Emory Everywhere

Taking Center Stage

Friendly Fashion: Sarah Rattan 12C models a dress designed for her by Emory classmate and fashion designer Emily Li 11c.

Miguel Castilla

Like many classmates, former Emory cheerleaders Emily Li 11C and Sarah Rattan 12C have kept in touch through social media since graduating, and a connection through Facebook led to a high-profile collaboration for the pair. Rattan was a contestant—and ultimately a top-19 semifinalist—in the Miss New York USA 2016 pageant, and she took the stage in a dazzling evening dress designed by Li, an associate designer for JS Collections, a fashion company specializing in evening wear and special occasion dresses.

"This experience was incredibly exciting for me as a designer because I was able to design and create a dress with a purpose and story,” Li says. “Unfortunately fast fashion is what dominates the market nowadays. But once upon a time, clothes were made with a certain craftsmanship—making each garment unique and thus important to the person wearing it. To me, the finished gown is more than just a dress; not only does it tell a very unique narrative but it also made Sarah very happy—which is very rewarding as a designer.”

Although she did not win, Rattan says the pageant experience gave her the confidence to pursue her role as manager of employee giving and volunteerism for the Macy’s Foundation.

“The pageant is what actually gave me that final push to move outside of fashion merchandising and into a role more philanthropic in nature that better fit my long-term interests," she says.


Young Man, Old Soul

Nashville-based soul musician Chris Burke 98C released his fourth album, I Can’t Make You Love Me: The Mike Reid Songbook, in January. The 12-song compilation came about when Burke and producer Bobby King recorded Too Soon to Tell, a song by Grammy award–winning singer-songwriter Mike Reid. King shared Burke’s rendition with Reid, and a collaboration was forged that led to the creation of “a smooth and soulful album filled with songs that have been recorded by Bonnie Raitt, Wynonna, Ronnie Milsap, Leroy Parnell, and many others. Mike gave us some tracks from his personal stash as well. Such a fun project,” Burke says.

Burke’s other albums include Chris Burke, Everything, and Soul Music, which included the hit single Roller Coaster Ride, featured in the festival-favorite movie Birthday Cake.

“It was magical. I felt different. These songs changed me as an artist,” Burke says of the new album. In the ultimate compliment, Reid shared that Burke’s rendition of Too Soon to Tell was his favorite version of the song. 

“I never dreamed I’d get the chance to work with such a music legend,” he says. “But hot damn, we tore it down.”

As a student at Emory, Burke sang with a cappella group No Strings Attached, with the Concert Choir in the Czech Republic and Poland, and with the University chorus. In 2005, Burke packed his bags and moved to Music City to develop his career.

Tasting the World: Leila Elamine 09C and Anthony Morano 09C immerse themselves in locales around the world to build community through food.

Recipe Hunters

They’ve traveled to the island of Håøya Naturverksted in Norway to make artisanal goat cheese, made tabbouleh with Syrian refugees in Lebanon, and cooked a forgotten cuttlefish recipe in Croatia. They’ve baked bread for a village in Cyprus, harvested olives to make oil in Southern Italy, and cultivated cabbage for kimchi with grandmothers in Korea.

Leila Elamine 09C and Anthony Morano 09C are the Recipe Hunters. The duo travels the world in search of traditional recipes and the stories behind the people who maintain their culinary heritage. They then share those stories through photojournalism and film on their website, therecipehunters.com. They also volunteer on homesteads and small-scale, organic farms to learn about local culture, food, and farming.

“Each and every volunteer experience is an opportunity to give back to the community we are living in and to partake in the day-to-day lifestyle of that given culture,” Elamine says. “Using food as a medium, we overcome barriers of religion, race, creed, and ethnicity to provide our growing community with a unique perspective.”

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