Part of our mission here at CTWAC is to bestow the Global Student Leadership Awards to recognize the new generation of global student leaders. CTWAC awards students who have been instrumental in raising awareness about global affairs and actively participating in the conversations on these issues. CTWAC is in its third year of giving out our Global Student Leadership Awards to high school graduates. These students have demonstrated high interest in global affairs and have gone above and beyond to get involved in global affairs.
Glastonbury High School
Abhishek’s interest in global affairs began when he participated in the CTWAC Model UN. Debating resolutions and solving global issues showed him the importance of the cooperation needed to solve complex problems and helped him understand geopolitical relationships. Following this, he also participated in the Choate, Hopkins, and Harvard Model UN conferences.
To further learn about global affairs and engage in public speaking, he attended various CTWAC events on global security and debated as part of the CT Debate Association and in the Yale Osterweis Tournament. He recommends high school students get involved in world affairs by reading lots of articles, listening to podcasts, especially Ten Radio Hour, and attending as many WAC events as possible. He believes that this will help people understand issues from various perspectives.
In the fall, he will attend Harvard University and study Applied Mathematics and Economics. He wants to get involved in politics and finance and hopes to eventually work with the IMF. Before going to school he will be traveling to Italy and Switzerland and also hopes to study abroad in London.
Shepaug Valley School
Throughout Jack’s childhood his father was an Air Force pilot who flew combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. During this time, Jack became curious as to where his father was and why he was gone. Eventually, this caused him to want to know more about how the world worked. This curiosity led him to join his high school’s Model UN club, through which he attended the Ivy League and Harvard Model UN conferences. By his senior year, he was his club’s president and even served as the head delegate for France on the Historic Security Council as part of the Harvard Model UN conference. Along with Model UN, Jack was a panelist on Shepaug’s World Affairs Forum and later on served as the forum’s lead organizer.
Jack will be studying international relations and geography at the University of St. Andrews in the UK this fall. He is excited to explore the British Isles and also wants to travel to Bulgaria once school begins. After school, Jack wants to have a political career and work in the intelligence or defense industries.
Global affairs inspired Jack to become politically active in his own community too. He was appointed to the Wetlands Commission and worked as a grassroots consultant as part of a gubernatorial campaign. Now he is the assistant communications director for a congressional campaign in Connecticut’s 5th District, through which he can apply his skills in global affairs every day. He advises other students to branch out and learn to apply the knowledge that they gain for practical use.
Darien High School
During Kaela’s freshman year she met with someone from the International Justice Mission with her Youth Group and learned about the human trafficking industry. Following that, she watched a documentary entitled “The True Cost” and realized the necessity for people to come together and make a change in the world of human rights.
In high school, Kaela was able to travel to Reykjavik, Iceland through Gordon College’s Compass Program and explored Icelandic culture and learned about human rights issues facing the nation. She also took a class called “Contemporary Issues” through which she researched, wrote, and debated about global affairs. Recently, she interned with the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Organization under the Speak Truth To Power campaign.
This fall, Kaela will be studying Faith and Social Justice and Social Entrepreneurship at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. She is excited to travel to the Middle East, Southern Europe, and Sub Saharan Africa over her four years in school. In the future, she hopes to support women rescued from the human trafficking industry by opening a store and selling products made by them and establishing safe houses for the recovery of these women. Ultimately, she wants to help set up a sustainable system for advocacy and activism.
Kaela believes that “that in order to find one’s calling in life one should look at her deepest passion and the world’s greatest need; the intersection of those two points should make one feel like she is on fire in whatever she is doing.” She advises students to be steadfast in their beliefs and act fearlessly moment-by-moment in order to build character.
Westport High School
Juliana credits her interest in global affairs to her 10th grade teacher, Mrs. Schager, with whom she shared a passion for Middle Eastern Studies. She says Mrs. Schager sparked her interest in international affairs and shaped her global thinking. Juliana explored her interest in Middle Eastern Studies by doing a project on Operation AJAX and the US’s and Great Britain’s motivations for their involvement. She competed at the National History Day Contest in Maryland with this project. Juliana also took a Middle Eastern Studies class in which she drafted an idea for an app that would help combat the opioid crisis in Iran.
In the fall Juliana plans to study economics. In the future she wants to work in international economic policy for either the US government or a non-profit organization. She also hopes to travel to Costa Rica again where she would like to work on community service projects in La Fontana.
Juliana encourages other high school students to pursue their passions. She also emphasizes the importance of exposing oneself to other cultures because it heightens one’s sense of social awareness.
RHAM High School
Ashley’s interest in global affairs was sparked after she became more involved in Model UN. While representing Ethiopia, she became fascinated with looking at challenges through a different lens. Since then Ashley attended several events on cybersecurity, spoke with an Iranian delegate in New York City, and even served as Vice President of CTWAC Model UN. Through this, she chaired the Security Council committee and wrote her own crisis for the simulation. She advises students to join Model UN so they can understand what the global affairs process looks like, practice global cooperation by speaking with other delegates to examine a problem from various perspectives, and learn about the state of the world today.
In the future, Ashley wants to pursue psychology and biology and examine how brain chemistry and the physical structures of the brain affect our own psychology. She is also interested in the intersection of gender, sexuality, and psychology. She hopes to help children and teens in need and is considering careers in art therapy, school psychology, and corporate psychology.
Ashley will also be travelling to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands this summer where she will be exploring the local culture of Quito, Ecuador, the culture of South America, and the glorious wildlife of the Galapagos Islands. She hopes the trip will teach her more about tolerance, acceptance, and diversity. Aside from world affairs, Ashley is also an artist and loves using her creative skills to paint.
Lewis Mills High School
Mitchel knew he wanted to make a positive difference on the world and being involved in global affairs was his avenue to do so. His involvement in global affairs resulted in his being president of Politics Club and a very active and accomplished member of Model UN. In fact, Mitchel was even selected to participate in the Worldwide Harvard Model UN conference where he met and was inspired by students from around the world striving to make a difference. He furthered his interest in global affairs by taking classes like Human Rights, Creativity and Social Change, and AP US History, volunteering at the Day of Caring, and organizing and conducting a walkout for school safety. He advises other students to get involved and experience new things to find out what they are passionate about. He recommends joining a school politics club, humanitarian group, Model UN, or even simply watching YouTube videos to stay informed.
This fall Mitchel will be attending Eastern Connecticut State University. He hopes to major in Environmental Science and minor in Political Science or Public Policy. In the future, he hopes to join the political field by running for office and work for an environmental or human rights based NGO. This summer Mitchel is at Lake Placid in New York and is planning on flying to Washington State later on. He hopes to interact and explore cultures of other nations like Canada, Australia, and European countries later on.
Aside from global affairs, Mitchel was the captain of his rowing team and a state rowing champion. He would also love to travel to space and idolizes Neil deGrasse Tyson.
The Masters School
Sarah’s driving force behind her involvement in global affairs was inspired by her large family. Since Sarah is one of the youngest of ten children she has often heard stories of travel from her older siblings. She wants to be involved in global affairs by learning about the various cultures and communities around the world. In high school Sarah did this by participating in Model UN and visiting Shanghai to speak to young students about education abroad. She urges other students to become globally involved by meeting and learning from people of different cultures and ethnic backgrounds. She also recommends joining a Model UN club or taking classes involving international relations.
In college, Sarah would like to pursue biology and human anatomy. She loves to help people in need and wants to use this interest to become a physical therapist in order to help rehabilitate those who have been injured.
Although Sarah does not have any upcoming travel plans, she would love to go to Germany to meet her relatives and learn more about her ancestry.
Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School
Zherah’s interest in global affairs was sparked when she traveled outside the US for the first time. After extensive research, she visited the Dominican Republic and felt that after her trip her perspective on the world changed. As a child Zherah also loved learning different languages, and she is currently learning Arabic, Swahili, Portuguese, Ukrainian, and Spanish. She further delved into global affairs by joining her school’s debate team through which she learned a lot about the world around her. Zherah went to an arts magnet school and passionately pursued her interest in global affairs by attending peace and conflict classes at a community college, language classes through Yale Pathways to Humanities, and traveling to Spain and Portugal with her Spanish class. She advises other students to travel as much as possible, inform themselves on international happenings, and have an open mind to understand the perspectives of others.
This fall, Zherah will attend American University as a Sakura Scholar and study global international relations. Through this, she will spend two years studying in Kyoto, Japan and learn about regional history, trade, government, policy and culture. In the future Zherah wants to be fluent in ten languages and live abroad while working as a US diplomat or an international lawyer.
Zherah wants others to know the importance of education, as she believes it is the greatest thing someone can possess since knowledge can never be taken away. She wants to devote her life to treating others the way she wants to be treated.
Other Awardees Include:
Sai Keerthi Manasani, South Windsor High School
Sai has been an active and passionate member of her school’s Model UN program. She has won awards for the CTWAC Model UN and has even gone on to attend the Harvard Model UN conference. Through her various classes, including AP US History and AP Economics, she has demonstrated a commitment to building greater cultural and civic awareness. She will attend the University of Connecticut in the fall.
Leslie Hisman, Lyman Memorial High School
Leslie (pictured here on the left) is an active member of Model UN and has served as an officer for the CTWAC Model UN the past two years. She recently chaired the UNICEF Committee and is very passionate about global affairs. She will be attending the University of Denver in the fall where she will major in both international relations and flute performance.
Megan Rooney, Enfield High School
Megan has been involved in global affairs throughout her high school career. She served on the Security Council for the CTWAC Model UN, was a key member of her school’s Youth Vote Committee, and was a member of a student led discussion panel on current social and global issues. She will be attending Mount Holyoke College this fall.
Kathryn Condron, St. Joseph High School
Kathryn is dedicated to global affairs and has taken various classes, including International Relations, World Religions, and Global Studies, to learn more about the world around her. She plans to study International Relations at the University of Florida this fall.
Isra Hassan, O.H. Platt High School