Meet the Guests of The SIP, Season 1

The SIP, short for The Coke Scholars Ignite Podcast, shares a taste of the Coke Scholars around the world who are igniting positive change.

Get to know the guests we'll be learning from in our first season!

Listen to them here on The SIP.

Juliana Tafur

2003 Coca-Cola Scholar

Documentarian and Founder of Orkidea Films

Juliana Tafur is an award-winning filmmaker, producer and director with 15 years in the TV industry, specialized in content development, production oversight and editorial supervision of non-fiction series and documentaries.

On the TV front, Juliana has produced more than 200 hours of primetime television across a variety of genres for several of the major networks (National Geographic, History, A+E, Discovery - among others) and acts as content consultant for Discovery, overseeing the network's series, from concept to delivery.

On the filmmaking front, she recently produced and directed LIST(e)N, an award-winning feature documentary about healing our divides - which has screened at several major US festivals, including the Miami Film Festival’s 37th edition, is on tour at universities and out for distribution with GRB Studios.

An honors graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, Juliana has a passion for impact storytelling and a track record of spearheading award-winning programs that not only drive ratings and entertain, but also have societal impact.

Listen to Juliana's episode.

Shaan Patel

2007 Coca-Cola Scholar

Founder of Prep Expert

Shaan grew up in Las Vegas in his parents' budget motel, attended inner-city public schools in the worst school district in the nation with a 40% dropout rate, and was clueless about standardized tests. After spending hundreds of hours studying for the SAT, he was able to raise his score from average to perfect — a feat achieved by only 0.02% of all high school students. His life completely changed because of his perfect SAT score! He was admitted into prestigious universities, received a quarter-million dollars in scholarships, and even got to meet the President.

He created Prep Expert to help high school students achieve their own dreams. Prep Expert is the nation’s fastest growing test preparation provider. The company offers 6-week SAT & ACT preparation classes in multiple cities around the country and online. Thousands of Prep Expert students have improved their SAT and ACT scores, gotten into the Ivy League, won millions in scholarships, and some have even gotten perfect SAT/ACT scores themselves.

Shaan completed his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Biology (BA) at the University of Southern California, Master of Business Administration (MBA) at Yale University, and Medical Degree (MD) at the University of Southern California. He has published 10+ books in SAT & ACT prep, entrepreneurship, and self-improvement.

Shaan is currently completing a medical residency to specialize in dermatology. In addition to his academic endeavors, he continues to act as the Founder & President of Prep Expert. He recently appeared on ABC's Shark Tank and closed a deal with billionaire Mark Cuban for an investment in the company. Shaan was also honored to be named on INC Magazine’s 30 Under 30 list in 2019.

Listen to Shaan's episode.

Sarah Turnbull

1996 Coca-Cola Scholar

Photographer, EMT, and Rare Disease Advocate

Sarah Turnbull is originally from southeast Iowa and graduated from Central College in Pella. After college, she worked in the insurance industry in Des Moines before falling in love with a Dutch boy and returning to Pella, where she lives with her husband, Travis, and three children, including one with SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy). Read about Sarah's journey with SMA.

She runs her photography studio, Sarah’s Studio, and volunteers as a “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep” photographer for parents who lose a child at birth.


Listen to Sarah's episode.

Isabella Madrigal

2020 Coca-Cola Scholar

Co-founder of the Native Storytelling Project

Isabella Madrigal is an enrolled member of the Cahuilla Band of Indians and is of Chippewa descent. An avid writer and storyteller, the play and production of Menil and Her Heart earned Isabella her National Girl Scout Gold Award. The cast of the play consists of community members giving voice to the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women.

Co-founder of the Native Storytelling Project, which seeks to reclaim the narrative surrounding the Indigenous experience, Isabella spoke at the United Nations’ Girls Speak Out Event to address violence against women.

Isabella is a 2020 Champion for Change through the Center for Native American Youth. Her passions include medicine and change making storytelling through writing and performance.


Listen to Isabella's episode.

Madi Pfaff Edgar

2013 Coca-Cola Scholar

Founder and CEO of With Madi Co.

Madi Edgar is a proud alumni of Coca-Cola Scholars, where her love for learning and giving back to the community was cultivated by those who inspired and mentored her. She continued her studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she studied Computer Science and Mathematical Decision Sciences.

Madi is a developer of people and software, serving as a pastor for a local church in Philadelphia with her husband, and developing open source software that allows individuals to code in their native language. It is her greatest hope this will change the way the world creates, innovates, and collaborates with technology.

Listen to Madi's episode.

David Akinin

2008 Coca-Cola Scholar

Founder of Atenu Developments and Emanya Capital Group

Originally from Venezuela, David is a developer-entrepreneur, founder of Atenu Developments and Emanya Capital Group.

Through Atenu, David has been building since 2014 in Namibia. Atenu builds privately-funded, affordable housing projects in towns around Africa, providing integral solutions to first-time home buyers. On the health and education fronts, Atenu builds clinics and classroom blocks for underserved populations around the nation, partnered with the Pupkewitz Foundation and Palms for Life Fund. Emanya Capital Group is the private equity arm of his operations, which has a majority stake in FinTech company OperFin, a digital identities and eMortgage processing platform. David is actively engaged in consulting projects for real estate funds and developers in Namibia, Cameroon, Zambia and Nigeria.

Before moving to Namibia, David Akinin worked for Credit Suisse in NYC as an Investment Banker in the Energy industry, and later covering Latin America from Chile and NYC. Previous to CS, he held positions at Google in California, Clarteza in Chicago/Paris, Fundacion Don Juan De Borbon in Madrid, and Rallytel (startup).

Fluent in six languages, Akinin holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of Chicago, where he was a QuestBridge Scholar. He’s completing a Masters in Philosophy in Inclusive Innovation at the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business, and coursework at Harvard University and Paris VII-Diderot.


Listen to David's episode.