SODA: Student Organ Donation Advocates was founded at Washington University in St. Louis in 2014. In 2017, SODA’s second chapter was established at Marquette University, followed by its third chapter at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After this success, SODA began to grow nationally.
In Spring 2021, SODA hired its first employee, Nicole Nidea, thanks to a generous gift from the Contigo Foundation and tremendous support from the community. SODA's full-time staff expanded when Ryan Laughlin was brought on as Program Coordinator in Spring 2022.
Today, SODA supports students who want to make a difference by helping them to host events and lead organ donation chapters on their high school and college campuses. These students' efforts save lives and create positive ripple effects throughout their communities.
At SODA, we believe students represent a promising segment of the population to become educated about the critical need for organ and tissue donation and to register as organ donors.
We reduce barriers for high school and college students so they can mobilize organ and tissue donation ambassadors and their peers, spark a passion for organ donation that can last a lifetime, and fulfill an unmet need for student-focused organ and tissue donation education and registration efforts across the United States.
To support our events and chapters, SODA works with the Community Outreach Teams at more than 20 OPOs to support and inspire student advocacy on high school and college campuses across the country.
Nicole was first introduced to SODA in 2015, and she has been devoted to educating others about organ donation ever since.
She helped lead the original SODA chapter at Washington University in St. Louis until she graduated in 2019 with a BA in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Nicole joined the SODA National Team in 2020 as the volunteer Director of Development to lead SODA's fundraising efforts.
In April 2021, Nicole became SODA’s first full-time employee. As Program Director, Nicole ensures student advocates have the resources needed to succeed, manages the national team, and builds programs and partnerships.
You can reach Nicole at email@example.com.
President and Founder
Sara experienced the power of organ donation firsthand, as her sister donated her liver and saved a life after suddenly passing away. Sara founded SODA in 2014 because she is passionate about activating students to advocate for organ donation and save lives.
In her role as Board President, she oversees the organization's strategy and partnerships. Additionally, she supports SODA's fundraising to ensure the long-term sustainability of the organization.
Sara studied Healthcare Management and Psychology at Washington University in St. Louis. In addition to her volunteer leadership at SODA, she works full time as a Project Manager in Tel Aviv, Israel.
You can reach Sara at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join the SODA National Leadership Team
and help cultivate this nationwide movement!
Student Engagement Advisor
One of SODA’s original founders, Shana is currently a third-year medical student pursuing an MD, an MPH in Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences, and an MS in Anatomy at the Tulane University Schools of Medicine and Public Health & Tropical Medicine. In addition to her studies, Shana also conducts research, including roles as a Research Assistant for Trauma Surgery and Research Executive Director for the Medical Student Pride Alliance. She supports SODA as its Student Engagement and Social Media Advisor.