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Every year between 12 and 30 students are beneficiaries of our scholarship and mentorship programs. Carpe Mundi places students in cohorts and gives each cohort a name based on the region where the cohort is traveling to and a value or sentiment that is part of the Carpe Mundi ethos.

This year cohorts’ names are KARIBU, which means "you are welcome" in Swahili and LEUM DTAA, which means “to open the eyes” in Thai.

Meet the Karibu cohort


Annie Johnson


My name is Annie Johnson and I am new to the Carpe Mundi program. I am more than excited to be apart of this program because I’ve always dreamed to travel around the world, to meet and learn about other cultures. I also love to interact with people so I am happy to pursue my dream to travel. I am originally from Liberia, but I mostly grew up in the United States. I have 7 siblings total and I’m a middle child. I am also the first person in my family to attend college. Something that I’m looking forward to about the Carpe Mundi program is meeting students that are also pursuing the same mission as me to travel. I am happy to meet and get to know everyone because we’ll be able to put aside our differences and get to know each other. I am a very outgoing individual and I love to make others feel valued. 

Furthermore, something that I’m looking forward to do is traveling to Thailand. I’m so excited to go there because I’ll be able to learn their language and taste their food. I also want to see the way they live to survive. Although I may not have any experience of leaving the country I am looking forward to getting out of my comfort zone and overcoming my fear.

"It always seems impossible until it's done. Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living."

"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

Kari Nguyen 


I am Kari Nguyen. I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. I graduated from Benson Alliance and I will be going to Portland Community College.  I am the first generation in my family that got the opportunity to go to college.

I am a very adventurous person. I love to travel and be able to see and experience new things that would help me grow and become the person I am meant to be. Hiking has been one of my favorite things to do because the views are amazing.

I plan on majoring in Business and start a very successful business one day that consists of everything I care about. I want to make a difference in this world one day.

Kayla Keller


I am so excited to be a part of the Carpe Mundi program! I can’t wait to visit East Africa and most excited to be in Uganda. But I look forward to the whole trip, and being able to help those in the community as well as learn about the culture, see the world in a new light and grow as a person myself. I truly believe this experience can change my life, and I can’t wait! 

Olivia Lewis 


My name is Olivia Lewis, I was born and raised here in Portland. I have a strong passion for reading, music, art, and adventure. My hobbies are drawing, photography, board games,hiking, hearing new stories, and trying to continually grow more compassion. I've been working for the past four years at New Avenues for Youth as a youth leader in different jobs, and I would love to be able to keep growing any support skills and knowledge I have to benefit those around me. My hope for this travel experience is to gain a whole new perspective and understanding on the world and to better be able to communicate with the amazing people that are on it. I can't wait to keep learning!

Venesia Dedmon


Meet the Leum Dtaa cohort


Jessica Rodriguez-Soto


I am Jessica Soto. I am an animal lover, nature lover and vegetarian! If I were to describe myself I would say; compassionate, honest and sensitive. I am a Pisces so that makes sense... Anyhow, I applied to Carpe Mundi because I was not accepted last year so I crossed my fingers and tried again. Now I am in! I hope to expand my knowledge, world and cultural perspective, meet new wonderful souls, connect with others, taste amazing food and step away from my everyday life routine in America. I want to be able to get a sense of a different world and develop skills that will benefit me on my journey to success. Overall create little moments that I will be proud and grateful to live and enjoy them. Carpe Mundi will allow me to cherish this upcoming experience for the rest of my life. 

Nolan Slay


Hi, my name’s Nolan! I’m studying film at PSU, I make coffee for people at Posies Cafe, and I’m usually on the move. I love the way rain sounds on a tin roof, going to the theater by myself, and asking people I just met personal questions. 

I was born in Alabama but raised in Portland, and I’ve been to 10 different schools from kindergarten to college, PSU being the tenth. 

I’ve never been out of the country, and I’m excited that my first non-American experience is going to be so vastly different. I’m curious just to see how people act in different cultures and how the social norms differ. 

Like most people, I love to eat, and Thai is probably my favorite genre of food. I’m so ready to experience it in Thailand, and I wonder how different it is from the Thai food here. I wonder how many times I can say the word Thai before it loses meaning. 

I have one tattoo of a film camera on my right forearm, and it’s probably the only one I’m going to get. My goal is to make a short film about my experiences abroad, and then continue making movies and exploring until I’m too old and weak to get out of bed. 

Loida Pat


Hi my name is Loida Pat, I was born and raised in Portland. I am a bit shy when it comes to meeting new people but I hope to overcome it and become close with everyone in our cohort. I love to eat, sleep, and watch dramas while eating ramen. I like being at home of the time but I also like sometimes being outdoors. Well only during fall and winter because I love the cold weather. I graduated from Grant High School this year and will be attending PSU. I am super excited to start a new chapter in my life with the help of Carpe Mundi. I chose to do this program because I wanted to come out of my comfort zone, become independent, and try to find what I truly want to do in life. I feel that going on this Southeast Asia trip will help give me a look at what the world needs and how I can help and make a change. I am excited to make new relationships and eat a lot of spicy food.

Paw Klu Htoo

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My name is Paw Klu Htoo. I was born and raised at ban mae surin camp in Thailand. My family moved to Portland in 2010. I graduated from Cleveland High School. I’m currently a full time student at Portland Community College as a Future Connect student. I have a strong passion of travelling, eating different types of food and also learning about different cultures. I love watching Korean dramas and chinese dramas. I am excited to revisit and explore the land that I grew up in and to make long lasting relationships with my peers and to also welcome new friendships.

Elena Rendon-Mercado


My name is Elena Rendon-Mercado, I am a sophomore at Portland Community College. I graduated Reynolds High School in June 2017. I plan on getting my associates of science in general education and transferring to PSU to get my Bachelors in Political Science. I was born in Fresno, California, but was raised the majority of my life in Portland. I look forward to traveling to Southeast Asia to exploring, learning, and gaining knowledge about the culture. It will be a wonderful experience to come back and share with my community.

Roselin Shwe


Hello, my name is Roselin Shwe. I am 19 years old, born and raised in a refugee camp in Thailand. My family and I moved to Portland when I was 12. I know a couple of languages such as burmese, Karen, Karenni and English. I graduated from Cleveland High School in the summer of 2017, and I’m currently attending Portland Community College. During free time, I enjoy listening to music and watching dramas. Through Carpe Mundi, I hope to meet many new people and experience life in different forms. This is a once in a lifetime chance for me, and I’m very thankful to be apart of this amazing program.  

Davineekaht White Elk


Mike was t goum om, noo neah (Hello, my friends. My name is) Davineekaht White Elk, I'm Blackfoot from the Sisksika Nation in Canada, Northern Ute of the Uncompahgre band from Utah and Carrizo people from Texas. I was born and raised in Portland. I graduated from Madison High School and I will be at Portland Community College this fall. I'm passionate about Healing my community and making it healthy.