Welcome 2020-2021 CASE & CASE i3 Fellows

2020-2021 Fellows

Each year, CASE selects an elite group of second-year Fuqua MBAs to become CASE and/or CASE i3 fellows and act as ambassadors for CASE’s work in social entrepreneurship and impact investing. These fellows come from a wide range of backgrounds and work with the CASE team to lead workshops and speaker sessions, as well as provide insights to help create strides in the fields of social entrepreneurship and impact investing.

We are always amazed at the experiences and aspirations of the applicants and this year was no exception. From serving on gubernatorial campaigns in the United States to creating sustainable businesses that improve economic livelihood for underprivileged communities in India, this year’s fellows are already showing the world that they have the drive and motivation to make big changes.

Meet this year’s CASE Fellows and CASE i3 Fellows below & read more about the programs here.

CASE Fellows​​

Utkarsha Bhardwaj Utkarsha Bhardwaj

Prior to Fuqua, Utkarsha worked in the social impact consulting domain, where he designed and implemented strategies to address socio-economic development issues faced by the low-income population in South Asia. There, he leveraged his computer science background to create solutions that integrated data-driven decision-making and technology tools to create scalable and sustainable impact. At Fuqua, Utkarsha is a CASE Scholar, INDUS Club Co-President, a first-year cabinet member of the Net Impact Club and a student consultant for EnviroStrat, an impact investment project developer in New Zealand, as part of the Fuqua Client Consulting Practicum.

Christian Bowers Christian Bowers

Prior to attending Fuqua, Christian worked as a Senior Consultant at Ernst & Young, a professional services firm that helps clients assess and navigate business challenges. While at Ernst & Young, he was selected to participate in a corporate responsibility initiative in Iquitos, Peru, where he helped a small business owner evaluate the impact of climate change on his business and the Amazon rainforest. At Fuqua, Christian served on the committee that organized the 2020 Sustainable Business and Social Impact Conference and currently serves as a co-president of the Soccer Club. Christian is also a volunteer board member at a local education nonprofit, Rebound, as part of Fuqua on Board and serves as project manager on a pro-bono consulting project for a global human development nonprofit, FHI 360, as part of the Fuqua Client Consulting Practicum.

 Lee Foster Lee Foster

Lee is a dual-degree MPP/MBA Candidate at the Sanford School of Public Policy and Fuqua School of Business, who is interested in the intersection of the public, private and nonprofit sectors to support education. Prior to attending graduate school, Lee taught high school math for three years in Charlotte, NC through Teach For America. While teaching, Lee completed fellowships with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and Bellwether Education Partners, a nonprofit education consulting and policy firm in Washington, D.C. At Fuqua, Lee serves as a COLE Fellow, CASE i3 Associate, Section Academic & Honor Representative and a cabinet member of the Design and Innovation Club.

Uma Gempeler Uma Gempeler

Prior to Fuqua, Uma worked in foreign affairs for eight years and earned a masters in international relations at the London School of Economics. An undergraduate internship with Oxfam America’s private sector department sparked her interest in the potential to use business principles and innovations to meet needs in developing economies. At Fuqua, Uma is a COLE Fellow, CASE i3 Associate and a cabinet member of the Net Impact Club.

Mayuko Komatsu Mayuko Komatsu

Before Fuqua, Mayuko worked at an automotive company in Japan for 12 years as a supply chain management specialist and was involved in global projects, such as establishing new warehouses in India and implementing a new information technology system in Indonesia. Her interest in social impact began when she volunteered in Kenya as an undergraduate student. After living in places without fundamental infrastructure, such as gas, electricity and transportation methods, she became committed to providing more scalable and sustainable solutions to emerging markets through business practices. At Fuqua, Mayuko is a CASE i3 Associate and a cabinet member of the Net Impact Club.

Denise Kootin-Sanwu Denise Kootin-Sanwu

Prior to Fuqua, Denise was a management consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton and Eagle Hill Consulting, where she worked with public and private sector clients on process improvement and change management projects. Her passion for social impact led her to work on pro-bono consulting projects for several nonprofits in the Washington, D.C. area, which focused on funding strategy, board development and strategic alignment. At Fuqua, Denise serves as Blue Devil Weekend Co-Chair, board member for The Durham Art Guild through the Fuqua on Board program and a cabinet member for the Christian Business Fellowship.

Malena Lopez-Sotelo Malena Lopez-Sotelo

Prior to Fuqua, Malena was a product manager and senior consultant for technology startups and public sector clients in Washington, D.C. While working, she also was a Massachusetts Institution of Technology (MIT) Digital Currency Initiative Consensus Scholar. Malena is deeply passionate about using technology and entrepreneurship to address social change. In 2018, Malena served as Deputy Data Director on Stacey Abrams’ gubernatorial campaign and went on to build Fair Fight, a nonprofit and political action committee founded by Abrams, as Data and Tools Manager. At Fuqua, Malena participates in Fuqua on Board and is the Blockchain Club Co-President, Vice President of Community Engagement for the Black and Latino MBA Organization, an Inclusion Fellow and a student consultant for SUKU, a global blockchain as a service startup, as part of the Fuqua Client Consulting Practicum.

Kira Osborn Kira Osborn                                                                        

Prior to Fuqua, Kira worked in marketing operations at Amazon Web Services in Seattle. Her journey into social impact began when she volunteered as an educator at the National Air and Space Museum. Kira is passionate about the use of technology to expand the reach of nonprofits, specifically related to improving community access to arts and science education. At Fuqua, Kira is Net Impact Club Co-President, Orientation Co-Chair and a COLE Fellow. She is also a student consultant for a global human development nonprofit, FHI 360, as part of the Fuqua Client Consulting Practicum.

Kathleen O’Shea Kathleen O’Shea

Prior to attending Fuqua, Kathleen was a senior associate at the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, a nonprofit research and advisory firm focused on driving economic development in distressed urban areas. While researching and evaluating various programs supporting underserved entrepreneurs, she witnessed the potential for new ventures to address economic inequities and the need for innovative capital solutions to help them scale. Kathleen is also a CASE i3 Fellow and is involved with Fuqua on Board and the Net Impact Club.

Jig Patel Jig Patel

Prior to attending Fuqua, Jig worked at Northwest Arkansas Education Co-op, an education service firm that works with K-12 public schools to implement research-based teaching practices. His career in social impact began when he joined Teach For America after college to teach high school math in rural Arkansas and Mississippi. At Fuqua, Jig serves as a Section Academic & Honor Representative and as a cabinet member of both Fuqua Pride and Net Impact Club.

Eric Reynolds Eric Reynolds

Before attending Fuqua, Eric worked in the social sector for seven years in both international and domestic roles. His love for mission-based work began as a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural Kyrgyzstan. It continued when he found a position working as a program manager battling homelessness in Portland, OR. Most recently, Eric was a Maternal & Child Health Consultant tackling malnutrition issues with mothers and infant children in rural Rwanda. At Fuqua, Eric is working on food security issues in Nigeria through the mentored study program. He serves as a cabinet member for both the Net Impact Club and Business in Africa Club and is a Fuqua on Board member and an Admissions Ambassador.

Tess Rodriguez Tess Rodriguez

Prior to attending Fuqua, Tess worked at Prosek Partners, a public relations firm focused on financial services that partners with clients to build compelling, global brands. Her journey into social impact began when she dedicated herself to a time-intensive volunteer role within an education-focused nonprofit in New York City. At Fuqua, Tess serves as a cabinet member for the Net Impact Club and is an Admissions Representative Coordinator. She currently serves as a COLE Fellow and is a volunteer board member at a local education nonprofit, Rebound, as part of the Fuqua on Board program.

Meghan Spell Meghan Spell

Prior to attending Fuqua, Meghan earned her Juris Doctor/Doctor of Civil Law and practiced in the medical malpractice defense and healthcare regulatory groups of a large corporate defense firm. Her passion for addressing the social determinants of health and making quality, affordable healthcare accessible for all those who need it began when she left the corporate legal world and entered the nonprofit realm to lead the compliance division at federally-qualified health centers that served patients regardless of their ability to pay. At Fuqua, Meghan is a CASE Scholar and Margolis Scholar in Business. Additionally, she is a student consultant for a global human development nonprofit, FHI 360, as part of the Fuqua Client Consulting Practicum.

Lee Summerell

Prior to Fuqua, Lee worked in corporate fundraising at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, where she stewarded the philanthropic donations of around 90 Fortune 500 companies. She is passionate about the role of the arts as a vehicle for community impact and the role of business as a catalyst for this change. At Fuqua, Lee serves as a cabinet member for the Net Impact Club, Arts@Fuqua and Section 3. Additionally, she is a volunteer board member at Renaissance Downtown Durham, a nonprofit focused on the cultural revitalization of downtown, as part of the Fuqua on Board program.

 Elizabeth Towell Elizabeth Towell

Before Fuqua, Elizabeth was a strategy and analytics consultant in Deloitte Consulting’s Government and Public Sector practice, where she supported leaders of federal agencies as they improved their services to citizens and stakeholders. Elizabeth’s academic background is in economics and anthropology, particularly in equity and food systems. At Fuqua, Elizabeth is leading CASE’s ongoing support of the Culinary Femme Collective, a group of Durham food entrepreneurs, and is an incoming co-president of the Food & Agriculture Club. Elizabeth is also working at the Duke World Food Policy Center on a set of initiatives related to food justice in Durham.

 Kirk Wilson Kirk Wilson

Prior to Fuqua, Kirk worked in the education sector in Washington, D.C. During college, he helped high school students secure internships and college placements as part of the AnBryce Foundation’s Student Adventures in Leadership program. After graduating, he taught kindergarten literacy with Teach For America before transitioning to working in human resources at his placement school, where he developed a passion for inspiring people-driven change within social impact organizations and applying business insights to nonprofits. At Fuqua, Kirk is a COLE Fellow and a volunteer board member at SEEDS NC through Fuqua on Board. He is also a co-president for both the Net Impact Club and for the Food & Agriculture Club.

CASE i3 Fellows

Jamie Ciocon Jamie Ciocon

Jamie grew passionate about impact investing while performing institutional investor-facing roles for two data-driven investment research firms, most recently with a focus on energy. Impact was not part of the picture in her former professional life and she enrolled at Fuqua to change that. At Fuqua, Jamie is a COLE Leadership Fellow, the Vice President of Admissions for the Black and Latino MBA Organization, her section’s Diversity & Inclusion Chairperson and a fellow of the Robert Toigo Foundation for underrepresented minorities in the financial industry.

Javier Donoso Javier Donoso

Before attending Fuqua, Javier worked at Dexis Consulting Group, a professional services firm that supports multilateral organizations in their international development operations. At Dexis, he worked in the monitoring and evaluation division, where he designed, managed and implemented performance and impact evaluations. Through this experience, Javier witnessed how government-funded initiatives impacted communities in developing countries. At Fuqua, Javier is a CASE i3 Associate and a cabinet member of the Latin American Student Association. He is also an active member of the Net Impact Club, Consulting Club and Soccer Club.

Vrinda Gupta Vrinda Gupta

Prior to business school, Vrinda was a senior consultant at Ernst & Young specializing in financial and operational advisory for clients across different industries in the United States. Her passion for social impact stems strongly from her time in Delhi, where she spearheaded an initiative at her undergraduate university to set up three sustainable businesses that improved economic livelihood for multiple underprivileged communities in India and earned her national recognition. During her time at Fuqua and CASE i3, she is excited to be a sponge and learn as much as she can about impact investing through academic learning and mentored study opportunities. At Fuqua, she is an active member of the Fuqua Gender Equity Working Group and Consulting Club and is a Fuqua2Duke mentor.

Nathan Hixson

Nathan learned about microfinance, social entrepreneurship and impact investing in college and searched for a way to professionally use finance to benefit vulnerable communities and society. Before joining Team Fuqua, Nathan was the Director of Lending and Operations for a CDFI (community development financial institution), bringing capital investment to cooperative businesses and housing. At Fuqua, he is a CASE Scholar, a team lead in the Fuqua Gender Equity Working Group, a judicial representative for the class of 2021 and works on the CASE i3 team’s collaboration on asset management with the Finance Club.

Kat Horan Kat Horan

Kat comes to Fuqua with a background in design and communications, having worked as a marketing project manager at the U.S. Green Building Council and for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program. Her experience in the nonprofit and government sectors showed her the challenges to launching environmental and public health projects without access to strategic funding, which sparked her interest in impact investing. As a MEM/MBA dual-degree student, she hopes to build a career connecting financial investors to the impactful environmental projects that she is passionate about. At Duke, Kat is on the executive board of the Duke Water Network, the Service and Sustainability Representative to her section and a co-president of the Fuqua Beer Club.

Nick Hughes Nick Hughes

Before Fuqua, Nick worked on fundraising strategy and revenue analytics at the Michael J. Fox Foundation, the world’s largest nonprofit funder of Parkinson’s disease research, collaborating with leading philanthropists to help scope the most impactful use of their philanthropic capital. Prior to that, he served as a Fulbright grantee in Kupang, Indonesia, teaching English and organizing youth development activities for high school students. At Fuqua, he is a COLE fellow and an active member of the Net Impact Club, Soccer Club, and Fuqua band.

Vinesh Kapil Vinesh Kapil

Prior to Fuqua, Vinesh worked at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) co-managing the Saving Lives at Birth portfolio – a $100M fund focused on investing in and supporting innovative solutions for maternal and neonatal mortality in under-resourced settings. Additionally, he founded and runs the New England Youth Entrepreneurship Society, which is focused on providing mentorship to entrepreneurial-minded high school students. In addition to his work with CASE at Fuqua, Vinesh is a Keller Scholar, serves as the Design and Innovation Club Co-President and is a Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Fellow.

Ineza Mutimura Ineza Mutimura

Prior to attending Fuqua, Ineza worked with social enterprises based in South Africa, Kenya and the United States, leading multiple scaling and geographical expansion projects. She directed the opening of Moringa School in Rwanda, where she launched a coding training for women, supplying junior software developers to the growing technology industry. She was also on the founding teams of African Leadership University’s Mauritian and Rwandan campuses, where she recruited the founding class in Mauritius and built the Career Development Department in Rwanda. At Fuqua, Ineza is a CASE Scholar, an incoming co-chair of CASE i3 and sits on the board of Communities in Schools of Durham as part of Fuqua on Board.

Kathleen O'Shea Kathleen O’Shea

Prior to attending Fuqua, Kathleen was a senior associate at the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, a nonprofit research and advisory firm focused on driving economic development in distressed urban areas. While researching and evaluating various programs supporting underserved entrepreneurs, she witnessed the potential for new ventures to address economic inequities and the need for innovative capital solutions to help them scale. Kathleen is also a CASE Fellow and is involved with Fuqua on Board and the Net Impact Club.

Ioana Tesliuc Ioana Tesliuc

Prior to attending Fuqua, Ioana worked at Charles River Associates, an economic consulting firm, where she specialized in competition and antitrust litigation for leading telecommunications, healthcare and consumer product companies. She has hands-on experience in manipulating and analyzing complex and high-volume data using a variety of analysis techniques and statistical methodologies. Her journey into social impact began with an early-stage involvement with GiveDirectly, an unconditional cash transfer program launched in East Africa. Beyond CASE i3, Ioana is also involved in the Consulting Club, the Association of Women in Business and LEADS.