The CREATE-X Team

Dr. Raghupathy Sivakumar
Founding Director, Wayne J. Holman Chair Professor, ECE

Raghupathy Sivakumar is the Wayne J. Holman Chair Professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech. He and his doctoral students do research in the areas of wireless networking and mobile computing. He is the Founding Director of CREATE-X, a Georgia Tech initiative to instill entrepreneurial confidence in its students. Previously, he served as the Co-Founder and CTO for StarMobile, Inc. (now PowWow Mobile) between 2012 and 2016, as a Technologist for EMC Corporation between 2011 and 2012, as the Founder and CTO of Asankya, Inc. (now EMC), between 2004 and 2011, and as a Technologist for EG Technology, Inc. (now Arris), between 2001 and 2004. Professor Sivakumar received his Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Computer Science from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2000 and 1998 respectively, and his B.E. degree in Computer Science from Anna University (Chennai) in 1996. He is a Fellow of the IEEE and the recipient of the Georgia Tech Curriculum Innovation Award (2019, co-recipient), the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering’s Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award (2016), and the Georgia Tech Research Innovation Award (2015).

Dr. Joyelle Harris
Associate Director, LEARN

Dr. Joy Harris is immersed in the innovation and service ecosystem at Georgia Tech. In addition to serving as the  associate director of the CREATE-X LEARN program on campus, she is the director of the Engineering for Social Innovation Center and a faculty member in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Joy teaches electrical engineering courses and provides opportunities for entrepreneurs to use their skills for positive social impact.

Dr. Craig Forest
Associate Director, MAKE

Craig Forest is a Professor and Woodruff Faculty Fellow in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech where he also holds program faculty positions in Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering. He conducts research on miniaturized, high-throughput robotic instrumentation to advance neuroscience and genetic science, working at the intersection of bioMEMS, precision machine design, optics, and microfabrication. Prior to Georgia Tech, he was a research fellow in Genetics at Harvard Medical School. He obtained a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from MIT in June 2007, M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from MIT in 2003, and B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech in 2001. He is cofounder/organizer of one of the largest undergraduate invention competitions in the US—The InVenture Prize, and founder/organizer of one of the largest student-run makerspaces in the US—The Invention Studio.  He was a recently a Fellow in residence at the Allen Insitutte for Brain Science in Seattle WA; he was awarded the Georgia Tech Institute for BioEngineering and BioSciences Junior Faculty Award (2010) and was named Engineer of the Year in Education for the state of Georgia (2013).  He is one of the inaugural recipients of the NIH BRAIN Initiative Grants, a national effort to invent the next generation of neuroscience and neuroengineering tools.  In 2007, he was a finalist on the ABC reality TV show "American Inventor.”

Rahul Saxena
Associate Director, LAUNCH

Rahul Saxena is the Associate Director for CREATE-X Launch.  Leading up to this role, Saxena had a career as a Venture Capitalist, startup CEO, entrepreneur, mechatronic design engineer, and published academic researcher. Saxena is a mechanical engineering Georgia Tech alumnus, earned his European Master’s degree in Fluid Mechanics from the Von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics, and earned his MBA from Emory University. Saxena worked for Seraph Group, a venture capital firm, for 10 years evaluating and investing in companies while also holding the role of CEO in a company and serving on several Boards of companies that went on to be acquired. 

Dr. Rhea Perkins
Program & Operations Manager

Rhea Perkins serves as the Program and Operations Manager for CREATE-X. She is excited about entrepreneurship and enjoys helping students view starting a business as a viable career option. Rhea is currently a GT Diversity and Inclusion Fellow and teaches an Innovation section of GT 1000. Prior to Georgia Tech, Rhea attended Arizona State University where she received her BS degree, fell in love with Miami while completing her MS degree at Florida International University, and learned to eat crawfish while at Louisiana State University pursuing her PhD degree. Rhea absolutely loves Atlanta and enjoys the beltline, yoga, and trying new local restaurants!

Desta Davidson
Faculty Support Coordinator

Desta Davidson is the Program Coordinator for both the MAKE and LEARN cohort of CREATE-X.  She also serves as the Financial Officer for CREATE-X.  Desta is an advocate for entrepreneurship and wealth building. She received a full engineering scholarship and has earned degrees in Engineering Science and Business Management. Known for her collaborative style, she has contributed to organizations such as Washington University and Emerson Motors. When Desta isn’t working with CREATE-X she enjoys traveling, learning new languages and volunteering in the community.

Joanna Oliva
Marketing & Event Coordinator

Joanna Oliva began as Marketing and Event Coordinator for CREATE-X in May of 2018. She organizes events , including Demo Day and Idea to Prototype Showcase, and develops and implements marketing campaigns for the program. Joanna is a Florida State University graduate in Hospitality Management with a focus in hotel and event management.  Prior to Georgia Tech, she worked for Walt Disney World Resorts, Hilton, Domi Station, and more. During her spare time, she volunteers at and attends  video game tournaments and socials.

Georgia Parmelee
Communications

Georgia Parmelee currently manages CREATE-X communications and marketing efforts, including email marketing, PR, videos and content creation. She also serves as a communications officer in the College of Engineering Dean's Office. Prior to Georgia Tech, Georgia spent 7 years working in corporate marketing in the software sector of Atlanta. She earned her undergrad in film studies from Emory University, and has a master's degree from the University of Chicago. 

Eric Sembrat
Web Manager

Eric serves as as a subject-matter expert for schools, research groups, and working groups within the College of Engineering in the areas of Drupal development, web design, web development workflows, and web maintenance. Eric's focus is to accurately and efficiently apply his core knowledge areas into higher education-centered challenges and issues in order to meet the expansive landscape of higher education. He is a frequent speaker at conferences, such as HigherEdWeb, edUi, and DrupalCon's Higher-Ed Summit. Eric holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Georgia Tech, an M.S. in Information Systems from Kennesaw State, and is currently pursing his Ph.D. in Learning Technologies from Georgia State University. 

Dr. Raymond Vito
Special Advisor

Having retired as Vice Provost, Dr. Vito is a Professor Emeritus of Mechanical engineering and currently works part time. He was one of the founders of The Inventure Prize and has been pivotal in the creation, development, evolution and delivery of the CREATE-X program. His startup expertise is in the area of medical devices, an area where he has conducted research and holds several patents.

Leadership and Executive Team

Rafael Bras, Provost, Georgia Tech

Steve McLaughlin, Dean and Southern Company Chair, College of Engineering, Georgia Tech

Charles Isbell, The John P. Imlay Jr. Dean of Computing and Professor, College of Computing, Georgia Tech

Chris Klaus, Co-founder and CEO of Kaneva