Current Burch Fellows

Abbey Cmiel

Class of 2019
Hometown: Charlotte, NC
Majors: Social Entrepreneurship and Global Studies; Minor: Hispanic Studies

This summer, Abbey plans to travel to Colombia to investigate the environmental and economic impacts of tourism in the coastal and coffee-growing regions. She will work to construct a sustainable travel exchange program that guides university students through Colombia’s surreal beauty and also supports local businesses and ecology. She hopes to better understand Colombia’s deep respect for its ecosystem and share her knowledge with peers at UNC and beyond.

Lauren Graham

Class of 2020
Hometown: Durham, NC
Major: Political Science

Lauren will travel to Washington, DC and London, England to research how art narratives impact public perception of immigration. In DC, she will interview artists whose work has focused on Latino immigrants. In London, she will work with the Migrant Museum and the nonprofit Let Us Learn to support the museum’s mission and work directly with immigrants in England.

Alex Polydoroff

Class of 2019
Hometown: Berkeley, CA
Major: Anthropology and Music; Concentration: Jazz bass performance

Alex will spend three months volunteering in youth migrant camps in Sicily, Italy. Alex will work with the local Intercultural Studies Center to lead music classes that help migrant children collaboratively make music about their experiences, perform their original music at local venues, and eventually record an album ensuring future support for music education in the migrant camps.

Bella Reiss

Class of 2019
Hometown: Decatur, GA
Majors: Peace, War, and Defense and Global Studies; Minor: Hispanic Studies

Bella will travel to Granada, Nicaragua to partner with Soccer Without Borders, an organization that uses soccer as a vehicle for positive engagement and social change. Merging her interest in soccer and passion for advocacy, she will implement a curriculum of female empowerment and community engagement in local schools and after-school programs.

Nikola Yager

Class of 2019
Hometown: Boulder, CO
Major: Public Policy; Minor: Econometrics

Nikola will combine her entrepreneurial mindset and her passion for human rights to investigate blockchain technology’s place in aid work with refugees. She will spend the summer in New York City interning with ID2020, a public-private partnership committed to providing digital identities to refugees. Yager will work with ID2020’s Blockchain and Identity team to determine the feasibility and ethical implications of using cryptocurrencies in a humanitarian context.



Meet previous Burch Fellows