Giving away money is fun. Making people smile is fun. Meeting a need is fun. So trust me when I say that all of us on the ICES Global Impact Scholarship Committee have had a fabulous time executing this program for the very first time.
It’s been inspiring to read the essays that came flooding in from all across the country on this year's topic: Why Cross-Cultural Understanding Is Important to Our Future. It’s been encouraging to hear the passion and articulacy of our youth as they give serious thought to this subject and offer their ideas and solutions. And it’s been darn hard to narrow down the submissions to just five winners. But we did.
We would like to congratulate this year’s winners and share a brief quote from each one. Each of these worthy teens will receive $1000 toward their college education.
Jessica Yang, Anchorage, Alaska
"Cross-cultural dialogue helps foster a world where people of all ethnicities can value each other as human beings first—to tackle mental health and other international issues filled with cultural nuances."
Jessica plans on studying Human Biology or Neurobiology at Stanford University in the fall, with a minor in either Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity or Global Health. In the future, she hopes to volunteer in ethnically-diverse communities around the world, and continue advocating for mental health and healthcare equities in the United States as a nonprofit mental health director or as a neurosurgeon.
Briana Stunda, Conroe, Texas
"Cross-cultural understanding is the weapon and tool to ultimately transform the way we think as humans and truly move forward as a global society.”
This fall, Briana will be attending the University of Texas at Austin to study chemical engineering with a humanitarian engineering certificate addition to her degree. This will allow her to combine her engineering mindset with her passion for helping others to design projects and create initiatives for disadvantaged communities around the world.
Carrine Kogulan, Fort Wayne, Indiana
"Especially with an increase in diversity, cross-cultural understanding is important to our future, because it's imperative to communicate with others from different cultures to appreciate varying perspectives."
Carrine plans to attend Missouri Southern State University to study biology. She aspires to become a doctor.
Tanner Hart, Missoula, Montana
"I think cross-cultural understanding is important because it allows us to understand and accept people from all around the world. "
Tanner plans to attend Montana State University and pursue a degree in business. His career goal is to use his degree and college experience to successfully run his own business.
Kyra Hess, Baraboo, Wisconsin
"Cross-cultural understanding teaches us the importance of striving for connectedness, compromise, and tolerance; through it, ignorance and hate are defeated by knowledge and love. "
This fall, Kyra plans to attend the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. She will be working towards a dual major in Chemistry and Physics. She also hopes to obtain minors in Spanish and Mathematics. Her ultimate goal is to teach science at the high school level.
We want to thank each scholarship applicant for taking the time to share your thoughts, and we wish each of you much success in your college studies and vocational endeavors. We hope that you will continue to make the world a better place by promoting cross-cultural understanding.
For nearly 30 years, ICES has been making the world a better place through high school youth exchange. Consider joining us in this critical mission by participating in one of our programs:
Become a Host Family – ICES is always looking for caring families to open their hearts and homes to high school students from around the world.
Become an Exchange Student – ICES offers summer, semester, and academic year programs to various countries around the world. You don’t have to wait until college to study abroad!
Become a Global Ambassador – High school students can promote cross-cultural understanding in their own communities by volunteering as an ICES Global Ambassador to increase program awareness and provide peer support to exchange students in your area.
Become a Local Coordinator – Invest in today’s youth and tomorrow’s future by placing exchange students with volunteer host families in your area and supporting them through their exchange program.