The Curb Scholars Program is for students who place creativity and innovation at the center of their lives and who seek to harness their creativity, talents, and disciplinary knowledge to create new possibilities and solve problems in their community or chosen field.
- Keith Berquist, Calistoga, CA
Expected majors: Economics and contemporary music
Keith envisions a career combining his passions for music and economics. Keith pioneered a blues guitar program for underprivileged youth in downtown San Francisco, and organized a benefit concert—Rock 2 Relief—to raise money for a young, non-profit organization. Keith managed his school’s varsity football team, was a member of the San Francisco Boys’ Chorus, and participated in theatre productions.
- Hannah Berke, Salt Lake City, UT
Expected majors: Neuroscience and Art History
Hannah Berke is passionate about researching and solving endocrine disorders–especially those related to diabetes and obesity. Hannah has volunteered at a medical clinic for underinsured and at a hands-on lab program at the University of Utah School of Medicine. Hannah couples this work with entrepreneurial pursuits in the arts–founding a film internship at the Salt Lake Film Society and editing and writing on independent music and fashion for her school newspaper.
- Harvey Burrell, Vineyard Haven, MA
Current majors: Economics and Film Theory
Harvey Burrell is a Curb Scholar at Vanderbilt University, where he created the Media Lab at the Curb Center at Vanderbilt to share and communicate compelling stories. As part of his video work Harvey has traveled to Tibet, Venezuela and New Orleans filming a short documentary about the ancient Buddhist murals of Tibet, and has produced web videos for clients such as Apple, Harvard University, and Jaguar. His work for The Wyss Institute at Harvard was honored with a Webby Award.
Harvey was also awarded a Congressional Commendation from the State of Rhode Island for his work on behalf of those with physical disabilities. Along with four other people-one of whom uses a wheelchair-Harvey lived in a mini-bus for six weeks to shoot a feature length documentary about individuals with physical disabilities. The film, Endless Abilities, is currently in post-production with an anticipated release online, on DVD, and in select film festivals this winter.
- Natalie Coker, Tampa, FL
Expected majors: Engineering Science (Concentration: Engineering Management)
Natalie Coker is a midshipman at Vanderbilt University’s renowned Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) program. As one of our country’s future officers, she hopes to bring new ideas, energies, and perspectives to help solve the many challenges the Navy faces around the world. Natalie is pursuing a BS in Engineering Science and a minor in Creative Enterprise, and is helping bring the DIY Science and Technology Maker’s Faire to Vanderbilt and the Nashville community.
- Grace Cowan, Fort Worth, TX
Grace is a creative individual with a flair for embracing difference and risk in her work as an artistic entrepreneur for her community. She co-founded a student-run business service and has also led her school’s Senior-Freshman mentoring program. In between volunteering her talents as a harpist for Cook Children’s Medical Center and organizing charitable fund-raising operations, Grace is also developing a program that brings emerging artists into contact with students to ignite their artistic potential. At Vanderbilt, Grace looks forward to finding new ways to apply her entrepreneurial spirit.
- Karissa Deiter, Indianapolis, IN
Expected majors: Human and Organizational Development, film studies, and English
My first year of college was transformative for me in that I realized that the pursuit of knowledge, open-mindedness, creativity, and awareness are the keys to unlocking the enormous potential that lies within every person. Throughout the year I was continually awed by the abundance of knowledge available, along with the rewards that learning yields: passion, individualism, understanding, honesty, and a feeling of not only being alive but being “awake”. I, myself, enjoy life the most the most when I am up and about, moving around, and trying new things that keep me in this engaged state. Through the achievement of a degree in Human and Organizational Development, along with involvement in creative enterprise, art, dance, and film programs, I hope to learn ways by which I can help others reap a similar degree of inspiration through learning about the world and oneself, especially through artistic expression. I plan to establish an organization at Vanderbilt through which student volunteers can serve as artistic mentors for middle school children, similar to the likes of the Big Brother/Big Sister program, in hopes of encouraging the children and student’s own personal growth through individual expression.
- April Erwin, Collierville, TN
Expected majors: Economics and Asian Studies
April Erwin is committed to upcycling—but not in a traditional way. April repurposes materials and found objects to craft miniature scenes and detailed human sculptures. April harnesses this entrepreneurial ability to recombine and view the world from a different perspective in her efforts to improve the lives of children in China. April is also captain of the swim team and a swim instructor.
- Claire Evans, Reno, NV
Expected majors: Civil engineering and music
A civil engineering major, Claire Evans thrives on creating unexpected opportunities to improve the lives and experiences of others through music. Claire designed an afterschool choir program for at-risk elementary school students focused on fostering experimentation and curiosity. Claire also developed original musical compositions to augment her local theater’s productions—opening a door for the involvement of young musicians in the community.
- Harrison Kenum, Bloomfield Hills, MI
A bass player, singer, and lead actor, Harrison Kenum thrives on spontaneous interaction and improvisational responses to challenges presented to him. Between his duties as captain for his school’s Forensics and Cross-Country teams, he directed One Act plays and played in a jazz band to support charities in his community. As a Curb Scholar, Harrison is eager to bring the art and craft of forensics to Vanderbilt.
- Ben Knight, Knoxville, TN
Ben is a creative entrepreneur who is committed to using his gifts as a writer, artist, and musician to make change in the world. Not only has Ben led his high school student body in fundraising and mentoring projects, he also founded Ben Knight Media, a multi-media video editing service, in his sophomore year of high school. In addition to deploying his technical skills, Ben’s work displays his abilities as an artist and musician.
- Caitlyn Le, Dallas, TX
Expected majors: English and Biological Sciences
An award-winning poet and pianist, Caitlyn Le flourishes when harnessing her creative skills and interests to benefit others. As Co-President of her high school debate team and regular volunteer at CC Young Retirement Home, Caitlyn fostered a sense of community within her surroundings by expressing ideas and encouraging collaboration. Caitlyn is the Founder of Art and Soul, a community service club that brings students together to produce and donate handcrafted items for the local Children’s Hospital.
- Anthony Maina, Nairobi, Kenya
A musician who loves the guitar and relishes the power of the arts to foster a spirit of diversity and tolerance, Anthony is also the founder of a community service project aimed at assisting children terminally ill with cancer. He has worked as the CEO of a student-run banking organization providing micro loans and account management in the African Leadership Academy’s community. His passion for diversity expressed in music led to a Pan-African music album, while his commitment to empowering youth led him to develop a curriculum for a National Entrepreneurship Program for the Equity Group Foundation.
- Celina Miranda, Cabot, AR
Celina grew up with a guitar in her lap and a piano at her fingertips, making music as a mode of communication. In addition to working with Nashville recording artists to hone her songwriting skills and produce a CD of her own (you can check out her music at www.celinabree.com), Celina started a community service project to increase awareness of eating disorders in her community and school. In Nashville, Celina hopes to use music as a way to educate and transform communities.
- Madeline Mooney, Lexington, KY
Proposed majors: Neuroscience and theater
Madeline Mooney’s drive and talent led her to be chosen to play the lead (male) role in Twelve Angry Men as a freshman, her very first dramatic play. Since then, theatre has provided Madeline the space to experiment and stretch beyond her comfort zone. Having danced her entire life and having performed in over a dozen plays, Madeline has worked passionately to promote the arts in the state of Kentucky. At Vanderbilt, she seeks to integrate interests in theatre and neuroscience.
- Danielle Morrison, Farmington Hills, MI
Expected majors:Biological Sciences and Spanish
Danielle seeks to be a reconstructive plastic surgeon and dedicate her life to creating new lives for children with birth defects and accident victims. Danielle is a scuba diver and student pilot, design editor-in-chief of her school yearbook, and an award-winning flautist and pianist.
- Lucy Rahner, Cincinnati, OH
Expected majors: Art and film studies
An accomplished dancer and viola player, Lucy Rahner is also a successful screen-print design entrepreneur. As a Curb Scholar, Lucy will draw from two formative experiences–rebuilding a war-torn South African community and developing city-scape murals through the Cincinnati ArtWorks program–as she uses visual art and creative enterprise to create change in communities.
- Amethyst Ames Sanders, San Antonio, TX
Amethyst seeks to develop a career in Neuroscience and Cognitive Sciences. In addition to exploring the interplay between the brain, perception, and philosophy, Amethyst’s passions include music—she is an award-winning violinist—and writing poetry and creative fiction. Amethyst also enjoys spoken word, music, and visual/textile arts. Amethyst shares her love of performing music with young children at the child development center of a local airforce base.
- Anjelica Saulsberry, Memphis, TN
Expected majors: Medicine Health and Society and Molecular and Cellular Biology
Anjelica Saulsberry aspires to work in neonatology. She developed a passion in this field through extensive volunteer work at the LeBonheur Children’s hospital. She is currently conducting lab research in the Experimental Hematology Department at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through the Sickle Cell Internship sponsored by the NIH. Anjelica is a competitive Varsity Tennis player, tv reporter/producer, and Hugh O’Brian Female Leader of the Year.
- Ben Shane, Springfield, IL
Expected majors: Philosophy and English
Ben Shane is an award-winning comedy writer and actor, and developing dramatic actor. He enjoys improvisation and novelty in all walks of life, and was founder of the Easily Amused Teen Improv Troupe (E.A.T.I.T.), which holds comedy shows to benefit local charities. Ben was an attorney on the Illinois State Champion Mock Trial team, which placed 12th nationally. He also invigorated his school’s chess club and tumbled with a competitive cheerleading squad.
- Caleb Umlauf, Wausau, WI
Expected majors:English and Film Studies
Caleb wants to be a storyteller—using film, creative writing and illustration. Caleb does freelance t-shirt design and has been playing around with the idea of film collaboration with local elementary school classes.
- Matthew Wakefield, Roswell, GA
Expected majors: Undecided
Matthew Wakefield embraces the spirit and practice of improvisation in all that he does. Building on a deep capacity for empathy and strong belief in the possibility of change, Matthew seeks to forge conversations between typically divided communities, and provoke conversation within communities on difficult topics.
- Megan Wei, Austin, TX
Megan spreads the gift of classical music through performances in public venues and charity concerts around her hometown of Austin, TX, as well as in her work teaching and mentoring beginning musicians. An accomplished photographer and painter as well as an award-winning violist, Megan combines her passion for music, visual art, and community in her innovative and ambitious plan to develop a Five Senses Arts Festival that unites local artists, musicians, and chefs in fusing a creative community’s talents into a cultural statement.
- Vinura Welgama, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Expected majors: Economics; Political science
Vinura is the co-founder of Starmount Events, an event management company that brings concert performances to the public. He puts his skills as a writer, debater, and entrepreneur to work on pressing social issues in his home of Sri Lanka, creating and spearheading a wide range of projects aimed at improving the daily life of Sri Lankan students, orphans, and members of the LGBT community. Vinura’s years as the leader of his school’s championship debate team have fostered his commitment to education and debate as tools for social change.
- Disa Yu, Potomac, MD
Expected majors: Biology and Math
Disa Yu is the director and founder of Postcards to Paraguay, an international student-run organization that fosters cross-cultural learning between students in the US and Paraguay through on-line postcard exchanges and published postcard-booklets. Disa has also run in a half-marathon training program and worked at the US National Arboretum, on a Student Conservation Association (SCA) summer conservation crew.