Entrepreneurship for the Public Good

2009-2010 EPG Fellows

Stacci Blye ’12


Cincinnati, OH

Stacci’s directed field experience built upon the collaboration of the New Opportunity School for Women (NOSW), Berea College (BC), the Urban Appalachian Council (UAC) and Mercy Franciscan at St. John (MFSJ) in Cincinnati, Ohio. Stacci’s objective was to assist and encourage inter-agency collaboration. NOSW’s mission is to improve the conditions of middle-aged women in Appalachia. One NOSW requirement is that the prospective women have a high school diploma, GED, or clients actively pursue a GED. UAC promotes adult education within Appalachia.. UAC has a well-established GED program for adults and a most impressive success rate. The MFSJ mission is to help stabilize the lives of families and individuals in crisis. Stacci founded The Opened Door Project with a mission to promote higher education within Appalachia. Stacci created a mentoring group which Dr. Janice Blythe, Professor of Child and Family Studies, Dr. Bobby Starnes, Associate Professor of Education, Dr. Althea Webb, Education Faculty, Lisa P. Rosenbarker, Administrative Assistant Education Department, and Sean Clark, Assistant Professor of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Dr. Chad Berry, Director of Appalachian Center and Dr. William Turner, Distinguished Professor of Appalachian Studies and Regional Ambassador. . Maureen Sullivan, UAC director served as the internship supervisor.

Ashley Charsha ’11


Mountain City, TN

The focus of Ashley’s directed field experience was interning with Pathfinders in Hazard, Kentucky under the supervision of Dr. Cynthia Cole.  Pathfinders is an organization that promotes walking and biking trails in order to encourage wellness in Appalachia. A possible project will be a walking path that would connect two community gardens. In reviewing Ashley’s proposal Dr. Cole wrote, “I particularly appreciate your interest in studying physical activity in a systematic way.  Several students (CREEK and Physical Therapy students) have surveyed different groups about their interest in physical activity over the past few years and you would be more than welcome to use their materials as a starting point if you thought that would be helpful.”

Tia Davis ’11


Atlanta, GA

Tia Davis’s passion is to have and direct her own theater company in the not so distant future. She hopes to help community youth express themselves through the arts by helping them create and perform original theatrical performances. To fulfill her passion, she worked with the Ailey Camp, a nationally acclaimed youth program conceived by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.  She observed and interacted with the youth of Atlanta in a theatrical context, supervised by Diane Sales and Theresa Davis. Also she served as advisor to the coordinator of the camp so that she had a complete view of the work it takes to operate a successful theatrical experience. For the second half of the internship she was a personal advisor to Dawn Axam. Axam is the founder and director of the Axam Dance Experience. Being Mrs. Dawn’s assistant allowed her to experience firsthand what it takes to operate a theatrical company.


Martina Jackson-Hayes ’11


Oak Ridge, TN

Martina has served as project assistant for Clean and Healthy Homes and assisting executive director Elizabeth Crowe, and her colleagues at the Kentucky Environmental Foundation. Her objective was to educate people in central and eastern Kentucky about the toxic chemicals that affects their community and region. Her primary focus will be on outreach for KEF’s new “Clean and Healthy Homes” project. She participated in conversations and conferences about women’s health and toxic exposures and will discuss how she proposed to translate these concerns into state policy goals.  Additionally, Martina planned to assist in building the toxics and health coalition to support policy change in national environmental justice campaigns on toxic chemical contamination. She worked with Safe Chemicals Healthy Families national campaign for toxic chemical reform.

Joseph Kersey ’12

Business Administration

Crab Orchard, KY
Joseph Kersey has designed a Directed Field Experience (internship) with ERA Real Estate in Richmond, KY. During his DFE, Joe worked closely with Dianna Ackerman, the principal broker/owner of the company to explore the real estate industry including rural Appalachian housing. Where there, Joe developed his skills /knowledge of property analysis, financing options, contractual relations, and make the connections necessary to prepare himself for low income housing projects in the Madison County Area. Much of his time in Richmond was spent exploring and promoting the real estate market for providing renters/buyers with low cost housing options through investment real estate. By doing so, Joe will obtain the education necessary to advocate affordable housing and assist people in acquiring their housing dreams during his internship. Dr. Ed McCormick is supervising Joe’s internship for credit in the Economics and Business Department.

The Sue Moe ’12

Economics/Poli Sci.

Myanmar (Burma)

The Su Moe’s passion is rural community development and how rural economies can be developed by both bottom-up community level development projects through non-government sector and macroeconomic policy reform from the government. To fulfill her passion, she worked with Metta Development Foundation, a well-known local non-governmental organization in Myanmar observing the entrepreneurial role for rural economies, supervised by Ms. Morine Po. Meanwhile, The Su did a Directed Field Experience on researching the pigeon pea market and agricultural economic policies with Dr. Maung Aung, a local economist who is a Senior Researcher for Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry and a Consultant for United Nations Development Programme, served as her directed field experience supervisor.

Clifford Sakutukwa ’11

Math and Economics


His aspiration is to be a rural economics consultant focusing on child health,  and rural outward labor migration patterns. To fulfill his passion, he crafted a summer directed field experience with a nationally recognized scholar so that he could gain the research expertise to advance his graduate school career. Dr. Virginia Wilcox-Gok (Northern Illinois University) served as his mentor and site supervisor. Cliff had several research topics and summer assignments planned during his directed field experience. With Dr. Wilcox-Gok, Cliff developed a paper on child health from a larger data set from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study data. Dr. Scott Steele supervised Cliff’s internship for credit in the Economics and Business Department.

Alexandra Solomatavo ’12


Alexandra Solomatova worked with “Dialog Social Enterprise”. The mission of DSE is to overcome barriers between “us” and “them” and to redefine “disability” as “ability,” and “otherness” as “likeness”. DSE provides business workshops for enterprise teams and leaders. Alexandra has passion for social and business entrepreneurship. Sasha strengthened her entrepreneurial leadership skills by working directly with businesses in Germany, by exploring their values and business models, and by providing training workshops that teach businesses how to adapt their business environment for physically handicapped people or socially marginalized people. Alexandra would like to use American, German, Kyrgyz and Russian business models to launch her career in the consulting industry.

Omowunmi Soremi ’12


Lagos State, Nigeria

Omowunmi Soremi completed her DFE internship in Frankfort Kentucky with the small business financing at Community Venture Corporation.  James Cole, Executive Vice President was her site supervisor. CVC has been successful in its efforts to increase resources for small businesses in 71 counties in Kentucky. Through her internship, Omo will endeavor to understand the bottom-up process of funding small business via implementation of related government policies. She hoped policy implementation may involve some paperwork, that the actual financing process from studying feasibility of business plans to reviewing start-up or expansion budgets afforded her the opportunity to gain practical knowledge and technical-know-how (field hands-on) especially in recognizing opportunities and mobilizing resources for small business development and growth. Doing work in this area helped Omo strengthen her skills as an entrepreneurial leader while she hoped to improve her analytical thinking and decision-making skills.

Sean Ware ’12


Versailles, KY

Sean Ware’s interest lies in the relationship between the artist and rural communities.  To study this, his directed field experience consisted of working with Truly Bluegrass, a shop in Versailles, KY that offers art, crafts, and other products made locally in the Bluegrass area. His internship consisted of duties such as running the shop, selling merchandise, assisting with marketing and advertising and researching local artists. In addition to this, he collaborated with local artists and merchants to organize an event centered on local works and products.

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