MEET THE SCHOLARS

  • Check out past Wandering Scholar bios and projects below.

Jabari Lottie

Jabari is from Denver, Colorado and is a junior at Manual High School. The classes he is most passionate about are AP Biology, AP World History, and AP Calculus. He loves the challenges and the abundance of knowledge that comes with taking more rigorous courses. His hobbies include eating, sleeping, reading, studying random topics, playing video games, hanging with friends, drawing, listening to music, having adventures, playing sports, watching anime, taking pictures, solving enigmas, building things, and enjoying life.

This summer he is looking forward to being in a completely different and vibrant environment than he is used to. He is looking forward to going to the beach, speaking a different language, meeting awesome people, eating good food, working out and meditating in nature, and just experiencing the unknown.

For Jabari, being a Wandering Scholar means being open to the realities of one’s ignorance and actively pursuing the chance to fill in those gaps through hands-on experience and travel. He adds that it’s important for Wandering Scholars to explore through participation and learning every step of the way.

Absari Begum

Absari is a junior at the Academy of Finance and Enterprise in Queens, NY. She loves school overall, but says she is most passionate about her US History class, in part, she says, because “it allows people to learn how to move forward using what has occurred in history.” Outside of school, Absari’s hobbies include reading, making DIY’s, watching Korean historical dramas, trying new things, and going to galleries, museums, and performances. Absari says that she is looking forward to exploring Costa Rica and learning about the culture and lifestyle.

Absari believes that being a Wandering Scholar means learning to become a global citizen through travels and life experiences.

Sarah Kwon

Sarah is originally from Cerritos, California, but is a new resident in Old Lyme, Connecticut. She is a junior at Lyme-Old Lyme High School, where her favorite subjects are foreign language and history/social studies. This year, she has grown to appreciate these two subjects much more through AP United States History and Spanish, which have opened her eyes to different eras and cultures.

In her free time, Sarah enjoys reading (some of her favorites books include The Kite Runner and Les Miserables), going hiking with her family, volunteering at the local food pantry, playing/listening to music, and browsing through stories on Quora.com.

She is most excited for her travels this summer because she believes they will help her leave her comfort zone, see new sights, be immersed in a new language, interact with different people from different places, and most of all, discover new things about herself.

Sarah believes that being a Wandering Scholar is about being curious. Wandering Scholars refuse to be complacent, she says, and they are resourceful enough to seek out experiences and answers where there may be none. A Wandering Scholar never stops looking for ways to learn, relearn, and unlearn.

Seyni Ndaw

Seyni is a junior at the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia, PA. The subject that she is most passionate about is math. In her sophomore year, she faced a lot of challenges in geometry and began to doubt her abilities. Now she realizes that she has a stronger aptitude for algebraic concepts and helps her classmates when they are struggling in their math courses. Next year she will be an official Math Lab tutor at her school.

Her hobbies include creative writing, language studies, and biking. She is in her third year of Spanish at school and has studied Korean independently for two years. Her main creative outlet is poetry. Seyni has been a member of the poetry club at school and has kept journals of her work throughout the years and wants to self-publish a book in the future. For the past three years, she’s been involved with Neighborhood Bike Works, a local youth riding club. As a graduate of the Ride Club program, she has learned the principles of bike safety and repair. She continues to participate in rides throughout the year and acts as a mentor to the younger members in the club.

She plans to major in marine science in college, so she is most excited about the program this summer surrounding environmental conservation. She is especially looking forward to her time at Reserva Playa Tortuga and participating in its conservation efforts. She believes that this “real world” exposure to the field will help to narrow her interests and give her greater insight into what her focus will be for future study.

Seyni believes that being a Wandering Scholar means not letting uncertainty, anxiety, or fear limit one’s opportunities. A Wandering Scholar is challenged to out of his or her comfort zone and acquires new knowledge and skills. She says that as a Wandering Scholar, she will be committed to sharing this information with those in her community who could benefit from her insight and experience.

Jordana Levine, Costa Rica

jordanaJordana Levine is a senior at Grandview High School in Aurora, Colorado. She is an active participant in her school’s Key Club and works part time at Chik-fil-A. For Jordana, a Wandering Scholar brings life, meaning, and change to any place they may wander, for they travel with purpose: the purpose for a better tomorrow. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Elementum eu facilisis sed odio morbi quis commodo. Imperdiet nulla malesuada pellentesque elit eget gravida. At consectetur lorem donec massa. Congue quisque egestas diam in arcu cursus euismod. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Elementum eu facilisis sed odio morbi quis commodo. Imperdiet nulla malesuada pellentesque elit eget gravida. At consectetur lorem donec massa. Congue quisque egestas diam in arcu cursus euismod. 

Abryahna Deguerre, Costa Rica

ADAbryahna Deguerre is from Boston, MA and is a senior at Reading Memorial HS. She is an active participant at Roxbury Youth Programs an after school leadership program and works part time at the YMCA.According to Abryahna – “To be a Wandering Scholar one must be open to explore new opportunities and look beyond the four walls of their neighborhood. They must also be able to join and learn about different environments and cultures.” Travel scholarship global travel student travel opportunity global fellowship travel grant financial aid. Travel scholarship global travel student travel opportunity global fellowship travel grant financial aid.Travel scholarship global travel student travel opportunity global fellowship travel grant financial aid.Travel scholarship global travel student travel opportunity global fellowship travel grant financial aid.Travel scholarship global travel student travel opportunity global fellowship travel grant financial aid.

Chelsea Ifeadike, Costa Rica

TWSCHELSEAIMG_0663Chelsea Ifeadike is a rising senior at Johns Creek High School in Johns Creek, Georgia. An avid reader and a movie enthusiast, Chelsea dreams of writing her own novel and attending the Sundance Film Festival in the future. Her interest in media and arts has driven her desire to travel to different countries and explore different cultures in the hope of becoming a global citizen.  She is excited to travel to Costa Rica and learn more about the homeland of her Spanish teacher and the country that her older sister adores. Chelsea believes that being a Wandering Scholar means being open to stepping out of ones comfort zone in order to learn new things, while being mindful that there is always more to see than ones own perspective. For Chelsea, a Wandering Scholar is someone who is motivated and determined to share their experiences in order to inspire others to be fearless and embark on their own journey.

Alexis Terry, Guatemala

Alexis
Alexis Kamryn Terry is from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and is a member of the Class of 2016 at Nicolet High School. She is an avid learner and can often be found at the PreCollege Programs at UW-Milwaukee after school. Alexis has also completed PreCollege courses at several other University of Wisconsin sites and applies this knowledge as the captain of her Model United Nations team. Furthermore, Alexis is an active member of her community, and was the recipient of both the National 2015 Alexander Hamilton Citizen Achievement Merit Award and the North Shore Rotary Service Above Self Award for her civic engagement. She is also a regular volunteer barista at her church coffee shop and is ecstatic to have the opportunity to travel to Guatemala, the world’s finest coffee producer. Alexis aspires to become a global citizen and when asked why she wants to be a Wandering Scholar, she said, “being a Wandering Scholar is more than being a tourist; the moment I step on the plane I become an ambassador for the United States.” Alexis is excited to explore the charming colonial city of Antigua, learn more about Mayan Culture, test out her Spanish, and dive into some traditional Guatemalan cuisines.

Tanaia Wilkinson, Costa Rica

TanaiaTanaia Wilkinson is from Cambridge, MA, and is a junior attending Cambridge Rindge and Latin School. She enjoys studying biology and the sciences, history, and Spanish, and looks forward to the Ecology, Eco-Action, and World Religion courses that she plans to take next year. Outside of school, she enjoys spending time in nature, reading, and music, to name a few things. Tanaia is excited to meet new people, explore new places, and learn about the Costa Rican environment and culture, and also to share her experiences with other people. To her, being a Wandering Scholar means having a willingness to explore new things and broaden one’s perspective while reaching for new opportunities for personal and community improvement. A Wandering Scholar shares their desire help others by developing educational opportunities, raising awareness, and fostering positive relationships with people in their local and global communities.

Sydney Kramer, Costa Rica

kramerSydney Kramer was born and raised in Bothell, Washington. She is a rising senior and Running Start participant attending Bothell High School where she is an active participant in Bothell Youth Court, an organization that promotes safe driving for teens through a peer driven court system that provides skill development and community service as a solution to unsafe driving. She is also the Community Service chair of her local Future Business Leader of America chapter and a varsity tennis team member. When asked why she wanted to be a Wandering Scholar Sydney remarked, “My family has always provided a loving, stable and supportive environment. I am resourceful, hard working, and driven to succeed. I go after what I want and I want to not only discover the unknown but to help make it a better place to live. The Wandering Scholar program will open the door I need ajar to allow me to make that difference. I am eager to bring back amazing memories and new skills that I can apply now, in college, in my career, and throughout my entire life.”

Gina Yoo, Costa Rica

ginaGina Yoo is a rising senior from New Hyde Park, Long Island. She attends Herricks High School, Searingtown, NY and in her spare time tutors middle school students. When asked how she would define a Wandering Scholar, Gina stated, “The dictionary defines “wandering,” as traveling aimlessly from place to place. However, this is an inaccurate explanation of a Wandering Scholar. Instead, a Wandering Scholar travels with purpose and determination. A Wandering Scholar travels to make a difference. He/she works to change lives and hopefully, help change society for the better. By assisting members of foreign cultures, a Wandering Scholar develops a new perspective on and appreciation for life. Taking it a step further, he/she aims to disseminate this newfound appreciation with a wide audience, inspiring others to take interest in foreign cultures and community service. A Wandering Scholar is a role model, setting an example for the youth of America.

Ciara Brown, Guatemala

ciaraCiara Brown is originally from Oakland, CA, but currently residing in Davis, CA. She is a junior at Davis Senior High School and  has been very active with numerous student groups. She has participated on the cheerleading squad, serves as a peer educator through L.E.A.D. which stands for Learn, Educate, Advocate, and Demonstrate, and also is the Vice President of the BSU (Black Student Union) club. Ciara is looking forward to traveling to Guatemala in order to bridge cultural gaps and learn more about others. Her mother always tells her to “never be afraid to live your dream to the fullest and to strive for your dream to come true” and it has become her personal motto. One of Ciara’s dreams is to travel the world. Learning Spanish for her has been a way to connect with a different culture. She is also looking forward to the mutual exchange of cultural sharing as she enlightens others about her culture as well.  Ciara believes that a Wandering Scholar is someone with strength, courage, creativity, skillful thinking, passionate, demonstrates caring for one another, and also is not afraid to make big changes around the world.

Melanie Espinal, Guatemala

melanieMelanie Espinal is a junior at the Cooperative Arts and Humanities school in New Haven, CT. Melanie is of Dominican and Puerto Rican heritage. Although she was born in Springfield, she is currently residing in New Haven, CT. She looks up to her eldest sister Sheeneika. Just like her sister, she strives to put down her “intellectual footprint regardless of limitations.” Since middle school, she has always had an interest in writing and has had opinion about what was going on around her. In Guatemala, she looks forward to analyzing the cultural aspects of community and the character of local inhabitants. In addition to fulfilling the project requirements of The Wandering Scholar program, she also plans to use testimonials to fulfill the requirements of her CAPStone project. She will continue the research she has done in Guatemala and connect her work to her local Connecticut community. Melanie believes that being a Wandering Scholar is lifting the little invisible lines in what your school has taught you, digging deeper, and being an active participant in society and taking it upon yourself to get first- hand knowledge. She also believes in the great J. R. R. Tolkien quote that says “Not all those who wander are lost.”

Kevin Lin, Ecuador

KevinKevin Lin is originally from Brooklyn, NY, but currently attends school in Staten Island. He is a sophomore at Staten Island Technical High School. In addition to traveling to the Galapagos Islands with The Wandering Scholar program, he will be working with CityScience, a nonprofit organization that promotes environmental education in disadvantaged youth. Two of his passions include: environmental science and environmental education. Kevin has participated on his school’s Envirothon team and on the Science Olympiad team. Currently, he is also engaged in a research project that involves studying the genetic diversity and source colonies of recent invasive snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) populations on Staten Island through the DNA barcoding of turtle leeches and prey items. In Ecuador, he is looking forward to conducting research on the effects of land development and the connection to biodiversity within the Islands through the medium of a photo essay. Additionally, he is also interested in collecting anecdotes from local residents that can add a cultural layer to his photo essay. Through his work as a Wandering Scholar, he hopes to inspire a future generation of environmental leaders. Kevin believes that a Wandering Scholar values the lessons that one acquires from encountering people from cultures other than their own; he or she brings back the lessons to his or her home community and spreads them. In this way, they effectively educate others about the different cultures present throughout the world.

Jonathan Moore, Peru

Jonathan Moore, from Detroit, Michigan, is a rising senior at Southfield High School. He enjoys writing slam poetry, watching the news and spending his free time volunteering at grassroots organizations. In school he enjoys taking English and Political Science classes and his favorite book is A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. He hopes to go to college in New York City (his favorite place in the world) and his dream destination is Madrid, Spain because, “the architecture and culture are so amazing and alive.” And his favorite food? “Chicken Alfredo, without a doubt.” When asked why he wanted to be a Wandering Scholar Jonathan wrote,

To be able to record my experiences abroad and share them with others around the world on the blog when possible would be a once-in-a lifetime opportunity for me, not only as a young, wandering scholar, but as a poet and admirer of words as well. I want to walk away from this experience with an extended appreciation of the way of life of other peoples, and how we are all connected.

Marina Pyfrom, Costa Rica

Marina is a rising senior at Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Although Marina was born in the United States, her father’s family is from the Bahamas, her favorite place in the world. Marina speaks a little Spanish and is also learning how to speak Italian. In addition to traveling to Costa Rica this summer, Marina dreams of one day visiting Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. When asked what she is most looking forward to about traveling to Costa Rica Marina said,

Besides the beautiful scenery, meeting new people and culture, I’m really looking to learning about the issues families in Costa Rica face each day. With the information I gather I hope to get involved with changing it. I also can’t wait to start the service project and see the difference we make in the host community. I am so ready and excited for this trip!

Serina Wesonga, Costa Rica

Serina Wesonga is a rising senior at San Marin High School in her hometown of Novato, California. Her favorite place in the world cannot be limited to one specific location, “since it’s the people that ultimately make a place special.” In her spare time she loves playing sports, especially basketball, and also likes to read. Her current book of choice is We the Living by Ayn Rand. Serina is eagerly awaiting her trip to Costa Rica. It has been her dream, since she was young, to travel the world and this will be her first trip overseas. When asked why she wanted to be a Wandering Scholar Serina wrote,
I want to broaden my horizons by seeing the world. I believe that if you live your life confined in a box where your mind and creativity is molded and stifled by your prison like environment you’ll never know what lurks outside of it until you break out and see for yourself. I am ready to break out of the box. I refuse to be a victim of my circumstances. I am ready to burst out of that box and I want to tell everyone what I saw when I journeyed outside it. I think if I am given the opportunity to be a part of this program I will really make the most of my experiences and try to spread the importance of travel amongst my peers. I think that this experience will really enrich my knowledge of what it’s like outside the United States. The experience of being a Wandering Scholar will let me be more aware of other countries and give me a chance to look at things differently and gain some unique perspective.

Precious Ekeanyanwu, Costa Rica

Precious is a rising senior from Aurora, Colorado. She was born in Imo State, Nigeria and moved to the United States with her family when she was a kid. Her favorite place in the world is Estes Park, Colorado. Precious speaks Spanish is also learning how to speak Igbo. She loves playing basketball, learning about social sciences and her favorite book is The Center of Everything by Laura Moriarty. In addition to traveling to Costa Rica this summer, Precious dreams of one day visiting Barcelona, Spain. She’d never turn down a plate of Fettuccine Alfredo. When asked what she is most looking forward to about traveling to Costa Rica Precious said,

“Since agriculture is a great factor in the growth and development of Costa Rica, I’m looking forward to doing my in-country project on the influence that the cuisine has on its culture. I’m excited to gather information about various aspects of the daily lives of Costa Rican’s and to observe, among other things, farming techniques, staple foods, local markets, traditional dishes and family dining routines .”

Vy Nguyen, Senegal

Vy is a rising junior from Seattle, Washington. She was born in Vietnam and moved to the United States with her family when she was a kid. Her favorite place in the world is Disneyland! Vy speaks Vietnamese and is also learning French. She loves playing volleyball and frisbee, going on road trips, trying out new food and volunteering. Her favorite foods run the gamut from sushi and pho to frozen yogurt and red velvet cupcakes. Besides going to Senegal this summer Vy hopes to one day visit the Polynesian Islands- specifically Bora Bora. When asked what she is most looking forward to about her trip to Senegal Vy said,

“I’m really looking forward to the discovery of a new culture; trying out new food, meeting new people, and speaking French! As well as seeing Senegal’s beautiful environment. I can’t wait to go to my homestay family and undertake the very different living style and build relationships with them. I never lived in a hut –style house before, so I’m really excited to try out that living arrangement! Overall, I’m eager to do meaningful community service work and make a difference there.”

Vy presented her travel experience to her home community through an interactive scavenger hunt around her town. Participants learned about Senegal through clues that Vy created and the final prize was a traditional Senegalese necklace called a mancatcher that Vy brought back with her. Vy’s trip to Senegal inspired her to also start a social venture called Imagine EduAfrica with the guidance of Ashoka Seattle’s Youth Ventures program. Learn more about the project here.

Rachel Patterson, Costa Rica

Rachel is a rising senior who was born and raised in San Diego, California. She speaks a little bit of Spanish and sign language, and considers her favorite place in the world to be “anywhere with friends.” Rachel’s favorite book is The Autobiography of Malcolm X, loves science, and can’t think of anything better than laughing on the dance floor.  Her dream is to visit every continent in the world, hopefully trying veggie burritos along the way. When asked what she was look forward to about her trip, Rachel says:

“I am most looking forward to interacting with the people of Costa Rica, and getting  to see the beautiful environment.”