Graduate Student Spotlight: Janille Smith-Colin

Inspiring Change in the Undergraduate Students She Coaches

October 7, 2016

Atlanta, GA

As a student pursuing her PhD, finding the time to be involved in other programs and activities can be difficult, but Janille Smith-Colin makes it work.  Despite her graduate academic work in Transportation Engineering within the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and research with a team known as the Infrastructure Research Group (which studies sustainable infrastructure decision making and policy), Janille has found the time to make a unique impact on a few of Georgia Tech’s undergraduate students.

When she’s not in her office in the Sustainable Education Building or on a run, you might find her in the CULC sitting down for a talk with an undergraduate student around the late afternoon.  That’s because Janille is also a leadership coach for the Leading Edge program.  In these meetings, or coaching sessions, Janille works with undergraduates throughout the semester to help them realize their personal leadership goals.  She guides them through a process of self-discovery by asking them powerful questions and facilitating critical reflection.

Though the job can be rewarding, it’s not always easy.  Janille says, “The most difficult part about coaching is working to ensure that you are challenging your coachees. My goal is inspire change in my coachees and this often requires that they become uncomfortable in their leadership journey. Sometimes, when coaching is in progress, it is hard to know whether you have actually helped them get to that point of change.”  But Janille’s ability to push past those moments of doubt and stay true to her end goal has paid off.  She describes her most fulfilling moments as those in which “your coachees present you with feedback, a revelation, or a reflection demonstrating their awareness that change has happened.”

The Office of Leadership Education and Development would like to invite all GT graduate students, faculty and staff to apply for the 2015-2016 Leadership Fellows program, to serve as a leadership fellow (coach) for the upcoming school year.  You will sharpen and enhance your existing leadership and coaching skills by assisting in the development of undergraduates who are also eager to improve their leadership abilities. You will also have the opportunity to learn from your peers at regular training sessions. If you are interested in developing yourself while developing others, then this is an opportunity that you will want to embrace.

Find out more about the Leadership Fellows Program


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