Alumni Accolades July 2014

alex cody and peyton manning2014 Scholars Alex Crockett and Cody Sain have been named recipients of the Peyton Manning Scholarship at the University of Tennessee.

Lauren Kuhn (2009) was crowned Miss Massachusetts last week! Read media coverage here and here. Several state representatives have been Coca-Cola Scholars over the years, including 2004 Miss America Ericka Dunlap (2000). Lauren is a student at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine and her platform is “The Opportunity of Education: Encouraging Today’s Young Women.” Cheer her on in the Miss America Pageant on September 14th!

Derek Berkshire (2014) was elected to the 2014-2015 Indiana FFA State Sentinel.

Zachary Certner (2014) has received a $5,000 TruFit Good Citizen Scholarship, which recognizes and rewards students whose volunteer efforts have made a lasting impact in their communities. Zachary created a nonprofit organization called SNAP, Inc., which provides special needs children with athletic and social programming.

IMG_1614Kelsey Tainsh (2008) received her Professional Speakers Association designation from the National Speakers Association. Recently, Coca-Cola employees and local Scholar alumni had the opportunity to hear Kelsey share her story at The Coca-Cola Company headquarters in Atlanta. If you are ever looking for a speaker for an event, Kelsey would love to talk to you!

More about her at: KelseyTainsh.com

Alumni Connections July 2014

Julia and HeatherJulia Rasooly (2002) and Heather Bowerman (2002) met up in June to share a Diet Coke at the BIO Conference in San Diego.

Rocio and Ericka with Nury MartinezRocio Ortega (2012) and Ericka Jones (2011) both have an internship with Los Angeles City Councilwoman Nury Martinez this summer. Rocio realized Ericka was a Coke Scholar when Ericka pulled out her notebook from the 2013 Coca-Cola Scholars Leadership Summit! Ericka goes to UCLA and Rocio is attending Wellesley College.

mehul and daron in NYC.jpgDaron Roberts (1997) met up with Mehul Patel (1994) while on a recent business trip in New York City. The two met while serving on the Leadership Development Institute Committee during the 2014 Coke Scholars Weekend.

Leia and JillianJillian Roberts (2011) and Leia Schwartz (2014) volunteered together last week at Camp Boggy Creek, a camp for chronically and seriously ill children.

neal and meganNeal Fox reunited with fellow 2007 Scholar Megan Millard while visiting Elon University for a research workshop. Megan works for Procter & Gamble in Greensboro and Neal is working towards his PhD in Cognitive Science.

ros and ashley at googleRosalyn Menon Kennedy (1997) ran into Ashley Chang (2006) at Google Headquarters in California last week. Rosalyn just started working there and loves running into Coke Scholars on campus!

Alumni Accolades June 2014

Obama_visit_libmall10_7588Steven Olikara (2008) has been named “Millennial of the Year” for his work founding the Millennial Action Project! Read about the Millennial Action Project and his award in the Washington City Paper.


Thomas King (1989) and his a cappella group DeltaCappella won Contemporary A Cappella League Best Album and tied for Best Country Song at the CARAS awards in Boston on May 12 for their album Ain’t No Doubt. Watch the video above of DeltaCappella singing “Renegade” from their CD release concert.

Florida State University has chosen Wendi Adelson’s (1997) book This is Our Story to be read by all incoming freshmen this year. Wendi’s book follows the lives of Rosa and Mila, two young women from different countries who become victims of human trafficking in the American Southeast. If you know of a way that Wendi may bring this story about human trafficking to more college students and educate others about the dangers of dehumanization and commodification of human beings, please email Carolyn.

Karina Plascencia (2010) discusses her experience as a first-generation Mexican-American at Georgetown University and her post-graduation plans in Mongolia in this article in the Albany Democrat-Herald!

Jide Omekam (2014) received the Gates-Millennium Scholarship! Jide recently graduated from Benjamin Banneker Academic High in Washington, D.C. and will be headed to Brown University this fall.

Mpaza Kapembwa (2011), a junior at Williams College, who has been awarded a Pickering Fellowship, which provides academic and professional preparation for a career in the U.S. Department of State Foreign Service.

Logan M. Skelley (2006) recently graduated with high distinction from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine in Lexington, Kentucky. While in school, he received the Joseph P. Kennedy Student Development Council Scholarship, the David Felt Scholarship, and an Academic Excellence Scholarship. Following graduation, Logan will complete a transitional year residency program at Indiana University Health Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie, IN, and then a 3-year dermatology residency at the Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education in Rochester, MN.


Jackie Rotman (2008) presented “Everything you think you know about Millenials is wrong” at TEDxStanford. Read about it here and watch her TEDx presentation above.

Suneil Kamath (2012) won a small business scholarship essay contest through Insureon! Suneil wrote about his foundation Music of the Heart, which aims to use the power of music as a tool to promote holistic healing and music education. Read about it here on Yahoo! Finance.

Alumni Connections June 2014

daron and colbyColby Lufkin (2012) is spending his third summer working with 4th and 1 (an organization founded by 1997 Scholar, Daron Roberts) as a football coach for their camp in East Texas. Here they are with the Powerade coolers that were generously donated by their local Coca-Cola bottler.

tyler sanchez and alex wespiTyler Sanchez (2006), on the left, and Alex Wespi (2012), right, got together in San Francisco recently while Tyler was in town on business.

hilary and tim in austinHilary Corna (2003) met up with Tim McCallum (1991) over dinner in Austin and posted this photo in the Coke Scholars Alumni group on Facebook, where she wrote “Theorized social structures, shared international experiences, and contemplated life last night in Austin with this goofball. You may recognize him from Carolyn’s ‘Punked’ video at the Leadership Summit!”

IMG_9101photo 1The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation loves when Coke Scholars remember to stop by their offices when visiting Atlanta. This month they received visits from Jaime Broadhead (2002), above, Micaela Connery (2004) and Lindsay Hyde (2000) and took these “selfies”.

Alumni Accolades May 2014

Patti Ross (CCSF), Ali Hartman (2001) and Ali’s 8 month old son Austen stopped by a Music for Autism event while in New York City to support Robert Accordino (1999), founder of Music for Autism.

Patti Ross (CCSF), Ali Hartman (2001) and Ali’s 8 month old son Austen stopped by a Music for Autism event while in New York City to support Robert Accordino (1999), founder of Music for Autism.

Congratulations to Dr. Robert Accordino (1999), U.S. Founder of Music for Autism, for being named New Yorker of the Week. Click here to watch the segment about Music for Autism and an interview with Robert.

Congratulations to Stacey Edmondson (1989), who will become Dean of the College of Education at Sam Houston State University this July!

Karissa Jackson (2010) was awarded a Fulbright and will be spending the 2014-2015 school year in Moldova!

Arpan Prabhu (2010) received a research fellowship from the Center for Latin American Studies at The University of Pittsburgh and will be studying intercultural medicine abroad in Bolivia this summer!

Jackie Rotman (2008) is the new Executive Director of Spark, the largest network of Millennial donors in the world. Spark has 11,000 young professional members who have invested over $1.5M in grants and services to 136 grassroots women’s organizations around the world. Jackie will continue to be a board member of Everybody Dance Now, an organization she founded in 2008.

Ogechi Oparah (2009) is running for the Board of Education in Fayette County, GA. She is unopposed in the primary and will be running in the general midterm election on November 4.

Congratulations to Neha Gupta (2014) who won the Hasbro Community Action Hero Award for raising more than a million dollars since 2009 for her organization Empower Orphans!

Kylan Nieh (2010) is the first undergraduate to win Haas’ GSI Teacher of the Year Award (Cheit Award)!  He is a senior at Berkley and is a Coca-Cola Scholar Alumni Regional Coordinator in the San Francisco area.

Pitsco Education Company has selected Merry Willis (2000) as Teacher of the Month!  In this interview, she discusses her background in education and why she loves teaching.

KUTV in the Salt Lake City area interviewed Valerie Sanchez (2014) about her determination to excel in school and become the first in her family to go to college.

Congratulations to two 2014 Scholars who were selected as Robertson Scholars: Michelle Moffa from Linwood, NJ, and Andrew Brennan from Lexington, KY. Michelle will be attending Duke University and Andrew will be attending UNC Chapel Hill in the fall.

Three 2014 Coke Scholars Rajet Vatsa (AZ), Ryan Dahl (KS) and Nina Srivastava (SC) became 2014 Presidential Scholars!

Alumni Celebrations May 2014

photo 1 (5)Congratulations to Heidi Koester Olivera who married Augusto Olivera in Atlanta on May 2! Jane Hopkins (CCSF), Carolyn Norton (CCSF), Ryan Rodriguez (CCSF), Kelsey Tainsh (2008) and Kim Rash (1990) from the Coke Scholars family attended.

Alumni Connections May 2014

Chelsea Rawe (2010) will be serving in the Peace Corps in Nepal for two years and Anna Delamerced (2012) will be interning in Hong Kong this summer – both would love to connect with any Scholars who visit the area! Email Carolyn Norton to connect with Chelsea or Anna.

scholars in seattle for pizzaCoke Scholars in Seattle got together for pizza on May 1 to enjoy some cold Coca-Cola and the sun finally coming out!  Seen here from right to left: Kurt von Laven (2008), Diep Nguyen (2006), Clara Tsao (2009), and Morgan Pate (sister of Coke Scholars Jason and Austin Pate).

mary alexander myersSeveral Scholars visited The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation last month, including Ky Tang (1992) (below), who visited from San Francisco and Mary Alexander Myers (2006) (above), who lives in Atlanta.

Ky Tang visitKy Tang’s visit to Coke (left to right:  Lauren Sensabaugh (CCSF), Carolyn Norton (CCSF), Ericia Ward-Williams (CCSF), Mark Davis (CCSF), Ky Tang (1992), Megan Barber (CCSF) and Ryan Rodriguez (CCSF).


National Month of Service Events

Community service, a core value of Coca-Cola Scholars, was highlighted during April and May as four groups of Scholars came together to celebrate our National Month of Service within their communities.

Coke Scholars in Philadelphia worked in the garden at Bache-Martin School, painting the grounds and constructing new garden beds. 

san fran community serviceSan Francisco Bay Area Scholars teamed up with their local Coca-Cola friends to restore and beautify Golden Gate Park.

patrick shaker lauron and BGCA kidsLauron Fischer (2007), Shaker Dukkipati (2009) and Patrick Daly (2001) spent a Saturday painting rooms with students at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati: Marge Schott-Unnewehr Club.

In Durham, NC, Madi Pfaff (2013), Ben Anders (2007) and Benie Bolohan (2014) served at the SEEDS Garden in Durham alongside DIG (Durham Inner City Gardeners), a youth-driven, urban farming leadership development program that empowers teens to be good stewards of their community and the Earth. The Scholars learned the art of farming and gardening and worked together with local youth to tend a garden.

Alumni Accolades April 2014

Zoobean1Felix Lloyd (1994) and his wife Jordan appeared on the hit ABC show “Shark Tank” on April 18th to promote their company Zoobean, and won a $250,000 investment from Mark Cuban! Zoobean is a web service that recommends apps and books for children. Click here for the press release and here for an update since the show was aired.

Our very own Michael Tubbs (2008), City Councilman of his hometown Stockton, CA, is the subject of a Tribeca Film Fest movie “True Son” and was recently featured on HUFFPOST Live.

Michelle Peluso (1989) discussed her role as Chief Executive Officer of the Gilt Groupe and why she doesn’t have an office in this New York Times article.

Rock Ward (2013) was accepted into the Phillip Evans Scholars Program. He is one of only 8 freshmen at Swarthmore who will be given a grant to fund a project of his choosing that will benefit a community in Brazil this summer!

On March 6, 2014, Abdul Karim Khan (2011) won the Audience Choice Award at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis’ Ideas Solving Social and Economic Challenges (ISSEC) Competition. ISSEC is a student “pitch” competition that encourages IUPUI students to come up with innovative ideas to solve real-world problems. Khan, a junior at Purdue, pitched the idea of a web-based company known as My Size Now that would allow consumers to input their sizes into a database that then matches their sizes to perfectly fit clothing on websites they use regularly.  Check out Khan in the spotlight below or watch the pitch yourself!

Daniel McFarland (2011) was elected as the University of Arkansas Associated Student Government President for the 2014-2015 academic year and Cicely Shannon (2011) was chosen as his Chief of Staff!

Cicely Shannon (2011) was also chosen as a 2014 Truman Scholar. See the full list here.

Untamed coverCongratulations to Will Harlan (1993)! His book Untamed: The Wildest Woman in America and the Fight for Cumberland Island hits the shelves this week at bookstores across the country. It has already been selected as a Barnes & Noble Discover Award winner—one of their top 18 books of the summer (and the only biography). It has also received high praise from outdoor luminaries like Bill McKibben and Sylvia Earle, along with stellar reviews from bestselling author Christopher McDougall and National Geographic award-winning writers Jennifer Holland and Jon Bowermaster. You can buy Will’s book here.

Will tells us, “I’ve spent the past two decades writing this biography of the wildest woman in America, Carol Ruckdeschel. She eats road kill, wades into alligator dens, rides wild horses bareback, and lives in a ramshackle cabin that she built herself using driftwood that washed ashore. She’s had three husbands and many lovers, one of whom she shot and killed. A combination of Henry David Thoreau and Jane Goodall, Carol is a self-taught scientist who has become a tireless defender of sea turtles on Cumberland Island, a national park off the coast of Georgia. Untamed is a thrilling and inspiring real-life story of a gutsy, gritty individual standing her ground on a wild and controversial island.”

More about Will Harlan here.

Kate Gasparro (2010) is a recipient of a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship. The NSF Fellowship is a prestigious and very competitive engineering fellowship that includes full tuition and fees as well as a $32,000 stipend.

Jeremiah Grant (2012) was selected as a 2014 Future Global Leader Fellow! FGL is an exclusive worldwide fraternity of 22 fellows from around the globe who are chosen as part of a three year fellowship program. Through this fellowship, Jeremiah will go on a backpacking expedition this summer in the Rocky Mountains with the National Outdoor Leadership School followed by a three-day leadership conference in Wyoming. After that, the next two years will be filled with internships abroad anywhere in the world of his choosing to study medicine.

Alumni Connections April 2014

micaela and pamitMicaela Connery (2004) and Pamit Surana (1989) enjoyed catching up in NYC recently. They took a tour of the financial district, got amazing chocolate at Flika, and chatted about careers, family, education, and finding balance in life over snacks and drinks.

google coke scholarsCoke Scholars working at Google in Mountain View, CA got together to catch up over lunch and are planning to have lunch quarterly together. From left to right: Hena Haines (2009), Juany Torres (2009), Becky Pope (2008), Ashley Chang (2006), Fred Quintana (1989), and David Lluncor (2007).

Meganne and Braden at Coke Swire.jpgMeganne Ferrel and Braden Whitaker (2010 Scholars at BYU) were invited by CCSF Board Member Jack Pelo (President of Swire Coca-Cola Bottling Company) to tour their Utah bottling facility recently! They enjoyed learning more about what goes on behind the scenes.