Previous Fellows Profiles

Jacob Gerardi

Jacob Gerardi of Fayetteville, New York graduated from Fayetteville-Manlius High School, where he was actively involved in Model United Nations, served as the Communications Manager for SciExcite Inc., actively participated in the productions of Phantom of the Opera, Newsies, Cinderella and Titanic and played violin in the orchestra. Jacob was also an Eagle Scout and a valued member of the Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation Club. He has a passion for the arts, and loves playing the violin, participating in musical theater, and creating traditional beadwork pieces. Jacob plans to double major in Indigenous Studies and either Political Science or Global Studies along with a Spanish minor at UNC. He is passionate about activism, indigenous peoples’ rights, music, and art plans to continue at UNC.

During his gap year, spent the majority of his time between his two volunteer placements in La Habana (Havana, Cuba and in Navajo Nation […]

Grayson Buchanan

Grayson Buchanan of Wilson graduated from Greenfield School, where he was a member of The National Honor Society, Student Government, the swim team, and cross country team. Grayson received multiple awards for his scholastic and artistic talents, including The Michelangelo Award, The Abstract Painting Award, The Citizenship Award, The Most Valuable Volunteer Award, and The Academic Excellence Award. During his gap year, Grayson plans to receive his TEFL certification and teach in Vietnam with Coins for Change and Morocco with Dar Si Hmad.

Read Grayson’s blog posts here:

Pre-Departure: JFK Has Uncomfortable Floors 

Blog No. 2

Taiwan’s floors are not that bad, or a least they have a couch

A Final Reflection

Francis Gabriel Guillen Diaz

Francis Gabriel Guillen Diaz of West End graduated from North Moore High School, where he participated in the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) and was a member of his school’s marching band, cross country, track, and swim teams. Francis has received the James and Ellen Ross Carolina Scholarship at UNC and plans to study Global Studies and Economics. During his gap year, Francis hopes to expand his world view and improve his language skills by volunteering at Project Favela in Brazil and a Czech Republic nonprofit called Prague Thrift Store. Francis also wants to visit Paris, Naples, and Zurich.

Read Francis’s blog posts here:

Pre-Departure: Hello Stranger 

Tabajaras Newbie

Farah Heikal

Farah Heikal of Raleigh just completed her sophomore year at UNC where she is pursuing a dual degree in Peace, War, and Defense and Political Science with a concentration in Arabic. Farah is a 2017 graduate of Wakefield High School where she was a Junior Marshal and a member of the National Honor Society. At UNC, Farah is a Carolina Covenant Scholar and an active member of Campus Y committees such as LINC (Linking Immigrants to New Communities) and HYPE (Helping Youth By Providing Enrichment).

During her Bridge Year, Farah furthered her interest in supporting refugee and asylum seekers by teaching English and directing creative projects. She volunteered with Lebanese Association for Development and Communications in Beqaa Valley, Lebanon.

Read Farah’s blog posts here:

Pre-Departure: Baggage 

The Paris of the Middle East

Who do I think I am?

It’s not the end-It’s only the beginning

Ella Shapard

Ella Shapard of Chapel Hill graduated from Carrboro High School, where she was a member of the National Honors Society and spent time volunteering with Kidznotes in Durham. At UNC, Ella plans on studying Biology with a minor in Spanish and Marine Biology.

During her gap year, Ella travelled to Havana, Cuba and Bali, Indonesia. In Havana, Ella worked with Barrio Habana, a non-profit that crates extracurricular workshops for elementary school children to encourage creative thinking and problem solving skills. In Bali, Ella volunteered for the North Bali Reef Conservation where she built and implemented artificial reef structures to jumpstart coral reef growth in the area. While in Bali, Ella also received her PADI Open Water Diving Certification and spent time exploring various dive sites throughout the island.

Read Ella’s blog posts here:

The Science of Lines

5 Common Misconceptions about Cuba

Reflections on Tianyar, Bali

David Alejandro Gonzalez Chavez

David Alejandro Gonzalez Chavez of Chapel Hill graduated from Carrboro High School, where he was the President of the Math Club and volunteered regularly. David received UNC’s Pogue Scholarship and early admission assurance into Kenan-Flagler Business School and was accepted into Honors Carolina.

During his gap year, David served for 9 months as a childcare worker at Quaker Cottage, a family support center based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. There, his work involved working with babies and children up to the age of 12. He played with and care for the babies in the mornings while their mothers received counseling and support services from the organization. In the afternoons, he crated activities and played with the children in an after school group. On the weekends, David volunteered at a worker-owned cooperative called Loveworks, which ran both a bakery and repair shop. He worked front-of-house for the bakery, and also learned […]

Angela Seo

Angela Seo of Greensboro graduated from Northwest Guilford High School, where she was involved in Key Club and a member of the lacrosse and field hockey teams. She received the Mcknight Scholar Award, Aos Choice Award, and Northwest Field Hockey Most Valuable Player Award. Angela will be a part of the Honors Carolina program at UNC.

During her gap year, Angela volunteered with Global Citizen Year in Ecuador. Her apprenticeship brought her to Fabrica Imbabura, a museum and cultural center based in Andrade Marin, Ecuador. Angela gave bilingual tours to visitors, crated audio guides, translated promotional materials and tour guides for future volunteers, and helped out in the theater department of the museum.

Read Angela’s blog posts from abroad:

Pre-Departure: Carolina in My Mind 

Bad Luck

En la Fábrica

Amena Saad

Amena Saad of Durham is pursuing a degree in Journalism and Business Studies. She has served as co-leader of an APPLES Service-Learning Alternative Break to Asheville, which focused on hunger and homelessness. Amena is a member of the Editorial Board for the Daily Tar Heel, Gene Clark Memorial Scholarship winner, Tech Staffer at the Carolina Union, and a UNC Admissions Ambassador. She also serves as an advocate through the Community Empowerment Fund.

During her bridge year, Amena interned with the Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town, a refugee and migrant organization. She also pursed English Education, Advocacy, and Social Innovation work at the Yusra Community Center in Istanbul, Turkey.

Read Amena’s posts here:

Pre-Departure: Right on Time
The Night Is Young