Mentoring Program

Mentoring Program for Incoming Graduate Students: 

We’re pleased to offer a mentoring program to incoming graduate students, so that they can easily get used to the life at Georgia Tech. Here are the mentors who decided to volunteer for this program. Feel free to reach out to them via email.


I grew up and went to college in upstate New York before moving to Atlanta for graduate school. My research is in the fabrication and characterization of ordered epitaxial graphene on silicon carbide substrates. I’m still undecided in my future career aspirations, but I am interested in both technical and business consulting.

I am from Maryland (just outside of DC). I went to University of Maryland where I studied physics and philosophy while working at NIST. I am currently working for Mike Schatz (and Roman Grigoriev) doing experimental chaos theory stuff, mostly with fluid turbulence. I am still unsure of weather I will try the academia route or the industry route. I am going to let the reception of my papers in the next few years guide my decision — if they are not well received, I will not waste my time/effort/emotional investment on the academia path. Ultimately, I want to do research in a lab. In my spare time, I drive my golf cart around that always needs work, I built a tesla coil, I take high-speed footage of this and that, and put what I learned on my website for my future amusement later… usual nerd stuff.
Hello new students! My name is Curtis Balusek, I’m a small town
Texas kid from Willis TX and I received my bachelors in Math & Physics from Sam Houston State University.  Currently, I work with Prof. JC Gumbart doing molecular biophysics research, more specifically, molecular dynamics simulations of bacterial membrane systems.  I originally came to Tech with the idea of going into academia but have since changed my career aspirations to consulting.  Although grad school does take up ample time, I am all for outdoor activities, kayaking, hiking, camping, hunting, fishing, mountain biking, cycling, and more.

I’m a 3rd year Ph.D. student in physics. I’m a member of the Yunker lab, and my research is focused on studying the physics that arises during—and controls—the evolution of nascent multicellularity. After graduation I plan to enter pursue a career in industry; in particular, I’m currently interested in managerial consulting. I’m happy to talk about anything from moving to Atlanta, to life as a physics grad student at Georgia Tech, to post-graduation options (especially in industry)!

  •  Elaine Rhoades – 

    I moved around a lot as a kid, but spent most of my life growing up in Phoenix, AZ (yes, it’s hot as blazes most of the year). Although I originally had plans to go to Northern Arizona University for education, a perfect storm of physics + AP calc + recruitment counselor had me takingn a hard right into choosing physics my junior year of high school. I attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for space physics and took a year off after earning my Bachelor’s degree before moving to Atlanta for grad school. I’m now in my third year and I’m researching with Dr. William Hunt in the ECE department, working on development of a new type of solid state particle detector. My original drive was to enter academia post-PhD, but I’ve recently started evaluating other career options (although no matter where I end up, I’ll probably seek out some form of teaching opportunity). When I’m not doing research or TA-ing, I swing dance, read for fun (highly recommend Terry Goodkind), play piano/flute/hand bells, and spoil the crap out of my senior kitty. Feel free to reach out to me if you have questions or concerns about TA-ing, surviving first year, issues with potential advisers, or anything else!