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Hathai Cohort


Ana Basaldua

My name is Ana Basaldua. I am 19 years old. I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. I attended Westview High School and graduated in 2016. I am a full time student at Portland Community College. I work at a Children's Preschool/Daycare where I enjoy my time working with children. I love going on road trips, listening to loud music, dogs and long walks. I'm excited to be on an airplane and leaving the country ( my first time for both!) I can't wait to learn how to scuba dive and experience so many new things that I never had before. Traveling has always been a big dream of mine and I'm very thankful to have this opportunity.

Cecilia Franklin-Knapp

Hello I am Cecilia!
I was born and raised in Portland,OR. I enjoy spending time in nature where I experience life thriving changes. I realized recently just how much nature can do to a person. I attended LEP charter high school until its close in 2015 then graduated from Alliance @ Benson this spring. As much as I am interested in biology, physics, and statistics, I also would go for any Kafkaesque series. I am thrilled to meet my cohort soon and for our adventure to growth together.

Cynthia Rodriguez

My name is Cynthia Rodriguez, I was born in Mexico but raised in Oregon ever since I was two years old. I'm currently attending Portland Community College as a Future Connect Scholar. I'm working on my Associates of Science Transfer Degree, and hoping to transfer to OHSU or Pacific University to pursue a career in the medical field as a traveler Pediatrician. I'm the first one in my family to go to college. I want to become a role model to my younger and older siblings. To never give up, to continue what you're most passionate about. Everything is possible. I want to be able to share my experiences about college and Carpe Mundi with my loved ones. I enjoy working at the Walters Cultural Arts and being part of the City of Hillsboro, but when I'm off work I enjoy going to the gym, being around my family and my dog. My hobbies are soccer, boxing, and hiking. I love nature, kids, and animals. I am grateful to have this opportunity and be part of the Hathai Cohort. I'm ready to learn and experience a completely different culture, language, and environment and one day give back to my community. I'm looking forward for this adventure and to come out of my comfort zone.

Denis Eckert

This is Denis Eckert. In middle school, Denis had joined the Boy Scouts of America. This is where he had found of sense for adventure. He experiences backpacking, camping, long distance hiking, and horseback riding. The creative side of Denis was challenged in high school when he had participated in theatre art and choir. He is currently going to Portland Community College to finish his general studies before transferring to an university. Recently, Denis had picked up the hobby of photography. He is looking forward to experience new adventures while balancing his heart and mind.

Elena Garcia

My name is Elena Garcia. My hobbies include photography, boxing and writing. I am a student at Portland Community College. I am excited to experience something that is different than what I'm used to. 

Lena Tran 

My name is Lena Tran. I come from a Vietnamese and Chinese background. I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. I am the first in my family to graduate from High School and attend Portland Community College. My hobbies are writing, reading, playing the ukulele and being with my two pups Milo and Ben. I am excited explore what the world and South East Asia has in store for me, to find who I am and what I am capable of when obstacles are thrown at me.

Sierra Caputo

My name is Sierra Caputo. I am 20 years old and originally from Las Vegas. I am currently attending Portland Community College where I am studying to be in the medical field. While not in school or work I enjoy drawing, dancing, and lounging by the pool. I have a huge family and I am an aunt to 11 wonderful kids. It has always been a dream  of mine to travel and I am so grateful to get this opportunity. I am most excited about getting to experience the culture and traditions of another country. 

Terevina Joseph

Alii, Alem, hello!
My name is Terevina Joseph, 21 years old and the oldest of 5 children. I am a born American
Micronesian woman with a Palauan father and chuukese mother. I was born and raised on a
beautiful island called Saipan and relocated to Portland, OR when I was 13 back in 2009. I
graduated from Franklin High School with the class of 2015 and is currently enrolled at Portland
Community College.
For as long as I can remember, I loved to play softball. I started in 5th grade and stuck with it.
I waited until high school and was able to play softball again due to finacial struggles. I was
so happy that I got to play, but because I come from a very strict cultured family. I had
responsibilities not many high school students would normally have. Being the “finichi” (oldest
girl) of a Micronesian family had its perks. I only played softball for 2 years and voluntarily chose
not to play the next year due to my responsibilities at home.
I love reading a good book every once in awhile, I may not be at my fittest right now, but I like
anything I can challenge myself to do, such as hikes. I am looking forward to this trip to explore
the countries and for the experience it may give me. I hope that I get to learn something worth a
lifetime, to get to see the beauty of other countries besides my own and to live locally with the citizens and see what their day to day life is like.

Vincent Prom



My name is Vincent Prom. I am 18 years old and younger brother of Patrick Prom who was previously in the Bala Cohort of 2014. I am a valedictorian graduate of Jefferson High School class of 2017. Now, I am attending Portland State University as a full time student. While in High School, I discovered that one of my favorite things to do is to dance. I was a part of an elite company that traveled nationally and internationally. My first trip that I have ever made out of the country was to perform and tour in Aix en Provence, France. The experience was a grand one. I made so many memories and new connections there. More of my hobbies include playing basketball, fishing, camping, running, bike riding, and occasionally playing video games. I love to challenge myself and that is one of the things that I hope to do during this trip.

Thank you!

Zahkile Webb


Hello, my name is Zahkile.

I am 18, I was born here in Portland, but have lived most of my life in Eugene. I am a graduate of Alliance high school and am now a full time student at PCC Southeast. I am currently working as a dishwasher at the Garagiste wine bar. I am passionate about music and spend much of my time playing the guitar or drums, or just listening to music. I am also passionate about traveling and imagine it is something I will do a lot of in the future. I am super excited to go to Southeast Asia, and I also have plans to visit my Ghana in August to visit my family there.

Ithemba Cohort


Ahmad Hill

My name is Ahmad Hill. My life passion is martial arts. The one thing I love most in this world is the people that live on it. My hobbies are hiking, skateboarding, and just hanging out with friends. I’ll be starting my freshmen year at Portland Community College this fall. I’m so excited to see the world and experience life changing things.

Alejandra Villanueva Navarro


My name is Alejandra Villanueva Navarro. I am 19 years old, born and raised in Portland, OR. I come from a Mexican family that migrated to the United States before I was even born. I graduated from Aloha High School in 2016. I'm currently the first in my family to be a full time college student at Portland Community College as a Future Connect scholar. I work at an ice cream shop as a part time job. When I am not at work or school I enjoy my time with my friends and family, beach trips, and traveling overall. I've always been and adventurous person, and having the opportunity to travel to the other side of the world is a dream come true. I'm extremely great full for the opportunity to visit a different country and be able to learn and grow from this new experience to come.

Angelo Acuss

My name is Angelo Accus. I am multilingual and enjoy doing gymnastics. If I could learn another language I'd like to learn how to talk to animals because I love animals. I study Zoology, Caribbean history and Philosophy on my free time as well as Creative Writing, Sociology, and Mathematics at Portland Community College. I recently began working as an on sight Medical Interpreter for Telelanguage. When I am not at work or school am spending time with friends and family.

Ashley Gonzalez Lopez


Desiree Casanova

Hi! My name is Desiree Casanova and I am beyond ready for this incredible adventure! My hobbies include coloring, exploring new places, trying new things, hiking, cooking, and watching my favorite tv shows. I am known to be outgoing, a natural leader, and funny, some would even say I'm the life of the party! Im most excited to hike up the mountain to Machu Picchu in South America, as part of my Carpe Mundi experience! This is an opportunity of a life time and I can hardly wait to travel, learn new cultures, and be apart of this incredible experience!

Dominique Lakhiaminh

My name is Dominique, I am Laotian, born in New Mexico and moved to Oregon five years ago. I graduated from Liberty High School in 2016. I am attending Portland Community College as a Future Connect Scholar, and I am working on my Associate of Arts Transfer Degree. I am the first one in my family to go to college, so I want to be able to expand my knowledge about the world and be a role model for my younger siblings. If I can do it, so can they. Being a future connect scholar has opened up so many opportunities for me, Carpe Mundi being one of them. I am grateful to have this opportunity to learn, inspire, and grow as an individual. I am ready to embark on this journey, to learn another language, about a new culture, and be able to learn and give back at the same time. I am beyond thankful for this opportunity because it is allowing me to step out of my comfort zone, so I can grow as an individual. I plan on studying to become a Radiologist and work specifically with ultrasounds. When I graduate I aspire to have a greater influence on others in a way others may not be able to do. I am beyond excited to be apart of the Ithemba Cohort.

Jason Tyler

Hey!  I’m Jason!  I’m 19 years old, a Gryffindor, and use he/they pronouns  I love animals, especially dogs (because they rock, obviously).  I am going to PCC this fall, and eventually would like to major in environmental science and/or art, or something else awesome.  I moved to Portland last year, and so far I love it here!!!  I’m super excited to be going on this trip because nothing could be better than an adventure, right?

Kayleigh Lillethun

My name is Kayleigh Lillethun and I am a 19 year old student from Portland Community College. In my spare time I work at Garden Bar in downtown making salads. I also hang out with my four closest friends whom I've been friends with since middle school. I am very passionate about animal cruelty, climate change and equal rights. I want to travel and participate in humanitarian projects when i'm older and I think that Carpe Mundi is the best opportunity that I have to follow my dreams. My friend Alana Cogen went on a gap year trip with Carpe Diem and she had the most amazing three months of her life, she says that it changed every aspect of her life. I live with my three younger brothers, my younger sister and my parents. Neither of my parents graduated from college, my mom has most of her degree complete and is working towards her naturopathic medicine degree. She has always told me to strive for greatness and never give up. She used to take me on hundreds of hikes when I was younger and she would quiz me on the local plants and berries. Throughout my childhood I also attended dozens of summer camps held by OMSI and other local programs. My mother tricked me into thinking that in order to go to the San Juan Island summer camp it was required that you took three previous wilderness survival camps, so I took all three and then my mom told me she tricked me so that I would participate. This trip will be such a good opportunity for myself and I can't wait to learn and grow with everyone.

Kiara Chavez-Perez


Marco Chairez


My name is Marco Chairez. I am 21 years old. I was born in Port Townsend, Washington and was raised in the San Juan Islands. I attended Alliance at Meek high school and graduated in 2016. I am a full-time student at Portland Community College. I work at Mt Scott community pool as a lifeguard. I also work at PCC SE campus as the Student Bike Coordinator. I love staying active by playing soccer, swimming, hiking and riding my bike. I am so grateful for Carpe Mundi and their amazing staff for giving me the awesome opportunity to study abroad.

Nitzny Barragan


My name is Nitzny Barragan, I’m from San Diego California. I am a proud Latina and this summer I was able to meet my whole family in Mexico for the first time! It felt really amazing to be embraced in my culture and get to learn more about my family. That's why I'm really excited to have the opportunity to go to India and experience a different culture from mine. I am attending Portland Community College and plan to pursue a career in the veterinary field. I'm looking into the Veterinary Technician program but I'm still not sure about it. Although I'm not sure about the Vet Tech program I am sure that I want to work with animals.

Jatzibe Cohort


April Fancher-Mckinzie


My name is April Fancher-Mckinzie. Born and raised in Portland, Oregon. Graduated from Franklin High School. Oldest of three kids. Raised by a single mom and will be the first to go to college. I have a guinea pig and two cats.

I enjoy photography, playing golf, cooking, camping, listening to music,  hanging out with friends, traveling and working with small children. Currently enrolled to attend Portland State in the fall. Studying to become an elementary school teacher.

I am really exited to be traveling, experiencing new things, and gaining friendship that will last a life time. Can't wait to meet everyone.

Hillary Gonzalez-Terraza

Hello, my name is Hillary Gonzalez and I am 19 years old. I am a Latina who was born and raised in Oregon. I graduated from Tigard High School last year and entering my sophomore year at Portland Community College where I am taking general courses. My hopes are to transfer to Western Oregon University to major in early childhood education. I am a first generation college student which I take a lot of pride in. I look forward to inspiring future generations of my family as well as other students to go to college and continue their education. I love being outdoors, photography, drawing and hanging out with my family on my spare time. I am so excited for this journey that is yet to come. I cannot wait to explore and learn about a different country and all of its culture. I am looking forward into getting out of my comfort zone and growing as a person. 

Kiara McDermid

Hey, what's up my name is Kiara McDermid. Currently I work at a brewery but my goal is to have a bakery of my own someday. This trip to Central America is mind boggling. I never thought I would get to have an experience like this. I've always thought about traveling but never had the money. Being apart of mother nature isn't uncommon for myself. Hiking and exploring all the little off paths on roads is my thing, so this is just another big adventure to seek and I just can't wait. 

Najma Abdirahman

Hola everyone. My name is Maya. I am from East Africa, did pretty much all my schooling there. I moved to the USA in 2014. I am someone who has a different favorite color every week if not everyday, that being said I like to try different types of stuff and hobbies all the time. I love learning languages, it all started when I came to the states and realized that I knew more languages than the average person (which here is like two languages). I grew up speaking English, Swahili, Somali, Bajuni, and Hindi. I am learning Arabic, Urdu, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish. I want to become a midwife.

Being a girl has its problems like not doing much out of the house and not going anywhere alone. I want to be different that's why I am so excited to go abroad. I want to be able to check my list as I am traveling, doing a lot of things my first time!

Natali Plotkin



Hello everyone! My name is Natali Plotkin, and I'm very excited to be in the Carpe Mundi/PDXchange group going to Central America in 2018! This Fall 2017, I'll be continuing to attend Portland Community College (PCC). I just graduated from the Early College High School Program at PCC where I attended full-time since my junior year of high school. Prior to that, I went to high school at Arts and Communication Magnet Academy. After I get my Associate's degree at PCC, I'm planning on going to a four-year college to major in Music Therapy. In my free time, I love camping, hiking, and creating art; but, my all time favorite activity is singing and writing my own songs. I have been singing ever since I could talk, and I've been writing songs since I was six years old. This past year, at the PCC-Sylvania campus, I've been working in a part-time Student Leadership job as a Peer Advisor in the Career Exploration Center as well as the Orientation Center where I help students find a career they are passionate about, and I assist new and prospective students. My place of origin is Portland, Oregon where I've always lived, and I've never previously traveled outside the United States. 

A favorite quotation I have is: "Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass. It's about learning how to dance in the rain." (by Vivian Greene)

Sydney Weldon

Je m'appelle Sydney and de vez en cuando me gusta hablar en many languages! I am a St. Helens High school graduate (Class of 2016), and a current member of the PCC Future Connect scholars. Currently, I am working on my Associate of Arts Transfer degree, and I plan on transferring to Portland State University to major in International Studies (with a Latin American focus!) My hobbies include drawing, going out to lunch, and the one I am most known for is foreign language! I have taken 4 years worth of French, 2 years of Spanish, and I know some survival sentences in Russian! The thing I am most excited for is meeting the other students and the locals in Nicaragua and Costa Rica, because I believe the best way to learn about the world is to learn as many different perspectives as possible. 

Tanasia Bishop

Tanasia Bishop has spent her life in Portland, OR, where she currently attends Portland Community College and is newly enrolled at Portland State University. Tanasia is earning a degree in Social Work and would like to put her efforts toward helping adolescent girls. She's interested in helping those who have been victims for example, sexual abuse and domestic violence. Tanasia is a very passionate, thoughtful, and a hardworking individual who wants nothing more than to live a happy, healthy life and inspire others to do the same. In order to achieve those goals, she believes that she needs to step out of her comfort zone by trying new things, meeting new people, learning about other cultures, and travel for the first time as a young adult. Widening her comfort space will allow her to be fearless and without fear she will shine. With that said, Tanasia is more than thrilled to have an opportunity to experience Carpe Mundi. She knows that amazing and wonderful things are happening and not only to her, but to her 11 beautiful cohort members as well. Jatzibe! 

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