Dr. Wes Wynens is the Director of the Leadership Education and Development Program for Student Life and is on the faculty in the School of Public Policy at Georgia Tech. Dr. Wynens has more than twenty years of experience in applied leadership development, coaching, and leadership education. His interests are adaptive leadership and the effects of challenge and loss on leadership capacity. From 2004 to 2010, he was director of State Leadership Development Programs for the Carl Vinson Institute, where he founded the Georgia Leadership Institute and the Executive Leadership Program. He has been a consultant to Deloitte, Coca-Cola, BellSouth, NORTEL, and the Army Corp of Engineers. His professional affiliations include Pi Alpha Alpha, the OD Network, and the International Leadership Association.
Dr. Wynens holds a PhD in Public Administration from the University of Georgia with an emphasis on organization and team development.
Dr. Jeffrey Davis is an Associate Professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech. He has been the recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the Class of 1940 W. Roane Beard Outstanding Teacher Award, HKN Richard M. Bass Outstanding Teaching Award, and the Class of 1934 Course Survey Award. He has heavily promoted STEM education throughout the state of Georgia, which resulted in him being a co-recipient of the Education Partnership Award at Georgia Tech.
Dr. Davis has also served as the faculty chair for the Electrical and Computer Engineering Student Faculty Committee for eight years, which promotes the interaction of students and faculty outside the classroom. He served for three years as a faculty advisor for the ThinkBig program here at Georgia Tech. He is currently the faculty advisor for a student led organization called Robogals that promotes female participation in engineering disciplines.
In research, Dr. Davis’ publications have been referenced over 2800 times by researchers throughout the world, and he has co-authored a book entitled Interconnect Technology and Design for Gigascale Integration, which was translated and republished in Chinese 2010. His current research interests are in exploring the low-frequency electrical properties of nanocomposite materials, and in 2012-2013 he was awarded the Georgia Tech Fund for Innovation in Research and Education (GT-FIRE) to pursue this avenue of research. Dr. Davis is currently involved in simulation and fabrication of solid-state nanocomposite materials that have extremely high-energy density for electrical energy storage.
Ashton Bettis graduated from Point University in 2016 with a double major in Religion and Humanities. During her undergraduate career, she was a Resident Assistant (RA), volunteered as a mentor for first years, and was the president of multiple campus organizations.
Following graduation, Ashton worked at Emory University for three years and was heavily involved in student programming and student development.
Dr. Ilya Gokhman is the Faculty Lead of Grand Challenges. His academic appointment is split between Georgia Tech’s Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) office and the School of Public Policy. His primary areas of research and teaching focus on collaboration (leading, teaming, and organizing), innovation and decision-making, and the use of technology in collaborative processes. His current research projects include efforts to improve the collaboration of teams working in high-pressure environments, including astronaut and medical teams.
Dr. Gokhman’s work has been featured in a variety of outlets, including the Encyclopedia of Theory in Psychology, Acta Astronautica, Academy of Management, Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, International Leadership Association, Association for Leadership Educators, NASA’s Investigators Workshop, and International Astronautical Congress.
In addition to his academic pursuits, Dr. Gokhman aspires to bridge the science and practice of collaboration by engaging in applied opportunities to enhance the development of individuals and organizations. He has led or consulted on various private sector, NPO/NGO, and educational initiatives throughout Africa, Europe, and the US. He also holds a certificate in leadership coaching from the Neuroleadership Institute (formerly Results Coaching Solutions) in London, UK, and has worked with over 50 clients in this capacity.
Dr. Gokhman earned a PhD from Northwestern University in Media, Technology, & Society, an MS from Georgia Tech in Organizational Psychology, an MBA from a joint program between the University of Iowa and CIMBA (Italy), and degrees in Economics and Accounting from the University of Georgia.
I’m a fifth year studying environmental engineering. I grew up in Rome, GA and spent a lot of time hiking, camping, and paddling as a kid. Because of this, I’m passionate about water resources and spend a lot of time on local rivers – rowing for sport or going on weekend trips with friends. Other hobbies include writing, beekeeping, and nerding out over how we’re going to save the planet with cities.
Jonathan hails from the beautiful Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago. He moved to Atlanta to pursue robotics at Tech, where he completed his BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering. He has been involved with Grand Challenges since 2013, both as an undergraduate student and as a Teaching Assistant. He has spent almost ten years helping to coordinate medical relief efforts to the South Caribbean and has a heart for people. He loves exploring and traveling and spends his spare time trying new and interesting foods, cooking, volunteering, cycling, hiking, hitting the gym and taking impromptu road trips or standby flights. Jonathan's research deals with exploring the field of human centered robotics, human augmentation, and rehabilitative robotics, focusing on using robotic and control systems to design better prosthetic and orthotic devices. His hope that these continued research into these devices can one day positively impact the quality of life of stroke victims, differently abled individuals, and wounded veterans.
My favorite thing to do in Atlanta is walk the beltline, I have two kittens named Thor and Loki, I cook a lot and make tacos at least once a week and this summer I visited Glacier national park and hiked all over Montana and Georgia.
I hail from Hyderabad, India but was born and brought up in Bangkok, Thailand. I am a second year PhD student in the material science department and my research is on producing novel nanomaterials for next generation batteries. I enjoy boxing, 3D printing, reading, and exploring new places to eat during my free time. I went to Savannah and Hilton Head during this summer and was super excited to see dolphins while kayaking. In addition to that, I also went tubing this summer!
My name is Zach Olkin, and I am a 4th year Computer Engineering major from Niwot, Colorado! I am intrigued by robotics and autonomous machines. Specifically, I enjoy working on advanced control algorithms; right now, I perform research in the AE department on quadcopters. I like running, playing board games, and reading in my free time!
Rupesh Rajendran is originally from Kerala, India. He is currently a PhD student in Materials Science and Engineering, studying properties of 3D-printed high strength aluminum alloys for future aerospace applications. Rupesh loves to spend time outdoors – biking, hiking, and exploring trails in and around Atlanta. He also likes to travel and explore new places, culture, and food. This summer, Rupesh explored most of the biking trails in and around Atlanta, Silver Comet trail being his personal favorite.
Hi folks! I’m Ashwin and I hail from the great South Indian city of Hyderabad. I’m currently pursuing my PhD in Materials Science and Engineering exploring Polymeric materials for all solid-state lithium-ion batteries. I like all sorts of adventure always trying to push my limits. I enjoy hikes, swimming, reading, and trying to fix my car while I’m not toiling away in lab.
This summer, one of my best friends and lab-senior graduated and to celebrate that, we had gone tubing in the Chattahoochee River. What makes this special is that I had a near-death experience at Lake Lanier when my kayak overturned, and I was out of touch with swimming. It was just a perfect storm, but this experience led to me developing a fear of water and depths. To face that, because life’s too short to dwell in my fears, I decided to go tubing – and I did get over it to have a relaxing day floating down the river. It was a thrilling experience. Here is a photo with my buddies from that day.