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6 Alumni Accept Miller Fellowships To Focus on Their Startups

Read about the 2023 cohort of Miller Fellows.

headshots of Jerush, Eli, Isabella, Ritika, Miranda and Edward.

NC State Innovation and Entrepreneurship announced the newest cohort of Miller Fellows – young entrepreneurs that have launched startups as students. The fellowship program supports newly graduated entrepreneurs who wish to pursue their venture full time after graduation with resources and a monthly stipend.

Benefits of the program include access to mentors and industry professionals, continued use of the Entrepreneurship Garage and a monthly stipend of $1,000 to cover basic needs. Fellows also attend workshops and networking events through monthly meet-ups. The Miller Fellows program runs from June through November and applications for the 2024 cohort will open in March 2024. 

Meet the Fellows

Jerush Christopher

Jerush Christoper graduated with a bachelor’s degree in materials science and engineering in 2022 and will earn his master’s degree in chemical engineering in summer 2023.

As a Miller Fellow, Jerush will conduct customer discovery, acquire new users and further develop his venture, Shipp. Shipp is a dating app centered around real-life meetups, bringing matches together when they least expect it.

Isabella Dearr

Isabella works with founders and influencers to visualize their branded art on shoes and sneakers. She plans to use her time as a Miller Fellow to build partnerships and hopes to move into the B2B space. She is passionate about art and wants to help others find their inner creativity.

Isabella graduated in spring 2023 with a degree in business administration.

Edward Durham

Edward graduated from NC State with a degree in history in fall 2022.

Edward’s venture, GnomeXcursions, provides lodging and amenities to travelers near large events such as festivals. Edward wants to use his time as a Miller Fellow to create a larger brand presence through social media marketing. His short-term goal is for the company to operate year round rather than seasonally.

Eli Hornstein

Eli graduated from NC State with a PhD in plant biology in 2022 before completing a postdoc there as well, and now works full time on his startup Elysia Creative Biology, which aims to eliminate methane emissions from livestock by genetically modifying their feed. 

Eli plans to use his time as a Miller Fellow to build his startup team, strengthen the business model, and improve customer discovery. New agricultural products must work with complex market structure and long regulatory reviews, and Eli is excited to take advantage of NC State’s nationally unique agbiotech focus to guide the company through early steps in this process. Elysia Bio’s R&D is also housed on the NC State campus in the new Plant Sciences Initiative building.

Ritika Shamdasani

Ritika co-founded Sani, a South Asian fashion company, with her sister Niki Shamdasani. The sisters have used TikTok to spread awareness about their brand and celebrate new partnerships, most recently with Nordstrom. Ritika graduated from the Wilson College of Textiles in May 2023 and can now exclusively focus on her role as a co-founder. She is looking forward to exploring how to manage and inspire employees.

Miranda Smith

Miranda is a recent graduate of the Poole College of Management, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in economics with a concentration in entrepreneurship.

Her venture, Miranda’s Meadows, exists to create sustainable and eco-friendly landscapes and landscaping practices that replace traditional lawns with native grasses and plants to enhance the natural ecosystem, improve soil health, and reduce water usage. She plans to partner with private customers and sustainable businesses to create a reliable product which can later be deployed in a la carte options such as design, implementation and maintenance.