty of it.
Nina Sara Fraticelli-Guzmán
3rd year PhD Student in Bioengineering
“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple" - Dr. Seuss
Nina Sara is originally from Dorado, Puerto Rico and completed her degree in Mechanical Engineering from MIT in 2019. During her time there, she had the opportunity to intern in companies and was able to perform research both in the States and abroad (Portugal!). She completed her Master’s in Bioengineering in 2021 here at GT and is currently pursuing her PhD in glaucoma research. On campus, she’s engaged with the Fellowship of Christian graduate Students (FCGS) and is president of the Latino Organization of Graduate Students (LOGRAS). Nina Sara loves to dance, watch sports, and play volleyball.
What inspired you to become a Leadership Fellow?:
I’ve always enjoyed interacting with younger students and mentoring them through the different phases of their academic journey. Because of these experiences and through some of my own experience with coaching, I have found coaching to also be a great way to provide others with practical tools that will equip them in the present and future. I am eager to help students with this mission and to learn more with them along the way.
Giovanny Guecha-Ahumada
Giovanny Guecha-Ahumada
3rd Year PhD in Aerospace Engineering
"Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving." - Albert Einstein
Giovanny is originally from Bogota, Colombia, and received a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering with a minor in Russian studies at Georgia Tech. During his time at the Institute, Giovanny has contributed to various student satellite projects from various leadership roles. His Ph.D. research focuses on Entry, Descent, and Landing technologies for planetary exploration in support of the NASA Langley Research Center. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, dancing, and reading.
What inspired you to become a Leadership Fellow?:
Giovanny’s drive to become a leadership coach is founded on curiosity and the desire to develop meaningful relationships. Being a successful coach entails active listening, asking thoughtful questions, and speaking with intent - skills that are exercised through every coaching interaction.
Bilal Iftikhar
6th year PhD in Civil Engineering
"As you start to walk on the way, the way appears". Rumi
Bilal Iftikhar is a Fulbright scholar from Pakistan pursuing his Ph.D. degree in Civil Engineering with research focuses on reservoirs operation optimization or flood mitigation. His hometown is Islamabad capital in Pakistan. Prior to this, he worked in different positions in Government of Pakistan to construct new dams and find out the ways to overcome the effects of floods in Pakistan. Currently, he is an active member of the Georgia Tech Community in the capacity of president of the Fulbright Student Association at Georgia Tech.
What inspired you to become a Leadership Fellow?:
Bilal decided to become a Leadership Fellow because he believed leadership coaching is two-way learning process, it not only helps students become exceptional students by addressing behaviors that hold back students’ performance it also plays a vital role to groom a leadership coach. Over the course of the last 5 years, Bilal had a lot of people at Georgia tech mentor|help|coach him to attain his goals so he believed that it’s a time for him to give back to the Georgia Tech Community by helping new students to establish their footprints in the Georgia Tech community.
Alison Jenkins
5th Year PhD Student in Mechanical Engineering
Keep going - unknown
Alison is studying robotics and control while serving as VP Professional Development (Grad. SGA), President of Woodruff School Graduate Women (WSGW), and Founder of Research Papers Club (Grad. Org.).
What inspired you to become a Leadership Fellow?:
Through LEAD, she has learned how to coach others on how to build their leadership skills and improve themselves as leaders. She believes that humility, reflection, and committing to change are the keys to self-improvement in any aspect of life, including leadership development. She enjoys working with engineering and STEM graduate and undergraduate students and helping them develop into impactful leaders that will improve our world.
Brett Johnson
2nd Year Evening MBA Student
“Politeness and consideration for others is like investing pennies and getting dollars back.” – Thomas Sowell
Brett currently works in strategic planning at ADP and has worked in corporate strategy for five years primarily working for business-to-business (B2B) services firms. Before corporate strategy, he leveraged an undergraduate degree in journalism working in digital marketing and non-partisan government communications. By pursuing an MBA, Brett is enhancing his analytics and leadership competencies to continue a career as a trusted, strategic advisor.
What inspired you to become a Leadership Fellow?:
Brett is passionate about leadership coaching and being coached. From various other sports and leadership coaching experiences, the value of coaching has been visible in his life for years. Everyone can benefit from a clear, outside perspective offering some honest, respectful curiosity. Brett utilizes his strategy and consulting mindset to support the development of engaged coachees.
Ajit Kamath
Ajit Kamath
3rd Year PhD in Civil Engineering
"Don’t stop when you are tired, stop when you are done." Marilyn Monroe
Ajit Kamath is a Structural (Civil) Engineering Ph.D. student with his research focused on stability of steel structures. Ajit received his Bachelors from National Institute of Technology, Karnataka (NITK) India and has a work experience of four years as a structural engineer in India’s leading consultancy Engineers India Ltd. Ajit holds executive positions in the campus organizations - Chi Epsilon and AISC student chapter. Beyond his academic work, Ajit is a soccer enthusiast and can be regularly seen playing soccer on the Stamps field on weekends. In addition to soccer, Ajit likes to explore nature and has been on several hikes in and around Atlanta.
What inspired you to become a Leadership Fellow?:
Ajit believes that developing interpersonal skills such as effective communication, managing conflicts, objective judgment of circumstances, and self-awareness in addition to technical skills is very important for success. This is where working in teams and leadership development comes into the picture. The process of self-reflection and self-improvement enables students to find their identities as individuals and as members of a team. The coaching experience so far has been very rewarding. Ajit is excited in working with the coachees, helping them through the process, and growing alongside them
Sunny Kim
Sunny Kim
4th Year PhD in BioEngineering
Be yourself; everyone else is already taken – Oscar Wilde
I’m a 3rd year PhD student in the BioEngineering program, with Mechanical Engineering as a home school. My research focuses on developing an ultrasound transducer for early diagnosis of heart diseases. I am passionate about promoting positive mental and physical health. I am a certified Be Body Positive facilitator and have been actively planning along with other faculty, staff, and students to hold the first Be Body Positive session for Georgia Tech students in the Fall of 2020. Self-care and being kind to your body are a few of the major themes that will be taught in the session. Outside of school, I love to volunteer at Zoo Atlanta, where I share my knowledge of giraffes, my favorite animal, and enjoy lunch while watching the elephants.
What inspired you to become a Leadership Fellow?:
My experience with coaching started as a coachee. With the help of my coaches, I learned to tap into my deep fears, which are often confusing and intimidating. What I learned through this process was that I am resourceful and brave enough to face these obstacles. This has helped me greatly in my leadership roles. I am still in the learning process of being more comfortable with struggles, but I believe that I will get better over time. As a coach, I would like to give back to the Georgia Tech community by assisting students as they search for their own leadership paths. I believe that everyone can be leaders in their own way. Sometimes we don’t know the strengths and skill sets that we already have or don’t know how to become a better leader. I am excited to see their journeys!
Jancy Ling Liu
3rd Year Ph.D. Student in School of Economics
"Being, Knowing, Doing" - unknown
Jancy is from a small town in southwest China. Amongst her family, she is the first to attend university and subsequently, enter a doctorate program. After pursuing her undergraduate degree, Jancy worked at a FinTech company in Beijing for two years and thanks to a coaching experience, realized she needed to go back to graduate school. In 2019, she graduated with her M.S. in Statistics and Economics from Georgia Tech and entered the Ph.D. in Economics program. Jancy is currently working on applying behavioral science tools and microeconomics methodologies to solve empirical environmental and energy issues. Jancy is also a member and facilitator for the GT Meditation Club for two years.
What inspired you to become a Leadership Fellow?:
I owe quite a bit to the coaching experience I have participated in all the time. It helped me navigate future routes and ultimately, led me to where I am today. I’d like to extend a similar opportunity for others in need of guidance.
Emily Lustig
Emily Lustig
PhD Student in Psychology
"There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self." - Hemingway
Emily completed her B.S. at the University of Michigan in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience and a minor in Epistemology and the Philosophy of Science. Alongside her academics, she also served as the Student Body Vice President and the Program Assistant for Beyond the Diag which organized and planned events to build community in off-campus neighborhoods. Emily is currently a PhD candidate studying Cognitive Aging in the Psychology Department here at Georgia Tech. Emily has always participated in leadership activities alongside academics and is excited to get the opportunity to work with her coachees at Georgia Tech. She believes that leadership starts from within by building confidence in one’s self, setting macro and micro-level goals to monitor progress, and being adaptive. She also believes that part of being a leader means being able to evaluate yourself and your peers in a constructive way. She is very much looking forward to building new relationships, learning, and growing as a leader and community member alongside her coachees for a fourth year!
What inspired you to become a Leadership Fellow?:
Emily wanted to connect with the Georgia Tech community by coaching others to reach their full leadership potential. Leadership entails evaluation, development, communication, empathy, curiosity, and growth. Not only are these things her coachees' experience - but she also learns and grows with each coaching engagement.
Chris Matthews
5th Year PhD Student in Electrical and Computer Engineering
“Be curious, not judgmental.” – Ted Lasso
Chris earned his B.S. in Electrical Engineering at the University of Arkansas in 2017 before joining the PhD program at Georgia Tech later that year. As an undergraduate, Chris participated in an REU at the University of Tennessee, worked for two summers at Sandia National Laboratory, and researched photovoltaic materials at the University of Arkansas. He is currently researching nitride semiconductor growth and devices for sustainable UV and visible lighting, and photovoltaics. While at Tech, Chris has received the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, the Tau Beta Pi Fellowship, and the Georgia Tech President’s Fellowship. In his free time, Chris enjoys reading and watching movies, as well as spending time with his wife and two cats.
What inspired you to become a Leadership Fellow?:
I was inspired to become a Leadership Fellow because I saw the incredible work that my wife was doing in her volunteering at Georgia Tech. I realized that since coming to Tech I had fallen into the trap of being solely focused on research, rather than continuing personal development and contributing to the community, as I did as an undergraduate. I see LEAD as a great way to break myself out of my research bubble while also getting back to those important principles and helping other students along the way.
Josh O Dowd
2nd Year MBA Student
“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” - T. S. Eliot
Much like the T.S. Eliot quote above, Josh has embraced the idea of life as one of exploration. After graduating from Tulane University with a bachelor's in psychology, he went on to teach 6th grade English and Social Studies at an underserved school in Houston, TX for several years, followed by a short stint at a small business that taught toddlers how to play soccer. He then moved out to Seattle to pursue a Masters in Cultural Studies. He's finally made his way back to the south to pursue his MBA, where he is focusing his studies on strategy, leadership, diversity, marketing, and organizational behavior, and he most recently spent the summer interning with Amazon. During his free time, he enjoys traveling, reading, and attempting to find the best running route in Atlanta.
What inspired you to become a Leadership Fellow?:
Each of us is greater in the context of relationship, and that is even more so in the context of coaching. For Josh, coaching is an opportunity to explore diverse ways of thinking and seeing new solutions to old problems, for both the coachee and the coach. He has benefited from coaching experiences in the past and sees this as an opportunity to pass it forward. In addition, he cares deeply about seeing each and every individual achieve their goals.
Ximena Pizarro Bore
Ximena Pizarro Bore
3rd Year PhD in Public Policy
"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, pursuing a Master in Management and Public Policy in Chile. She is convinced that the extracurricular activities are the ones that shape your professional future and that leadership and communication are the most valuables 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.
What inspired you to become a Leadership Fellow?:
The posibility of helping students to grow and develop their leadership skills, always having in mind that they are creative, resourceful, and whole.
Alicia Robang
Alicia Robang
3rd Year PhD Student in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
“You cannot teach a man anything. You can only help him discover it within himself” - Galileo Galilei
Alicia was born and raised in the Philippines before attending university at Georgia Tech. She is currently pursuing graduate education with hopes of becoming a more experienced researcher and science communicator. Alicia believes Georgia Tech is a fantastic place to learn and grow, and has dedicated much of her time here in creating spaces and facilitating ways for other students to find these nurturing environments. Outside academics, she has been actively involved with many leadership organizations throughout campus, such as the International Ambassadors at Georgia Tech, the Office of Student Diversity Programs, and undergraduate mentoring, tutoring, and teaching. She is also currently the program coordinator for SIDHI, a science mentorship program based in the Philippines that connects local high school students with Filipino scientists and professionals around the world.
What inspired you to become a Leadership Fellow?:
Alicia believes in the value of self-reflection and understanding that meaningful changes to personal development takes a lot of time. She hopes to be a supportive and encouraging coach who is willing to walk alongside her coachees in their own paths towards growth. She is also excited to connect with the other Leadership Fellows and continue to develop her leadership skills.
Ryan Salameh
Ryan Salameh
4th Year PhD Student in Civil and Environmental Engineering
"Believe you can and you’re halfway there." Theodore Roosevelt
Ryan is currently a 4th year PhD student at the School of Civil & Environmental Engineering, specializing in Construction and Infrastructure Systems Engineering. He works on several research projects, funded by state and national agencies, which aim to improve the management of the transportation infrastructure assets through optimized and data-driven decision-making. He also serves as a teaching assistant for courses covering topics related to smart city infrastructure. Before moving to Atlanta, Ryan received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the Lebanese American University, and has completed internships in Dubai, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon in high-rise building construction and oil & gas sectors. Ryan currently serves as the president of Intelligent Transportation Society – Georgia Tech Student Chapter and is a member of the ASCE Infrastructure Systems Committee (ISC). In his free time, he enjoys playing basketball, hiking, and gardening.
What inspired you to become a Leadership Fellow?:
Ryan supports the belief that leadership talents can be developed once given the proper environment and adequate methods. Aiming to be part of an engaging and nurturing community, Ryan decided to become a Leadership Fellow to help empower others, and himself as well, to bring to light the natural resourcefulness found in every individual and develop it into full-fledged personal and leadership skills through a proactive mindset.
Stephanie Sandoval-Matthews
4th year PhD Student in Materials Science and Engineering
“And I knew exactly what to do. But in a much more real sense, I had no idea what to do.” – Michael Scott
Stephanie received her BS in electrical engineering from the University of Arkansas before pursing her PhD in MSE at Georgia Tech. Throughout her undergraduate career, she completed an NSF REU, worked at Sandia National Labs, and at 3M. When not at an internship, Stephanie was actively involved in student organizations and in undergraduate research. Now entering her 4th year of her PhD, she continues to remain involved around campus and is funded through NSF GRFP, GEM, Sloan, Goizueta and President’s fellowships. When not in lab, Stephanie loves to indulge in Salvadoran food to remind her of home (although, she always loves exploring for new spots). Outside of her love for food, Stephanie loves fostering kittens and while also going on adventures with her own two kittens, Goose and Lucy.
What inspired you to become a Leadership Fellow?:
As a first-generation Latina student, I recognize how difficult it is to develop meaningful leadership and interpersonal skills in an environment that can be so foreign to you. My hope is to provide students with the tools and skills they need to navigate the difficult parts of their education and life. One-on-one leadership coaching is the perfect setting to tackle and develop these challenging life skills.
Preety Shakya
4th Year PhD student in Biomedical Engineering
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” - Albert Einstein
Originally from Nepal, Preety earned her undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from Howard University as a first-generation student. Currently, she is a PhD candidate in the joint degree program in Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. She also holds a master’s degree from the same program and is the recipient of 2021 Focus Fellowship award. Her research focuses on investigating the synergistic effect of cell and biomaterial-based therapies for cardiac repair in pediatric patients. Fueled by a desire to make real-world impact, she is currently pursuing a technology transfer internship at Emory University to help transform academic inventions into viable products for patients. Outside of research, Preety keeps herself engaged in departmental service and humanitarian efforts. She has served in various leadership capacities such as graduate recruitment hospitality chair, qualifying exam committee chair, graduate peer advising leader, educational outreach coordinator at CHOA and executive board member of Asha Atlanta. In her free time, Preety enjoys running, painting nature, singing, and gardening.
What inspired you to become a Leadership Fellow?:
One of the most powerful lessons Preety learned from her mother was to always keep a growth mindset regardless of one’s current circumstances. Through this mindset, she was able to break her socioeconomic barriers and come to the United States that offered a world of opportunities and life-changing experiences. Over the years, she has had several teachers and mentors whose counsel shaped her to become the person she is today. She believes that being a leadership fellow is an amazing platform for her to pay it forward. She is excited at the prospect of guiding her coachees to grow as critical thinkers and leaders while she grows alongside them. Her hope is for her students to learn a valuable coaching skill to continue developing themselves beyond this program and inspire others around them to emerge as leaders in various aspects of their lives.
Scott Spencer
2nd Year MBA Student, BSME ‘07 Georgia Institute of Technology
“A ship in harbor is safe — but that is not what ships are built for.” — John A. Shedd
Scott has had the pleasure of attending Georgia Tech twice, first for undergrad as a Mechanical Engineer and currently as a full-time MBA student. His journey between campus visits has been rich and varied: Scott’s worked directly for three Fortune 250 companies (Delta Air Lines, Anheuser-Busch, UPS), he spent a decade consulting for the world’s top food/beverage brands, and he’s led teams on four continents. Collectively living abroad for a year let Scott explore cultures firsthand, and appreciate the value of expanding his comfort zone. Outside of work, accomplishments include national recognition for LGBTQ advocacy, amassing 5,000 hours of public speaking, and winning the world’s largest student film festival.
What inspired you to become a Leadership Fellow?:
The preferred learning method for Scott is “See one, do one, teach one”, and he carries that principle to his leadership development. He believes a great amount of leadership techniques can be observed in our daily lives, and that there’s value in reflecting on “How would I have handled that?” As Scott’s personal leadership experience grew, he began mentoring at his companies; his focus was to provide rising talent with an ‘opportunity to grow without the possibility to fail.’ Elements of that style will carry over from mentoring to coaching, and Scott’s excited to help guide the next generation of GT’s leaders as they prepare for their own post-Tech experiences.