Hey everyone!

I’m Ted and I currently attend Walnut High School, which is about 30 minutes east of downtown Los Angeles. I’m so excited to attend Scholars Weekend this year. I have a few friends who were past Scholars and they’ve constantly told me about how amazing their experiences were. I honestly cannot wait to chug down an unlimited supply of Coke while chilling with my future best bud Muhtar Kent.

When I read the short bio’s and introductions of the other Scholars in our Facebook group, there was a palpable feeling of earnest enthusiasm. Just from reading the intros (and doing quite a bit of Facebook stalking), I can see that this is such a diverse group of big-thinkers. It’s actually slightly intimidating to see how amazing and accomplished everyone is. I’m hoping that the collective creativity, passion, and experiences of our class will help each other acquire the knowledge it takes to turn our own dreams and aspirations into actionable impact. I’m betting that we won’t disappoint.

Anyway, here’s some info about me!

1) I’m a Southern California boy, raised in the glorious sunshine, smog and devastating winters (ha) of LA.

2) I’m a sports fanatic. I play tennis, and am a huge fan of my hometown Lakers and Angels, along with the Pittsburgh Steelers, FC Barcelona, and Rafael Nadal.

3) I’m really passionate about science. Science Olympiad and research internships have been a big part of my high school experience in the past few years. I also really love writing, and have been on my school newspaper for the past 4 years. I’m undecided about what I want to study right now, but I hope to combine my interests and work at the intersection of health, journalism, and education advocacy.

4) I’m a huge fan of Breaking Bad, House of Cards, Agent Carter, Broadchurch, Sherlock, and Doctor Who, and somewhat ashamedly, Shark Tank. I also loved the Dark Knight trilogy and am looking forward to developments in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I’m a big fan of animated movies such as Up, Wall-E, The Lego Movie, and Tangled

.5) I’ll likely be attending Harvard in the fall, although I’m still exploring some other options. Shoutout to the Crimson fam!

6) Something most people don’t know about me: I lowkey wish to be a writer for SNL and highkey wish to be a better singer. I super highkey want to be Iron Man, because hey, who doesn’t?

See y’all at Scholars Weekend!

Alumni Accolades March 2015

Ben Anders

Ben Anders (2007) was announced as the 2015 American Dental Education Association (ADEA)/Sunstar Americas, Inc./Jack Bresch Student Legislative Intern. Ben will be a member of the ADEA AGR staff and participate in congressional meetings on Capitol Hill, coalition meetings, and policy discussions. To learn more about this internship, visit the ADEA website.

Akbar Khan

Akbar Khan (2014) and his nonprofit Bags to Riches, an organization that is dedicated to making education more accessible to underprivileged youth by collecting unused and unwanted conference bags for children across the globe, was featured on the ONE website, where he is interning this year.

Megan Rosenberger

Megan Rosenberger (2013) was selected as a Resolution Fellow after presenting her venture Barrels by the Bay, which seeks to bring awareness to World Water Day by painting and installing rain barrels throughout Annapolis. In partnership with the Clinton Foundation, over 500 students competed for one of the fellowship positions which provide hands-on mentorship, world-class global advisory resources, and $5,000 in seed funding. Chelsea Clinton announced Megan and 14 others as the winners at the 2015 Clinton Global Initiative Conference in Miami. Afterwards, Megan even had the chance to discuss her non-profit with Clinton.

The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation is a proud Pathway Partner with the Resolution Project. Learn more about their model for identifying and inspiring young leaders through their Social Venture Challenges and Resolution Fellowships at their website.

Justin Pasquariello

Justin Pasquariello (1997) is featured in an article on the Harvard Business School Alumni site regarding his career as the Executive Director or Children’s HealthWatch in Boston.

Daron Roberts

Daron Roberts (1997) was selected to be a member of the inaugural class of Presidential Leadership Scholars, a unique leadership development initiative that draws upon the resources of the U.S. presidential centers of Lyndon B. Johnson, George H.W. Bush, William J. Clinton, and George W. Bush. These presidential centers have partnered to bring together a select group of leaders who have the desire and capacity to take their leadership strengths to a higher level in order to help their communities and our country. The next round of applications will be open this summer, and details can be found on their website.

Marvin Carr (2005) received his doctorate from Morgan State University in Baltimore and is working at the White House in the office of the Chief Technology Officer of the United States, Megan Smith, as her STEM education policy intern.

Alumni Connections March 2015

Helen and Rachel

Photo Credit: Shelby Lin and Lydia Burns

As a part of the Harvard women’s rugby team, Coca-Cola Scholars Helen Clark (2011) and Rachael Stein (2013), pictured center, took part in a photo shoot with their teammates to illustrate the supportive nature of the team and express body image positivity. Markers in hand, players wrote words of encouragement and admiration on each other, resulting in photos documented on their Tumbler, Rugged Grace, that tell a story of empowerment and celebration. Helen and her co-writers describe the motivation behind the project in an article in the Harvard Political Review:

“Words cannot adequately describe the liberating feeling that being a part of a team with such body positivity provides. Imagine the relief of taking a breath of fresh air after being drowned for so long in the pressure that society places on women to fit some unrealistic mold. Rugby, and our team in particular, only pressures players to utilize and to be proud of the parts of their bodies that make them unique.”

Rugged Grace has been featured on the Huffington Post, Time, and Today Health, and continues to inspire others.

Pamit & AnjaliAnjali Bhatla (2013) interned for Pamit Surana (1989) at Accenture last summer. “He invested a significant amount of time on me, teaching me the importance of intentionality, good communication skills, and reflecting on best practices to improve performance. He also consistently pushed me to become better, and the personal development that occurred while I worked with him has greatly improved my endeavors in college,” she said. Pamit said “Anjali was awesome… a lot of my colleagues still ask for her. Given she did so well, I have hired 2012 Scholar Manraj Singh for this summer.” If you are an alum who is interested in hiring a Coca-Cola Scholar, post your job listing in the Coca-Cola Scholar Alumni LinkedIn Group and email Carolyn.

Bita and JasonJason Feldman (1990) passed through the CVS pharmacy drive-thru in Greensboro and the pharmacist who was working at the window was none other than Bita Emrani (2006)!

Stacey, Shardy and staffThe Scholars Foundation staff had the pleasure of visiting with Stacey Edmonson (1989) and Shardy Camargo (2009), who were visiting Atlanta for work conferences. Stacey is the Dean of the College of Education at Sam Houston State University in Texas, and Shardy works for Americorps in Florida.

Coca-Cola Scholar alums had a big presence at the Clinton Global Initiative University conference recently - Rudy Fernandez (1991), Spencer Lucker (2006), Nasir Uddin (2006), Clara Tsao (2009), Shejuti Paul (2011), Karishma Popli (2012),  Will Orton (2013), Ala Tineh (2013), Samuella Takyi-Buachie (2013), and Megan Rosenberger (2013) all met up in Miami between sessions. See pictures below:

Scholars at CGIUScholars at CGIUScholars at CGIUScholars at CGIU

Alumni Accolades February 2015

Jacob Tobia

Jacob Tobia (2010) was featured on MTV as part of The T-Word, a documentary project about transgender and gender non-binary youth directed by Laverne Cox. Watch Jacob discuss the use of pronouns in this clip. Jacob has also been featured in the Washington Post, Upworthy, and Huffpost Live over the past few months.

Nicholas Cobb head and shoulders

Nicholas Cobb (2014) was named to The Root’s 2015 Young Futurists, who are young African-American men and women who are forging a path to future greatness.


Aaron Chadbourne (2002) has taken a new job as Senior Policy Advisor within the Office of the Governor in Maine. When she learned of this news, Jennifer Cruickshank with the Coca-Cola Company in New England invited him to an event where he reunited with David Dumont of the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Northern New England – the same Bottler who presented him with his Coca-Cola Scholar certificate when he won the scholarship!

Christopher GrayChristopher Gray (2010) will be pitching his scholarship app, “Scholly,” to investors on Shark Tank on Friday, February 20 at 9 p.m. Eastern on ABC. According to the ABC teaser, interest in Christopher’s app “ignites into the most heated Shark fight ever with 3 of the Sharks walking out of the tank!” See a clip here.

Update! Scholly is now the #1 app in the itunes app store after making a deal on Shark Tank, trading $40,000 for a 15 percent stake in his company with Lori Greiner and Daymond John. Watch Christopher’s pitch and the Shark fight that ensued here.


Albert Lawrence (2003) co-hosted the Oscars pre-show and post-show on ABC as part of his new position as the Digital Media Producer for ABC7 in Los Angeles! You can follow his adventures at @talkoffame or @ABC7Albert.

State Farm Youth Advisory Board

Last month we shared that Raygan Sylvester became part of the State Farm Youth Advisory Board, and we have since found out that 8 Coca-Cola Scholars have served on the board in the past 2 years! Pictured above: Macie Whatley (2013), Anjali Bhatla (2013), Jake Bernstein (2012), Pavane Gorrrepati (2012), ​Justin Pearson (2013), Macy Early (2013), Raygan Sylvester (2014), and Suneil Kamath (2012).

Elizabeth FisherElizabeth Fisher’s (1996) photo is featured on a billboard in Atlanta as the face for the Georgia Tech Executive MBA program!

Amrit Saxena (2011) sold Fancy That Technologies, a machine learning and analytics company he founded, to Palantir Technologies, a large data integration and analytics company. News of the buy-out has appeared in TechCrunchFortune, and Entrepreneur.

Jesse Bernal (2000) was recently hired as Vice President of the Division for Inclusion and Equity at Grand Valley State University.

Alumni Connections February 2015

RIC Atlanta GroupA great group of alumni came together at The Coca-Cola Company headquarters in Atlanta as part of our Regional Interview Committee. The group included: Torarie Durden (1994), Michael Hanley (1996), Andrea Camille Young (1990), J.J. Jaxon (1994), Valerie Love (1990), Darian Dabney (2005), Greg Melia (1989), and Kim Rash (1990).

Atlanta gathering

…and then Atlanta Scholars came together in a much more informal setting in late February!

Ben and Makila

Ben Anders (2007) and Micaela Connery (2004) met up while Ben was visiting Boston last week.

Liz and Taylor

Elizabeth Fisher (1996) and her 3-month-old daughter Taylor joined us for lunch in our office.

We were happy to bring together several groups of alumni while traveling for regional interviews the first weekend in February!

houston dinner1 again

Scholars in Houston came together not just one night…

houston alums at benjys

…but two!

Anjali, Rohit, Varsha and Sharmila

Houston also had a wonderful group of alumni who volunteered during the interviews: Anjali (2013), Rohit (2014), Varsha (2014) and Sharmila (2014).

philly thurs dinner

Not to be outdone, Philadelphia Scholars met up on Thursday…

Philly dinner 2

…and Friday!

San Fran dinner

San Francisco Scholars came together for dinner.

Patti and alums in NYC.jpg

Scholars in New York caught up Saturday evening.

photo (8)

Chicago Scholars had dinner and embraced the winter weather.

Jason Feldman Kavita Swaroop and Travis

Jason Feldman (1990) and his partner Travis got together for dinner with Kavita Shukla (2002) and her business partner Swaroop when she was in Chapel Hill as a speaker for the TEDxUNC conference.

Mark with Carolyne and kids

Carolyne Dilgard-Clark (1995) visited the CCSF office with her kids during a cross-country road trip before moving to Switzerland.

Joel Martin

Alumnus and now 2015 Banquet sponsor Joel Martin (1996) came to visit with Foundation staff and make plans for placing his Brightbox charging stations on site during Scholars Weekend!


Alumni Connections January 2015

BYU Scholars

Coca-Cola Scholars at Brigham Young University came together for pizza and Coke!

Emily Zhen, Bryan Rodriguez and Dawit Gebresellassie

2014 Scholars Emily Zhen, Bryan Rodriguez and Dawit Gebresellassie took a group picture at the University of Pennsylvania’s Yacht Night.

Bret Bechis

Bret Bechis (2001), General Manager for Lyft in San Francisco, stopped by The Coca-Cola Company to visit with Foundation staff during a business trip in Atlanta.

Sarah and Radhika

Sandy Williams Alumni Legacy Scholars Sarah Williams (2011) and Radhika Mitra (2010) met in San Jose and posed for this picture in front of Tava Indian Kitchen, owned by Scholar Jason Pate (2005).

David Lindsay

The Foundation staff caught up with David Lindsay (2008), currently in medical school in Philadelphia, as he passed through Atlanta.

Alumni Accolades January 2015

Madison and Kassra

2013 Scholars Madison Pfaff and Kassra Homaifar were Masters of Ceremonies at the TEDxUNC Talks last week. Kavita Shukla (2002), inventor of Fresh Paper and CEO of Fenugreen, spoke during the conference and Karsten Coates (2012) performed.


Angelo Volandes (1989) recently published a book, The Conversation: A Revolutionary Plan for End-of-life Care. The book is a part memoir and part guide about how American medicine fails patients with serious illness and offers a better approach to improve how Americans live as well as possible for as long as possible. Angelo hopes that it will help translate the intangible complexities of medicine into clear terms so that patients and their families can be empowered and informed when making decisions about how they want to be cared for.

Scott Jennings (1996) was selected as a Bingham Fellow as part of a leadership program of the Leadership Louisville Center. The fellowship seeks to better understand how government works and build a collaborative network to improve how cities partner with state government.


We are excited to share that 3 Coca-Cola Scholars have been selected as part of Forbes 30 Under 30 list for 2015:

Neil Chheda (2004), part of the Venture Capital group, is Co-founder of Romulus Capital, a company keen to invest in early-stage start-ups. Their portfolio includes companies such as ScholarLocker, Gyft, and Soundtracker.

Jason Shah (2007), named to the Consumer Tech group, is the Founder of Do.com, a company that helps people run productive meetings. Do.com allows attendees to create visual timelines for meetings, provides a shared canvas for attendees to keep notes, and sends automatic meeting summaries.

Sara Volz (2013), listed in the Energy group, won the top $100,000 award in the 2013 Intel Science Talent Search after conducting an experiment that prompted algae to increase oil production which resulted in creating a powerful alternative to energy from fossil fuel. Look what Sara is up to at MIT in this video created by Intel. Fun fact: Eric Chen (2014) won the top award in 2014 for his research about new treatments for influenza!

Philip McAdoo

Philip McAdoo (1989), former Broadway star of Lion King and Rent, has been chosen to participate in the 2015 Junior Theater Festival on January 16-18, 2015, at the Cobb Galleria in Atlanta.

Raygan Sylvester

Raygan Sylvester (2014) was selected to be on the State Farm Youth Advisory Board. These young people will be responsible for dispersing $5 million in grant money to applying nonprofits. Raygan is pictured from when she received a $2,500 grant from State Farm for her nonprofit Think SAFE (Seatbelts Are For Everyone).

Chris Dzurick (2011) was hired in September 2014 as the state director of Missouri FBLA-PBL (Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda) within the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. This places him in charge of approving new and reactivating chapters, working with advisers on membership and recruitment, helping to organize dozens of local conferences, and planning a multi-day state conference of leadership workshops, competitive events and keynotes for members at all levels of the organization.

Alex Dzurick (2008) recently became a published author with his chapter “Water and energy: Essential to the urban landscape” in the e-book Urban Environmental Education, published by Cornell University, EECapacity, and the North American Association for Environmental Education. This project brought together local environmental education experts from urban areas across the country to contribute chapters focusing on educational issues of concern to urban environments.

Both Elise Stefanik (2002) and Ben Sasse (1990) were sworn in last week to their new positions in Congress and the Senate. Read about their election in our November post.

Alumni Accolades December 2014

HALO Awards 2014

Yash Gupta (2014), pictured left with host Nick Cannon and other recipients, received a 2014 Teen Nick HALO award for his organization Sight Learning, which donates glasses to students in need. Yash was also the previous recipient of a 2013 CNN Hero Award.

Zach and Matthew

Zachary Certner (2014) received a Teen Nick HALO Award for July in honor of his non-profit SNAP, Inc., which he co-founded with his brother Matthew Certner (2009), and both are pictured celebrating above. SNAP, Inc. stands for Special Needs Athletic Programs and helps children with autism through sports programs.

Neha and Nicholas

Nicholas Cobb (2014) won a Nick Teen HALO award for December in celebration of his non-profit Comfort and Joy that collects coats for the homeless. Neha Gupta (2014), highlighted last month for receiving the International Childrens Peace Prize, won an award for June for her non-profit Empower Orphans, which supplies orphans with educational resources and proper medical care.

Daron Roberts

Daron Roberts (1997) was named as the founding director of the Institute for Sports Leadership and Innovation at the University of Texas.

Evans Anyanwu

Evans Anyanwu (1996) and his brother Ike appeared on Queen Latifah’s talk show to honor her mother, Mrs. Owens, who was their mentor and teacher growing up at Frank H. Morrell High School in Irvington, New Jersey.

Ben Zauzmer

Ben Zauzmer (2011), a senior at Harvard, was named to The Harvard Crimson’s list of 15 Most Interesting Seniors. Ben took special care to give Coca-Cola a nod! Photo credit: Connie Yan/The Harvard Crimson.

Alice Park

Alice Park (1999) of Alice Park Photography in Atlanta was recently on Fox Atlanta discussing her ideas on taking the perfect family holiday card and creative uses for your cards.


Alumni Connections December 2014

HarvardHarvard 2014 Coca-Cola Scholars reconnected and reminisced about their Scholars Weekend. Around the table: Jessica Zhao, Emily Zauzmer, Raj Vatsa, Eric Chen, Neel Mehta, Cole Scanlon, William Wu, and Nina Srivastava.


Tess Maggio (2012) brought together a group of Coca-Cola Scholars at Yale University.

Nathan, Jack and Angela

The Coca-Cola Company invited Scholars Nathan Sharp (2004), Jack McKinstry (2000) and Angela Harrell (1991) to the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater Gala in New York City on December 3.

Wesley Mathis

Wes Matthis (1996) came by the Coca-Cola Scholars office while he was in town from Orlando.

Victoria Solomon Razin

Victoria Solomon Razin (2009) just moved to town and came by the Foundation offices for an Atlanta welcome.

Eric and Grant

Eric Beeler (2013) and Grant Means (2012) came by to say hello, and Eric brought us some beautiful combs from his year abroad in China.

Eric and Senators

During his visit, Eric showed us this selfie he took on his flight to Atlanta with Senator John McCain, Senator Lindsey Graham, and Senator Kelly Ayotte!

Alumni Accolades November 2014

Elise and Ben

November 4 was a big night for Elise Stefanik (2002) in New York and Ben Sasse (1990) in Nebraska – Elise became the youngest woman ever to be elected to Congress and Ben is now the first Scholar to be voted into the U.S. Senate!

Neha Gupta

Neha Gupta (2014) became the first American to receive the International Children’s Peace Prize! Neha was honored for her work through Empower Orphans, an organization she began when 9 years old. The mission of Empower Orphans is to elevate the well being of orphaned and underprivileged children and empower them to succeed, by helping them help themselves. Desmond Tutu presented Neha with her award in The Hague, Netherlands on the award’s 10th anniversary. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

Adan Gonzalez

Adan Gonzalez (2011) was named Coors Light’s Lider of the Year, receiving a $25,000 grant to implement a Latino leadership project for AVANCE-Dallas, a community-based, nonprofit organization that provides support and education services to at-risk, economically impoverished families. Watch a video of Adan’s recent Tedx talk here.

Jourdan Ubrach

Jourdan Urbach (2009), Co-founder of Ocho, a video-sharing app received $1.65 million in funding from Shark Tank’s Mark Cuban, along with other investors. Ocho allows users to add voiceovers and control videos’ volume among other features.

Mehul Patel

Mehul Patel (1994) was named to The Urban Land 40 Under 40, representing the best young land use professionals from around the globe.

Camille Borders

Camille Borders (2014) was named a 2014 Young Woman of Distinction, the highest honor in Girl Scouting.

Christopher Gray

Christopher Gray (2010), the Drexel undergrad founder of scholarship mobile app Scholly, was named on BET’s list of “Young Men on the Brink of Making It Big.” Gray just won Drexel’s annual incubator competition and will pitch on ABC’s “Shark Tank” later this season.

Corey Rennell

Core Foods, founded by CEO Corey Rennell (2003) , was named in the Top 100 List of the Bay Area’s Fastest Growing Companies.

Angela Harrell

Angela Harrell (1991) has been named the head of the ING Voya Foundation and Office of Corporate Social Responsibility. She began her new role on October 20.

Justin Pasquariello

Justin Pasquariello (1997) is featured in a Huffington Post article highlighting the importance of role models to children in the foster care system. Justin grew up in foster care and went on to start Adoption and Foster Care Mentoring organization.

Kathryn Minshew

Kathryn Minshew (2004), CEO and co-founder of The Muse, was listed in Glamour Magazine’s “35 Women Under 35 Who Are Changing the Tech Industry”.