Expanding Career, Education, and Leadership for Students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

The EXCEL Program offered by the Georgia Institute of Technology is a four-year college program for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) leading to two separate Certificates. The first is a Certificate in Academic Enrichment, Social Fluency, and Career Exploration and the second is a Certificate in Social Growth, Leadership, and Career Development.
EXCEL at Georgia Tech was founded in 2014 by Terry Blum, Tedd Munchak Chair in Entrepreneurship and faculty director of the Institute for Leadership and Social Impact in the Scheller College of Business, and Cyrus Aidun, professor of mechanical engineering in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. In 2020, Excel became a unit within the Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing (CEISMC), which is housed within the Office of the Provost.

Excel provides a structured, supportive, and inclusive postsecondary educational opportunity and addresses the full scope of the needs of this population from fundamental academics to social activities and vocational preparation. The program activities are categorized into one or more categories: academics, social fluency, independent living, career exploration, and development.

EXCEL Student Spotlight

November 2022: KWAME OWUSU

Image of Kwame OwusuEXCEL at Georgia Tech's Kwame Owusu was invited by the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities, to educate the Georgia House Appropriations Human Resources Subcommittee, on the importance of inclusive postsecondary education programs. Kwame shared how his educational and career-related opportunities at EXCEL at Georgia Tech have helped him grow into an independent, confident, gainfully employed young man. We couldn't be prouder of his growth and leadership!

Did you know that 92 percent of EXCEL graduates are gainfully employed?


September 2022: MARTHA HAYTHORN

EXCEL team with President CabreraGeorgia Tech’s EXCEL program was recognized at the inaugural 2022 Big Game Ball. Excel student and rising junior Martha Haythorn, who has been involved with the National Down Syndrome Congress since she was young, presented the honor to EXCEL staff during the Sept. 1 gala, which was held at the College Football Hall of Fame.

To read the full story, visit: https://ceismc.gatech.edu/news-articles/georgia-techs-excel-program-honored-2022-big-game-ball-national-down-syndrome-congress



Aaron Washington HeadshotEXCEL at Georgia Tech’s very own Aaron Washington was featured in a story by Fox 5 Atlanta. Aaron will graduate Saturday, May 7, 2022, with her Certificate in Social Growth, Leadership, and Career Development and was an intern at the Division of Blood Disorders at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. After graduation, Aaron will stay in Atlanta to work at the Ark Animal Hospital, along with finishing her autobiography.

To watch the video, visit: https://www.fox5atlanta.com/video/1065574


January 2022: ELLIOT SMITH

The Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities and Sign1 News, featured EXCEL at Georgia Tech alumnus Elliot Smith’s great work at the Phase Family Center as a teaching assistant in their Preschool program. Working at the Phase Family Center during his senior year of college he successfully transitioned into a career in education. EXCEL at Georgia Tech’s Career Team supported Elliott as he gained valuable experience working in schools serving youth. He completed more than 7 internships, and helped EXCEL built new partnerships with the Elaine Clark Center and the Frazer, Center where he gained hands on experience, built his confidence and developed his skills. Elliot graduated with a certificates in Academic Enrichment, Social Fluency, and Career Exploration and a second Certificate in Social Growth, Leadership, and Career Development.

To watch the video, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8uVH6t47ro


Check Out Our Podcast and Vlogs!

October 23rd, 2022
EXCEL Director, Ken Surdin interviewed by Gina Kavali on her show “Life with the Spectrum”. Click here to view.

November 16th, 2021
Learn about EXCEL’s Student supports in this panel presentation sponsored by the Minnesota Inclusive Higher Education Consortium. Presenters: Student, Martha Haythorn; Peer Mentor, Hanna Shaw; Parent, Preston Tauscher; Mentorship Coordinator, Luke Roman; Excel Director, Ken Surdin. Click here to view.

Georgia Tech EXCEL Program with Terry, Ken, and Excel student Aaron Washington. Click here to listen.

Your Legacy of Care - Charlie, Roy, Scott and Rhonda.  Caroline and Donald Bailey interview Frankie’s parents and Drew’s parents.  Frankie graduated in 2019 and Drew in 2020. Click here to listen.

Learn how program design and curriculum development enhances the college experience.  Donald and Caroline interview Elana Himmelfarb, who conducts social pragmatic/executive function groups with all excel students. Click here to listen.

See how EXCEL uses external support to enhance the post secondary experience at Georgia Tech, Donald and Caroline interview Mike Fox (who helped develop the transition curriculum for seniors to prepare for life after EXCEL). Click here to listen.

EXCEL at Georgia Tech student Martha Haythorn interviewed EXCEL Director Ken Surdin for her podcast. Martha is a passionate self-advocate who believes in the full inclusion of people with disabilities. She has met with state representatives and attended advocates’ meetings to further the cause of supporting people with disabilities. She also hosts Mondays with Martha, a vlog focused on disability rights through The Arc Georgia’s YouTube channel. Watch the interview below.






Program Overview

An overview of the Excel program at Georgia Tech.

Program Overview



Interested in visiting the program? Details here!

Visiting Excel