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Students walk by pink spring flowers on campus.
(photo by Donn Young)

Seven students from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill were selected as recipients of the 2024 Carolina Blue Honors Fellowship in Sports Entrepreneurship to pursue unique and self-initiated summer internships built around growing international sports businesses. 

The Carolina Blue Honors Fellowship was established in 2015 with a gift from UNC-Chapel Hill alumnus Ricky May. Its purpose is to recognize ambitious undergraduate students who possess a strong work ethic and sense of adventure, and it is open to all Carolina students who meet the eligibility criteria. To be selected as a Carolina Blue Honors Fellow, an applicant must provide convincing evidence of a long-standing interest in sports and an entrepreneurial spirit through an application, recommendation letters, and an interview. The fellowship provides up to $6,500 to fund individuals who seek to gain experience in the business of sports while traveling abroad and supporting the growth of a small venture. The number of annual awards and the amount of funding were both increased as a result of the fellowship’s growth and May’s dedication to students’ education and development. 

Since its start in 2015, the Carolina Blue Honors Fellowship has funded 14 fellows to intern for organizations in Australia, New Zealand, Colombia, Singapore, Spain, Denmark, Argentina and South Africa, in addition to one U.S.-based experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Fellowship now adds seven dynamic students to make the number jump to 21 total fellows throughout its history.  

Having seven fellows is by far the most we’ve ever had in one year” says May. “That is a testament to all the students who pursued the opportunity and to the host companies and organizations who have partnered with them. Thanks to one and all.” 

Tyler Bell (’25) is from Asheville, NC and is double majoring in exercise & sports science and history. For his Carolina Blue Fellowship, Tyler will travel to Sydney, Australia where he will intern with the Australian International Football Federation, where he will work closely with the Competitions and Professional Football Team to help with organizing and coordinating logistics, marketing, and legal support. 

Nathan Townsend (’26) is from Fayetteville, NC and is a business administration major with a minor in entrepreneurship. He will spend his summer in Hiroshima, Japan where he will intern with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, a team in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball Organization. Driven by his passion for sabermetrics, Nathan will work to optimize baseball strategy using advanced metrics in a country that has become a top competitor on the world stage for baseball.  

Alexa Rhodes (’26) is from Philadelphia, PA and is majoring in sports administration with a minor in entrepreneurship. Alexa will use her Carolina Blue Fellowship to travel to Carrara, Australia to intern with RDK Sports International, a consulting company that aims to unify people through sports. For her internship, Alexa will work as a Non-Profit and Events Strategy Intern. In this role, she will work to expand RDK’s non-profit connections and increase the company’s international marketability. 

Jonah Dolgoff (’26) is from Charlotte, NC and is double majoring in business administration and biology with a minor in entrepreneurship. This summer, Jonah will travel to London, England where he will intern with the Business Intelligence Division of Formula E, the premiere electric car racing competition. The division for which Jonah will be working is responsible for research and data analysis and the reporting of their findings.  

Abigail Fortner (’26) is from Apex, NC and is double majoring in public relations and sociology. A former college athlete, Abigail is interested in player recruitment, fan engagement, and event management. For her fellowship. She will spend her fellowship in Melbourne, Australia where she will intern with both the office of marketing and media and the office of sponsorships for the Kilsyth Basketball Association. Abigail’s main responsibilities will be focused on communications via the Association’s website and social media pages. 

Christopher Noce (’25) is from Asheville, NC and is double majoring in exercise & sports science and psychology. Christopher’s fellowship experience will focus on a fitness space in Kifissia, Greece called “Runaway.” There, he will work as a running coach and will program the gym’s workouts and group runs. Christopher will also assist the gym with event management.  

Sara Eckel (’25) is from Stroudsburg, PA and is double majoring in economics and sport administration. This summer, Sara will intern with Sportradar, a sports technology company in Melbourne, Australia. In her role, Sara will work with the sales partnership team to drive engagement with the company and its partners, as well as with the analytics team to create projects that examine data to help teams and players improve their performance. 

“I’m very excited for Carolina Blue Fellows. They will do meaningful work that will help shape their careers and have great cultural experiences that simply can’t be replicated,” says May. 

Read more about the Carolina Blue Honors Fellowship here. 

Courtesy of Honors Carolina

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