2018 Learner Profiles

This year’s Leadership Collective had 33 learners from the US, South Africa, India, and Nepal! Get to know the learners below, and follow along on their Leadership Collective journey as they share their reflections.

Alung is from Manipur but is currently doing his Bachelor’s studies in Bangalore. His village in Manipur is only 700 people, and he is passionate about bringing what he learns in Bangalore and on the Leadership Collective back to his village. Alung loves music and singing from Western to Indian Classical. He’s also a big football fan, following the World Cup closely.

Archana, or Manisha, is from the mountains of the Garhwal Himalaya in Uttrakhand. She is 18-years-old and does her studies at home. She lives in a community called the APV School, where her father teaches. As such, she loves to be with kids and always feels energetic at the school. Music and meditation are part of her life. Manisha also has two dogs and one cat. She’s excited to meet everyone on the Leadership Collective.

Ashlene is a 17 year-old from Cape Town. She is currently in her last year of high school. Playing soccer is her passion, not necessarily because she is good at it, but because it is her dream. She also loves dancing and working with kids.

Ayabulela, or Aya, is 16 years-old. He’s from near Stellenbosch, Cape Town. He likes to play tennis. Aya is great at communicating with people and getting to know people of different backgrounds. He’s really looking forward to learning more about India and leadership on the Leadership Collective.

Bole Kadirappa is pursuing his second year BSE. He is from Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh. Kadirappa’s father is a farmer, and his mother is a homeworker. He also has one younger brother. As a participant in the Leadership Collective, he’s very excited for all the information that he will get!

Catherine is 18-years-old and is from Ukhrul, Manipur. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s in Bangalore, and she is interested in becoming a social worker. She believes her job should be as enjoyable as a hobby. Catherine enjoys being with her friends and family. Her other hobbies are reading stories and novels, listening to music, and watching movies.

Cindy is a junior in high school in Woodbridge, Virginia, which is about 30 minutes away from Washington DC. She is part of a specialty program at her school called the Center of International Studies. Cindy gets to explore languages and cultures as part of the program and has been taking Italian since middle school. Her family is from El Salvador. Cindy looks forward to trying new food and hearing new music while on the Leadership Collective.

De’Jon is a junior in high school from New Orleans, Louisiana, where he was born and raised. De’Jon is an artist of many forms, including music, drawing, media, and acting. He would like to be a YouTube comedian, which is good because he’s an enthusiastic person. De’Jon also runs cross-country and track. He has a baby sister, who brings a lot of joy into his life. He’s looking forward to creating a bigger family of friends through the Leadership Collective.

Dimpy is 19-years-old from Guwahati, Assam. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. This interest extends beyond school, as she likes to meet new people, explore different personality types, and engage with intellectual conversation. Additionally, Dimpy likes listening to poetry and reading novels, especially thrillers. She’s excited to be part of a team experiences on the Leadership Collective.

Dungar is in 12th grade studying commerce. He is from Mumbai and has always wished to travel. He likes to play basketball, go to the gym, and watch Marvel movies. Spiderman is his favorite Marvel character. As Dungar has the opportunity to travel with the Leadership Collective, he plans to make the most of it by making new friends and helping everyone learn from each other.

Emmett is a junior in high school from Northern California. He likes to read, which leads him to volunteer at his local library. He also volunteer cooks for a project delivering healthy meals to cancer patients and coaches youth baseball. You may notice that his outfits always match, as he likes fashion. Emmett is interested in social justice and equality and is excited to learn about their role in India’s history while on the Leadership Collective.

Fatoumata, or Fatou, is a senior in high school from the Bronx, New York City. Her family is from the Gambia, so she is West African in addition to being American. She loves to cook and binge watch Netflix. For her future career, Fatou hopes to work in investment banking while focusing on global economic development. On the Leadership Collective, she is excited to share about her culture and learn more about other cultures.

Isaiah is a junior at ARISE High School in Oakland, California. He’s lived in California his whole life, but has bounced around different schools. Basketball is Isaiah’s main passion, and he hopes this can be a part of his professional career. He is passionate about learning many things! Psychology and learning about the human brain, and what it has to offer, are two of his favorite subject’s in school. He has not been out of the country and will be someone who will bring the right amount of humor to the trip!

Jaimi is a junior at West Wilkes High School in Millers Creek, North Carolina. In her small town, she has many hobbies from guitar to piano, to soccer and hiking—pictures of mountains are something she enjoys. Jaimi has benefited from many mentors investing in her education process, including participation in Upward Bound, Appalachian State. This program has helped give her big dreams about college. Jaimi would like to major in Music Education so that she can share her Native American musical heritage with others. She is Cherokee Indian.

Jennifer, or Jenny, is a junior at ARISE High School in Oakland, California. She was born in San Francisco, but moved to Oakland soon thereafter. Jenny is a foster youth who has big goals to give back to the foster youth community when she is older. While she has been to Mexico to meet family members, this will be her first time traveling outside of the Americas. Her main goal of traveling with the Leadership Collective is to understand more about children around the world, so that this can influence her future work. She plays the flute in school band and likes art.

Jorge is a senior at New Tech High School in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Jorge is the oldest of five siblings, and family is a big part of his life. He likes trying traditional food, which in his house is Mexican, and learning about new cultures. Volunteering, including helping at his church and serving food to seniors in his community, are a couple things he does outside of school. His school has taught him a lot about teamwork and leadership, which will continue to grow on the Leadership Collective.

Joseph is from the Northern Virginia area and is a junior in high school. His family is from Peru and El Salvador. He loves soccer, has a dog, and works on cars with his dad in his spare time. Joseph is in the National Honors Society and particularly likes math and science. He hopes to study in the medical field in college. On the Leadership Collective, he’s looking forward to all the new experiences he’ll encounter in India.

Karina is a junior at Mount Pleasant High School in San Jose, California. She is passionate about math and science, as her learning is constantly changing and expanding. Karina spends a lot of time tutoring younger students in her community in math, encouraging a love for the subject, especially for females. Dance is another passion of hers, and she is often leading dance camps in school and for young students. Her family is also from Mexico, where she has visited. Karina is a quiet leader, who will contribute a lot to the Leadership Collective!

Kenya is a junior in high school from the small town of Wilkesboro, North Carolina. Her mom is from El Salvador, and her dad is from Mexico, so she has grown up with these two different cultures. At school she plays goalkeeper on her soccer team. Outside of school, she likes photography. Nature is one of her favorite photography subjects, including the sky and Appalachia Mountains that surround her town. She’s relaxed and loves making people laugh, which we’re looking forward to on the Leadership Collective.

Nathaly is a junior at Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School in New York City. She is Ecuadorian and American. She loves desserts and baking, with one of her favorites being cheesecake. Art is another passion of hers, and she has dreams of becoming an art teacher in California. If she could see an elephant while on the Leadership Collective, the trip to India would be extra special.

Nokulunga, or Lunga, is 18 years-old from the township of Soweto in Johannesburg. She is a skills coach at an organization called Grassroots Soccer. She enjoys meeting new people and listening to music. Her interpersonal and communication skills help her to engage with people very well, which is a great quality for the Leadership Collective!

Perry is a junior at Madras High School in Madras, Oregon. Perry is a tribal member of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. Horses are a big part of Perry’s life from working with them at the local stables, to participating in rodeo in other parts of the country. He also enjoys skateboarding, which he’s hoping he can find a way to do in India! When he is older, he’d like to move to California.

Priyanka is studying in the Little Angels’ College of Management in Kathmandu, Nepal. She is from the Newari community and has one brother. She is passionate about travel and challenging her abilities and capacities. Priyanka also spends time engaging with people and helping people in her community. She looks forward to sharing her Newari and Nepali heritage with the Leadership Collective.

Rachel is 16 years-old, from South Africa’s Eastern Cape. She works with a nonprofit mental health organization called Waves for Change, which uses surfing as a way to engage youth and equip them with life skills. She’s a curious and outgoing person. Rachel looks forward to developing a broader knowledge of history, living, and culture on the Leadership Collective.

Ramil is a senior at ARISE High School in Oakland, California. He was born and raised in Oakland and is Filipino. As a high schooler, he joined a nonprofit gym which aims to help young people gain confidence in themselves and leadership skills. This has made a big impact on his life, particularly the martial arts such as Jiu Jitsu, Boxing, and Kickboxing. Ramil’s ambition post-high school is to be a sports medicine doctor. He is also involved in his church choir, singing tenor. This will be his first time out of the country, and he is excited to share some of his unique Filipino culture with India and the student group.

Raven is a senior at Santa Fe Indian School in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is a Native American from the Pueblo of San Ildefonso. Raven plays softball and soccer at school. When thinking of her future, her family, culture, and education are the most important to her, as they have shaped her identity. Her heritage has shaped a large part of her, including values of caring for the environment, which is something she looks forward to learning more about on the Leadership Collective.

Rethabile is 19 years-old from Johannesburg. She is a life skills coach at an organization called Grassroots Soccer, which uses soccer as a medium to share information on HIV/AIDS with participants. While not a huge fan of soccer the sport, Rethabile does love reading novels, interacting with different people, and learning new things.

Selena is a sophomore in high school in New Orleans, Louisiana. She loves learning about different cultures and learning different languages. She is currently studying Korean and Spanish and enjoys KPop and other music. Her family is African American, Spanish, and European. This diversity fuels her interest in other cultures. We’re excited to have this curiosity with us on the Leadership Collective!

Tamber is a junior in high school in Spokane, Washington. She was born in New Mexico, but later moved to Washington. Tamber spends most of her time dancing, including teaching break dancing, hip-hop, and KPop choreography. She takes Spanish at school and is self-learning Korean. She volunteers in her community and has a dog named Sugar. Tamber’s general joy will add to the Leadership Collective!

Tierra is a junior at Red Cloud Indian School in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. She belongs to the Oglala Lakota tribe and the Navajo Nation. Though she was born in San Diego, California, with a mom in the Navy and dad in the Marines, her family moved to Pine Ridge so that they could connect with their culture. While it was tough move, Tierra’s tribes are core to her identity. Tierra is track athlete and has been invited to compete abroad. She has also participated in multiple events representing young people and her community in Washington DC.

Yaovi Jacques Koutoglo is a junior at Chicago Military Academy in Chicago, Illinois. He is from West Africa—Ghana, Togo, and Benin—and lived there for ten years before moving to Chicago at the age of eleven. He likes to exercise, play soccer, and write poetry. He is also excellent at playing the piano, which he has played for about three years. Yaovi is really looking forward to the Leadership Collective trip.

Vandana is 17-years-old and is from Chamba, Himachal Pradesh. She likes to listen to music and making new friends. Vandana is from the Gaddi tribal community, which has its individual dialect and is a small community. She is excited meet all the new people on the Leadership Collective.

Zoe is a junior at Williams Prep High School in Chicago, Illinois. She likes to stay active and be involved with many things. Zoe describes herself as an introverted extrovert, so some her favorite activities are sleeping and reading. Two of her favorite books are The Handmaid’s Tale and To Kill a Mockingbird. Her school is a medical academy, and she studies in the pharmacy part. Currently, she’s completing an internship in pharmacy research.