Emma Rothman ’21 and Audrey Miller ’20, have been selected as Hunter Brooks Watson Scholars for the 2019 – 2020 academic year. The Hunter Brooks Watson Scholar role is funded through a generous gift to Syracuse University Libraries from the Hunter Brooks Watson Memorial Fund to honor the life, passion, and entrepreneurial spirit of Hunter Brooks Watson, a rising junior at Syracuse University majoring in Information Management and Technology, who died tragically in 2016 in a distracted driving car accident.
Rothman, a food studies major in the Falk College, will be the Hunter Brooks Watson Scholar for fall 2019. She was previously the LaunchPad’s Engagement Scholar (in partnership with the Maxwell School’s Citizenship and Community Engagement program) for the 2018-19 academic year.
Miller, a Maxwell dual major in political science and international relations, will be the Hunter Brooks Watson Scholar for spring 2020. She was previously a LaunchPad Global Media Fellow (funded through the Blackstone Charitable Foundation) from spring 2017 to spring 2019.
Rothman and Miller met in the LaunchPad while Rothman was an Engagement Scholar and Miller was a Global Fellow. Together they forged a fast friendship, as well as a close working relationship through their work on last year’s Impact Prize and Hult Prize competitions.
“Emma and Audrey are close friends and colleagues, and we are particularly delighted that this bond, through the LaunchPad, will continue through their engagement as our 2019 – 2020 Hunter Brooks Watson Scholars,” said Linda Dickerson Hartsock, executive director of the LaunchPad. “They are both passionate about social entrepreneurship, and have terrific experience leading their own impact ventures. They are a wonderful team to jointly take this role on.”
Rothman has been passionate about community engagement since she was 13 years old. In 2013, Rothman and her family established a nonprofit called Hearts for Emma, which supports families of children with heart disease and heart transplantation in crisis; as well as, promotes educational initiatives relating to heart transplantation, and organ, tissue and corneal donation. In the summer of 2014, Rothman co-designed (with the New Jersey Sharing Network) the High School Heroes Curriculum, “You Have the Power to Save Lives,” which is required by New Jersey state law that all public high schools teach about organ and tissue donation in physical education class. Since the launch of the campaign, over 60,000 high school students have seen this presentation in four years. In addition to supporting the Hero Act, Hearts for Emma funds two college scholarships to promote organ, tissue and cornea donation on college campuses across the United States.
In addition to creating high school organ, tissue and cornea donation and transplantation educational materials, Hearts for Emma also funds annual scholarships to a Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care Nurse, Child Life Specialist, or Nurse Practitioner at NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital’s. This past summer, Hearts for Emma expanded to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia—many of the ongoing family support initiatives started at NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital will now benefit families in crisis on the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Working on these initiatives with the Hearts for Emma Board of Trustees, Rothman understands the value of community building and connection. She is passionate about leaving her community in better standings than when she entered it by being a leader in raising awareness and encouraging the discussion about the need for organ, tissue and blood donation through collaborating with educators, students, faith-based leaders, first responders and other community members to help spread the life-saving message of the importance and vital need for organ and tissue donation.
Rothman is very touched and honored to have been selected as a Hunter Brooks Watson Scholar. “I am so excited to work with, and be surrounded by, so many entrepreneurs and like-minded thinkers,” said Rothman. “I look forward to helping build a community of innovators who share a vision of making a difference.”
Miller Audrey grew up in in Maumee, Ohio and was extremely involved in her local community before coming to Syracuse University in 2016. In the first few weeks of her freshman year, Miller became involved with a nonprofit corporation that started in the LaunchPad — Thrive Projects, which won numerous campus business plan competitions, as well as first place in the nonprofit division of the New York State Business Plan Competition. Thrive also was a regional finalist in the global Hult Prize Competition, for its work focusing on community sustainability in Nepal.
That same year, Miller along with a few other Syracuse students founded a registered student organization (RSO), Thrive at SU, which helped connect students to local Syracuse nonprofits that could benefit from student assistance, while also giving students the opportunity to do work that helped them build their resumes. Under Miller’s leadership, the group became very involved in cultural literacy around New Americans, and then went on to engage with Tillie’s Touch, an area nonprofit that helps underserved children realize their dreams.
Miller is also the Campus Director for Hult Prize at Syracuse University. As campus director, she helps to organize a campus competition that challenges students to solve global issues through social entrepreneurship. Audrey was recognized as one of the best Campus Directors in the world by the Hult Prize Foundation.
“I am very excited to be the Hunter Brooks Watson Scholar for spring 2020, and to help continue Hunter’s positive legacy of creativity and entrepreneurship,” she said.
Inspired by Syracuse University’s Remembrance Scholar program, the Hunter Brooks Watson Scholar is a way to honor the life and entrepreneurial spirit of Hunter Brooks Watson, a Syracuse University student who passed away after injuries suffered in a tragic 2016 distracted driving car accident. He was a rising junior majoring in Information Management and Technology at the iSchool. A passionate entrepreneur, he was interested in music — playing multiple instruments, performing, recording and producing music videos — as well as sports, and technology. He was especially interested in the emerging field of big data and had been working on new ventures related to predictive data.
Both Rothman and Miller will be working with the LaunchPad to help peer mentor students who are in the process of creating and developing their own ideas for ventures, along with helping prepare them for awards programs and competitions.
In addition, Miller will be assisting with a campus distracted driving campaign in spring 2020, as well as helping run the Hunter Brooks Watson Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards at Syracuse University.
Photo: Emma Rothman, left, and Audrey Miller, right