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Agora Fellows

The Agora Fellows program provides undergraduate students a space to experiment with public discourse in a collaborative environment of their peers. Under the tutelage of the executive director of the Program for Public Discourse, students meet regularly throughout the year to engage a variety of timely and timeless issues of public concern over a range of discursive modes including dialogue, debate, and critical reflection. All undergraduate Carolina students are welcome to participate.

Students can inquire about Agora Fellows membership here.

Cohort Graduate

Emilio Horner Photo

Emilio Horner

Emilio studies the science of employing words and is a graduate fellow with the Agora. His areas of interest include rhetorical theory, epistemology, and populism. Emilio is inspired by the philosophical writings of Jean Baudrillard and the political theory of Giorgio Agamben. His favorite historical orator is William Jennings Bryan and his favorite speech is Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount.

Emilio Horner's Blog Entries

Cohort 23-24

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Andrew Gary

Peace, War, and Defence; History
Andrew Gary is a senior majoring in History and Peace, War & Defence. He is originally from New Orleans, Louisiana. He currently serves as the Speaker of the Undergraduate Senate and Chair of the Student Safety and Security Committee. He is also currently writing an Undergraduate Honors Thesis that seeks to compare the impact of federal interventions in Louisiana and South Carolina during Reconstruction. Andrew’s favorite public orator is Representative Thaddeus Stevens.

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Matthew Klein

Matthew Klein is originally from Utica, New York, but now lives in Raleigh. Currently, he’s a Sophomore studying Business at U.N.C. Chapel Hill. He’s interested in the food service industry, where he hopes to work on the investment side of the sector. He is also a big car enthusiast, and currently trying to restore a 80’s Corvette. His favorite public speaker is Barack Obama.

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Olivia Levine

Business, City and Regional Planning, and Public Policy
Olivia Levine is a 3rd-year honors student in a self-created interdisciplinary major comprised of Business, City and Regional Planning, and Public Policy with a Kenan Flagler Business School Real Estate minor. Outside Agora, she participates in Velocity Capital, UNC's first student-run hedge fund, and the Undergraduate Real Estate Club. Olivia hopes to graduate in 2026 with both a bachelor's and master's (MA in City and Regional Planning) and then pursue a career in Commercial Real Estate.

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Edward Lezada

Public Policy
Edward is a Public Policy major from Durham NC. His interests include reading philosophy, playing trivia, and writing. My favorite orator is Daniel Webster.

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Nigel Parker

Management and Society
Nigel is a junior from Reisterstown, MD majoring in Management and Society with minors in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and Social and Economic Justice. At Carolina, Nigel’s desire to foster understanding and impact culture has led him to co-found the civic discourse speaker series Food for Thought in the Morehead-Cain Foundation, work as a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Intern for Honors Carolina, serve as the Deputy Chief of Staff in the Student Government Executive Branch, and co-chair Black Men United on the BSM Central Committee. Nigel is passionate about building community through conversation and facilitating positive change for historically underserved communities. Nigel’s favorite public orator is Barack Obama.

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Trisha Samavedam

Economics; Computer Science
Trisha Samavedam is a sophomore from Raleigh, North Carolina. She is currently pursuing a double major in Economics and Computer Science. She is interested in using the intersection of Computer Science and Economics to help create accurate models to predict consumer behavior. In her spare time, she enjoys running, playing club ultimate frisbee, and perfecting her macaronage technique. Her favorite public orator is Ida B. Wells.

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Jaleah Taylor

Political Science; Media and Journalism
Jaleah Taylor is from Charlotte, North Carolina and is a junior political science and media and journalism major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Jaleah has a passion for community service, mentorship, and student advocacy. Jaleah's first leadership role at UNC-Chapel Hill was serving as an Orientation Leader where she got the opportunity to mentor and transition 6,000 students into campus. After seeing the impact of her work, she began to become really involved in other student advocacy roles including as the Undergraduate Student Body Secretary, a Co-Founder of the Black Pre-Law Student Association and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Fellow. Jaleah is an honors student and Joseph E. Pogue scholar which is awarded to students at Carolina who have a passion for diversity and leadership. This past summer she interned for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation in which she worked for a member of congress by writing policy memos and writing letters to constituents. Jaleah’s career aspirations include attending law school and mentoring young black students to pursue careers in the legal field.

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Helena Walsh

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Hanqi Xiao

Computer Science
Hanqi is a Computer Science Major who moved to North Carolina shortly after moving to San-Francisco from Beijing. Now living in Chapel Hill he has an interest in the intersection between artificial intelligence, ethics, and the polarization of America. This named entity can be observed in his natural habitat running the AI@UNC student club, engaging with Agora, and studying. His current favorite orator is NC district 14 representative Jeff Jackson.

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Rachael Yuan

Content coming soon.

Cohort 22-23

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Willow Taylor Chiang Yang

Philosophy; Political Economy
Willow is a junior Agora Fellow and Morehead-Cain Scholar double-majoring in Philosophy and a self-made course of study she’s proclaimed “American Political Economy and Society." She is also (perhaps somewhat redundantly) minoring in PPE (Philosophy, Politics, and Economics). She has worked in the political world in some capacity since she was 14 years old, from academia to campaigns, from Congressional offices to grassroots movements, and from national newsrooms to think tanks.She has worked for two U.S. Congressional campaigns, one successful (Josh Harder D-CA), and interned for former U.S. Congressperson Jackie Speier; she was also active in the political journalism community as a senior project reporter for the Since Parkland Project, for which she was interviewed twice on her local TV station. At Carolina, she has led an on-campus GOTV campaign at Carolina advocating for pro-choice candidates in the 2022 midterms, was the assistant organizer for the second International Behavioral Public Policy Conference under Professor Luc Bovens, and currently is a teaching assistant in the Economics Department. She is also a member of the Provost Advisory Council. This past summer, she worked for the German Marshall Fund on their U.S. media relations, during which she landed GMF and their experts in publications such as The Financial Times, The Hill, and the Washington Post. In the future, she intends to pursue constitutional law and political economy both in academia and practically (although asking what exactly that might look like may trigger existential crises).

Sarah Crow Photo

Sarah Crow


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Samuel Geist

Psychology; Public Policy
I am a junior with majors in Psychology and Public Policy with a minor in Writing for the Screen and Stage. My hometown for years 2-7 was Garner NC, for years 8-13 it was Eureka California, and years 14-present have been spent in Garner NC again (year 1 was spent as a displaced hippie). I am a varsity member on the UNC Men’s Rowing Team as well as being a part of the False Profits comedy troupe on campus. Outside of my organizational affiliations, my interests mainly include writing (screenplays, short stories, etc.) and wrestling (with bears. I have never lost). My favorite public orator has to be Anthony Jeselnik.

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Elijah Parish

Philosophy; Math
Elijah is a junior from Durham, North Carolina, studying philosophy and math, with a minor in PPE. He is particularly interested in reading classic works, particularly in philosophy, politics, and literature, but also occasionally in adjacent fields such as history, economics, and religion. To decompress, he loves to play Dungeons & Dragons. His favorite orator is Henry V.

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Maximilian Peklo

Economics; Psychology
Maximilian Peklo, a dedicated Junior, is pursuing a double major in Economics and Psychology while also minoring in Neuroscience. Hailing from the vibrant city of Prague in the Czech Republic, Maximilian is an ambitious international student. In addition to his academic pursuits, Maximilian has a diverse range of passions. He finds joy in running and staying active, often immersing himself in exercise routines. Beyond fitness, he enthusiastically engages in personal projects and dedicates time to studying Japanese, reflecting his interest in languages and cultures. Furthermore, Maximilian is committed to enhancing his public speaking skills, admiring great leaders and orators like Julius Caesar, and is on a continual journey to achieve his fullest potential.

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Trent Porter

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Ashley Smith

Media & Journalism with a concentration in Advertising and Public Relations
Ashley is a sophomore from Durham, North Carolina majoring in Media & Journalism with a concentration in Advertising and Public Relations. At Carolina, she is currently an Executive Assistant to the Chief of Staff under the Executive Branch of UNC’s Undergraduate Student Government, the Publicity Chair for UNC’s Blue Lightning Stomp “N” Shake Cheer Organization, and the Marketing Manager of Morrison’s Community Government. In her spare time, she is also a Shift Leader at the Carolina Cupboard Food Pantry on campus and the Social Media Manager for a podcast she co-created with her two best friends. Ashley’s favorite public orator is Viola Davis.

Christopher Williams Photo

Christopher Williams

               Abbey Speaker Series Event: A Conversation with Cal Cunningham and Thom Tillis


Agora Fellows, from right to left: Sarah Crow, Willow Yang, Maddux Vernon
Agora Fellows, from right to left: Kunal Khaware, Maximillian Peko, Harrington Shaw