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Jamara brings to the Peake Fellowship a strong background in collaboration best practices and service. Jamara currently supports the cybersecure growth of small businesses and coaches Community Navigators in the Peake Fellowship’s Higher ed Enterprise Leadership Program (i-HELP) at Fayetteville State University (FSU) adjacent to Fort Liberty. Prior to her fellowship, Jamara had been selected by Peake as an i-HELP Senior Navigator while she was still an undergraduate.

Jamara originally comes from Exmore on the Eastern Shore of Virginia where she learned the value of close knit communities and the impact of small businesses economically and personally. She enlisted in the U.S. Army after high school and served at Fort Bliss near El Paso, Texas in a range of business operational functions. Jamara received the Army Commendation Medal for business process improvement in logistics. She completed her military service as an Army Specialist before entering FSU on the GI Bill.

Jamara graduated magna cum laude from FSU in December, 2023 with a BS in Psychology and a minor in Social Work. In addition to her professional roles, she served as a mentor with teenagers on life skills and financial literacy through R.O.O.T.S. Mentoring (Regimine of Overriding the Statistic) in Fayetteville. She sees the Peake Fellowship as a way to make a difference nationally through the progress of each small business, Fellow, and Community Navigator.

Excerpt from Jamara’s nomination to the Mary S. Peake Fellowship Selection Committee:

I am excited to nominate Jamara Richardson for the Mary S. Peake Fellowship, with the support
of the Chancellor.

Ms. Richardson is well known to me not only as a student in our undergraduate psychology
program but as the current president of the FSU chapter of the International Honor Society in
Psychology, PSI CHI, and a past president of the FSU chapter of Active Minds of which she
continues to serve as the Social Media Coordinator. I have worked closely with her in these two
student organizations as I serve as the faculty advisor to both.

I have been quite impressed by her leadership abilities, devotion in organizing activities and
events, competence in collaboration, and skills in training other students to become leaders.

I could not think of any other student more fitting than Ms. Richardson.

Professor Pius Nyutu, PhD
Department of Psychology
Fayetteville State University

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Aliann Santos ‘25

Aliann Santos brings to the Peake Fellowship a passion and creativity in coaching small businesses and their ecosystems for cybersecure growth. Aliann is a military spouse and served herself as a Training Instructor for the Department of Defense at Fort Liberty, the world’s largest Army base, which is adjacent to Fayetteville State University (FSU) and near Aliann’s hometown of Cameron, North Carolina. Aliann also expanded her outreach and engagement skills as a cast member at Walt Disney World.

Born in Puerto Rico, Aliann grew up bilingually learning from her mother who still runs a small business and her father who served in the U.S. Army. As a college senior, Aliann was chosen to be a Peake Fellowship Community Navigator, working directly on cybersecure growth with minority-owned businesses and Defense Industrial Base members. This Fayetteville State University’s Higher ed Enterprise Leadership Program (i-HELP) named Aliann a Senior Navigator based on her success in supporting small businesses in the readiness for the 110 cyber controls defined by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Aliann earned her BA from Fayetteville State University in December 2023, double majoring in English with concentrations in Creative and Professional Writing and Music. In addition to her academic work, Aliann performed on the alto sax with the Fayetteville Symphonic Band, edited the FSU newspaper, and publicly presented her poetry on campus. The skills learned from her majors gave her a strong foundation for the multitasking and discipline needed to support the range of small businesses in both English and Spanish.

Excerpt from Aliann’s nomination to the Mary S. Peake Fellowship Selection Committee:

It is with great pleasure that I write this letter of nomination, on behalf of Ms. Aliann Santos, with the support of the Chancellor.

Aliann founded the FSU chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success, which grew to over 400 members on campus. Aliann was also recognized as “Student of the Year” at the department and college levels.

Dr. Amanda Virelles
Associate Professor
Performing and Fine Arts
Fayetteville State University

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A native of Columbus, Ohio, Evan graduated in 2023 with a BA in Computer Science and Philosophy, and a minor in Economics and Finance from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. He completed Honors Projects in both Computer Science and Philosophy and also worked on an agent-based model of asset markets for his computer science professor, Dr. Mohammad Irfan. Evan developed a passion for innovative market exchanges of products and services that could be used by small businesses across industries starting with the U.S. Defense Industrial Base (DIB).

Evan’s personal interest in Community Commerce Hubs for Innovation grew as he watched his grandfather, a retired precision machinist, and a team of volunteer experts rebuild a World War II-era Boeing B-17 based on salvaged parts. As Evan supports small businesses to benefit from AI and big data-based tools, he will rely on skills he honed in his campus job as a Learning Assistant helping fellow students grasp new concepts and overcome coding challenges. Evan also draws on teamwork and mutual mentoring skills developed in two non-academic focuses: first as a Heavyweight Rower with Bowdoin Rowing where he helped the team achieve its first national championship; and second as founder of the Bowdoin Polar Investment Club which taught the basics of personal finance and became one of the College’s most active organizations.

Excerpt from Evan’s nomination to the Mary S. Peake Fellowship Selection Committee:

“It is with great enthusiasm and excitement that I nominate Evan Albers ’23 for the Peake Fellowship on behalf of Bowdoin College and President Safa Zaki. Evan is a gifted individual with a unique set of skills and interests. He was one of my most outstanding students at Bowdoin College…I have also done research with him for a year and a half and advised his computer science Honors Project…Evan is not only a standout student and researcher but also a natural leader and entrepreneur who has a great understanding of the social and cultural issues in community building.

Dr. Mohammad T. Irfan
John F. and Dorothy H. Magee Associate Professor of Digital and Computational Studies
Director of Digital and Computational Studies Program
Bowdoin College

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Larson Ashford ‘24

In 2024, Larson completed his one-year Peake Fellowship after successfully supporting small business upskilling across Outreach & Engagement, Community Commerce, Operations, and Cybersecurity best practices. He now serves as a Peake Fellowship Joint Innovation Coordinator coaching Fellows and Community Navigators in their support of small business cybersecure growth across the U.S. critical infrastructure sectors.

Born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana, Larson grew up inspired by entrepreneurs in his family. Larson’s father founded a local tea shop specializing in imported blends that cultivated Larson’s own passion for small business and logistics. The shop gave Larson a chance to help his dad innovate every day across all parts of the operation where he also assumed the role of Ashford Tea Company’s Social Media Manager.

Larson went on to study logistics at Savannah State University as a student athlete. College honed his ability to multitask as a President’s Academic List student and Co-Captain of the Men’s Basketball Team. Larson was recognized for his role in boosting Savannah State’s enrollment with a 1st Place Marketing Group Project Award, and his Savannah State Tigers became the Men’s Basketball SIAC Conference Champion.

Professionally, Larson served as a Communications & Clinical Outreach Linkages Manager for the city’s Healthy Savannah project.

Larson earned a Bachelors in International Business and Logistics graduating Magna Cum Laude from Savannah State University in 2021 and earned a Savannah State Masters in Business in 2023. Larson views his Peake Fellowship role as a way to strengthen community business ecosystems by geography and industry at the same time that he strengthens his data analytics and cybersecure supply chain leadership skills.

Excerpt from Larson’s nomination to the Mary S. Peake Fellowship Selection Committee:

“It is with great enthusiasm and excitement that I nominate W. Larson Ashford for the Peake Fellowship on behalf of Savannah State University and President Kimberly Ballard-Washington. Larson is an outstanding person with passion, energy, and determination to excel as a scholar at Savannah State University.”

Horace Broadnax
Head Men’s Basketball Coach
Savannah State University

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Tyler Holloway ’23

Tyler served as Joint Innovation Coordinator after her one-year Peake Fellowship supporting small business upskilling across Cybersecurity, Outreach & Engagement, Community Commerce, and Cloud Operations best practices. She now serves as Peake Fellowship Operations Manager leading Fellows and Community Navigators in their support of small business cybersecure growth across the U.S. critical infrastructure sectors.

Originally from Stone Mountain, Georgia, Tyler’s passion for entrepreneurship goes as far back as she can remember. As a student at Savannah State University, Tyler co-founded TigerCo Marketing, an initiative that took an inventor’s hot sauce to market with local stores. All of the company’s profits contributed to a micro-loan program for other students at Savannah State. The overall TigerCo initiative, which was highlighted on the cover of Founder Magazine, has become a blueprint for rallying community support and joint innovation. As part of her service learning, Tyler also co-created an online marketplace for goods from student entrepreneurs across the campus. Beyond her interest in community commerce, Tyler also served as a Graduate Teaching Assistant and received a Coca-Cola United Bottling Company Internship & Scholarship. Tyler is a graduate of Savannah State University where she earned a Bachelors in Business Administration in 2020 and an MBA in 2022. Tyler is currently an evening graduate student in Cyberpsychology at Norfolk State University.

Excerpt from Tyler’s nomination to the Mary S. Peake Fellowship Selection Committee:

“It is with great pleasure that I nominate Tyler Holloway for the Peake Fellowship on behalf of Savannah State University and President Kimberly Ballard-Washington. Tyler is a passionate, determined student who has repeatedly proven to be a dedicated and reliable scholar. I have no doubt that she will be an asset to the program.”

Dr. Shalonda Mullgrav
Interim Vice President of University Advancement
Dean of the College of Business Administration
Savannah State University

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Mason Costa ’21

Mason Costa saw his Fellowship as a chance to help small & local businesses use social media and cybersecure operations to accelerate their Post-COVID recovery and reinvention. Born and raised in Dedham, Massachusetts, Mason graduated from West Virginia University with a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism, and a minor in Communications. At WVU, Mason developed a passion for creating stronger community connections through social media, video, and photography. In addition to Mason’s work behind the camera, he helped launch the on-air television program, WVU News, as an anchor and beat reporter. He used his broadcasts to share the campus experience through live broadcasts aired on the PBS station for northern West Virginia.

Mason’s understanding of social media outreach helped him promote his own services as a campus DJ for university events and local nightclubs. He also volunteered as Social Media Chair for his fraternity where he improved recruitment numbers and profiled member achievements. After graduation, Mason took a media and technology support role for mass events at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts which was interrupted by the pandemic.

Mason’s experience in journalism and new media technologies as well as his experiences working in neighborhood businesses led him to Peake Fellowship as a Research Associate prior to his selection as a Fellow. In that research role, he joined a Community Commerce Project focused on collaboration among the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, Tribal Colleges, and regional colleges. One particular focus of Mason’s work has been to support Black-owned businesses in West Virginia and Massachusetts as part of a larger project across the 50 states and five territories. Based on that experience, Mason will continue supporting those projects as he helps local businesses grow, create jobs, and strengthen each community he serves.

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Hannah London ’20

Born and raised in Hull, Massachusetts, Hannah attended University of Massachusetts Amherst where she graduated with a B.A. in Communication. Hannah worked her way through school in retail, restaurant, and day care center roles. From those experiences and looking forward, she developed a passion for helping local businesses. Coming from a tight-knit small town, Hannah sees the Fellowship as a chance to strengthen community connection across geographies and markets through outreach and engagement, ecommerce, web operations, and cybersecurity.

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Em Shank ’14

Em served as one of the first Peake Pilot Program Fellows after being nominated as a graduating college senior by two local chambers of commerce. Em’s longtime interests in social media, data analysis, local businesses, and organizational challenges, and team dynamics made the Fellowship a natural fit.

Em grew up in Northfield, Minnesota where their father ran an independent grocery store and participated actively in the local chamber. Em worked through college focused on trend analysis as a Data Support Specialist for a local insurance company. Em played varsity soccer and graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a BA in Sociology.

In 2019, Em returned to the Peake Fellowship Development Team after serving as a senior business analyst and operations management for Union Street Media, a cutting-edge provider of digital marketing services. At Union Street Media, Em specialized in business analysis and leading cross functional teams. As the Peake Fellowship Team & Venly’s Business Metrics Lead, Em supported all Peake Fellowship clients, Fellows, and Coaches to accelerate their measurable growth. Em focused on all four Peake Fellowship business tracks to improve outreach & engagement, community commerce innovation & transactions, web-based operations, and cybersecurity.

See below for a retrospective on Em’s Fellowship year and a description of the cool job that came next.

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Emily Macwilliams ’15

Born and raised in Central Massachusetts, Emily grew up in a tight knit family who inspired her when they created a small family business. Emily saw her Venly Fellowship as a chance to help local business grow by applying her passion for the area and her skills as a writer, artist, and social media expert. Emily graduated with a BA in English from Worcester State University in May 2014.

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Caroline Sun ’18

Originally from Arcadia, California, Caroline came to Boston and fell in love with her new home. She graduated from Boston University in May 2017 with a B.S. in Journalism. In addition to her studies, Caroline wrote for Boston University’s award-winning independent student newspaper, The Daily Free Press. She also managed social media for diverse clients from a community college district to a children’s publishing imprint at Scholastic. Caroline also used her outreach expertise to lead a record-setting college fundraising campaign for the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade. Now Caroline will apply her experiences to help local businesses grow and share their stories more effectively. Fluent in Mandarin, Caroline also speaks conversational Spanish.

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