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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, which is a local, boutique law firm that focuses on advising startups.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.