NC IDEA Fellows


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2020 Fellow: Catherine Bhattachar

Catherine served as an MBA Startup Fellow with NC IDEA during her time as an MBA student at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, where she focused on innovation and entrepreneurship. Prior to business school, Catherine worked in strategy consulting at L.E.K. Consulting and business analytics and product management at Wayfair in Chicago and Boston. Next, she will join the strategic partnerships and pricing team at IQVIA while continuing to participate in the NC startup ecosystem by advising early stage tech companies. Catherine loves listening to podcasts, hiking and trying new food with her husband, Adithya. Connect with Catherine on LinkedIn.

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2020 Fellow: Emily Broyles

Emily is a second year MBA candidate at the Duke Fuqua School of Business. After graduating from Princeton University in 2015 and spending 4 years as a consultant in Deloitte’s public sector practice, Emily came to business school to pivot into healthcare innovation. At Fuqua, Emily is concentrating in Health Sector Management and Entrepreneurship and Innovation. The NC IDEA Fellowship provided Emily an invaluable entry into the investment world and allowed her to gain hands-on experience with opportunity evaluation. She looks forward to applying this skill set in the healthcare industry after completing her MBA. Connect with Emily on LinkedIn.

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2020 Fellow: Lefko Charalambous

Lefko is an MD/MBA student at Duke who has a passion for medical innovation. Having studied neuroscience at Duke as an undergraduate, he fell in love with Durham and the Duke community and decided to stay for graduate school! Lefko has worked with a number of med tech startups spun out of Duke Health and is excited to build his own disruptive healthcare company as a practicing physician. After his first two years at the medical school, he jumped at the opportunity to develop his business acumen at Fuqua as a dual degree student. Lefko is deeply devoted to advancing the entrepreneurial community in North Carolina and he saw the NC IDEA Fellowship as a great way to give back to the North Carolina startup community while also gaining insight into what investors are looking for in a company. Connect with Lefko on LinkedIn.

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2020 Fellow: Morgan Maccherone

Morgan graduated from Columbia University in 2018 with a degree in Industrial Engineering, and is currently a third-year law student at UNC. While at Columbia, Morgan founded a cybersecurity change management startup with her father, which sparked her interest in entrepreneurship. While in law school, Morgan’s studies have focused on corporate law with an emphasis on counseling entrepreneurs and guiding startups through the processes of formation, growth and fundraising. After graduating in May 2021, Morgan will begin her full-time career at Hutchison, PLLC,  a Raleigh, NC-based, boutique law firm that focuses on advising startups. Connect with Morgan on LinkedIn.

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2020 Fellow: Austin McIlwain

Austin Mcilwain graduated from Clemson University in 2015 with a biology degree and commissioned as a Military Intelligence Officer in the Army National Guard. Following graduation, Austin moved to Durham where he split his time as an officer for an aviation unit, as well as an investment associate for CAPTRUST Financial Advisors. From 2017 to 2018, Austin deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. Upon returning from deployment, he started his MBA at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business as a member of the class of 2021. Austin plans to stay in Durham post-MBA with his wife and two dogs. Connect with Austin on LinkedIn.

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2020 Fellow: Olivia Watkins

Olivia Watkins is a second-year MBA Candidate at North Carolina State University Poole College of Management concentrating in Financial Management. Prior to beginning her MBA program, Olivia was a farmer on small-scale agriculture farms with Kahumana Organic Farms and Soul Fire Farm, and a research analyst with Aloha Green Apothecary and Croatan Institute. In the future, Olivia looks forward to using the Fellowship experience to bringing her social impact leadership skills into the finance world and create opportunities for organizations to make sustainable financial investments and decisions. Connect with Olivia on LinkedIn