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Wake Forest entrepreneurs awarded post-graduate fellowships

July 8, 2008

Three Wake Forest University 2008 graduates, Bill Brown, Jessica Vogel, and Ali Carroll have been awarded post-graduation fellowships for the 2008-2009 Fifth Year Institute, an intensive incubator program administered by the university’s Office of Entrepreneurship and Liberal Arts (OELA).  The institute provides yearlong fellowships to graduating seniors who have shown entrepreneurial ability and whose new venture projects demonstrate promise.

Through the institute, fellows receive academic instruction, experiential learning and extended access to community resources that can assist in the planning and implementation of their new ventures.  The fellows receive a stipend each semester, free course enrollment, a housing allowance and funds for such venture development expenses as market research, legal advice and prototype creation.

Brown, who is from Nashville, Tenn., and Vogel, who is from Metairie, La., will work to further develop Stuffed Robot LLC, a toy-design and production company that produces and sells stuffed toy robots.  Stuffed Robot has been in production since 2005 after Vogel gave a hand-sewn robot as a gift to Brown.  More information is available online at

Carroll, also from Nashville, will focus on developing her venture, Adia, which means “valuable gift” in Swahili.  Adia sells unique jewelry made by Kenyan women and helps support the communities where the jewelry is made by sharing the profits with African development organizations aimed at lifting residents out of poverty.  More information is available online at

"Our undergraduate students often have wonderful ideas for new ventures, but they seldom have time to simultaneously fulfill their degree requirements and pursue their new venture ideas,” said Betsy Gatewood, director of the OELA.  "Receiving this grant allows students like Bill, Jessica, and Ali to capitalize on opportunities they have identified.”    

Wake Forest’s Fifth Year Institute is in its third academic year of operation. 

Press Contacts:

Eric Frazier
(336) 758-5237

Kevin Cox
(336) 758-5237

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