Meet the Staff

Phillip R. Smith Assistant Director for Programs | E-mail

Phillip Smith, originally from Cleveland, Ohio, has been at Georgia State University since February 2012. He graduated from Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina, with his Bachelor of Science in business administration/marketing in 2001. A true student-athlete, Phillip played on the NCAA Division II baseball team (1B/P) and stayed active on campus as he served as a Student Development Counselor, HIV/AIDS Trainer and Activities Coordinator. Phillip is also a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi, Fraternity Inc. After taking a trial run in the business industry, Phillip found his true passion – “the ability to help young people develop during their college years.” In 2005, he decided to pursue his master’s in higher education administration at the University of Akron (Ohio), where he completed the two-year program in a year and a half. Phillip got his first taste of the student affairs field working as the graduate assistant for Greek Life Programs. Following graduation, Phillip has had the privilege to work at Wichita State University and The University of Tennessee-Knoxville. A true family man, Phillip spends his time away from work with his wife Qiana and children Kiara, Isaiah and Lyniah.
Phillip Smith advises the Spotlight Programs Board and supervises the Cinefest Film Theater.


Michelle Z. Canales Student Affairs Advisor | E-mail

Michelle Z. Canales is a native of Puerto Rico and was raised in Philadelphia. She attended West Chester University of Pennsylvania (WCUPA) located in West Chester, PA and graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies in 2010. Throughout her time at WCUPA, she was involved in Residence Life and Housing, the Office of Multicultural Affairs mentoring program, and the Latin Dance team. In 2012 after two years of real world experience within the sales and hospitality field, Michelle decided to return to school and pursue a Master of Science degree in College Student Affairs at Nova Southeastern University located in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Throughout this time, she served as the Graduate Assistant for Special Events and Projects in the Office of Student Activities. Within this role, Michelle embraced her desire for event planning, diversity issues, and student-centeredness. As she continues in the profession of student affairs, Michelle is excited to become a part of the GSU family and look forward to working with Georgia State University’s Spotlight Programs Board as their newest advisor.


Chinara “CC” Thomas Administrative Coordinator | E-mail

CC Thomas graduated from Georgia State University in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science in psychology. She currently assists the Assistant Director for Programs with Spotlight Programs Board and other projects as assigned. She has been working with the Student*University Center since October 2007.