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Meet the Mentors | 1789 Summer Series

Do you know there are 15 mentors at 1789 ready to talk to students about ideas, help them navigate innovative and entrepreneurial opportunities on campus and guide them through:

building prototypes

completing secondary market research

considering social impact


branding visualizing

data seeking


Many of the mentors have their own personal experiencing founding a company or working for a startup. Some are faculty members. Some are staff. Some are graduate students. All are available to you! All students interested in innovation and entrepreneurship are welcome at 1789 and encouraged to email these mentors to set up a time to chat, seek feedback on their idea and get their questions answered. Attend this 1789 Summer Series to learn a little more about each mentor in a casual zoom setting. 

Watch on-demand videos of previous sessions. And links here:



Melissa Carrier is a professor of the practice in the Department of Public Policy and the director of the Office of Social Innovation at UNC-Chapel Hill. Do you have an idea that seeks to create change for an underserved, disadvantaged or neglected population? experience as a consultant, educator and executive director with emphasis on market-based solutions to
co-create economic, social and environmental value.
  Jonathan Collins is a freelance business consultant specializing in restaurants and the food & beverage retail market.  He purchased his first restaurant, The Bagel Bar, in 2012 after serving in various managerial roles both front of house and in the kitchen.  In 2016, he built a second Bagel Bar from the ground up in downtown Durham and has extensive knowledge of the process of opening a new brick and mortar business. Nancy Lovas is the Entrepreneurship Information Consultant/Librarian for UNC Chapel Hill. Are you searching for authoritative information to plan your business or research your market? Trying to navigate thousands of search results? Not sure where to find answers to your questions? Nancy will guide you to information sources for business research. Registration required. Registration closes 20 minutes before the start of the event.


Ethan Peikes is an Analyst at IDEA Fund Partners, a venture capital firm in Durham, NC. His primary responsibilities are to assist the investment team with deal sourcing, due diligence, and valuation. Prior to joining IFP, he worked for a national nonprofit, where he organized college students to address issues ranging from democracy protection to environmental sustainability. He graduated from UNC Chapel Hill in May 2018, where he received a B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in entrepreneurship. Collin J McKinney is currently the Director of the CRiTCL Electronics Core Laboratory and the Nano Device Characterization Lab (NDCL) in the Department of Chemistry. Collin does research in analytical instrumentation, applied to a diverse range of applications in chemical, nuclear, medical, and biological sciences. His team is the engineering resource on campus to help with your startup and commercialization goals. Niki Shamdasani (UNC c/o 2015) is the co-founder and CEO of Sani, a South Asian-inspired fashion brand. Before Sani, she was on the Program and Investments team of Matter, a startup accelerator and venture capital firm for early-stage media companies in San Francisco and New York. She has built several businesses from the ground up, including the university’s first official mobile app CarolinaGO, Matter’s New York program and office, and her current business.

Trevor Scanlon (UNC class of 2019) works at MetLife as a Project Coordinator on their Complex Problems team where he helps to diagnose major MetLife application failures. During his time at Carolina, Trevor was very involved in innovation and emerging technology. He was an android developer and helped pitch for a student-run start-up, worked as a developer in the Emerging Technologies Lab, and most recently he has started his own venture that uses VR experiences to help students perfect their pitch. Liz Chen is the design thinking lead on the Innovate Carolina team. In 2016, she was trained in human-centered design at the world renowned design firm IDEO in San Francisco. Through her training, she spent 18 months applying design thinking mindsets and methods to develop a technological solution to teen pregnancy. In 2017, she co-founded the tech nonprofit MyHealthEd, Inc. whose mission is to use human-centered design to improve the health and well-being of youth of every identity. Its first product Real Talk is a mobile app that uses real stories by real teens to convey relevant and credible information about health topics to teens and reassures them that they are not alone. Real Talk has reached more than 10,000 teens and has been featured in Fast Company and Teen Vogue. Liz was named to the 2018 Forbes 30 Under 30 class for Social Entrepreneurs and in May 2019, Liz served as the co-facilitator for the Chancellor’s Faculty Entrepreneurship Workshop at UNC-Chapel Hill that focused on design thinking. Arden Rosenblatt is a Business Launch Specialist at the Small Business & Technology Development Center (SBTDC), committed to providing entrepreneurs guidance on startup strategy, planning and fundamentals. Prior to joining the SBTDC, Arden was CEO and co-founder of PieceMaker, an early pioneer in delivering personalized consumer products through 3D printing technology and interactive retail experiences. As CEO Arden raised over $1M, developing world’s first initiatives with major brands such as Toys”R”Us, Nickelodeon, Ford Motors and Estee Lauder. Arden is passionate about the intersection of people, technology and opportunity, with an expertise in translating great ideas into successful businesses.

Patrick Kastian is an analyst at Innovate Carolina and has over seven years of experience in market research and business development across a wide range of industries. Whether you just started working on your idea, have already built your first prototype, or are ready to start marketing your product, Patrick can help guide you through the next steps in your startup process. Mirah Alix is a sociology graduate student at UNC with a passion for social enterprise and environmentally responsible business. She received her Bachelor’s in Sociology and Communications with a minor in Business from Vanderbilt University in 2018. Following graduation, she spent a year in the San Francisco Bay Area as a Category Specialist for Walmart eCommerce, managing pricing and inventory for a multi-million dollar product assortment while negotiating marketing partnerships with high profile vendors. She’s worked with Social Enterprise Alliance, building social media analytics dashboards and streamlining their membership leads pipeline. In other domains, Mirah is excited about systems-thinking and human-centered design, sparked by her volunteer project that developed a career-readiness curriculum for refugees in Nashville. Kimi Yingling is the Student Engagement and Events Manager at Innovate Carolina. She can help you navigate the plethora of resources related to innovation and entrepreneurship that exist at Carolina. She manages the 1789 coworking space, recruits student mentors, advises multiple student clubs, hosts the annual Student Startup Meet and Greet at Launch Chapel Hill and preps a team for the ACC InVenture Prize each year. 

Networking Nights

Do you have an idea and you are looking to find students with similar a passion or interest? Have you founded a student venture and you want to grow your team? Are you interested in innovation and entrepreneurship but not quite sure where you fit? Do you have a skill you could bring to a student startup? If you answered yes to any of these, 1789 Networking Night is for you.

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