Connect_Fellowship

2016 US-Brazil Connect Fellows

Brielle Birgensmith

Fellow

Brielle Birgensmith currently attends Flathead Valley Community College where she is studying Environmental Studies. She was born and raised in Whitefish, Montana. Brielle decided to apply for the US-­Brazil Connect Fellowship because she went to a presentation at her college for US­-Brazil Connect, and she thought it looked like a great experience. She also really wanted to travel through a Flathead Valley Community College associated program. Brielle is most looking forward to meeting new people and being able to gain more communication skills, as well as fully immersing herself in a new culture.

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Brielle Birgensmith

Brielle Birgensmith

Fellow

Chiara Wuorenmaa

Fellow

Chiara is a 2011 Daniels Fund Scholar Alumna and after four years of attending the University of Northern Colorado, graduated in 2015 with a teaching degree in Special Education. She has a passion for exploring new cultures and volunteering. So far, she has contributed over 4,500 volunteer hours at the Marian House Soup Kitchen in Colorado Springs, Colorado. In 2015, she went to Joinville, Santa Catarina, Brazil with the US-Brazil Connect Conexão Mundo program.

After the completion of the 2015 Conexão Mundo program, she accepted an offer to be a founding member of the US-Brazil Connect Alumni Board. In 2016, she will travel to Pôrto Velho, Rondônia, Brazil with the Conexão Mundo program. She currently lives in Colorado Springs, where she works at Possibilities, a day program for adults with special needs, ages 18-80. Her next goal is to move abroad and teach special education or English.

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Chiara Wuorenmaa

Chiara Wuorenmaa

Fellow

Christina Nelson

Fellow

Christina Nelson is a student at Flathead Valley Community College. She lived in Montana most of her life, specifically in Flathead Valley and Helena. She will be completing general studies and graduating this spring with an AA/AS dual degree. She first saw the US‐Brazil Connect Fellowship program last semester but dismissed the idea of going because she did not think it would fit into her life very well. Then Gerda Reeb (the College Coordinator at Flathead Valley Community College) sent out a second email saying that she was still looking for participants and so Christina reconsidered. Her circumstances had changed, allowing her to be able to attend. Christina has always wanted to go to the Amazon, and has had a fascination with the country of Brazil since she was little. She looks forward to being immersed in another culture and getting to know the people of Brazil and forming connections. She also looks forward to working with her US team on this trip and getting to know everyone. She knows this is going to be an unforgettable experience.

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Christina Nelson

Christina Nelson

Fellow

Isaac Schmadeka

Fellow

Isaac Schmadeka is a returning US‐Brazil Connect Fellow. In 2015 he was a Community College Fellow with Community Colleges of Spokane. He coached students from Vila Velha, Espirito Santo. He is returning this year as a Global Leader Fellow and is so excited to be given the opportunity to once again come back to the great nation of Brazil! Isaac’s experience last July with Conexão Mundo students was honestly the best experience of his life. He currently goes to school at Boise State University, and is studying linguistics with the hope to become an English teacher internationally once he graduates! He is so grateful to have this opportunity once again and he can’t wait to meet his new students this year!

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Isaac Schmadeka

Isaac Schmadeka

Fellow

Jacqueline Ewing

Fellow

Jacqueline Ewing currently attends Northwestern Michigan College where she is pursuing a degree in English. She grew up in Traverse City, Michigan. She first heard about the US-Brazil Connect Fellowship program in January through a friend of hers who was applying for the Fellowship, and will also be going on our trip with the Northwestern Michigan College team! On very short notice, Jacqueline was encouraged to apply for the program from her teacher, Jim Bensley, and she couldn't be happier that she took his advice. She is very excited for the "newness" of this experience. She believes she will be challenged in every way. Jacqueline will be experiencing a new place with new people, and in a brand new role. She knows that she will walk away from this trip with a fresh perspective and renewed independence.

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Jacqueline Ewing

Jacqueline Ewing

Fellow

Katy Min

Fellow

Eunjeong (Katy) Min attends Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City, Michigan. Eunjeong was born and raised in Seoul, the capital of South Korea, and moved to Wisconsin in 2010. She will be receiving an Associate's degree in Art and Science after this semester and will continue pursuing liberal studies for a Bachelor’s degree.

Eunjeong wants to experience what it is like to be part of a culture and community that she is not familiar with. She is excited to overcome her fear of public speaking, and to share a lot of beautiful moments with the Brazilian Students. She loves music and is good at playing many different instruments. Eunjeong would like to learn how to speak Portuguese, and her first language is Korean!

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Katy Min

Katy Min

Fellow

Kinlie Sundh

Fellow

Kinlie Sundh is currently working on her pre-requisites to get into the surgical technology program at Flathead Valley Community College. After having lived in Germany for the last two years, and returning to America, more specifically Kalispell, MT., Kinlie knew that traveling and immersing herself in foreign cultures would be something that she would always love and strive to do. Not only to experience new things, but also to learn to think in different ways and gain new perspectives. She has had many different experiences, but nothing compares to the time she spent abroad. This is where she had the opportunity to really learn about herself and grow as an individual. Though her primary time abroad was spent in Europe, she has a great desire to learn about as many new cultures and people as possible.

Having the opportunity to give back to the countries she visits is also very important to Kinlie, which is why the US- Brazil Connect program through Flathead Valley Community College is a perfect fit for her. Kinlie believes that you grow and learn so much while visiting a new place, and she feels it's important to do something just as beneficial for the people you are visiting.

Kinlie is always up for new experiences, to gain knowledge, and a new perspective by trying out new things. In her free time she enjoys hiking, playing sports, reading a good book, and hanging out with her friends. She may also be slightly addicted to coffee and the internet.

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Kinlie Sundh

Kinlie Sundh

Fellow

Leah Baethke

Fellow

Leah Baethke attends Kirkwood Community College and will be transferring to the University of Iowa to study Chemistry and Environmental Science in the fall of 2016. She is originally from Cedar Rapids, Iowa and found out about the US­-Brazil Connect Fellowship program from a friend of hers who went to Brazil last year. She applied so she would have the chance to work with students from another country, and get out of her comfort zone since she doesn’t really know how to speak Portuguese.

Leah is most looking forward to meeting her students and sightseeing in Porto Velho. She is a big nature fan and really likes being outdoors, so she’s hoping her team will get a chance to go see the Amazon rain-forest since they’ll be so close.

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Leah Baethke

Leah Baethke

Fellow

Noah McDuffie

Fellow

Noah McDuffie is a student at Flathead Valley Community College. He is originally from Georgia, but has lived in Montana for 15 years. He is currently undecided on his major.

Noah applied for the US-­Brazil Connect Fellowship to have a new experience in life. He is looking forward to meeting new people, creating relationships, and gaining leadership skills.

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Noah McDuffie

Noah McDuffie

Fellow

Olivia Fleet

Fellow

Olivia Fleet attends Northwestern Michigan College, and is from Traverse City, Michigan. She is currently still undecided in her area of study, but she believes she will most likely do something with sociology or gender studies!

Olivia applied for the US­-Brazil Connect Fellowship because for her, making human connections is our most important purpose on this planet. She is so excited to build mutually fulfilling connections with her students. She believes that while they might be sharing their knowledge of the English language, she knows the students will end up teaching her far more than she could ever teach them.

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Olivia Fleet

Olivia Fleet

Fellow

Starr Lee

Fellow

Starr Lee is originally from San Francisco, California, but has relocated to Marion, Iowa. She is currently a sophomore at Kirkwood Community College, and has high hopes of transferring to the University of Iowa for the 2017 spring semester. She is majoring in Biomedical Science and plans to pursue her doctorate in genetics.

Starr recently applied to US-Brazil Connect for three reasons: she likes to help people, she wants to step outside of her comfort zone, and because she wants to be immersed in a different culture. US-­Brazil Connect will allow her to do all three. She is looking forward to experiencing Brazilian culture and seeing the results of the hard work her students will do to improve their English skills. In her free time, she likes to take pictures of her friends and write in the third person about herself.

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Starr Lee

Starr Lee

Fellow

Stephanie Fiebing

Fellow

Stephanie Fiebing attends Northwestern Michigan College where she is a business and social major. The reason she applied to be a US-Brazil Connect Fellow is because she wants to impact someone’s life, creating a ripple effect. She thinks it is important to seize the moment and take the leap. Stephanie is excited to see and experience the progress of growth and connections from two different cultures. One of her minor goals while being in Brazil is to eat authentic food and hopefully learn how to cook her favorite dish.

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Stephanie Fiebing

Stephanie Fiebing

Fellow