Natasha Markov-Riss is a University Innovation Fellow at Swarthmore College. She plans to major in Political Science and minor in Film and Media Studies and Peace and Conflict Studies, but is especially interested in how art and entrepreneurship can serve and solve social need. Natasha was born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island. She began college at Swarthmore in 2016, where she was exposed to the University Innovation Fellows program.
On campus, Natasha is part of the Presidential Sustainability Research program, which equips a small group of students with faculty mentors and supports them in tackling vital sustainability challenges at Swarthmore. Through the program, Natasha is working with the Office of Student Engagement to create a five year strategic plan for sustainability at Swarthmore--with a focus on student life and housing. Additionally, Natasha is a tour guide on campus and involved in Swarthmore's only Improvisational Comedy group. Last summer, Natasha partnered with the Peace and Conflict Studies Department to go to Israel-Palestine and film a documentary about the conflict. She is in the process of editing that film!
Natasha has been interested in entrepreneurship from a very young age. From lemonade stand marathons and neighborhood movie screenings to failed advertising businesses and unprofitable fortune telling enterprises, her ideas have achieved success on an inconsistent basis. The first one that truly worked was Peaks Island Golf Carts-- a small golf cart rental business Natasha opened for tourists visiting Peaks Island (the island on which her grandmother lives year-round). She bought her first golf cart off of craigslist when she was 14 years old, with the financial support of her 9 year old brother, who took a 10% stake in the business. Four summers later, she is the CEO of Peaks Island Golf Carts, LLC, the largest of three golf cart rental businesses on Peaks Island. She has five employees and 20 carts-- from the schemes of her childhood, a real business has grown!
Natasha hopes to share her entrepreneurial energy with her peers at Swarthmore, and to learn how Design Thinking can aid and abet the entrepreneurial process!
2018 Swarthmore University Innovation Fellows
2017 Swarthmore University Innovation Fellows