Entrepreneurial Institute

Introducing the 2020 Mark & Debra Leslie Female Founders Fellows

Stay up to date on upcoming events, deadlines, news, and more by signing up for our newsletters!

The NYU Entrepreneurial Institute is excited to announce the first NYU Female Founders Fellows to be awarded loan alleviation grants and earn the additional title of Mark & Debra Leslie Fellows. The NYU Female Founders Fellowship provides extensive training, mentorship, and networking opportunities to student entrepreneurs at NYU who are committed to advancing gender equality in entrepreneurship. Mark & Debra Leslie Fellows receive loan alleviation grants of up to $50,000.

The Female Founders Fellowship is an opportunity for NYU student entrepreneurs to build networks with renowned founders and investors, hone their leadership skills, get financial support for their ventures, and help alleviate their student loan debt—all while contributing to closing the gender gap in entrepreneurship.

Meet the founders, and hear what they have to say about being the first Mark & Debra Leslie Fellows:


Sutton King 

(School of Global Public Health ‘20)

Co-Founder & COO of ShockTalk, a platform that focuses on healing unresolved historical and intergenerational trauma through increasing users' access to culturally appropriate services, resources and content.

"It is an honor to be selected for the Female Founders Fellowship and to be recognized as a Mark & Debra Leslie Fellow. Inclusive opportunities that provide resources and support to underrepresented voices are critical in achieving equity in entrepreneurship. As an Afro-Indigenous founder, the financial support along with the mentorship that the fellowship will provide will support me in creating the social impact Indigenous communities deserve."


Jade Kearney 

(Steinhardt ‘20)

Co-Founder & CEO of She Matters, a community designed to support postpartum Black women who experience anxiety and/or depression.

Photo of Jade Kearney

“I am so excited and thankful to be a Female Founders Fellowship recipient. This grant allows me as founder to continue to work on She Matters full time and to make decisions based on what benefits our community. In addition to the financial contribution, I look forward to the continued support and founder community from the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute. The support we’ve received has been pivotal in our growth, understanding of our mission, and serving our community members first.” 


Laura Rocha 

(Wagner ‘20)

Co-Founder & CEO of Dathic, an AI-based platform for CPG that understands the US Hispanic consumers and recommends the best locations to grow and connect communities with the products they love.

Photo of Laura Rocha

"Having access to mentoring and training will help me to improve and develop the skills necessary to feel confident and to keep growing my company. I am so grateful for the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute, and Mark and Debra Leslie for their generosity in providing a grant that will allow me to keep working on my startup while removing the economic barriers of student debt. As a first-time founder and Latina entrepreneur, it is very valuable for me to be part of a supportive network and to learn from the other amazing fellows and experienced mentors."


Visit the NYU Female Founders Fellowship page for more information on this initiative and how to apply.