Summer spotlights: a bike ride for good, increasing food access in New Mexico, tourism marketing in Alaska, and more

News & Spotlights | July 28, 2021
Cityscape of Guatemala City, Guatemala. (Photo submitted by Carolina Coch ’23)

From a cross-country bike trip to raise awareness about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders to increasing access to food in New Mexico, Morehead-Cain Scholars have been engaged this summer in exploring their personal and professional interests, serving communities, and leading change.

Emmaus Holder ’23

Emmaus smiles while standing behind his bike on a dirt road besides a grassy field.

Emmaus Holder ’23 biked across the country for his Global Perspective summer to raise awareness about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD).

Along his route (from Topsail, North Carolina, to Los Angeles), he interviewed and shared stories of caregivers and experts in order to raise awareness about the issues those with an FASD face. His fundraiser to benefit NCFASD Informed reached its $4,000 goal with contributions from 64 donors.

You can view photos and videos from his journey on Instagram or read more about the project via The Change Starts Here Collaborative website.

Jenny Te Vazquez ’22

Jenny holds a box of fresh nectarines in a kitchen storage area.

Jenny Te Vazquez ’22 is in South Valley, New Mexico, researching the role food access plays in determining health outcomes among low-income communities.

As an intern at the Agri-Cultura Network, the scholar supports the community-supported agriculture program La Cosecha CSA, edits the website and grants, and washes vegetables in the kitchen.

One of her main projects so far has been interviewing CSA members about the impact of fresh vegetables on their daily lives and gathering data that demonstrates the social and economic benefits of CSA shares for local families and farmers.

Jenny said the experience has reinforced for her the importance of investing in food production at the community level.

“Food is at the center of health, and access to fresh food and nutrition education is key to a person’s well-being,” she said. “I’m excited to continue contributing to the collective impact of the Agri-Cultura Network.”

Agri-Cultura Network is a community-driven model building New Mexico’s small farming economy through sustainable and regenerative food justice.

Greear Webb ’23

In three separate images, Greear poses with Ron Busby in front of a USBC banner; stands in front of the White House; and takes a selfie with Ashton Martin ’20.

Greear is a policy intern at U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. (USBC) in Washington, D.C., which seeks to provide “committed, visionary leadership, and advocacy in the realization of economic empowerment,” according to its website. The organization supports African American Chambers of Commerce and business organizations through resources and initiatives to advance Black enterprises.

Greear is studying racial disparities in business and the challenges facing Black business owners in the United States. The intern is also learning about passing legislation for equitable economic development policies.

Pictured: Greear with Ron Busby, president and CEO of USBC; standing in front of the White House; and the scholar with Ashton Martin ’20 at an event hosted by Howard University on July 8.

Tatum Trysla ’23

Tatum Trysla ’23 stands on The Green, a participatory art installation and Restart Stage in front of the Metropolitan Opera House.

Among the changes coming to Lincoln Center is extended programming for outdoor performances, free shows late this summer, and a new home for the New York Philharmonic.

That’s according to Tatum Trysla ’23, a development intern at the center. The scholar found the opportunity through Julie McManus Werry ’03, a consultant in nonprofit development and event planning and a current Morehead-Cain Scholarship Fund board member.

The nonprofit is undergoing a “period of mass transformation,” the scholar said, partly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Lincoln Center is turning the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the performing arts into an opportunity to reimagine itself and its programming,” said Tatum, a double major in public policy and business.

Also coming this summer is the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra from August 1 through August 7 and the BAAND Together Dance Festival from August 17 through 21.

Learn more about what’s on at Lincoln Center from Tatum.

Shivam Bhargava ’22

Shivam stands in front of the KPSOM building outside.

The team of administrators, professors, and physicians developing curricula for the new Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine (KPSOM) includes Shivam Bhargava ’22, an education intern at the Pasadena, California-based institution.

The scholar works in the Office of Medical Education with Deepu Gowda ’93, the assistant dean for medical education at KPSOM. The two are focused on integrating concepts of narrative medicine and medical humanities into curricula.

Their current projects include writing a curriculum map that addresses health disparities and implements arts to help students grapple with “the stories behind illnesses and diseases” in memorable ways, according to Shivam.

“When a lot of people think about things like cancer or an infectious disease, they think of the science behind it, but narrative medicine offers a more holistic perspective of healthcare by validating the experiences and reflections of the patient,” the rising senior said. “It’s a different approach that many haven’t been exposed to, but it ultimately makes you a better healthcare professional.”

Learn more about Shivam.

Eleanor Bolton ’25 and Laura Saavedra Forero ’25

Laura and Eleanor smile in front of the Adaptive Sports Center building wearing Carolina t-shirts.

Eleanor Bolton ’25 and Laura Saavedra Forero ’25 returned in July from their first Summer Enrichment Program (SEP) experience as Morehead-Cain Scholars: Outdoor Leadership. The two explored the waters and mountains of Crested Butte, Colorado, through the Adaptive Sports Center.

Eleanor said her favorite aspect of the trip was paddleboarding for the first time in the Alpines Lakes and white water rafting along the Gunnison River.

“I learned that with a little teamwork and creativity (and a lot of foam and duct tape), I can participate in just about any activity,” said the incoming scholar, who graduated from William Amos Hough High School in Cornelius, North Carolina.

For Laura, her most memorable moment was biking to a view of the Gothic Mountain.

“I loved being able to do all of the things that I used to do before being in a wheelchair, even if it looked a little different this time around—shout out to the amazing instructors who made that happen,” she said. Laura gradated from Charlotte Country Day School in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Michael Dorgan ’22

Michael holds a small turtle.

Michael Dorgan ’22 is interning at the Bald Head Island Conservancy (BHIC) on Bald Head Island, North Carolina.

As a member of the education team, he works to support the conservancy’s mission of providing environmental education to the public.

A normal day could include leading nature tours or ecotourism activities for island visitors, assisting with emergency wildlife response calls, or watching a mother sea turtle lay her nest.

For his internship research project, Michael is conducting a roadkill survey to learn more about what species of animals are killed, and where, on the island.

The scholar said his time at the BHIC so far has helped “reinforce his love for the outdoors and environmental protection, and fuel his love of sharing the natural world with others.”

Michael is a double major in environmental studies and political science.

Carolina Coch ’23

Caroline holds a device used in solar energy services at Kingo Energy.

Carolina Coch ’23 is working in Guatemala City for the Small Enterprise Assistance Fund (SEAF), an investment management group. (The company was co-founded by Bert van der Vaart ’77 in 1989.)

The scholar is supporting Kingo Energy, an organization that provides decentralized solar energy services to families and business in rural, off-grid villages throughout Central America. The startup has installed more than 50,000 units serving around 4,600 communities to date.

In her role, Carolina focuses on investment screening memos, research grants, investor relations, and contributions to a resilience fund for the Caribbean Sea. She also travels to remote communities with the team to identify and address energy needs.

Carolina is a double major in economics and public policy.

Evan Berkowitch ’24

Evan stands in front of mountains and small red houses.

When you think of Alaska, shows like the Deadliest Catch and Ice Road Truckers might come to mind – both of which depict the state as an exotic and, at times, dangerous wilderness. Evan Berkowitch ’24 is working to change that.

The scholar is an intern at Reimagine Alaska, a new organization that seeks to bridge the gap between the lived experiences of Alaska’s people and national perceptions in order to draw more visitors and permanent residents to the state.

Working in Anchorage and Sitka, Evan said he’s focusing on which media approaches (such as movies and television shows, advertising, and social media) would be most effective as marketing strategies in reshaping the state’s reputation in a more representative light.

“A major challenge of my job is thinking about, as an ‘outsider,’ telling a compelling yet authentic story of Alaska, one in which many voices—particularly those of Alaskan native communities—have historically been erased,” he said.

Megan Lienau ’23

Megan holds up a Zoomo bike inside of a large supplies van.

Megan Lienau ’23 is helping grow electric bike use in U.S. cities through Zoomo, an Australian micro-mobility startup founded in 2017.

As an enterprise operations manager, the scholar focuses on managing the e-bike subscription company’s business-to-business contracts, building operational processes that maximize contract value, and ensuring customer success.

She first worked as an operations associate at the company in the summer and fall of 2020 in the San Francisco Bay Area before being promoted to city launch manager this spring. The scholar was tasked with bringing a fully functional “Zoomo hub” to Philadelphia.

Megan is an environmental physics major and math minor at UNC–Chapel Hill. She initially heard about the opportunity through Joey Skavroneck (UNC–Chapel Hill class of 2016), director of consumer strategy and operations at Zoomo.