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.

Alumni Celebrations April 2014

Greyson Ocean Durden

Congratulations to Torarie Durden (1994) and his wife CC on the birth of their first child, son Greyson “Ocean” Torie Durden born on March 22nd in Atlanta, GA!

leo bernstein baby pic_2

Leo Sanford Bernstein was born March 8 in Austin, TX, to Corrie MacLaggan (1998) and husband Oliver Bernstein. Big sister Carmen, 2, is very excited.

AJ Lathan

Jamie Lathan (1996) and his wife Lucinda welcomed their first child, Arthur Jameson Nias Lathan (“AJ”), on March 4th in Durham, NC!

Hudson Clarke baby photo

Congratulations to Adrienne Clarke (1991) and her husband Bryan on the birth of their son Hudson Taeyoung Clarke on March 4th in Chicago! Hudson joins big sister Dylan.

Alumni Accolades March 2014

Abbie Newton (2012) gave a TEDx talk in February about her experience running 150 miles through the Andes Mountains and Peruvian Amazon with the non-profit organization Impossible 2 Possible!

Liz and Chelsea at MSU_2Congrats to Michigan State University students and Coke Scholars Chelsea Rawe (2010), who was named the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources outstanding senior, and Liz Brajevich (2012), who was awarded a fisheries and wildlife scholarship by Dr. Amber Peters, a member of the first class of Coca-Cola Scholars in 1989 and professor at MSU!  It was a great night for the Coca-Cola ladies at MSU!

1 Nicholas Cobb Shaking President Obama's hand_2Each year, as part of the Boy Scouts of America congressional charter, the BSA presents the Report to the Nation to the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, congressional leadership, and other top government officials. To culminate the presentation, Nicholas Cobb (2014) from Texas was one of six Scouts selected to present the report to the President of the United States on Thursday, December 12, 2012, in the Oval Office. In 2009, he started his own non-profit, ‘Comfort and Joy,’ dedicated to helping the homeless. Here is a photo of Nicholas and President Obama!

Alumni Connections 2014

atlanta scholars at symphony_2Coke Scholars in Atlanta got together for a night at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra recently!

086This spring, FSU Professor and 1997 Coke Scholar Wendi Adelson led a team of Florida State University law and medical students on a service learning trip to Immokalee, Florida. Wendi connected with Tori Bawel (2010) at last fall’s Coke Scholars Leadership Summit, and Tori joined Wendi’s group to learn about medical legal partnerships and migrant farm worker communities. Wendi and Tori had a wonderful time in Immokalee and enjoyed sharing a few Cokes!

Left to right:  Jensen Abellaneda, Sonny Pilanthnakorno, Dianna He (2005), Chris Paul, John Tang, Edward Chan;  Not pictured:  David Buckholtz (1993) and Sofia Fernandez (1990)

Left to right: Jensen Abellaneda, Sonny Pilanthnakorno, Dianna He (2005), Chris Paul, John Tang, Edward Chan; Not pictured: David Buckholtz,(1993) and Sofia Fernandez (1990)

Coke Scholars and Coke employees in Los Angeles got together for the 2014 L.A. Sports Awards.  Here is a photo they took with Chris Paul, 2014 Sportsman of the Year!

Left to right:  Joe Nail, Albert Feng, Serena Tharakan, Jared Hopper and Corey Risinger.

Left to right: Joe Nail, Albert Feng, Serena Tharakan, Jared Hopper and Corey Risinger.

2014 Scholars met up at the Morehead Cain Finalist Weekend in February.

Alumni Celebrations March 2014

chris la wedding best_2Chris La (2009) married her college sweetheart, Andrew Wong, on December 28, 2013 in Cedar Hill, Texas at Hillcrest Baptist Church where they currently serve. They met during her freshman year (his sophomore year) at Dallas Baptist University. They now live in Dallas, Texas, where Chris is pursuing her master’s degree in occupational therapy and Andrew is working for a large tax company. They are enjoying married life to the fullest and serving together in an international student ministry.

Alumni Accolades February 2014

Scholar-FeatureCongratulations to Derrius Quarles (2009), author of “Million Dollar Scholar”, who won the Tavis Smiley Social Innovation Competition! He will also be pitching at SXSW as a finalist in the Student Startup Madness.

Congratulations to Gabby Mitchell (2008) who has been invited to join Teach for America in New York City as an Early Childhood Educator! A recruiter reached out to her when she read that Gabby is a Coke Scholar! We are happy to help make these connections through our partnership with Teach for America, which is often highlighted in our alumni newsletter.

Alex Dzurick (2008) was selected for a 3 year appointment to the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Committee on Informal Science Teaching. This appointment is related to his work as the Energy Educator for Columbia Water & Light, a municipal water and electric utility in Columbia, Missouri, where Alex has been working on school and community outreach on energy efficiency, renewable energy, clean drinking water, and other energy-related topics.

Christopher Gray (2010) and Bryson Alef (2010) founded Scholly, a smartphone app that allows students to search for scholarships, and it was recently written up in Forbes in this article!

Mr. Charles Doxley (2002), an Electronics Engineer at NASA Glenn Research Center, will be honored at the 28th Annual BEYA STEM Global Competitiveness Conference held in Washington D.C. as the recipient of the Most Promising Scientist in Government award at the Emerald Honors and Trailblazers dinner on February 6th demonstrates tremendous potential for future scientific contributions based on previous merit.

Congratulations to Jackie Rotman (2008)! Her organization Everybody Dance Now! was the first nonprofit accepted to Stanford’s accelerator, StartX! Through this experience, EDN! was featured in Tech Crunch, Dish Daily, Silicon Valley Business Journal as pitch of the week, San Jose Business Journal, SF Business Journal, PR Web, and more!

Radhika Rawat (2010) was chosen to help design and teach a course with Saul Perlmutter (2011 Nobel Laureate in Physics), Rob MacCoun (Law and Public Policy), and John Campbell (Philosophy), three of Berkeley’s most distinguished professors. The course, “Sense, Sensibility, and Science” is one of the “Big Ideas” courses at Cal that exposes students to the top thinking and professors on campus.

Alumni Connections February 2014

Scholars in the Asian American Coke paradei-ST96xJW-L[1]Coca-Cola Scholars in San Francisco were invited to be part of the San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade in February. Several local Scholars, family and friends joined Coca-Cola employees to celebrate the “Year of the Horse” in this annual parade. This year, they were especially proud to feature Jason Pate (2005) and Lily Mai (2011) on the Coke Float with the beloved Coca-Cola Polar Bear. Walking beside the float were:  Eloy Balderas (2004), Ali Price (2004), Jacqueline Welch (1990), Jacky Kwong (2007), Christine Chung and Judy Chung (wife and mother of Kevin Chung, 1990, who could not attend).

Case Western Univ. Coke Scholars DinnerScholars at Case Western Reserve University enjoyed a pizza dinner together in January. In attendance were: Suneil Kamath (2012), Dan McQuaid (2013), Raghav Tripathi (2013) and Jazmine Smith (2012).

Scholars at Naval academy with VP cheneyJoel Bervell (2013) met up with fellow 2013 Coke Scholars Megan Rosenberger and Bob Leddy while attending a leadership conference at the United States Naval Academy, where Megan and Bob go to school. Dick Cheney, the former Vice President of the United States, was a speaker and they took this photo with him afterwards!

IMG_20140202_194439833Tekay King (1989) and Josh Miller (2005) got together in L.A. recently. Tekay was there as a master clinician and instructor at the Los Angeles A Cappella Festival at the end of January. After meeting at the Leadership Summit,  they kept in touch through Facebook and were excited to reconnect and share a Coke together while Tekay was in town.

scholars at stanford when muhtar spoke in jan2014Coca-Cola Scholars at Stanford University came together to hear Muhtar Kent, CEO and Chairman of The Coca-Cola Company, and Dr. Condoleezza Rice speak last month.

juany torres with muhtar and condiAlso attending the event was Juany Torres (2009) who seized the opportunity to get this photo with Mr. Kent and Dr. Rice afterwards.

photo 1The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation staff loves it when Coke Scholars visit their office in Atlanta! This month they got to catch up with Merry Willis (2000) who is a teacher in Atlanta.

photo 4Jason Pate (2005), who was also in Atlanta with his girlfriend Deanna for the weekend, was joined by TJ Abrams (2001) and Karyn Harrington (1997), who work at The Coca-Cola Company.

Alumni Accolades Winter 2014

‘30 UNDER 30’ LIST!


Kavita Shukla (2002) under Social Entrepreneurs category:

David Demirbilek (2004) under Law category:

Josh Sommer (2005) under Science category:

Vivek Ramaswamy (2003) under Finance category:

Miss Chinese Las Vegas wins 3 major awards

Elisa Chan best to useCongratulations Elisa Chan (2007) who won the title of “Miss Chinese Las Vegas“, “Miss Asian Las Vegas 1st Princess“, & “Miss Community Service” during the first ever, Miss Asian Las Vegas pageant this past October 2013.  As “Miss Chinese Las Vegas” she was sent to the Miss Nevada USA Pageant on Sunday, January 12th, where she broke the record and won three major awards: Miss Photogenic, Miss Congeniality, and Best Evening Gown.

Her hometown, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, just published this article on her. And here is a video of an interview with Elisa after her big win.

Academic Achievements

Nick Picon (2010) was selected as a 2014 Marshall ScholarRead more about that here.

Simon Boehme (2010) was named a Mitchell Scholar (the first for Cornell University)! Later this year he will be studying for a Masters in Conflict Resolution and Education Policy in Ireland. Simon was appointed by Secretary Arne Duncan to the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) for six years!

Congratulations to Jamaal Barnes (2005), Assistant Director of Admissions at the Harvard Graduate School Education, who was selected to be part of the 2014 Class of Harvard Administrative Fellows Program.

Other Accolades

Congratulations to Wendi Adelson (1997) whose book, This is Our Story, has been selected as a finalist for the 2014 One Book/ One Campus selection!  Wendi also was named a delegate from the US for the British-American Project is a transatlantic fellowship of over 1,000 leaders, rising stars and opinion formers from a broad spectrum of occupations, backgrounds and political views.

Kate Gasparro (2010), a senior at Clemson University majoring in Civil Engineering, was featured on Clemson’s website in an article about her experience there.

Sami Stoner (2013) and her seeing-eye dog, Chloe, have been featured in this Purina commercial!

Robert Accordino (1999) writes for the Huffington Post on occasion. Here is his latest article on his magnificent grandmother and the effects of aging.

Anthony Orlando (2006) has a new book out!  Letter to the One Percent is being hailed as “powerful, compact primer on American economics.” (Kirkus Reviews) and Reese Schonfeld, the founding President and CEO of CNN, says “it should be read by every one of us.” Check it out!

A documentary film was made on Michael Tubbs (2008) and his campaign trail running for Stockton City Council! You can see the trailer here and also Like the film on Facebook, follow the film on Twitter, and subscribe to the YouTube Channel for more film updates!

Albert Lawrence (2003), founder of Talk of Fame Entertainment, recently challenged talk-show host Jimmy Fallon to a freestyle rap about his Tonight Show plans. Check it out!

Celebrations Winter 2014

carrie and john2Congratulations to Carrie Regan (1989) who wed her longtime love John Dandelski in Jamaica on November 30th!  They are residing in Knoxville, TN, where Carrie works for HGTV and John is a chiropractor.







Cozy Dreamy GuyAusten Alexander Tolve joined the world on October 28, 2013, clocking in at 8lbs 4oz and almost 23 inches long, which he gets from his tall parents, Ali Hartman (2001) and Andrew Tolve. While born long and lean, his parents are working hard to fatten him up for the sole purpose of getting him into his “Future Scholar” t-shirt ASAP. Mom, Dad, and Austen miss their Coca-Cola family so much, especially Austen’s honorary Grandmother, Patti Ross. They can’t wait to get out of cold New York right now, so are dreaming of their summer visit to Atlanta where the only thing ice cold will be the Coca-Cola!



coy parksAmber Wallin Parks (2000) and her husband Terry welcomed Coy Isaac into the world on November 18th . Coy is an avid bubble blower and drooler. He can’t wait to turn in his Coke Scholar application in 2032!






Liam KennedyCongratulations to Rosalyn Menon Kennedy (1997) and her husband Clif on the birth of Liam Vikram Menon Kennedy, who arrived three weeks early on October 31st!  Rosalyn, Clif and big sister Maya are enjoying this precious time with Liam.