Fellows and Interns


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2021 Summer Intern: Manuhe Abebe

Manuhe is a passionate second-year college student with a tireless work ethic, strong analytical and problem-solving skills. He is pursuing a B.S. in Mass Communication at North Carolina Central University with a concentration in Public Relations and a member of the African-American Male Initiative on campus. Manuhe enjoys valuing connections with students and professionals and promoting these long-lasting connections through continuous networking and community outreach. Manuhe saw the NC IDEA Summer 2021 Internship Program For Under-Represented Student Entrepreneurs as an opportunity to support our state’s growing economy and local entrepreneurs while also learning more about NC’s plethora of innovation and the tight-knit startup community.

Connect with Manuhe on LinkedIn.

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2021 Startup Analyst Fellow: Christina Catavero

Christina is a 5th-year Neuroscience Ph.D. candidate at UNC-Chapel Hill, where she leads the Carolina Graduate Consulting Group. She is passionate about supporting companies advancing human health and wellness, and has worked with life sciences, medtech, and healthcare startups. Upon graduation, Christina plans to stay in Durham and work in life sciences consulting or venture capital. In her free time she enjoys gardening and creating mixed media collages.

Connect with Christina on LinkedIn.

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2021 Startup Analyst Fellow: Kat Cummings

Kat has spent the last seven years working with a diverse range of vulnerable youth, most recently as the Director of Strategic Initiatives a sports-based, youth development nonprofit. Currently a full-time first-year MBA student and Forté Fellow at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, Kat is concentrating in Social Entrepreneurship and a founding member of the NEYES Mentors program, providing entrepreneurial mentoring to high-school students in the Durham community. Kat also holds a Master of Science in Child, Youth, and Family Studies with a specialization in Youth Development, as and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies: Global Environment and Health from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. The NC IDEA Fellowship is allowing Kat to gain a comprehensive understanding of the inner workings of early-stage startups that she plans to put to use empowering at-risk youth and their communities after graduation. Kat lives in Durham with her fiancé (also an entrepreneur!), their cat, and two dogs.

Connect with Kat on LinkedIn.

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2021 Startup Analyst Fellow: Alex Galvez

Alex is a first-year MBA candidate at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business. Prior to business school, Alex worked for Navigant Consulting in healthcare strategy, where he specialized in provider operations and technology implementation. At Fuqua, Alex is pursuing a certificate in Healthcare Sector Management and a concentration in Entrepreneurship & Innovation as he pivots to a career in healthcare venture capital. Also an undergraduate alumnus of Duke, Alex has grown to love North Carolina and is passionate about advancing the entrepreneurial community as an NC IDEA Fellow.

Connect with Alex on LinkedIn.

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2021 Startup Analyst Fellow: Jolie Helton

Jolie Helton is a second-year MBA candidate at UNC Greensboro’s Bryan School of Business. She is also the Marketing and Communications Coordinator for the Division of Student Affairs at UNCG. Prior to UNCG, Jolie worked in marketing in both local government and NCAA Division I athletics. She has a love for North Carolina and saw the NC IDEA Fellowship as an opportunity to support our state’s economy and entrepreneurs while also learning more about innovation and the startup community. Jolie graduated from the University of Georgia with a marketing degree and enjoys running and being outdoors.

Connect with Jolie on LinkedIn.

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2021 Startup Analyst Fellow: Daria Jordan

Daria is a first-year MBA candidate at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Prior to starting her MBA, she studied computer science at Spelman College and then transitioned into her full-time career at Deloitte Consulting as a technology consultant. At Fuqua, Daria focuses on technology and social entrepreneurship and will spend her summer at Microsoft as a Program (Product) Manager. The NC IDEA Fellowship is providing Daria the opportunity to gain insight into investing and advising in early-stage tech companies, which she hopes to continue throughout her career.

Connect with Daria on LinkedIn.

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2021 Summer Fellow: Dechen Lama

Dechen is an MBA candidate at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Before Fuqua, she graduated from Duke undergrad with a double major in public policy and global health. She then moved to New York City, where she worked for a young healthcare technology company, Phreesia, for nearly five years, helping the company grow and scale and ultimately go public her last year there. While at Phreesia, she worked primarily in market development, overseeing the launch and go-to-market strategy of new product lines. Dechen is passionate about healthcare technology and is excited to be back in her home state of North Carolina. As an NC IDEA fellow, Dechen looks forward to getting involved in North Carolina’s startup and healthcare ecosystem.

Connect with Dechen on LinkedIn.

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2021 Startup Analyst Fellow and Summer Fellow: Jeff Mainwaring

Jeff Mainwaring graduated from the United States Military Academy in 2010 with a mechanical engineering degree and commissioned as an Army Aviation Officer. Following graduation, Jeff spent eight years as a helicopter pilot, progressively leading teams ranging from 12 to 90 Soldiers in numerous theaters of operations. He culminated his Aviation experience with two company commands before transitioning roles to a Program Manager position in the Army Acquisition Corps in 2018. Jeff is currently pursuing his MBA with Duke’s Fuqua School of Business class of 2022. He will return to the military post-MBA with his wife and three children.

Connect with Jeff on LinkedIn.

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2021 Startup Analyst Fellow: Sean Moore II

Sean is an MBA candidate at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Prior to attending business school, Sean was an entrepreneur and supply chain strategy consultant. Based on his family’s roots in Salisbury and Greensboro, Sean is deeply devoted to advancing the entrepreneurial community in North Carolina. As an NC IDEA Startup Analyst, he hopes to give back to the North Carolina startup community while gaining hands-on experience within the investment transaction cycle. Sean enjoys playing soccer, cooking new cuisines, and testing new wearable technology.

Connect with Sean on LinkedIn.

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2021 Startup Analyst Fellow: Reece Rios-Starks

Reece is a first-year MBA/MPP candidate at Duke University. Prior to business school, he worked as a product manager for the surveillance sector in Washington, DC. While in graduate school he is concentrating on Strategy and Tech Policy. He is passionate about startups and plans to spend his summer interning for a semiconductor startup based in Toronto. Reece is devoted to expanding the startup community in North Carolina and saw the NC IDEA Fellowship as a great way to give back to this community.

Connect with Reece on LinkedIn.

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2021 Summer Intern: Taliajah Vann

Taliajah “Teddy” Vann is a rising junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill majoring in Political Science and Film Studies with a minor in Entrepreneurship. She is a native North Carolinian and the founder of Bright Brain Tutoring, a volunteer tutoring service started in 2017 for underresourced students in the community. She is passionate about social justice, community service, and utilizing cinema to tell untold stories, and she hopes to fuel each of these passions in her future career.

Connect with Taliajah on LinkedIn.