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Meet The Rockstar Changemaker Fellows

Social Enterprise Greenhouse and Founders League are thrilled to announce the selection of student superstars who serve as Rhode Island's inaugural Changemaker Fellows.

The Changemaker Fellowship is a joint initiative between Social Enterprise Greenhouse and Founders League, made possible by a grant from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. The purpose? Better integrate students and recent graduates into Rhode Island’s startup scene, open entrepreneurship opportunities to new groups, and strengthen the flow of talent that drives startup success.

Last week we welcomed the Fellows at a ceremony with Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, who has been an amazing supporter of Founders League and this initiative. There is a fellow from EVERY Rhode Island college and university. We can't think of a time we have every campus connected like this. Can you? But now for the real stars of the show. Let's get to know the new rockstar fellows. Expect to see great things from them.

Nathalie Batista, Community College of Rhode Island
Nathalie is our Changemaker Fellow at the Community College of Rhode Island. Nathalie is a second year student from Providence and is passionate about animal rights and the environment. She was born in the Dominican Republic and graduated from Saint Patrick Academy in Providence with honors. Nathalie plans on completing her education at Rhode Island College as a transfer student to study Biology. She hopes to one day become a Marine Biologist or Zoologist. Nathalie has volunteered at the Providence Animal Rescue League and has an interest in starting her own animal shelter. In her free time, Nathalie likes to read anything she can find, teach dance classes to children, and scuba-dive. Nathalie is excited to join the Changemaker Fellowship to meet new people who want to change the world as much as she does. She looks forward to continuing her education so that one day she can have the knowledge to stop animal cruelty, give animals shelter, stop global warming, and save the rainforest.


Monica Canova, Roger Williams University 
Monica Canova is our Changemaker Fellow at Roger Williams University. Monica is a senior from Stoneham, Massachusetts and is passionate about injecting values into business ethics. She is working towards a B.S. in Business Management and Spanish and is a leader of the Delta Sigma Pi, Nu Sigma Professional Business Fraternity. Along with attending different leadership conferences and events, Monica enjoys traveling and meeting new people. In her free time, she likes to relax on the beach with her family in Cape Cod. As a Changemaker Fellow, Monica is thrilled to have the opportunity to help create social change in business throughout campuses across Rhode Island. She looks forward to helping change the world one smile at a time.


Madeline Curto, Providence College 
Madeline Curto is a junior at Providence College majoring in Marketing. Madeline is a junior from Pelham, New York and has a passion for social enterprise. She has worked with Gilda’s Club and the tech startup Yieldmo where she organized an event series for women in tech. Through this series, she realized the small portion of women leaders in the tech industry and became inspired to encourage empowered women in tech and business as a whole. Madeline loves the idea of "one for one" companies and plans to change the world by working in the marketing or branding field at a social enterprise fashion company.


Linda Garcia, Johnson & Wales University 
Linda Garcia is our Changemaker Fellow at Johnson & Wales University. Linda is a sophomore from New York City and is passionate about entrepreneurship as a means to improve society. She has completed her A.S. in Baking & Pastry Arts and is currently pursuing a B.S. in Food Service Entrepreneurship with a Sommelier minor. Linda is President of Culinaria Latina, the latin culinary club. In her free time, Linda enjoys reading cookbooks, like the Flavor Bible. She is excited to join the Changemaker Fellowship to explore innovative ways to implement entrepreneurship while creating a positive impact in the community. She hopes to create internship opportunities for pastry students, find ways to support the care of infants, and create a home to help teenage mothers like her own. One of her long-term goals is to open her own dessert and wine restaurant.


Octavian Goncalves, Rhode Island College 
Octavian Goncalves is our Changemaker Fellow at Rhode Island College. Octavian is a junior from Providence and is passionate about impact investing. He is working towards a B.S. in Finance with a minor in Economics and is interested in social entrepreneurship and corporate social responsibility. He has worked with Capital Good Fund, a social business providing microloans to underserved populations in Providence, as a Financial Coaching Fellow, and the Rhode Island State House. Octavian is also the Founder of the CCRI Cape Verdean Student Association, a student lead organization in educating the student body of Cape Verdean Heritage while also working to support the Rhode Island and CCRI community through cultural programs, fundraisers and drives for canned goods for families in need. Octavian wants to change the world through creative ways of funding business ideas. He looks forward to working with the Changemaker Fellows to make a big difference in Rhode Island.


Tim Levene, Bryant University 
Tim Levene is our Changemaker Fellow at Bryant University. Tim is a junior from Weston, Connecticut with a double major in Entrepreneurship and Applied Analytics and is passionate about startups and supporting entrepreneurs. He is a co-founder of The Levene Group, a holding company for aspiring entrepreneurs and their startup ventures. He is also involved with The Archway (Student Newspaper), Bryant Ventures, and Bryant CEO, the entrepreneurship club. Tim is 21 years old and was captain of his high school wrestling team. Aside from entrepreneurship, his interests include computer science, Danish culture, and educational reform. He is excited to join the Changemaker Fellows and looks forward to using this position to match Rhode Island students at local startups.


Teri Minogue, Brown University 
Teri Minogue is a sophomore at Brown University intending to concentrate in Public Policy and Art History. She is from Madison, New Jersey and is passionate about supporting artists and people with disabilities. Teri is a Poole Mentor for Students with Disabilities and spent the previous summer working with Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung and Coffee Kids, a fair trade social business. In her free time, Teri regularly attends gallery openings, curates exhibitions and illustrates for the College Hill Independent. She also enjoys Zumba, playing the violin and sketching. Teri is excited to take advantage of the Changemaker Fellowship as an opportunity to merge entrepreneurship with her goal of improving the livelihoods for those with severe food allergies and other accessibility issues.


Kyle Nacci, University of Rhode Island 
Kyle Nacci is our Changemaker Fellow at the University of Rhode Island. He is a senior Psychology major from Coventry, Rhode Island. He is passionate about social entrepreneurship, positive psychology, and higher education reform. He’s driven to change the world by developing an organization he founded called Thrive that helps people find their passion, form supportive connections, build essential skills and make a positive impact. Kyle is also involved in Healthy Roots, a venture currently participating in Mass Challenge. He is excited to be a Changemaker Fellow because it will give him the opportunity to show people how to use entrepreneurship as a tool for changing lives.


Dakota Williams, Salve Regina University 
Dakota Williams is our Changemaker Fellow at Salve Regina University. Dakota is a junior from Palmdale, California and is passionate about using business to improve people’s lives. He is working towards a B.S. in Accounting with minors in Business Administration and Philosophy as an inaugural scholar of the Nuala Pell Leadership Program. He is the Vice President of Membership for his school’s Toastmasters chapter and a founder and leader of Trustfall, an organization that provides a safe and supportive environment for young people going through hardships. Through his organization, The Cause, he created and marketed a custom design sock that benefits the Salve Regina scholarship fund. In his free time, Dakota likes to play mind-strengthening games, learn new things, play the guitar, write poetry, and watch documentaries. He is excited to join the Changemaker Fellowship to flex his entrepreneurial muscle and learn how to make changes to global problems like homelessness, famine, and poverty. One of his long-term goals is to help families who otherwise wouldn’t be able to, like his, pay for college.


William Zheng, Rhode Island School of Design 
William Zheng is our Changemaker Fellow at the Rhode Island School of Design. William is a junior from Shanghai, China and is passionate about social change and sustainability. He is working towards a BFA in Industrial Design with a minor in Global Processes. Born in Seattle, he moved to Shanghai at a young age where he witnessed China’s rapid economic growth and its effects on Chinese society. William searches for opportunities to utilize design thinking as a channel to address issues of humanitarian crises and infrastructure development. In particular, he advocates the use of design to incentivize the involvement of consumers, businesses, and institutions in responding to issues of social welfare. He is a leader of RISD E’Ship, RISD’s entrepreneurship club, was the Social Media Manager for Social Enterprise Greenhouse’s 2015 SEEED Summit, and is a designer from Brown’s PRIME engineering entrepreneurship program. He is excited to join the Changemaker Fellowship to encourage social activism amongst students in the context of design and entrepreneurship.

Learn more about the Changemaker Fellows and the Changemaker Fellowship here.

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