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Campus Y announces 2015-2016 Global Gap Year Fellows

April 23, 2015

The Campus Y at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has selected the 2015-2016 Global Gap Year Fellowship recipients. The fellowship provides financial support for seven incoming first-year students who are admitted for fall 2015 under early action and choose to defer enrollment for one year to gain informal, global education that combines volunteer service, work and international travel. The fellowship, awarded on a competitive basis, provides up to $7,500 for each recipient to use toward travel, living expenses and other associated costs.

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Student brings passion for social justice to a

village in Brazil

April 15, 2014

“As a first-generation Chinese-American born and raised in Chapel Hill, Kristen Lee has always had a burning curiosity about the bigger world. Her opportunity to satisfy that curiosity came when she was accepted as part of Carolina’s Class of 2018. As one of this year’s select class of seven Global Gap Year Fellows – students admitted to Carolina through early acceptance who defer their first year to do international service – she got the chance to explore life far from home.”

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from University Gazette

Global Gap Year Fellowship broadens students’


April 15, 2014

“When this donor came in with the funds, the idea was already brewing here because of students who had taken gap years and were really passionate about encouraging other students to do it,” said S. Jakelin Bonilla, the Campus Y’s director of global programs.”

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from University Gazette,

Meet the 2014-15 Global Gap Year Fellows

April 2, 2014

The Campus Y at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill announces the 2014-2015 Global Gap Year Fellowship recipients. The fellowship program provides seven incoming first-year students with a stipend of $7,500 to use toward a gap year – a break from formal education between high school and college – committed to service abroad.

The fellowship program was made possible by an anonymous gift of $1.5 million to the Campus Y, which provides support for students who would not otherwise be able to fund their service work.

Gabriela Alemán of Charlotte graduated from Providence High School, where she served as the Vice President of the Spanish Club and Co-Community Service Chair of the Latin Club. She was also an active member in the Key Club and Model UN. In the summer of 2013, Alemán interned with Habitat for Humanity. She plans to major in Political Science or International Relations, and to spend her gap year serving in Brazil, Cuba, and the Philippines.

Thomas Elliott of Carrboro graduated from Chapel Hill High School. He participated in French National Honor Society and worked in his local bike shop. Elliott intends to major in Political Science. During his gap year, Elliott will partner with service organizations in Norway, Hungary, Morocco, Tunisia, and Oman.

Emily Gabbard of Highlands graduated from Highlands Senior High School. Gabbard served as president of the Student Government Association. She was the secretary of Beta Club, a Junior Marshall, a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Gabbard played basketball and soccer for all four years of high school, and qualified for the state golf championships her junior and senior years. Gabbard plans to major in Information Science. During her gap year, she will partner with service organizations in Peru, Italy, Ireland, New Zealand, and Switzerland.

Kaitlin Nicole Harlow of Clayton graduated from the St. Mary’s School. She participated in the Saint Mary’s Student Ambassadors Program and Student Government Association. She was also inducted into the National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society and received the 2013 Student Library Council Service Award. Harlow also plays guitar and piano. For her global gap year, she plans to work with NGOs to improve the quality of child-care and education in Central and South America.

Isabella Hernandez of Greenville graduated from the North Carolina School of Science and Math, where she served as the president of the Hispanic Cultures club, a member of the Blue Mirror Magazine Art Panel. She worked as an instructor during the NCSSM Icelandic Mini Term. Hernandez plans to double major in philosophy and biochemistry. She would like to spend her gap year serving in India, Nepal, and China.

Keely Kriho of LaGrange Park, IL graduated from Lyons Township High School. She is a member of the National Honor Society and National Italian Honor Society. She honed her voice in the school choir, as well as in musical theatre productions such as Hairspray, In the Heights, and The Wiz. She was the co-founder and co-president of “Knit One, Save One,” a service-based knitting club that knits and crochets items for organizations in need. She has participated for four years in Relay For Life cancer fundraising events and acted as a leader for Kairos, a Catholic retreat program for high-school and college-aged youth. Kriho intends to major in biology, and plans to serve during her gap year in countries such as Ecuador, Peru, India, and South Africa that need volunteers to help with disease prevention and the provision of primary care.

Lee Mook of Chapel Hill graduated from Carrboro High School. Mook participated in activities ranging from the Global Health Club to the Model UN, in addition to Varsity Baseball, Swimming, and Soccer. He is a three-time Iron Jaguar Award, member of National Honors Society, and member of Spanish Honors Society. Mook plans to major in public policy and, during his gap year, would like to work with service organizations in Nicaragua, Peru, Kenya, and China.

from Campus Y News

Michael Howell, Global Gap Year Fellow, wins FLAS Fellowship

March 25, 2014

According to Michael Howell2012-2013 Global Gap Year Fellow and recent recipient of a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship, learning another language is really about learning how you learn. “Language is an extension of that,” he explains.  For him, it’s not just about the method; it should be a personal experience. There is “no one way. . . people have the expectation that if they can just find the ‘right’ method, that will make all the difference. But there’s a lot more to it.”

In fact, it’s about love. According to Michael, you have to figure out what works for you, and love it: “if you don’t find a way to love it, you’re not going to have an enriched experience.” For those of us who did not love those high school French classes, don’t give up hope. Anyone can still learn another language.

Something else that helps? Having a language brain like Michael. A Lenoir, NC native, he currently speaks English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French. He’s actively learning Mandarin Chinese and ASL (American Sign Language). He has recently decided to start learning Yoruba (a tonal language spoken in West Africa) and is strongly interested in Hindi-Urdu, Arabic, and “a million other languages.”

As a Global Gap Year Fellow, Michael traveled to Brazil, Argentina, and Costa Rica. Knowing that he wanted to be a Linguistics major and ultimately an interpreter, Michael applied because he was interested in the real-world applications of those skills beyond college. As a result of his gap year, Michael hopes to build an institute to make language-learning resources more accessible for those who might not otherwise have access to them. “This is important to me not only because I know what it is like to miss out on opportunities because of financial limitations,” Michael says. His experience teaching English in schools in Brazil and Argentina during the gap year allowed him to see “what a great impact a small effort can have in inspiring others to pursue their passions . . . A small contribution can go so far.”

“Not many students had the opportunity to spend six months travelling abroad completely on their own, all before going to college,” says Michael. The Global Gap Year Fellowship was a “maturing experience, one that led to other opportunities,” such as the FLAS grant he just received from the Center for Global Initiatives. This award will fund a two-month visit this summer to Kunming, China with CET Academic Programs to learn Mandarin. Back at UNC, the grant will fund Michael to continue studying the language and take area studies courses in Chinese culture. Michael is a Chinese and Linguistics major, with a French minor.

The FLAS grant and the GGYF are extensions of Michael’s passion for languages, which even influences his home turf. He is living in the Chinese House Living-Learning Community where he tries to speak Chinese as much as possible. While Michael’s drive, passion, and intelligence have brought him these opportunities, he still wants to thank “the Campus Y, the Caldwell County Schools Education Foundation,​ and Center for Global Initiatives for supporting my education and for helping me pursue my passions.” What a guy. Now, how would I say that in Chinese?

from Campus Y News

2014-2015 Global Gap Year Fellows Selected

March 13, 2014

After some difficult deliberations, we selected the fourth class of UNC’s Global Gap Year Fellows. Notifications were immediately sent to all recipients, and student responses ranged from enthusiastic gratitude to shocked disbelief.

A great team selected this year’s recipients. The search committee included leaders from Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, the Office of Admissions, APPLES, the National College Advising Corps, the Center for Global Initiatives, previous Fellows, and Campus Y student leaders.

Thank you to everyone who assisted with the search process! We look forward to welcoming this year’s class at the Global Gap Year Orientation from April 4-6, 2014. During orientation, Fellows will meet the Global Gap Year community and participate in workshops to begin planning their gap year. These workshops cover topics from nitty-gritty logistics to making the most of the gap year. Fellows will also connect with “gappers” abroad and talk to former Fellows at UNC. This is an exciting weekend for our new Fellows as they begin to shape and think through their proposed global service projects.