Kashif Chopra ’26
Hometown: Gurgaon, India
As a child, I’d spent hours intricately carving cardboard to create innovative models of planes, phones and laptops. The drive to create technology to solve major problems faced by humanity deeply resonates with me – my long-term goal is to create accessible innovation. When I witnessed that poor children in India were unable to attend online classes due to a lack of digital devices, I felt hurt. As an electrical engineer, I wish to innovate to bridge the technological divide between economic classes. To make it accessible, I need to have the mindset of an entrepreneur. This is exactly what the Dyer Centre fosters. Moreover, the DYER fellowship provides innumerable opportunities for one to grow as an individual, be it by forcing you to go beyond your comfort zone or by working on hands-on projects. These activities, along with engaging sessions on topics of great relevance such as investment and property management, are what drew me to this fellowship. My main goal is to be able to absorb as much as I possibly can, since the opportunities provided by this fellowship are limitless.
Akeena Hall ’26
Hometown: Bronx, New York
I was drawn to the Dyer Fellowship for the opportunity to not only strengthen my entrepreneurial skill set, but for the unique resources, workshops, and support that will help me make my dreams of being a social entrepreneur come true. Through the program, I’m hoping to gain an entrepreneurial framework for how to understand, approach and find solutions to the issues that I care about in my community back home in The Bronx. There are a lot of issues I care about, such as food security, access to equitable educational opportunities, and environmental sustainability. I’m eager to figure out how the application of my strengths, knowledge, and leadership qualities cultivate a solution that is niche to my skill set, while also making a positive impact.
Bahadir Karabulut ’26
Hometown : Mersin,Turkey
I have been interested in creating since I was a child, and I found out that creating is not an interest but a passion of mine as I grew up. Throughout my school years, I have created almost all sorts of digital entertainment projects to solve big problems at my high school. So understandably, the first sentence in the DYER Fellowship brochure that got my attention was “ Enhancing their creativity and maximizing their extensive opportunities.” The Dyer Fellowship allows me to maximize my creative abilities and the ways that I can use them to contribute to my community, the Lafayette community, and society at large. I will be able to keep inspiring people and improving as the Dyer Center brings so many people from different backgrounds and with different talents in a way that each fellow learns from a unique ability that the other fellows possess. I am hopeful that the creative way I look at things, combined with the skills that I will acquire learning from the fellows, will help me to become the entrepreneur, innovator, and leader that I want to be in the future.
James Kohler ’26
Hometown: Larchmont, New York
When I heard of the Dyer Fellowship, I was immediately drawn and interested in the opportunity. To me, being a Dyer Fellow means to be a leader. To take risks on things you may end up failing on. To take ownership on mistakes and grow further from them. All these skills the fellowship will help me and my partners improve on. I look forward to putting this entrepreneurial mindset on issues I care about, like strengthening volunteer work in Easton as well as Lafayette College. I look forward to using teamwork to grow not only by myself, but with my peers. The work done as a Dyer fellow is sure to have lasting affects on my mindset and work drive, and I look forward to using the fellowships opportunities to the best of my abilities.
Prem Kumar ’26
Hometown: Gonpura, India
I am Prem Kumar. I am an incoming international student at Lafayette College for the class of 2026 to pursue Mechanical Engineering. I am the son of Mr. Jitan Manjhi and the late Kalavati Devi. I was raised and brought up in a small village named Gonpura. I had completed my primary education in an NGO, named Shoshit Seva Sangh. I had completed my high school in Shoshit Samadhan Kendra. I graduated from The Dexterity School of Leadership and Entrepreneurship in 2022. I am a founder of the Apni Shiksha Foundation. It is an educational non-profit platform for children in our country. I initiated this organization on 05 April 2020. This has impacted 10 villages
marking 200 kids from geographical areas in the districts of Bihar. My team members Anuj Kumar and Ravish Kumar are actively working as co-founders. I have a great interest in learning science projects, reading novels, practicing yoga, and playing cricket, dancing, chess, football, badminton, and basketball. I wish to become a good human being. I have the vision to be a mechanical engineer and community service leader.
Sarah Pezzino ’26
Hometown: Nazareth, PA
Thomas Edison once said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” An aspiring entrepreneur in the health and fitness industry and with the type A personality I have, Designing Your Entrepreneurial Roadmap were the only four words I needed to hear before knowing this was the opportunity I wanted! I dreamed of changing the world in the health and fitness community. I chose the dyer fellowship because I believe it can help me make and leave my mark on the world, embrace my ‘figure-out-able’ mindset and collaborate with a diverse team.
Landy Rakotoarison ’26
Hometown: Antananarivo, Madagascar
“ Take an idea from conception to development” Those words caught my attention while applying as a DYER fellow. I am interested in behavioral neuroscience, applied machine learning, and education. I want to use advanced technology and entertainment research to provide affordable and adequate education to children and teenagers. I want to apply what I learn in and outside school to solve a real-life problem and I believe being part of the fellowship will assist me to reach that goal.
Kusum Subedi ’26
Hometown: Pokhara, Nepal
I consider the DYER fellowship to be one of the most important aspects of my college experience. Connection with people from diverse backgrounds and exploration of diverse interests are what I consider two most important values in my life. DYER is the cornerstone for the fulfillment of both of these values. The most important goal for me is to expand my multidimensionality in terms of skills and connections. I wish to make the most out of all the resources provided in the DYER center to explore my own potential on leadership and innovation. As an international student, coming to a completely new environment, DYER feels like a safe space for me to experiment with my boundaries and push myself further to grow and help other fellows grow alongside. I am hopeful that I create an impactful product out of the mentorship, resources, opportunities, and networking I am provided with as a DYER fellow. I want to carry my experience as a DYER fellow back to Nepal and serve my homeland a progressive and impactful change in future.
Daniel Andrade ’25
Hometown: Quito, Ecuador
“It took me just a few minutes of research about the program before I knew that this was something I truly wanted to be a part of. I hope to build an entrepreneurial idea I am passionate about and meaningful relationships with a wide variety of people who help me, learning from them, and also motivate me to become the best version of myself. Coming from Ecuador to study in the U.S. I was always worried about what the clash of different cultures and mindsets would mean in the next part of my life. This all changed when I met the rest of my D.Y.E.R. fellows and everyone involved in the Dyer Center. I had never imagined that people with such different backgrounds could have such a similar drive to succeed and leave their own mark in this world.”
Dina Azar ’25
Hometown: Cresskill, N.J.
“The fellowship is a way for me to explore my interest in entrepreneurship earlier in my life. I plan to pursue my interests in Middle Eastern relations, specifically the refugee crisis and relief for the youth in countries like Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen. I am extremely excited for this opportunity because we are getting taught by entrepreneurs who have different mindsets and experiences that we learn so much from just over a conversation during dinner. Not having a concrete goal or idea at the moment makes it more difficult to imagine how to apply the next four years of learning and experience to my future. So it is fearful to think about the end of the process.”
Jahi Heath ’25
Hometown: Washington, D.C.
“I want to cultivate my passion for entrepreneurship. Having an entrepreneurial mindset is very beneficial in all aspects of life. I’m hoping to grow my business, Kickback, and learn how to be a successful entrepreneur. I want to grow as a leader, spokesman, and philanthropist. I am excited to reinvent myself as a new individual with the hopes of creating new networks and bonds along the way, but fear that my self-doubt will become a distraction to my overall goal of success.”
Swetha Tadisina ’25
Hometown: Hyderabad, India
“I identified the fellowship as a very special opportunity to put my education to use—as I lift myself up through education and then in turn, lift people up through entrepreneurship. I want to dedicate my career to nation-building in India, and hence, I’d first say that I want to build solutions and systems for people back home through the fields of science and technology. As a fellow, I really want to build myself as a servant leader and begin identifying answers for community development in the 21st century. The fellowship brings together people with such different experiences and deep convictions. It forces you to open your mind. I want the fellowship to be a victory factor in many lives, not just a few. So my fear is that too few people will benefit from this experience. But I am confident I won’t let that happen.”
Danny Weispfenning ’25
Hometown: Ridgewood, N.J.
“There’s no better place on campus to get involved with entrepreneurship than the Dyer Center. I’m hoping to apply an entrepreneurial mindset in the renewable energy sector. This fellowship has opened up a myriad of resources and opportunities on and off campus. I just have to manage my time properly, so I can get everything I can from this fellowship.”