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Alumni Accolades June 2013

Sejal Hathi, 2nd from left, and Kavita Shukla, 3rd from left, onstage at the Toyota Mothers of Invention Award along with the other winners at the Women in the World Conference 2013.

Sejal Hathi (2nd from left) and Kavita Shukla (3rd from left) onstage at the Toyota Mothers of Invention Award along with the other winners at the Women in the World Conference 2013.

Sejal Hathi (2009) and Kavita Shukla  (2002) won the same Mothers of Invention award  for their inventions “Girltank” (Sejal) and “Fresh Paper” (Kavita) from Newsweek and Toyota.  They met in person for the first time at the Women in the World Summit,  where they received their awards.  They had no idea they were both scholars!  Both women will also be speaking at the 2013 Coke Scholars Leadership Summit this October.

Congratulations to Rudy Fernandez (1991), Vice President of Government and Community Relations at the University of Miami, who was promoted to Chief of Staff in the Office of the President. Since joining the University in 2007, Rudy has helped to secure more than $300 million in public funding for the University of Miami, among many other accolades.  Prior to joining UM, he served as Special Assistant to the President in the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs under President George W. Bush. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government from Harvard University and an M.B.A. from the University of Miami.

Congratulations to Andrew Kayes (1991), M.D., of Maui, for winning The American College of Radiology (ACR) overall excellence chapter award for the Hawai’i Radiological Society (HRS)!  Click here to read more.

Congratulations to Simon Boehme (Michigan), Jacob Tobia (NC), and Andrew Amis (MS), all 2010 Coke Scholars, who became 2013 TRUMAN SCHOLARS.

Congratulations to Glenn Means (2007) who was chosen as a Summer Fellow for the Health for America programClick here to read more.

Congratulations to Tiffany Newsome (2009) who was named Wake Forest University’s Student Teacher of Excellence!

Kevin Kalra (2004) was selected to receive the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Intellectual Contribution/Faculty Tribute Award for his work with the International Education Policy Program.

Many of our 2013 Scholars are receiving national recognition for their Coca-Cola Scholarships, including Alison Mansfield (2013) who was in the news here.

Congratulations to these Coke Scholars who were honored with the Nestle Very Best in Youth Awards:  Alison Mansfield (2013), Mary Grace Reeves (2012), Samuella Takyi-Buachie (2013) and Kevin Chon (2013)!

Congratulations to Hunter Hammond (2009) who won the “Outstanding Leader Award” at Georgia Tech,  through The College of Business, for being a business student who is identified as the top leader on campus!

Congratulations to Raghav Tripathi (2013) who is one of 10 seniors from the same zip code in Oregon who won National Merit Scholarships!  Thank you to Nate Stice (2002) for sending us the article. He knew Raghav was a Coke Scholar from his shirt in the photo!

Congratulations to Sally Nuamah (2007) who received the following accolades:

  1. She was asked to give a TEDx talk on April 12th at the University of Illinois at Chicago that Gabrielle VanSpeybroeck (2009) helped to organize!  Below is a photo of the two Coke Scholars.
  2. Sally and Gabrielle VanSpeyboeckShe was selected as 1 of 30 students around the world to present at the biennial Education Without Borders Conference, where she will talk about innovative solutions to closing the achievement gap between girls and boys.
  3. The research she conducted also has a film component that rolls out this summer, titled HerStory! Check out more on this project at:

Congratulations to Ryan Upshaw (2002) who was recently named Assistant Dean of the University of Mississippi’s School of Engineering!  Ryan will be responsible for directing student affairs for the School, recruitment efforts, scholarship management, academic advising, retention programs, career services, co-op management and managing student organizations.  He previously served as Coordinator of Recruitment and Admissions with the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College at Ole Miss for the past five years.

Congrats to Otana Jakpor (2010) who was voted as one of Glamour’s “Top 10 College Women”!  Rising Juniors can apply here for 2014.

Congratulations to Rachel Brill and Kaitlyn Chana (both 2009 Scholars) who received the Order of Pegasus award which is the most prestigious and significant award a student can attain at the University of Central Florida. Order of Pegasus recognizes exemplary performance by UCF bachelor’s degree students in the areas of academic achievement, outstanding university involvement, leadership, and community service. Rachel will be going to work as a 7th grade teacher for Teach for America in Denver this year, while Kaitlyn will be interning with the Today Show this summer and then will return to the University of Central Florida to finish her degree in Broadcast Journalism this fall.

philip-zaden-0116Philip McAdoo (1989) and his partner Sean Cavenaugh adopted a son last year, and after receiving discrimination they weren’t expecting, they have been meeting with lawmakers in Washington to help get a Gay Rights Adoption Bill passed.  Read more here in the Huffington Post. 

Congratulations to Kevin Shen (2000) who will be producing and acting in the European Premiere of the play “Yellow Face” by Tony Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang.  “Yellow Face” won the 2008 OBIE award for playwriting and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist.  They have had press coverage on websites like and elsewhere. The play will show at the new Park Theatre in London, where they will be the first major production in its studio space, running from May 21-June 16.  Coke Scholars in London are planning to see it together, so if you are there during that time be sure to catch it!