Kelsey Tainsh 2008

From Obstacles to Opportunity

Nothing—not even suffering from two brain tumors and a stroke—is going to stop 2008 Coca-Cola Scholar Kelsey Tainsh from fulfilling her dreams. And as a motivational speaker, she’s determined to help others do the same. “Our hardest obstacles and challenges in life have the most rewarding opportunities, but not if we give up,” Kelsey says. “I wouldn’t trade having a brain tumor or a stroke … MORE »


WIll Thomason 2008

Committed to the Curvy Road

What do you do? It seems like such a straightforward question. But for 2008 Coca-Cola Scholar Will Thomason, there isn’t an easy answer. While he attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Will tried on roles as a comic strip writer, coach, mentor, volunteer, blogger, counselor, advocate, advisor—and, of course, student. Since graduating from UNC with a degree in business administration in May … MORE »



Combining Two Passions To Improve Education

Amber Parks always felt like teaching was her calling. “I remember teaching my stuffed animals when I was a little girl,” she recalls. “There was never a question about what I would do.” After graduating from Vanderbilt and the University of Oklahoma, she taught elementary school students in Spain, South Africa, Mississippi and Oklahoma. “I loved the classroom and had no intention of leaving,” she … MORE »

Kavita Shukla

Kavita Shukla 2002

Believing In The Power Of A Simple Idea

Kavita Shukla’s extended family lived in India and as a child she was unable to visit them frequently. However, one trip to see her grandmother literally changed her life. “My parents told me not to drink the tap water because it could be contaminated,” she remembers. “I forgot and accidently drank some, and I started to panic because I thought I’d get really sick. My … MORE »


Mehul Patel 1994

Creating A Vibrant Future For Our Cities

Growing up, Mehul Patel always assumed he would become a physician, like his father. But during his last year in high school, people and events converged to change the direction of his life. He attended Boys’ State, a weeklong summer program focused on teaching students about how local, county and state governments work. While he was interested in learning about the political process, he questioned … MORE »

Guillermo Morales

Guillermo Morales 2007

Against All Odds

Guillermo Morales had to overcome more obstacles than most to get to college. His parents were from Mexico, where his mother traveled five hours to the nearest college to become a teacher. She was pregnant with Guillermo when she crossed illegally into the U.S., risking her life and his so he could be born here. As a child he spoke only Spanish and knew no … MORE »

Shannon Babb

Shannon Babb 2006

Changing The World One Solution At A Time

Shannon Babb has been interested in science as long as she can remember. When she was really little, she wanted to be a paleontologist, spending hours a day in her yard digging for dinosaur bones. Her mother jokes that Shannon never found dinosaur bones, but became interested in being a geologist because she was so good at finding rocks. “There are so many little problems … MORE »

Rocio Ortega

Rocio Ortega 2012

Speaking Up For Girls Who Don’t Have A Voice

Rocio Ortega is a passionate advocate for the 600 million girls in developing countries who do not have the opportunities she’s had in the U.S. As a high school sophomore, she was first exposed to the concepts of female empowerment and feminism through GlobalGirl Media, a nonprofit organization that teaches the tools of digital media to teenage girls in underserved communities. GlobalGirl Media’s goal of … MORE »