Meet the Global Citizen Year Fellows and follow their experiences in the field.
"Abby is most proud of her leadership roles as captain of the rowing team and swim team, to which she dedicates twenty hours each week. She was elected to be an Officer of the Best Buddies club at her school, working to help organize club events and fundraisers. Throughout her life, Abby has traveled extensively around the world, even living in Santiago, Chile for a year. She enjoys giving her time to those in need, and her chocolate chip oatmeal cookies are to die for.
Favorite Quote: "No matter where you go, there you are." -Buckaroo Banzai
Abigail enjoys practicing yoga, gardening, reading, playing music, and baking. As a dedicated member of her school’s Amnesty International chapter, she has been involved in raising awareness about important human rights issues such as girl's and women's rights in Afghanistan and Pakistan. She is also passionate about environmental conservation and plays the violin, piano, and clarinet.
What is your favorite quote?"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world" -Anne Frank
Adam is passionate about art, athletics, and his community. During high school he led the school cooking club, helped teach photography, and, as captain of the squash team, he organized a community service initiative in Harlem housing projects. Adam is also a talented saxophone player.
What three qualities do you admire most in others? I admire people who can forgive others, who can turn sorrow into inspiring art, and who can build and fix things with their hands.
In high school Adolfo has enjoyed participating in Summer Search and Upward Bound. He loves hiking in national parks and playing the acoustic guitar – either soft rock or Dominican bachata songs. On a trip to the Dominican Republic teaching geography at an elementary school, Adolfo fell in love again with his first language, Spanish, and since then has been dedicated to traveling to discover different cultures.
If you could change one thing about your home community, what would it be? I would stop the young gang activity going around.
Aidan has spent time doing international service in Nepal, where he spent weeks on the worksite of a school building hauling rocks and pouring cement. This experience sparked the interest in service work that led him to Global Citizen Year. He hopes to somehow contribute to his passion of conserving the environment. In his free time he enjoys singing, both with bands and in an a capella group.
Aissatou has a passion for traveling and language. She is head of the Student Cultural Alliance at her school, and also participates in the Gay-Straight Alliance and Relationships and Sex discussion groups, leading to her interest in human rights. Her life goals are to become fluent in six different languages and travel through most of the non-European world.
Alan was captain of his school's Academic Decathlon Team, Debate Team, Model United Nations Team, and Chess Team. He was chosen as Student of Year for the past two years, and has spent time volunteering for the National Hispanic Institute and at the Special Olympics. He enjoys bowling, playing the tenor saxophone, practicing meditation, and reading literature. He is very passionate about engaging in and learning about new languages and cultures, and giving his time to social service work.
Alba is a hard working, couragous, independent female who loves to give advice and express herself through out her poetry. She is proud to have acted, directed, and designed costumes in many of her schools productions, and is passionate about increasing awareness about teen domestic violence. Most importantly she loves to live her dreams and make a change. In her spare time, Alba loves to paint inspiration, go to the beach, stay active, shopping, and pageantry!
If you could teach one class at your high school, which would it be? My class would be math class, because I love finding ways to solve problems.
Friends, family, and teachers describe Alberto Koji Servín as a well-respected individual with strong values. He is a dedicated volunteer in the community through his church and other organizations like Sacred Heart. One of his accomplishments was being accepted to the Summer Math and Science Honors Academy, a 3-year long college-level program at UC Berkeley. Alberto is also proud of his impact on his high school’s music program. With his school recently reopened, Alberto’s leadership developed the program into the envy of rival schools in the district.
What's the best nugget of advice you've ever heard? "Never wrestle in the mud with a pig. You both get dirty, but the pig likes it."
“When you’re challenged…a different side of you is exposed. I want to be able to show my community that with just a high school diploma, with just one year there’s so much you can do.” In the words of one teacher, "Alec is the embodiment of a rare combination of intellect
"When you're challengedÉa different side of you is exposed. I want to be able to show my community that with just a high school diploma, with just one year there's so much you can do."
Originally from a small town in Guyana, Alexis now lives in Columbia, Maryland, where she has become deeply involved in her community. Alexis serves as the president of Delta Scholars, a program promoting leadership, scholarship, community service, and humility among minority females, and as the president of the class of 2011 at her high school. One of her proudest moments was being elected the student member of the board of education of her county.
How do you rejuvenate yourself? Blasting 90s music with my eyes closed
Alison is most proud of her time spent completing the International Baccalaureate program, as well as her completion of 260 volunteer hours with BuildOn. Her passions revolve around issues dealing with society and education, and one of her greatest concerns is the growing disconnection between people and nature. She enjoys creative writing and literary analysis.
Hailing from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Allie is no stranger to the road less traveled. She spent her senior year of high school interning at a local fabric store. She enjoys painting, fashion design and sewing, singing, writing, and picking raspberries until her fingers turn purple. Allie is passionate about women's rights and empowerment and aspires to become a social entrepreneur.
Amanda has a passion for telling stories. She served as Editor of her school newspaper’s Features section as well the Editor-in-Chief of the yearbook. Her literary talent has sent her to several national competitions where she received the Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Circle Award for her center spread on the 2008 presidential race. Amanda also has a keen interest in music, poetry, and visual arts.
If you could teach one class at your high school, which would it be? I would teach English. The subject leaves room for creativity. Words are extremely powerful. I would want to teach students how to use our 26 letters in a meaningful way.
Ananda attended Raleigh Charter High School where she was exposed to the idea of global citizenship. There, she devoted much of her time to competitive year round soccer alongside coaching a young girls team. Coming off of her GCY experience, she holds a passion for improving the quality and impact of social work. Presently she is working closely with social entrepreneurship ventures at UNC-CH while working to promote and support gap years locally and nationally. Ananda adores etymology, cuisine, being outside,witty jokes, and random facts.
Described as spontaneous and empathetic, Annie is the Captain of her cross country team, the founder of a volunteer organization at her school called the Greenbrier Group, and a flautist. Annie believes that laughing is the best part of her day and she’s committed to making people feel at home by making them crack up – even if it’s at her expense.
Driven by a love for the performing arts, Tonino, as he is known, serves as the Drum Captain for Elsie Allen High School drum line and performs in two of the school’s choirs. After participating in an exchange program in Chile, Tonino decided to take a gap year, hoping to gain perspective and change his outlook on the world while contributing to the global community.
What are you passionate about? I am deeply passionate about music and the beautiful effects and experiences it can yield. I constantly study and perform music.
Ariel Vardy is creative, and thoughtful; passionate for expression, and endurance experiences. When he puts his mind to something, he works towards it diligently, and achieves it with purpose. In the arts, he and his band produced and sold a full-length album of their own music produced by themselves. At school, he was part of the administration of three clubs, most notable being in the Gay Straight Alliance, with which he held a leadership position for three years. He passionately feels that all people should be treated with the same respect, no matter their background, values, or orientation.
Favorite Quote: "At the end of the day, the pawn and king go back into the same box."
Atsina first gained interest in doing service work in 2011 when she traveled to Leon, Nicaragua to teach english and build a children's play room in the local hospital. She is passionate about is providing accessible education to everyone and maintaining art programs to give students a creative outlet. A bay area native, she enjoys film, photography, and dancing. She is proud to have been a part of a 11 time national winning colorguard team.
Aubrey is a musician/singer and tap dancer. She also has participated in school musicals in addition to serving as the photo and graphics editor of her school newspaper. Passing the time hiking and swimming in the local mountains, Aubrey also has a passion for math and science.
What's the best nugget of advice you've ever heard? Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly" from Robert Kennedy. You'll only get somewhere if you're risky enough to try.
Ava was inspired to take her Global Citizen Year after spending her junior year abroad in Italy, living with a host family and being immersed in the local culture and language. She is interested in political activism and civic engagement outside of America, and plans to major in International Relations in college. Ava enjoys backpacking and spending time in nature, as well as cooking up new and delicious vegetarian meals.
Hailing from Austin, Texas, Avery loves riding her bike and seeing live music. After spending time in The Dominican Republic and Peru, she became passionate about environmental sustainability. At home, Avery is the co-captain of the rowing team and spends as much time as possible near the water. She is looking forward to immersing herself in a new culture and meeting new people in the coming year.
Barker attended Highland Park High School where he was an AP Scholar with Distinction, a member of the National Society of High School Scholars, and recipient of the Outstanding Advanced Placement English Award. He participated as a starting Varsity football player and was named to 2nd Team All-District as an Offensive Lineman and tight end. He served as Executive Officer of Student Council and Vice President of Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He served as an officer of Children's Medical Center Junior Leadership Board and would like to pursue international medicine.
Benito is a naturally inquisitive individual, who is looking forward to the broad range of opportunities to explore after graduating high school and taking a Global Citizen Year. He is most passionate about the youth of today, and sees a great importance in the providing youths with every tool necessary to succeed. He is an extremely good whistler and loves to whistle Coldplay songs.
"Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Betty moved with her family to the United States when she was seven. In 2011 she went to Brazil through Partners of the Americas as part of a cultural exchange and community service program. She is passionate about youth education, and started a group called Ethiopian Youth Unite, the goal of which was to educate and unite Ethiopian youths in Atlanta, Georgia to promote awareness about the various issues that exist in Africa.
Favorite Quote: “I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.” -Socrates"
With a multicultural background rooted in Hispanic, Iranian, and Indian origin, Bijan understands, appreciates, and continues to learn about the different cultures of the world. He has spent many hours volunteering in the field of health sciences and as a youth counselor. He is involved with various clubs at his high school and even helped establish a Stem Cell research group. Bijan enjoys playing soccer and doing Tae Kwon Do.
From Brooklyn, New York, Brian has most recently lived in Orange, Connecticut. He has an active imagination and loves to express himself by drawing. Brian has worked as a camp counselor in the summer, performed in plays in a neighborhood theater group, and helps his family raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
What three words would your best friend use to describe you? Three words my best friend would use to describe me would be fun, loyal, and fresh.
Brian attended Canisius High School in Buffalo, New York, where he is proud to have worked on the Habitat for Humanity home it sponsored. He is passionate about giving back to the world. After Global Citizen Year, Brian hopes to pursue a career in science. He has been an intern at the Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute for three years. Brian also enjoys running, dancing, and reading.
After living in France for 5 years, Cameron moved to New York for high school and became a true student-athlete. She played forward on her high school basketball team and could be found reading and writing short stories off the court. She also served as the editor of the school yearbook. During the summer after her junior year, Cameron worked for a month in the Katmai National Park in Alaska on an environmental conservation project.
What was the best day of your life? Hard to say but I would say one of the days spent in Katmai, Alaska last summer working with the Student Conservation Association.
Raised in the woods of New Jersey, Camille has always had an interest in learning about different cultures. She was a three-year leader of her high school's diversity program, where she facilitated open conversations about race, sexuality, and other identity-related topics. She also helped develop the Teach2Serve curriculum, which educates and trains high school students who want to create positive social change. She enjoys watching movies, eating good food, spending time outside, and taking Zumba classes.
"Canaan recently made trips to Africa and Nicaragua, which he describes as eye-opening experiences that have lead him closer to becoming a global citizen. He loves taking risks and challenging himself, and during his trip to Africa he was able to overcome his fear of heights by bungee jumping over Victoria Falls. He is proud to be a part of Global Citizen Year, and is looking forward to the growth that he will experience while abroad. He enjoys writing rap lyrics, as well as various types of poetry and music.
Favorite Quote: "Without Self confidence you are twice defeated in life... But with confidence you have won even before you've began..." -Marcus Garvey.
Hailing from Hillsborough, New Jersey, Carly served as Public Relations officer for her high school's chapter of the National Honor Society and was voted "Most Likely to Make a Difference" by her peers. An active tree climber and food eater, she believes in living life to the fullest. She loves volunteering in her community with Habitat for Humanity and attends Buddhist retreats in her spare time.
Caroline is an elected member of the Peer Helpers group at her school. She is passionate about spending time with children, and helped put together the Christmas pageant at her church. She has traveled around the country and is extremely excited to be seeing more of the world for the first time as a Global Citizen.
Caroline is a dancer and a gymnast with a strong interest in art. She shares her love of tumbling by working with children as a gymnastics instructor. A graduate of R-S Central High School, Caroline was the Winner of Rutherford County’s Junior Miss Scholarship Program and the First Finalist in North Carolina’s Junior Miss Scholarship Program.
What truly inspires you? I only have a small amount of time to make my mark on the world- I want to leave it knowing that I had a positive impact in every way possible.
Carrie attended NC Governor's School West for Spanish, where she developed and strengthened an interest in foreign language and culture. She is also passionate about female empowerment and women's rights, which she developed from being surrounded by so many inspirational women. She enjoys swimming, hiking, and eating delicious food.
Charlotte’s intense curiosity about other countries and cultures has led her all over the world, and her time at the United World College in New Mexico has only intensified her interest in international issues. Charlotte has a passion for spending time in the wilderness and learning about nature, and she is excited to observe the native plant and animal life in her Global Citizen Year placement.
What are you passionate about? The Earth: I feel connected to and spend lots of time exploring nature. I want to preserve wild places so others that follow might also discover nature's beauty and power.
Cheyenne grew up in Hudson, New Hampshire. Her time spent at Alvirne High School reflects her desires to see more of the world outside of her town's borders, as she led the Model United Nations Club, founded the National History Club, guest taught civil rights courses, and hosted a concert to benefit Haiti. She also has an interest in social injustice and civil rights, and she would like to learn more about the developing world from living in it, rather than reading about it.
Chinyere Joyce Aniagoh is from Atlanta Georgia but already considers herself a citizen of the world. She loves to dance, was elected Co-Captain of her high school dance team, and even had the honor of dancing at her graduation. She is passionate about women's rights because she understands how decisions made today can affect her future. Most people don't know that she enjoys creating collages and making and designing clothing.
Favorite Quote: "What is it worth to loss your soul but gain the world because at the end of the day all we have is who we are."
Chloe has traveled extensively throughout her time in youth choirs, forming cross-cultural connections and sharing her passion for music. At home she is committed to a leadership within her local community, serving as All-School Co-President at her high school and working as an assistant conductor for young choristers. She is excited to expand upon her past travel experience and passion for international affairs while on the Global Citizen Year.
Chloe\'s passion for changing the world inspired her to become involved in her high school\'s chapter of \"Youth in Government\"" and serve as president of her school’s Student Congress. Chloe has an unyielding passion for education: During her junior year of high school
How do you rejuvenate yourself? Reading, writing, painting, tie-dying, learning, meditating, laughing, creating, walking, singing, Tetris-ing, taking in the beauty that is all too often forgotten.
Christopher is proud of his accomplishments in life, including graduating high school and his acceptance to Global Citizen Year, but most of all being a good example for his little sister. He was very involved throughout high school, acting as Vice President for his Class, for Music Club, and for Choir Club. He also spends time working for a program called ChessLife, which holds after school lessons and gives older students a chance to mentor younger students. His greatest passion is Human Rights, and he believes that every human on the planet should be provided with basic necessities.
Claire is an avid runner, singer, and student, however her true passion lies in helping others. As a result of this passion she has gone on many mission trips to provide shelter to those in need. Claire first traveled to Mexio to help build a house when she was in seventh grade. Since then she has returned to Mexico once, helped build two homes in Mississippi, one on an Indian reservation in Arizona, and she has helped construct a church in Haiti.
Despite attending three different high schools in three years, Clara graduated a year early and took the lead in creating several internationally focused clubs and organizations. Clara was the founder and president of the World Health and Medicine Club, the Red Cross Club, the Model United Nations Club, as well as the Face Aids and WorldLink Youth chapters at her high school. These clubs, as well as her internship with Leadership Initiatives, sparked her interest in international development. In addition to being an accomplished fencer, Clara is an avid reader, writer and photographer.
Dostoevsky said "To be sure, I won't break through such a wall with my forehead if I really have not got strength to do it, but neither will I be reconciled with it simply because I have a stone wall here and have not got strength enough."
Cooper is a talented trumpet player and has taken lead roles in multiple school jazz band performances. He is also passionate about photography and has recently began experimenting with painting and drawing. His high school career culminated with his photo dissertation on life in Harlem, New York. Cooper also played on his school's lacrosse team.
It's the year 2050. What's your favorite mode of transportation? Still the subway. I can't think of anything I like more than riding the subway because everyone is so different and you encounter some really interesting people.
Daniel spent all four years of high school running both winter and spring track. One of his greatest passions is politics, and he was President of his AP Government and Politics class. Additionally, he is a member of Future Business Leaders of America, which involves traveling to regional business conferences. He loves to cook and bake, and even holds a part time job cooking pizza and preparing food for a Farmer's Market.
Born and raised in Lexington MA, Danielle has been a dancer her entire life. She mainly studied ballet and jazz at the Lexington School of Ballet, but has trained in almost all styles. Danielle was also a member of her school’s improv troupe, and sang with the a cappella group, Euphoria, throughout high school. As the vice president of her class, Danielle worked to organize school events and various fundraisers during her four years at Lexington High. Danielle feels passionately about challenging herself, and is described as adventurous and enthusiastic by her friends. Looking forward, Danielle hopes to help inform the public about important issues through a career in journalism.
Delia recently spent the spring semester of her junior year as a foreign exchange student in Panama, which is what first inspired her to take a Global Citizen Year. She was also a part of the student protests and walk-outs against Governor Scott Walker as he introduced a bill that would strip all public workers of their collective bargaining rights. Since seventh grade, Delia has been an avid unicyclist, and is even a part of the Madison Unicyclists group.
Dianne's involvement as a camp counselor and her time spent in the Dominican Republic giving workshops to community kids has inspired her to take her Global Citizen Year. Traveling and connecting with people on a deeper level are two things that she is passionate about and that excite her about her gap year. She enjoys black and white photography, meditation, reading, and Latin American reggae.
Drew loves meeting new people and learning new ideas. Through Global Citizen Year, he hopes to learn a lot, gain perspective, and be greatly humbled. His focus is on a sustainable society, and he's been a part of a local initiative to put solar panels on high school buildings. His other lifelong pursuits include swimming, playing piano, and reading literature.
A German-American, Elias embraces his bi-cultural background during his travels, using his fluency in German and Spanish to make cross-cultural connections. He is an avid social activist, and is highly engaged with both his local and global communities. Elias was the Social Action Coordinator of his church’s youth group, leader of Community Building in his high school's student government, and has worked on projects in Niger and Guatemala. In his free time, he is a seasoned soccer player and runner as well as a fan of jazz, R&B, and hip-hop music. He is also an occasional poet and writer.
How do you rejuvenate yourself? I go run or kick a soccer ball around, releasing the stress from my body. I step outside into the yard to read and just listen to the city's sounds.
From Chiefland, Floria, Beth couldn’t be more excited to be joining Global Citizen Year. Beth is a co-captain of her school’s cheerleading squad, was in her schools annual Pow Wow skit for four years, loves to read, sing, dance and is currently learning to play the acoustic guitar; but her true passion is raising awareness about Autism and special needs in children.
Ella recently spent one month in Mexico with three friends, living with a host family and volunteering at a private elementary school. She is passionate about growing, harvesting, and cooking nutritious, organic food. She enjoys taking walks, canoeing, doing yoga, and biking.
Elyana has traveled to such places as Thailand and Costa Rica, where she discovered her passion for protecting Human Rights and ending world hunger. She spends most Saturday mornings volunteering at her local Food Bank. When she is not in school, Ely enjoys scuba diving, reading, baking, watching movies, and creative writing. Her two life goals are laughing at least once every day and visiting every continent.
With both parents as music teachers, singing has always been a huge part of Emily's life. She has been a member of the Chorus of Westerly for ten years, and she is also very involved at school. She is looking forward to merging her two passions of traveling and learning about cultures with Global Citizen Year. She is very interested in human rights and diversity, and she loves to hike, read, journal, and swim in the ocean.
Emily is a strong fighter for women's rights. She has notably participated in the "If You Give a Girl a Cow" program. She worked with a local priest native to Uganda to make and sell jewelry in order to purchase a cow for a young girl in the village of Fort Portal, Uganda. The young girl was then able to provide milk for her family and acquire a sustainable income. Emily has traveled to South Africa and India, where she participated in a Global Routes Summer Enrichment Program building a community center, planting trees, and teaching English to children in a small, rural village.
A life-long resident of Seattle, Emily loves the outdoors, volunteering, reading, and the arts. She was inspired to take a gap year by her involvement as a volunteer counselor at YMCA Camp Orkila and her experiences teaching school in rural Cambodia in the spring of 2010. A graduate of The Overlake School, Emily hopes to pursue a career in education focusing on women in the developing world.
What is your favorite quote? "Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible." -The Dalai Lama
Emily Hess comes with a deep interest in global issues and notable leadership experience. She served as the vice president and secretary of the Japanese National Honors Society at her high school (2009-2010) and as a participant in the 2009 Model UN Conference in Chicago. She is passionate about politics, theology, and literature and spends her time reading, playing guitar, researching, and blogging.
What really, truly inspires you? Seeing someone smile with true, wholehearted happiness.
An active member of her community, Emily has worked with such organizations as Girls Inc., NEDA, and Girls Helping Girls in an effort to empower young women to become confident, effective agents of social change. She was an involved and dedicated leader in her high school, where she gave much of her time to a student-run Peer Support group as well as to the Drama Department. Her passions include theatre, women's empowerment, literature, and psychology.
Emily spends much of her time volunteering, and has helped such organizations as Girl Scouts and Kaiser Hospital. She has been dancing at Marin School of the Arts for four years, and has spent time teaching dance for young theater. She was inspired to take a bridge year after spending the last four summers doing service work in New Orleans. In her spare time she enjoys dancing to anything from blues to swing to salsa to waltz.
Emily is a proud graduate of the International Baccalaureate Program, and has always had a desire to better understand the world. After visiting South Sudan to work with Hope and Resurrection Secondary School in 2012, she became acutely aware of the power of knowledge and the universality of the human spirit, inspiring her to take a Global Citizen Year. She is grateful for the love and support she has received from her friends and classmates before spending this next year abroad.
Emma loves to travel and has spent a lot of time abroad. In 2009, she went on a mission trip to Tijuana, Mexico to build houses for impoverished families, and in 2011 she participated in a German Exchange program. She hopes that her Global Citizen Year will further her love of travel and dedication to service work around the world. She enjoys hiking, biking, playing her bagpipe, and reading Beat poetry.
After an eye-opening visit to rural Uganda, Erica has been dedicated to addressing issues of poverty around the world, serving for two years as president of Students Helping Eliminate Poverty and Hunger at Ames High School. Erica is also dedicated to the arts, spending her time leading the marching band as a drum major, playing bassoon in the band and orchestra, and performing mime pieces that she has written and directed herself.
If you could teach one class at your high school, which would it be? I would teach Non-Western World. There is not enough emphasis placed on the history, culture, literature, and religious traditions of any place except the U.S. and Europe.
Starting at a young age, Erin participated in many activities and sports, but mainly spent her time in a studio as a ballet and modern dancer. She was fortunate enough to train mostly with Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre\'s Student Company (G2), located in Carmel, Indiana. She also participated in ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, lyrical, and ballroom dancing with The Academy of Dance Arts and Ballet International. Erin studied abroad in France with IU Honors Program, where she discovered her love of languages and culture. She started an organization for French Immersion Classes in her home town, and was the head of the French tutoring program at her high school.
What is the compliment that you have been paid that you are most proud of? Who gave you the compliment? "You have a real heart and gift in education." - Joan Jackson, Teacher
Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Fikrte came to the United States at the age of eight. She now lives with her parents, brother, and two sisters in Tucker, Georgia. She graduated high school after completing the International Baccalaureate Program, and earning the diploma. Her passions include education and medicine in developing nations. She enjoys getting to know new people and new places and learning as much as possible.
Galen loves being outdoors, helping others, and learning. For the past three summers, she has volunteered in national parks in Vermont, Alaska, and California with the Student Conservation Association. She has also volunteered at children\'s summer science camps at a local museum and worked with a professor studying aquatic turtle populations. Her passion for traveling has taken her to many exciting places in the United States and Canada, but she has never been out of the country and is thrilled to make her first foray into the international world.
What's the best nugget of advice you've ever heard? Do one thing every day that scares you.
Galen digs longboarding, drawing, writing , and playing the guitar, for which he writes original songs. He loves nature, art, and free-spirited individuals who aren't hindered or suppressed in any form.
In the words of her French teacher, \"Gaya\'s voice
"What matters to me most is consciousness: the awareness I have gained of worlds beyond my own, other vantage points from which to consider my life, and my role in the worldÉto act with honesty and integrity and move forward."
Grace founded her own community service project, Belly Buttons for Hunger, an integral building block that lead her to live and intern in the Ecuadorian Amazon. She has held the roles of captain of her rowing team and intern on a local NPR radio program. She cares deeply about health and longevity -- that of people, culture, tradition, and the natural world. She is enamored of puns, has a habit of baking during the night, and is currently learning to slackline.
Graham has been a part of a handful of short term projects, including service trips to Kenya to work on health care and sustainability, a trip to Jamaica for construction and agriculture projects, and time in Costa Rica to help promote sustainability. He is looking forward to spending a long period of time in one place during his Global Citizen Year. Individuality and the pursuit of truth are two things of value to him. He is interested in sustainability, and feels strongly about the negative aspects of a consumer mindset.
Through his participation with Seeds of Peace, an organization dedicated to giving youth the tools to resolve conflict around the world, Gus formed relationships with people on all sides of the Israeli - Palestinian conflict and as a result developed a passion for conflict resolution and international relations. Gus’ love of theater and music led him to write a rock opera over the course of his senior year. Writing both the book and the score, Gus eventually produced Madhouse, with his fellow students serving as the crew, cast, and band.
What's the best advice you have ever been given? "You have two ears and one mouth. If God wanted it another way He would have made it that way."
Hannah has spent a lot of time traveling, and some of her favorite trips include visiting Turkey, sailing down the Nile River, and biking through northern Italy. At school she spent a lot of time working as editor of the yearbook and as a staff member of her school's literary magazine, The Quill. She also served as Leadership Training Chair, helping to guide juniors into their role as senior leaders and understand the larger role of a servant leader. He love of leadership training is what led to her interest in taking a Global Citizen Year.
Heather is an actress, musician, and athlete. An assistant leader to a Daisy Girl Scouts Troop and recipient of the Girl Scout Gold Award, she spends her time whitewater kayaking, mountain climbing, playing piano, and practicing percussion, which she has performed in All County competitions and at solo festivals. Heather has also completed an Iron Girl Triathlon, proving her athletic versatility and drive.
If you could change one thing about your home community, what would it be? I would create a community center for teens to have a safe place to go for fun.
An experienced world traveler, Henrietta has an unyielding curiosity and a zest for life. She is a six-sport athlete and was elected captain of the Volleyball team. Recently she has developed a passion for agribusiness in developing countries, initiating her own experimental project growing Amaranth in Botswana. She looks forward to overcoming language barriers and to experiencing on a more intimate level the different challenges that exist in unfamiliar parts of the world.
If you could teach one class at your high school, which would it be? Unconventional Cooking: How to prepare an edible meal with available resources, no recipe, and no measuring devices.
Hilary is an inquisitive learner, an understated leader and a dedicated community volunteer. After a successful campaign to convince her parents, Hilary raised and trained two guide dogs for blind fellow residents through her work with Guide Puppies of Seattle. The dogs were a full-time job, even attending school at Hilary's side. As a weekly volunteer at Seattle Children's Hospital, Hilary further witnessed the direct, immediate impact of her energy. Hilary also surpassed her own physical barriers, pursuing her passion for dance despite severe scoliosis. According to a teacher, Hilary, "strives to have a lifetime of understanding and to fulfill her own intellectual curiosity."" Deeply interested in science and the environment
"Being aware of others' needs and consistently striving to fulfill my responsibility as an able citizen will continue to be a guiding factor in my life."
An artist at heart, Holli’s two deepest interests are singing and photography, though she also enjoys acting in school plays and playing the guitar. She has been a vocal performer for eight years and now spends much of her time capturing images and telling stories through her lens. Voted President of her school’s Spanish Club, Holli recently led her class on a trip to Mexico and has also visited Brazil and Costa Rica.
What are you passionate about? I am passionate about singing, taking photos, skydiving, practicing guitar, traveling the globe, and helping other people to see the beauty of the universe the way that I do.
Ian found his calling as a student leader. As Class President throughout his four-year high school career, he championed ethics, financial sustainability and equity. He rallied his peers around budget cuts that would affect teachers and course offerings as well as organized the most affordable and highest attended prom in over 20 years. Ian was later elected as Speaker of the House as part of New Hampshire’s YMCA Student Government where, in the words of his advisor, he “was an eloquent speaker who mesmerized his audience by the sheer volume of information he possessed.” Ian also channels his voice through his band, Modo Forte, which has won awards, released a CD, and performed numerous benefit shows.
"Politics has always struck me as incredibly interesting as a basic means by which people make decisions. I have always sought to understand why people make the choices they do."
Ina was inspired to take her Global Citizen Year after a summer in Nicaragua with Amigos de las Americas left her wanting to explore more of the world. Driven by her curiosity, Ina is a builder, history lover, and avid language learner. At her high school she has participated in Model UN, FIRST Robotics, and Track & Field. She is very passionate about education and developing alternative ways of learning outside of the classroom setting, and hopes to one day become an educator to help lead the way in her community.
Raised in the small town of Hudson, MA, Jackie is an optimistic and light-hearted girl who loves to play sports. She was the captain for her soccer team and has done gymnastics for as long as she can remember. She created a sports equipment drive in her town to give less privileged children the opportunity to participate in activities they might not otherwise be able to afford.
Jake, always adventuresome, has spent time volunteering to rebuild homes in New Orleans post-Katrina. There he discovered a responsibility to those in need, and returned home to found a disaster relief club that gathered over 150 student members. After studying international relations in Washington D.C for a summer, Jake was inspired to travel and learn more about international issues. Jake plays sports and guitar, and really wants a motorcycle license.
Jake is a committed hockey player and a musician. During his senior year he earned a position as the starting goalie on his school's team. Jake also has a love for playing jazz piano. His decision to join GCY was due in part to his experience as an intern in South Africa where he worked for two months with an HIV/AIDS support program.
What is your favorite word? And, your least favorite? My favorite word is defenestrate: to throw something out a window. Such a classy word for something so decidedly un-classy. My least favorite word? Homework.
Jaeho is passionate about environmental protection, and he even founded an environmental club at his high school. He is grateful for his supportive family and the encouraging people that surround him. He finds inspiration in the idea that there will always be things that he does not know, and he has the talent of being able to listen to himself, which allows him to be a better person.
Jayshawn has recently been involved with the community in a small town in Ecuador. He has visited twice in the past year to help teach English and computer classes. He is passionate about the issue of wealth inequality in the United States, and does not believe that economic growth should remain restricted to the 1%.
Jean Ulysse is passionate about film as a way to communicate the stories of others. After traveling to Guatemala in 2009 to work on an education project, Jean completed a short documentary about water problems in the community. Originally from Haiti, Jean moved to New York as a child and grew up in Brooklyn. Already fluent in French, Spanish, and Creole, Jean looks forward to learning a new language this year.
If you could be on the cover of any magazine 10 years from now, which magazine would you choose? What would the headline be? New York Times Upfront: "If I can do it, you can do it!"
From Superior, Wisconsin, Jenny was captain of her figure skating team, and acted as a mentor for incoming freshmen. She studied physics in high school but wishes she spent more time studying literature. An advocate of international cognizance and service, Jenny spent a semester in Germany as an exchange student and regularly volunteers at Solvay Hospice House. She enjoys attempting new pastry recipes, practicing the piano, and playing tennis.
From Indonesia and Huntington Beach, California, Joan is the Editor-in-Chief of her yearbook, a pianist for the Academy for the Performing Arts, and the Secretary General of her Model United Nations program, a position that allows her to shine as a leader while using skills in writing, speaking, and researching. Joan also works as a Youth Worship and Ministry leader at Hope Chapel Huntington Beach, and volunteers as a candy striper at Hoag Hospital.
What is your favorite quote?"The young do not know enough to be prudent, and therefore they attempt the impossible and achieve it, generation after generation." - Pearl S. Buck
In his spare time, Joe enjoys fencing, acting, and writing creative fiction. Joe played the role of Malcolm in his school\'s rendition of Macbeth. Joe also founded a social-networking website called Origins Archive in order to connect with friends at different schools. In addition he enjoys indulging in what he refers to as “mild nerdiness” playing Magic: the Gathering.
What 3 words would your best friends use to describe you? Enthusiastic, Creative, and Empathetic.
Born in Germany, Johannes spent most of his childhood growing up on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. There he developed a love for sailing and photography. During high school, his experiences with people with HIV/AIDS in Uganda and those with leprosy in the Dominican Republic opened his eyes to the challenges that still exist in many parts of the world.
If you could teach one class at your high school, which would it be? I would create a new class. It would encompass economics, political science, ethics, philosophy, and international relations all focused on social justice. I would, however, first like to take this class.
John loves a spectacle. Whether it's the dancing water droplets as he races across the pool, the chemical concoctions in the lab, or the theatrical performances on stage, he wants find beauty in everything. As president of his school's Interact club, John raised money for the Little Flock Orphanage in India, which inspired him to fulfill his dream of becoming bilingual and simultaneously help others.
Jojo has been a part of numerous committees in her high school, including prom, yearbook, and graduation. She is extremely proud to have been a part of International Baccalaureate for two years. One of her greatest passions is providing help to children who have grown up homeless or in a home with domestic violence. She enjoys keeping up with current affairs and trends, and can fix almost anything that's broken.
Favorite Quote: "People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they're right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together." -Marilyn Monroe
Originally from New York, Jordan has lived in Richmond, Virginia since 5th grade. Throughout high school he has devoted his spare time to becoming a singer, actor and guitarist, as well as rowing on a Richmond club team and participating in student government. His two greatest passions include academia and traveling. Having traveled throughout Europe, India, and Brazil, Jordan is eager to experience life in Ecuador.
Jordan is an optimistic philosopher-in-training who loves to travel. The captain of his school's cross country team, Jordan has been running ever since he can remember, and recently earned MVP on the Cross Country team. He cares deeply about education (as his mom is a teacher) and looking at things in cross-cultural perspectives.
During his four years at Far West High School, Josh fostered his passions for acting, drawing, biking, and running. Last year, he was awarded the lead role in a one-act play at the Berkeley Repertory School of Theater.
Have you ever started something? This past school year I started my own mentoring group for young men, looking to motivate and inspire them to be leaders in their own individual way.
Josh is proud of his positions as captain of the lacrosse and football team, as well as Senior Young Life Leader at Western Guilford High School. He is passionate about helping the victims of poverty in whatever way possible. In 2009 he spent a week in Nicaragua on a missions trip with his church, where he was able to help with farming, agriculture, and youth development. He believes that everyone should be given the opportunities that he has had from growing up in the United States.
Joshua's involvement with the Peninsula Bridge Summer Program has cultivated his interest in both domestic and foreign education. His exposure to global issues throughout high school has left him eager to practice service work in an international setting. He hopes that his Global Citizen Year will shape the rest of his life toward a more globally focused purpose. Some of his favorite things include volleyball, food, and languages.
Last year Julia finished her school requirements and graduated a semester early from high school so that she could spend the extra time traveling through Guatemala, Panama, and Brazil with her brother. She was able to raise money to assist the organizations that she is working with in her travels. Her greatest passion is working with malnourished babies. "Happiness is a choice."
Justin is a talented violin player, an avid bicyclist, and all-star skateboarder. His inspiration to become a GCY Fellow came from his summer in Bolivia after his junior year where he trekked the Andes and spent time in a remote farming village. Justin spent this past summer interning with a non-profit called Communities in Schools that is focused on reducing drop-out rates in schools across the country.
What really, truly inspires you? When somebody has a passion or an idea, runs with it and takes it to an extreme that I wouldn't have been able to imagine otherwise.
Kalea was born and raised in Arizona. She is active in her community, and has been a member of youth ministry for the last four years. She loves to sing and make music in her free time. She is very passionate about service work, and being accepted to Global Citizen Year is one of the highlights of her life, and she looks forward to making the most of this experience.
Karina spent time in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina working with Habitat for Humanity, which gave her a new perspective on activism and made her an advocate for human rights and cultural understanding. Now dedicated to volunteer work, Karina has also been active in the I Have A Dream tutoring program, helping young students realize their academic potential, and participates in her community’s Latino Cultural Celebration each year.
What are your favorite things to read? I prefer the mythical world of immortal creatures, fairy-tales and magic. But everything works!
Originally from London, England, Karyn now lives in Raleigh, North Carolina where her varied interests include cooking, running, singing, and writing. She served as the Associate Editor for her school’s newspaper and held a lead role in the school band as a clarinet player. Karyn also volunteered with Helping Horse, a local therapeutic riding program, throughout high school. She has been fortunate enough to travel a lot growing up, giving her an international perspective that she is excited to expand upon in the coming year.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever heard? "Cultivate yourself so you can then help others."
Kaya lives in Utah and spends her time creating art, enjoying nature, and cooking. After opportunities to spend time in India and Europe, she has realized a passion for the excitement of travel and the challenge of cultural immersion. She served as the Vice President in her student government, organized her own non-profit organization branching off of Invisible Children, and regularly volunteers at local soup kitchens and museums.
How do you rejuvenate yourself? Being out in nature really does the trick. Deep breaths of fresh air and admiration of the beauty of the earth
A committed community member and artist, Kedisha spent her time in high school working with the program, buildOn, and creating artwork in the school\'s International Baccalaureate Arts program. She also volunteered as an intern at the law firm Holland & Knight where she worked on a pro bono case.
What was the best day of your life? The day I kayaked along the coast of Alaska because I found myself doing something I never envisioned I would ever do.
Kevin has spent many hours volunteering for the Red Cross and the Boys and Girls Club, where he tutored children and helped with fundraising. He has also held a handful of leadership roles, including Captain of the Tennis Team, and President and Treasurer of the Mock Trial Club. He enjoys dancing, playing piano, teaching himself the guitar, and reading fantasy novels in his spare time.
Kim moved from Germany to the United States when she was seven. Internationalism and global-mindedness define her passions and interests. At her high school, Kim served as the president of her school's Model United Nations team and as Co-Chair of the Leadership Committee for Africa. During her senior year, she researched the capacity of the artificial language Esperanto as a lingua franca in the service of the United Nations, bringing her from Vienna to the UN Headquarters in New York. Kim is particularly passionate about linguistics, and enjoys horseback riding, reading, singing, and painting.
Born in Mexico and raised in New England, Kimberly has always harbored an interest in global issues. During her first two years of high school she lived and studied in Mexico, and during her senior year she was president of her school's Model UN team. Recently, she has been volunteering with President Barack Obama's reelection campaign as the head of the local Latino team, helping to promote voting among Latinos. She enjoys reading, drawing, and taking long walks while exploring the neighborhoods of her town.
Kimberly is most proud of receiving buildOn's Global Citizen Impact award for her region. She is passionate about making sure children all have an equal opportunity to get the education they deserve, and she even spent two weeks in Malawi, Africa, helping to build the foundation for a school.
Having lived and studied in India, Oxford, and Washington, D.C., Kirin has learned firsthand the value of international education outside the classroom. She has been a world traveler for much of her life, spending time teaching in the Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy, hiking in Nepal, living in China, and traveling in Western Europe. An accomplished writer, Kirin served as the Editor in Chief of her local Oakton Outlook, and has been published in anthologies of both short stories and poetry.
If you could be on the cover of any magazine 10 years from now, which magazine would you choose? What would the headline be? Time. My headline, I know, is yet to be determined.
Laura is currently raising her 5th dog for Guide Dogs For The Blind. Laura is also passionate about food and the environment and has served as a volunteer on multiple political campaigns. In addition, she is an experienced viola and violin player and is now learning to play the piano.
What really, truly inspires you? Good food. Cooking for and eating with people I care about. Food is a social lubricant, I've noticed it has the power to bring people together.
After an eye-opening mission trip to Guatemala, Lauren realized her passion for service work and traveling. In high school she became vice president of drama club and dedicated many hours to the theater program. She loves to work with children, can get her hands dirty, and has vowed never to sit behind a desk for long hours in her future career. She enjoys horseback riding, occasionally plays the ukulele, and is a vegetarian. Her goal in life is to make an impact through compassion, outreach, and faith.
Lily’s interest in global issues was sparked by travels with her family to Nepal, Cambodia, and Italy as well as participation in a humanitarian aid delegation to Cuba with fellow Spanish language students. She was co-leader of the Global Citizens Club at her school, which raises awareness and funds for UN action days on AIDS and hunger. Lily also loves viewing and making art.
What is the compliment that you have been paid that you are most proud of? Who gave you the compliment? An English teacher mentioned my perspicacity. After consulting the dictionary, I was pleased to learn she thought I was mentally perceptive and brought keen insight to my peer editing work.
Lily has more hobbies than she can keep track of. She enjoys making jewelry, biking, camping, reading, writing, singing, cooking, filmography, caring for animals and more. Underlying all of these diverse interests is a creative spirit and a deep love for nature. Lily was the Vice President of her school’s Outdoors Club. She is very supportive of conservation and wants the world to be more environmentally aware.
How do you rejuvenate yourself? I do something active, or I write. Take a walk, a bike ride, rock climb. Write poetry. Or have some fun with my friends, maybe just talk and laugh.
Lily is a resourceful, energetic, and determined young leader. As a senior, she co-taught a PACE (Personal and Community Awareness for Everyone) class to high school sophomores. In addition, she served as one of two student directors for the community service office and coordinated Theatre Troupe! a weekly workshop for middle school students. Lily also has a passion for music. She was a co-head of the the female cappella group at her high school and she plays piano, guitar, ukulele, and French horn--she's hoping to learn a new instrument in Ecuador! In her free time, Lily can be found writing music and poetry, reading, playing ultimate frisbee, cooking, or practicing yoga.
What's the best nugget of advice you've ever heard? "Your calling is where your greatest gifts meet the world's greatest needs."
From the San Francisco Bay Area, Lindsey has been active in the College Track program, serving as a Senator in the student government and helping to lead a backpacking trip in the Tahoe Mountains. Her parents moved to the United States from Mexico, and on visits to parts of Mexico she has realized the challenges that other communities face and the importance of global interdependence.
Liza is active in her school’s drama department, has a passion for visual art, and a love for literature. Liza is also interested in languages and was active in her school's Spanish club. She enjoys many outdoor activities and is aware of environmental concerns. Finally, on a trip to Israel after her junior year, she came to realize the importance of different perspectives. This realization led her to pursue becoming a Global Citizen Year Fellow.
How do you rejuvenate yourself? I sleep. Then I am back in action
From Oakland, California, Lucias attended Mandela High School Law and Public Service Academy where he played leadership roles in multiple school- and community-wide organizations. Passionate about social justice, he is a tireless advocate for the rights of people of all colors and sexual orientations. He is currently a Lead Student organizer in Youth Together, where he educates his peers about the inequities of the education system; a Student Ambassador for Project Soar; and a founding member of the Homie Empowerment Project based in East Oakland. In his free time, Lucias enjoys writing poetry inspired by current events.
What are your favorite things to read? Books that have to do with society and human interaction. My favorites are "Things Fall Apart" and "1984".
Lucy realized the importance of becoming a global citizen after spending a summer teaching in Ghana. A dedicated actress, Lucy has experience on stage playing a lead role in Carlos Goldini’s “Servant of Two Masters” and Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” and loves the creative collaboration required to put on a successful play. Lucy was also the founder of her school’s Improvisation Club.
If you could change one thing about your home community, what would it be? If I could make people realize how one simple action could impact their world, be it turning off a light, composting, or volunteering for a day, I would feel good.
Lukas is a free spirit who loves music, dancing, and the beauty of the world that is often overlooked. From Stinson Beach, California, Lukas loves biking and exploring the outdoors. One thing many people don’t know about Lukas is that he can do fire poi, a type of traditional Maori performance art.
How do you rejuvenate yourself? I ride my bike, go contra dancing, play music, go surfing, and do chi gung.
Lydia spends a good deal of her time volunteering, and was even elected to the board of the Community Service Club at her school. She runs a program called Empty Bowl, which is a fundraising event in which the ceramic students make bowls while the culinary students make soup, and the two are sold together to raise money for a local soup kitchen. She also volunteers three times a week at an after school program, where she tutors and organizes activities for the kids. She took a weekly architecture class at the Art Institute of Chicago last semester, and hopes to pursue a career in architecture.
Rarely found without her camera, Lydia also has a passion for language and art. When not taking photographs or working on sculptures, Lydia can be found participating in her school’s theater productions and helping with the library as the President of the IMC Aides Club. She was recently awarded the Artè Award for indispensable contributions to the theatre.
What is your favorite quote or poem? "This is my letter to the world That never wrote to me The simple news that Nature told With tender majesty." -Emily Dickinson
Mackenzie became involved in Planned Parenthood Association of Utah's Teen Council during her senior year of high school. She was outspoken during the 2012 Utah Legislative Session against a bill that proposed the elimination of sex education curriculum in schools. She has written for her HS newspaper, and loves journalism and film, particularly how they are used to tell stories.
Having grown up in Narberth, Pennsylvania, Madelaine spends the bulk of her free time riding her bike, reading, and listening to music. She worked as the president of her school's buildOn program, which is where she developed an interest for international service, as well as a passion for educating her peers about the practice of human trafficking. She recently traveled to Haiti to spend two weeks helping to build a primary school. Madelaine is excited about her forthcoming year as a Global Citizen.
Madeleine has distinguished herself among her peers as an athlete on the lacrosse field and an activist raising money for the American Cancer Society. Madeleine\'s lacrosse team won the State Championships three times, and she received All American First Team recognition her senior year. As a sophomore, Madeleine started the Relay for Life of Culver which raised over $340,000 for the American Cancer Society in the three subsequent years.
What is the best nugget of advice you have ever heard? "Every no brings you closer to a yes. If you work hard enough, you can do anything." -My dad
Hailing from Manitowoc, Wisconsin, Maddie is passionate about international politics and economics and likes to stay informed about global issues through frequent reading. During her senior year, she participated in protests with public workers in Wisconsin in defense of their collective bargaining rights and she has been active in several other local political campaigns. In addition to engaging in political activism, Maddie also enjoys drawing and can often be found with a sketchbook in hand.
How do you rejuvenate yourself? I peruse the non-fiction section of the library for new subjects. There are no search engines, no ads, and no links. And every book has something to say.
Madeline is dedicated to community service both in her global community and her local community of Lincoln, Nebraska. She has spearheaded a campaign to raise money for the American Red Cross, organized volunteers with Habitat for Humanity, worked as a camp counselor at the Muscular Dystrophy Summer Camp, and traveled on many domestic service trips with her church’s youth group. Madeline served as the 2010-2011 Nebraska DECA State President and placed in the top ten of the international DECA competition. In her spare time she has managed to cultivate an impressive talent for hoola-hooping.
What are your favorite things to read? I recently developed an obsession with Science Fiction novels; it's the "what if?" they pose that makes them so interesting to me.
Mai is an involved, passionate leader in her school. During her junior year she created The Peru Project club, which sent a group of fifteen high school girls to voyage down to Peru for two weeks to construct greenhouses and promote women's empowerment. Whether it's environmental protection or child development, she is determined to help those in need.
Marguerite's unique high school experience confirmed her commitment "to engage in a globally aware education that would develop my role as a citizen of the world."" A visit to Heifer International World Headquarters at the start of her freshman year -- to simulate the experience of global poverty -- was
"I admire people of character who pursue knowledge ruthlessly, give love and hope generously, and commit themselves to an ideal of peace."
Mariah has been on her debate team for the past four years. She coaches and judges freshman debate, served as a captain of the debate team her senior year, and is proud to have recently received a bid to the Tournament of Champions. She also has a great interest in politics and economics, and someday hopes to become a United States Senator.
What are you passionate about? I am passionate about learning and understanding more about the world. I want to leave the world better than it was before, even if it means only changing one person's life for the better.
Mariela is passionate about politics, technology, and student government. As a student leader, she was Junior class Vice President and Senior class President. Mariela also has a talent with words, earning her a spot on the Mock Trial Team and the 2010 Gunderson Poetry Slam finals.
If you could change one thing about your home community, what would it be? We're just a bunch of similar houses that share a street name, not a 'community'. It'd be nice to reshape that.
Marisa has spent the past ten years competing with the Wisconsin Edge Synchronized Ice Skating team, and is now a part of the coaching staff. She was recently chosen as the Rotary Club's Student of the Month. She believes that children should have the best education possible and that local politicians should be responsible for their actions.
Mary Kate went on an Exchange Year with AFS Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange, and was nominated to deliver a speech in German to the Berlin Parliament. She also started a local chapter of the Children Get Arthritis Too for the Arthritis Foundation, and helped raise money for the foundation. She enjoys reading and playing the violin.
Mary spends much of her time volunteering for marathons, benefit concerts, and fundraisers for children with special needs. Two of her life's passions include becoming more aware of worldwide issues and striving to contribute to helping others. She has run Varsity Track and Field for three years and Varsity Cross Country for four. She enjoys photography and writing, along with spending time with family and close friends.
Mathew is a born educator, an exceptional communicator and a tireless activist. Growing up in the impoverished inner city, Mathew developed early an awareness of injustice and oppression. He turned his sights on working with neighborhood organizations to build a sense of community pride and educate others about leadership and change. He has supported and led efforts around urban gardening, crime and blight, and public school conditions. An artist and a writer, in high school Mathew discovered the power of spoken word and began organizing his peers through poetry slams. Mathew has won awards for his poetry and has established himself as a youth leader in the movement for democratic education.
"The reason why expression is so important is because without a voice people don't get represented. Once someone is exposed they have the choice to live in ignorance or fight for freedom."
Ever since spending a year as a Rotary Youth Exchange Student in Ecuador, Matthew has found interest in learning about other cultures and foreign languages, which he is excited to continue with GCY. He has also committed a year of full-time service to the community of the South Bronx in New York as a City Year Corps Member, where he served as a mentor to elementary school students. He recognizes the importance of addressing social injustices through public service. He enjoys volleyball, singing, and trying new foods.
Max was on the Waukesha West Academic Decathlon Team this year and thus traveled to the National Academic Championship in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where his team took fourth place in the nation. One of his greatest passions is limiting conflicts, which he hopes to be able to do by understanding other cultures and other human beings through the first-hand contact of a Global Citizen Year. He enjoys free climbing both for the workout and the adrenaline rush.
Meaghan's many opportunities to travel the world have shaped her interest in global issues, cultures, and languages. Meaghan now lives in Massachusetts and is an accomplished a cappella singer, sketch artist, actor, photographer, and cook. She served as the Vice President of her student government, and Community Service Officer, where she led the school’s philanthropic efforts, organizing events both on and off campus, from singing in retirement homes, to participating in blood drives, organizing fund drives, and visiting the elderly on Sundays.
What three qualities do you admire most in others? Perseverance, Patience, Empathy
Meg served as president of her school's Key Club, a service organization with about 180 students. She was also heavily involved in Social Justice Club and Interfaith Alliance, helping to organize events such as a school-wide debate, a fundraising raffle, and an Interfaith forum and potluck. She believes that quality education for youth is fundamental to world progress. She loves games and sports until they get serious, and she is always looking for whistlers with whom she can harmonize.
Meg developed a passion for addressing global poverty after traveling to the Dominican Republic and Haiti several times. She was a Student Ambassador at the World Affairs Council in San Francisco and a Global Citizen Corps Leader with MercyCorps. After volunteering on the Obama campaign, she interned for Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey. In addition, Meg has been paddling on a Hawaiian Outrigger Canoe team for the last seven years and was on her school's swim team.
What three words would your best friend use to describe you? The general consensus was that "ambitious", "Irish", and "adventurous" describe me well.
Megan has lived in many parts of the United States, and briefly in Colombia, and is currently in New York. In her words: “I like to consider the world my hometown”. She is passionate about immigrant rights and access to education, and strong believer in the importance of creating something beautiful. She lives this belief by embracing art in its many forms – as a belly dancer, singer, fashion designer, and musician – and looks forward to this year as an opportunity to strengthen her sense of global citizenship.
What are your favorite things to read? French fashion blogs, the Economist, Kurt Vonnegut, magical realism, the laundry tags on clothes printed in different languages, and poetry by Pablo Neruda and Jose Mart’.
Liza was born in Colombia and grew up in a small, rural town in northern Wisconsin. She recently earned her CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) state license at age 17, and is excited to be Global Citizen! One of her passions in life is to ensure that people in need are cared for and treated equally.
Mike is interested in sports, music, outdoors, and education. He was sports editor of the school newspaper, captain of the varsity tennis team, and his high schools representative to the Board of Education. His passion for education led him to pursue three teaching internships, most recently teaching 7th grade social studies.
It's the year 2050. What's your favorite mode of transportation? Running. I hope humanity does not lose the need for physical movement. I don't want to have a machine do everything for me.
Michael dreams of using technology and innovation to solve social challenges. An aspiring entrepreneur, Michael holds a strong belief in the power of social business and intelligent systems to effect significant social change. After witnessing stark social and economic divisions between his hometown and Appalachia, Michael dedicated his high school years to building bridges and fostering respectful communication across diverse communities. As an Elder in his Presbyterian Church, Michael made his mark by advocating for social justice in his community. Michael’s recent first international experience in Trinidad solidified his desire to learn firsthand from effective, community-based social entrepreneurs.
"I'm struck by the universality of generosity. In service work, I have found that people who I'm supposed to be "serving" are often even more generous even though they have fewer means."
Michael devotes himself to a number of community service projects in the Chicago area including buildOn, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Garden Buddies, a program teaching kids about the environment, healthy eating, and growing plants and vegetables. During his junior year, Michael was a leader in a dating violence prevention campaign, where he used his art skills to design the t-shirts and posters for the program.
If you could teach one class at your high school, which would it be? Art has a way of moving people; if I could teach any subject in high school it would be art.
Michaela is a true internationalist. She spent the greater part of her childhood moving back and forth between Germany and America and traveling through Europe, Asia, North America, and Africa. She also served as Vice President and Publicity Director for her high school's Central Asia Institute Club, an organization which raises money to build schools and improve the lives of females in Afghanistan and Pakistan. She is also semi-obsessed with cinematography.
What three words would your best friend use to describe you? Eccentric, Stubborn, Idealistic (I would like to add that I am also fiercely independent.)
Mitchell is a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, equally comfortable playing saxophone, strumming folk music, or arranging a composition for his jazz ensemble. Friends and professors describe Mitchell as kind, intelligent, and curious. He is also interested in psychology and sociology, which he has explored through his school’s Psychology club and his own reading.
If you could change one thing about your home community, what would it be? I would introduce every person to every other person on their block. People don't interact face to face nearly as much as they should.
Molly is an athlete, artist, and activist. At her high school in San Francisco, Molly was elected captain of the volleyball team and the softball team, and also helped lead her fellow students in environmental activism in the Ecology Club. Molly’s artistic spirit has found a home in the Bay Area, where she has taken art classes such as graphic design, photography, fashion design, and film.
What are your favorite things to read? African American Women's Literature, Fortune Cookie Fortunes, Thoughtful Birthday Cards
Naomi is an avid ultimate frisbee player, amateur photographer, and spoken word artist. She is also an activist - when students from three area high schools became frustrated with their respective drama departments, Naomi assisted in the creation of an independent student-run theater company and acted in its production of The Laramie Project.
If you could change one thing about your home community, what would it be? I would work to grow the relationship between generations, which could help transfer knowledge and preserve the future.
An accomplished sailor, Natalie has been captain of her high school sailing team for three years and coaches at a sailing camp in the summer. When she’s not on the water she enjoys drawing, painting, and ceramics. She also served as chair of the Health and Wellness committee on the San Francisco Youth Commission, and she loves spending time with her dogs.
What three words would your best friend use to describe you? Curious, adventurous and reflective
Nathan has been athletically active his whole life, and played football, basketball, and baseball all throughout high school. He is most proud of the landscaping business that he started in his community with a few of his friends. His passions include learning Spanish and finding ways to grow outside of his comfort zone, both of which he is looking forward to experiencing during his year as a Global Citizen. Whether he is snowboarding or hiking, he enjoys spending his free time outdoors.
Nic is described by friends and teachers as an idealistic adventurer with an entrepreneurial spirit. He is involved in ARC, an organization that provides support for adults with developmental disabilities, and VisionSpring, a social enterprise that supplies women in the poorest areas of the world with equipment and training to sell eyeglasses. Nic’s creative mind is almost always at work on some form of art, and science is also one of his passions. He built his own robot this year, knows computer programming, and is currently reading a book about superstring theory.
What are you passionate about? Nature, Adventure, the Outdoors, Exploring, Learning, Art, Building/Creating, Helping People, and Traveling.
Olivia recently joined her school newspaper and has enjoyed learning an entirely new skill set. She attended the School for Ethics and Global Leadership in DC during her junior year, and as a result enjoys discussing ethics and other philosophical questions. She has recently become more involved in women's issues and hopes to one day have an impact on the continuing struggle for equality.
After overcoming a series of challenges in his hometown of Richmond, CA, Omar helped jump-start his school’s mentoring program. As a Peer Listener, he mentored students in a one on one setting and helped them find solutions to their personal and academic problems. As a result, Omar developed a passion for education and psychology.
What is the compliment that you have been paid that you are most proud of? Who gave you the compliment?"I'm proud of the fact that you're broadening your horizons." - My mother
Paulina is passionate about human rights and environmental sustainability and hopes to study international development in college. She is a member of the training staff for a non-profit called Amigos de las Americas and also traveled with them to Mexico, where she helped organize a community-based initiative to build eco-friendly stoves. A dedicated dancer, Paulina has performed with a folk dance group for the past three years, and also takes ballet classes.
If you could change one thing about your home community, what would it be? I would work to bring the different ethnicities in San Francisco together, because at times it can feel like the neighborhoods are too racially segregated.
During his time at Lexington High, Peter served as sophomore and junior class president, orchestrating student-led events, fundraising initiatives, proms, and community service. His involvement earned him his high school\\\'s highest honor: the opportunity to address his class as the keynote speaker at graduation. Peter rounds out his talents as an avid guitar and basketball player.
What three words would your best friend use to describe you? (If you don't know, ask him/her!) Dedicated, uplifting, independent
Peyton spends much of his time volunteering at The Sandy Springs International Adult Learning Center in the Atlanta area, where he teaches students reading, writing, and pronunciation two hours a week. He has recently taken up barefoot running, because it makes this natural activity take a simpler and more exiting course.
At home in both San Jose, California, and Varanasi, India, Priyanka is truly bi-cultural. She enjoys journaling, dancing, and writing poetry. She helped start a Reading and Writing Club at her school, and her love of creative writing recently took her to the final round of the Gunderson Poetry Slam.
What is the compliment that you have been paid that you are most proud of? Who gave you the compliment? My mother has said I have "a heart of gold". Though simple, I value this most since it highlights the qualities I am most proud of: compassion, effort, and perception.
Russell’s friends and family describe him as a passionate, affable, and hard-working young man with a diverse array of interests. At Lexington High, he was a member of both the Peer Mentoring and Leadership programs, led the school’s oldest all-male a cappella group (Pitchpipes), played varsity soccer, and was a captain of the lacrosse team. His other various passions include: hiking, Environmental activism, playing guitar and singing in a local folk-rock band. His summers are spent working at Camp Becket in the Berkshires, a sleep-away camp that has been Russell’s home away from home for the past 8 years.
What are you passionate about? Helping and interacting with kids. I'm an oldest sibling so it is something that I'm very experienced with and really love to do.
An avid outdoorsman, Sam co-founded and led his school's outdoors club on rafting, backpacking, and hiking trips. His love for nature has led him to take part in the Earth Lovers Recycling Club, and helped lead an effort to recycle at multiple cross country meets in his home town. Sam was also Student Body President and a founding member of his school's Fans of Old Films. Sam enjoys hiking, fishing, and jamming out to the Allman Brothers Band.
Sammy was born and raised in Kenya, and moved to Pittsfield, Maine as a high school sophomore. He is trilingual, and speaks Kikuyu, Swahili, and English. He is an ambassador for equality, and he does his best to promote it whenever he can. Sammy is the captain of his cross country team, and has held the position of Dorm Council Treasurer and Vice President. He recently engaged his community to donate 3,000 pairs of shoes to send back to an orphanage in Kenya.
A true internationalist, Sam was born in Brazil, grew up in the United States, and lived for a time in Micronesia as a child. A dedicated visual artist, Sam also enjoys drama, playing guitar, and running on the track team. After spending last summer in Brazil, he rediscovered his first language of Portuguese and a love for the people and culture of his birthplace.
If you could teach one class at your high school, which would it be? Drama! Self expression is the key to the manner in which you live out your life--plus it's just a fun class.
Originally from Ohio, Sarah now resides in Rutherfordton, North Carolina where she enjoys swimming, running, and helping others in her community. Sarah is a passionate individual and a strong advocate for young women, providing a voice for young girls at the GS National Convention in 2008 and volunteering during the local election campaigns in her community this past year. Sarah is also an accomplished musician and has traveled to Russia, Walt Disney World, and Washington D.C. with her school’s band and orchestra throughout her high school career. During her year abroad with Global Citizen Year, Sarah is excited to meet similarly passionate people while at the same time harnessing her own passions to make an impact in the global community.
If you could teach one class at your high school, which would it be?Learning debate teaches civility, where people are taught to express their views in the absence of anger. I would like to be apart of that process.
Sarah "Kip" McMillan was born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina. A self proclaimed storyteller, she has taken up spoken word poetry, for which she has local recognition. At her high school she started and ran a Harry Potter Quidditch team. She is a vegan, which has contributed to her interest and concerns with the problems of industrial food production and global health.
Semira, also known as Sammi, has a passion for working with people in her community. She volunteers as a camp counselor in Maine, works in homeless outreach programs near her home in Tampa, and dedicates almost every Saturday to working at a Senior Citizen Center where she organizes activities and enjoys listening to stories. Sammi also serves as the secretary of the Spanish Honor Society.
What three words would your best friend use to describe you? Vivacious, comical, and loving.
A native of Southern California, Sienna is both a dedicated surfer and accomplished ballroom dancer. For the past two years she has held the position of a Naviance ambassador, encouraging marginalized students in Los Angeles county to plan for the future, and has also volunteered with the Palos Verdes Assembly teaching kids how to ballroom dance. Sienna’s love of travel has already taken her to Costa Rica, Mexico, and South Africa--and she hopes these are just the first of many more destinations to come.
Stephanie is proud of having been the president of the French Club for the past two years, walking in white at her graduation, and speaking at her high school\\\\\\\'s Baccalaureate service. Stephanie is passionate about helping others. She has given blood and tutored peers in a variety of classes, including math, French, and Spanish.
What are you passionate about? I am passionate about learning and teaching others. I love being able to help people understand the world around them especially, and helping people communicate with others.
Stephanie attended Oakland’s Mandela High School Law and Public Service Academy, where she is proud to have been involved in the Homie Empowerment Project. Through this project, Stephanie fought for social justice and human rights for undocumented workers by helping lead a 100-block march to Oakland City Hall and organizing a Day Laborer food program. In addition to her work with the Homie Empowerment Program, Stephanie also enjoys playing volleyball, softball and soccer for her school and performing community service.
What are you passionate about? I am passionate about learning my history to get a sense of who I am from the knowledge of my culture and who my ancestors were.
Sydni is a youth leader at her church and president of her class. She expresses herself through design, and has even designed her school's fashion show. She is currently pursuing her CNA and EMT Basic, which help fuel her interest for the health care field. She is also passionate about writing, and her greatest aspiration in life is to write a novel.
A native of the Washington D.C. area, Talia does her best to be very involved at every possible opportunity. Throughout high school, she served as the International Secretary and Global Liason of BBYO, a global youth movement, as well as the president of her high school's Model UN club. A recent trip to Russia piqued her interest in economic development and international politics.
Tasha's passion for education goes all the way back to grade school when she used to help the kids in her class read and write, and she hopes to have the chance to teach English while she's in Senegal. During her last year of high school she started a Glee club, and was also a part of the drama club. She is proud of the six International Baccalaureate courses that she has taken, passing all of them. She enjoys reading in her spare time and has recently developed a love for the culinary arts.
Favorite Quote: "Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right."
Taylor Lawson loves dreaming big and problem solving. In high school, they worked to promote social justice through a number of local organizations, like Youth Empowerment Council and the Latin American Coalition, as well as through school clubs like Gay-Straight Alliance and Diversity Club. In their spare time, Taylor enjoys knitting, playing D&D, writing, and making music. Taylor plays a number of instruments, including violin, viola, cello, guitar, ukulele and piano.
What are you passionate about? I'm most passionate about learning new things (especially on my own).
As an accomplished writer, Tess served as Editor-in-Chief of her school newspaper and contributed to her local newspaper on several occasions. She also served as a Peer Leader, where she taught a class of 15 freshman students, and as a tutor to students with mental disabilities.
What three words would your best friend use to describe you? (If you don't know, ask him/her!) Confident, Idealistic, Selfless
Three passions drive Tessalyn: traveling, art, and medicine. Last year she received the Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange Scholarship to live in Germany for one year, where she witnessed the ability of intercultural experiences to foster global understanding. Tessalyn is the President of her school’s Model UN Club, a violist, an avid painter, and a lover of old maps.
What is the compliment that you have been paid that you are most proud of? Who gave you the compliment? A week before I left Germany, a German friend told me, "I don't care if we have 50 exchange students next year. No one replaces you."
Tom is passionate about global economics, math, and physics. He as been playing violin for the past 10 years, but beyond his dedication to music, he has been involved in several clubs. Most notably, Thomas served as Public Forum Debate Coordinator where he taught debate and helped organize tournaments.
What's the best nugget of advice you have ever heard? "Never take life too seriously. After all, no one gets out alive."
Toni\'s leadership is reflected in her service at Mott Hall Bronx High School, where she served for three consecutive years as class representative and two with the organization Build On. This past year, she was promoted to the Global Education position where she apprised the fellow members on current global affairs. Her interest in the world led her to spend last summer in South Africa with the organization, Summer Search, and ultimately become a GCY Fellow. Toni is also a talented painter.
What three qualities do you admire most in others? Determination, wisdom, knowledge. I truly admire when a person is able to recover from a setback and become a better person. To me a person is not defined by their struggle but how they react to that struggle.
Trevor has a passion for poetry, conservation, and the culinary arts – especially baking. His love for animals took him last year to South Africa, where he worked with penguins and other sea birds with the South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds. Trevor enjoys the creative process in its many forms, whether crafting a poem or concocting a dessert.
What is the compliment that you have been paid that you are most proud of? Who gave you the compliment? Just a simple "I'm proud of you," from parents, or friends is something I consider very precious.
Tsion is an Ethiopian native and a soccer fanatic. As part of the International Baccalaureate program, she developed a love for learning about different cultures. She was named Star Student of her senior class and won a National Achievement Scholarship. Her passions include women's rights and hunger issues, and she even helped raise $5000 for the famine in East Africa.
Whether excelling at martial arts, volunteering at Greater Boston Foodbank, or leading the Connecting with Elders Club, Victoria dedicates her energies toward inspiring, challenging and engaging herself and others. She spent her summers mentoring physically and mentally disabled children with the Jason Roberts Challenger League baseball team. During a class trip to Eastern Europe, Victoria underwent an emotionally transformative experience learning about and seeing firsthand the effects of the Holocaust.
"I can't think of anything I want more than to know that I've changed someone's life for the better, that I've educated others about what needs to be changed in the world, or that I've even inspired someone to help a cause."
Winson serves as his school’s Student Body Secretary and co-leader of the Random Acts of Kindness Club. A dedicated student and member of the community, Winson is passionate about education, social justice, and leading a conscientious life. He grew up speaking a dialect of Chinese called Teochew and attended the School for Ethics and Global Leadership in Washington DC.
If you could teach one class at your high school, which would it be? The one class that I would teach at my high school is Global Health, which is an interdisciplinary class that serves as an introduction to our world's leading health issues.
An energetic, passionate “mover and shaker,” Zuleika's multicultural upbringing and early international experiences drew her to Global Citizen Year. Zuleika moved from Venezuela to California as a freshman in high school. While she learned English in school, she sought out deeper, more spiritual means of connecting with others. Through the mentoring program Summer Search, Zuleika distinguished herself as a natural leader through her introspective nature and her guidance toward younger participants. On a social justice and community service trip to India, Zuleika had a transformative experience working with young children affected by HIV/AIDS.
"My background lets me connect with other people in a way that wouldn't have otherwise happened. From there I bring compassion and a wish to make a difference."