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6 Alumni Awarded Miller Fellowships to Focus on Their Startups

Read about the 2024 cohort of Miller Fellows.

Headshots of 6 Miller Fellows

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 Albright Entrepreneurship Garage and a monthly stipend of $1,000 to cover basic needs. Fellows also attend workshops and networking events through monthly meetups. The Miller Fellows program runs from June through November. 

Meet the Fellows

Jake Berlin

Jake Berlin was born and raised in Cary, NC, and has every intention of remaining in the area for the foreseeable future. He completed his studies at NC State where he earned a degree in business administration with a concentration in entrepreneurship from the Poole College of Management. Ever since he was a young boy, Jake always had a love for building things, whether it was constructing with Legos or crafting wooden go-karts; anything that sparked his imagination and allowed him to create something tangible. This passion for building gradually transformed into a passion for establishing exciting and successful businesses, ultimately shaping the path he now treads.

His company, “Undeveloped,” is his primary passion. It enables him to utilize his graphic design skills, creativity, and love for expressing his art all in one endeavor. Following his graduation, Jake recently made the move into a new apartment back in Cary. His immediate plans include spending the next few years establishing and expanding his presence on NC State’s campus, aiming to manifest a physical storefront in due time.

Nick Broza

Nick Broza’s venture, PointHalo, is developing an ecosystem of products to reduce the cost and increase the accessibility of the tools used to create high accuracy 3D models with consumer drones. From Apex, NC, he graduated in May of 2024 with his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.

Shaun Deardorff

Born in Durham, NC, Shaun majored in aerospace engineering at NC State University. He is the CEO and founder of Airmage LLC, a film production company servicing commercial, corporate, and private photography and video marketing production needs, specializing in aerial videography and photography. During his time at NC State, he served as a director of the Krispy Kreme Challenge, helping to raise over $2 million for the UNC Children’s Hospital. Shaun also served as a Social Innovation Fellow, Entrepreneurship Ambassador, Albright Entrepreneurship Village Mentor, Leazar Award in Entrepreneurship recipient, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Ambassador, senior structures engineer, and financial team lead at Liquid Rocketry Lab, undergrad researcher at AERPAW, photographer, and videographer for The Technician, founder and president of Yes Theory NC State, member of the NC State Ultimate Frisbee Team, founder of the Autism Support Network campus initiative, and member of NCSU Ski Club.

After graduation, Shaun will be working to grow his company, Airmage LLC, and will also be starting his Ph.D. in aerospace engineering, researching ultra-thin composite deployable space structures. Upon completion of his Ph.D., he plans to continue training for candidacy to NASA’s Artemis Astronaut program and aims to create a new multi-faceted drone company to help with humanitarian aid and transport.

Paula Leon

Paula Leon graduated from NC State with a Master of Industrial Design degree. From Bogota, Colombia, her expertise lies in research, sustainable development, and product/service design. Since the beginning of her career, Paula has been dedicated to establishing a healthy relationship between human needs and nature.

Her recent focus has been women’s health and medical devices. Paula can approach projects with an analytical and systemic viewpoint, crafting solutions that consider all aspects of a problem. She strongly advocates for research and analysis as the cornerstones of successful design.

Parker Sexton

Parker Sexton is a recent graduate, having earned a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering in 2024. He is from Chapel Hill, and plans to stay in the Triangle working with medical devices. 

In his capacity as a Miller Fellow, Parker plans to advance the development of his venture, ProtoControl. The company started as a Senior design project and serves to facilitate the creation of user interfaces for engineers and hobbyists alike. With a focus on bridging the gap between technical complexity and user-friendly design, ProtoControl embodies Parker’s dedication to technological innovation and user-centric solutions.

Jada Wyatt

Jada Wyatt, a newly accepted Miller Fellow from Lexington, NC, is a social arts entrepreneur dedicated to meaningfully supporting artists and arts organizations while advocating for the expansion of arts entrepreneurship as a discipline. She believes that artists deserve comprehensive understanding of the various factors influencing their path to success, regardless of how they define it. Similarly, arts nonprofits, organizations, associations, and institutions merit support in achieving operational efficiency and consistency to best serve their artists. Throughout the long-term development of her venture, she aims to increasingly aid these groups through high-impact consulting and comprehensive support services. During her fellowship, she will refine her initial launch phase and commence direct work with local arts organizations as an operational consultant. Her interest in supporting the arts stems from her experiences as a creative individual in both professional and entrepreneurial settings, as well as her interactions with artists and observation of their struggles to prioritize and sustain their art.

Her support approach mirrors her educational background, recently acquiring a B.S. in Business Administration from the Poole College of Management, specializing in marketing and operational strategy. Additionally, she completed the Undergraduate Certificate in Interdisciplinary Entrepreneurship and the General Shelton Leadership: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives minor at University College, with minors in psychology and arts entrepreneurship, igniting her passion for applying her expertise. Mentorship from Dr. Gary Beckman and her studies in arts entrepreneurship clarified how she could employ social innovation in arts entrepreneurship, creating systems that benefit artists. As a former Social Innovation Fellow and program coordinator, social innovation drives her problem-solving, fueling her commitment to positive change and understanding the pressures in arts success. Already active in the intersection of social innovation and arts entrepreneurship, she has consulted for United Arts of Wake County, conducted market research, delivered workshops, drafted policy, and presented at the 2024 Conference for the Society of Arts Entrepreneurship Education. Jada eagerly anticipates refining her processes and engaging with Fellowship resources.