Meet Our 40th Cohort of the CBYX for Young Professionals Program

On behalf of the U.S. Department of State, it is our pleasure to announce the newest cohort of the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) for Young Professionals program! Young Americans from across the United States were selected for the 2023-2024 exchange.  The group will leave for Germany on July 26th for an 11-month program of intensive language studies, homestay, internships and university study with placements throughout Germany.

 

The 2023-2024 cohort represent 33 states. Participant career fields include soil science, UX Design, education, culinary arts, public health, museum curation and chemical engineering.

 

Celebrating its 40th anniversary as a joint program of the German Bundestag and U.S. Congress, CBYX for Young Professionals provides 75 American and 75 German young leaders the opportunity to spend up to a year in each other’s countries studying, interning, and living with host families. The fellowship is open to candidates in all career fields between the ages of 18 ½ and 24 who are interested in a year of academic, professional, and cultural exchange. CBYX also offers opportunities for high school students and individuals interested in vocational training.  You can learn more about the CBYX program at exchanges.state.gov/cbyx.

 

Cultural Vistas administers the CBYX for Young Professionals program through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.  For additional information about CBYX for Young Professionals please visit our webpage.

 

If you have any questions about our cohort or the CBYX for Young Professionals program, please contact us at cbyx@culturalvistas.org or 212-497-3555.

 

Our cohort at a glance:

22 years old – the average age of fellows on the program start date

21% of fellows had little to no German language skills when they applied for the program

43% of fellows come from humanities fields

39% of fellows come from STEM fields

14% of fellows come from arts fields

4% of fellows come from vocational fields

 

Meet our 40th Cohort below.

Alabama

David Harris

Most Recent Educational Institution:
University of Alabama in Huntsville

Professional Field:
Foreign Language and International Trade

David Harris is an undergraduate student at the University of Alabama in Huntsville graduating in 2024 with a B.A. in Foreign Language and International Trade with a concentration in German. David has garnered an interest in international affairs regarding economics and finance through internships with multinational for-profit companies, as well as non-profits like Global Ties Alabama, which help facilitate international exchange. While in Germany he will mainly focus on becoming fluent in German, while building friendships and connections through both work and school. When finished with his bachelors degree, David hopes to find work that will let him continue working with people across many countries.

Arizona

Jordan Harb

Most Recent Educational Institution:
Arizona State University

Professional Field:
Government

Jordan Harb is a rising senior at Arizona State University where he majors Global Studies and Arabic. He began his career in social impact after co-founding March For Our Lives and passing his own legislation in Arizona. Since then, he has worked in human rights as a field officer for refugee settlement NGOs in Lebanon and Jordan, and as lobbyist for Creosote Partners representing clients like the ACLU and Planned Parenthood. In Germany, Jordan hopes to forge global connections and learn German.

Arkansas

Rheanna Fleming

Most Recent Educational Institution:
Williams College

Professional Field:
Geosciences

Rheanna Fleming is a recent graduate from Williams College with a BA in Geosciences and a concentration in Environmental Studies. She has previously worked on a variety of geoscience, planetary science, and ecological research projects, including a senior thesis on isotope hydrology. Rheanna intends to pursue a career in environmental science with a focus on sustainability and equity.

Elle Montoya-Kelner

Most Recent Educational Institution:
Williams College

Professional Field:
International Relations

Elle Montoya-Kelner graduated from Williams College in 2021 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Asian Studies, with a focus on the Japanese language. She is originally from Rogers, Arkansas. Currently, she is working with the government of the Dominican Republic at El Palacio Nacional. In the past, she has worked with the Democratic Party of Arkansas to aid campaigns for seats in Congress and assisted the non-profit organization, Arkansas United, to pass legislation to support DACA recipients. Montoya-Kelner intends to pursue coursework in Germany to expand her knowledge of German politics and its influence internationally; she plans to use the experience gained from her time in Germany to pursue a master's in international relations.

California

Ahtziri Carranza

Most Recent Educational Institution:
California State University, Monterey Bay

Professional Field:
Urban Planning

JAhtziri Carranza graduated from California State University, Monterey Bay with a B.A. in Environmental Studies with a focus on sustainable communities. As an undergraduate, she gained valuable experience as a student researcher and intern working on projects in the topics of sustainability, environmental justice, and climate impact. She currently is a CivicSpark fellow with the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District, helping create an ordinance resource guide for local governments to use to combat the Urban Heat Island effect. Ahtziri is extremely excited to participate in the CBYX program. She wants to learn more about how Germany develops its urban areas and is also looking forward to learning a new language and experiencing life in another country.

Bella T. Fong

Most Recent Educational Institution:
Boston University

Professional Field:
Environmental Policy and Communications

Graduating in 2.5 years, Bella T Fong obtained her B.A. from Boston University in 2021 as a College of Fine Arts Scholar and Philosophy and Political Science magna cum laude graduate. Drawn to public policy and consumer education, she has worked on several legislative campaigns and research projects across the environmental, animal welfare, and anti-sexual violence movements and published related articles in Ms. Magazine, Ramona Magazine, and ESG Clarity. Exploring the alternative proteins and biomanufacturing landscapes in the US and India, Bella is excited to join the ProVeg International team in the fall to learn more about Germany’s and the UN’s environmental policies, education initiatives, and emerging technologies advancing global food systems. As a classical musician and aspiring polyglot, she also looks forward to connecting with local communities through chamber music and honing her German language skills.

Lauren Gamboa

Most Recent Educational Institution:
Loyola Marymount University

Professional Field:
Psychology & Marketing

Lauren Gamboa is currently on a cohort program with Loyola Marymount University. Lauren is majoring in Psychology and plans to graduate with a minor in Marketing. She intends to pursue an internship in Marketing, Advertising, or Business Administrator in Germany to learn about European Marketing. Lauren will continue to better her German until she leaves in July to Germany. After this program, she plans on graduating and working to become a therapist for children and teens along with working one on one with business to help them succeed and grow.

Alexis Kelly

Most Recent Educational Institution:
University of Notre Dame

Professional Field:
Art History

Alexis graduated summa cum laude from the University of Notre Dame with majors in art history and psychology and a minor in German. While in Germany, she intends to take further courses in art history with a focus on German art and photography. During the internship portion, she will pursue a role in an art museum or gallery. After completing her CBYX year, Alexis plans to apply her expanded knowledge in a Ph.D. program in art history, with the goal of becoming an art history professor.

Jessa Mellea

Most Recent Educational Institution:
Brown University

Professional Field:
International Relations

Jessa Mellea is a recent graduate of Brown University, where she studied International Relations and Religious Studies. She focuses on studying and creating techniques to combat far-right violent extremism. Currently, she works for the Community Safety Evaluation Lab at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. While in Germany, she hopes to intern with organizations focused on countering violent extremism.

Rachel Tokofsky

Most Recent Educational Institution:
University of California, Los Angeles

Professional Field:
Museums/Archives

Rachel Tokofsky (she/her) recently graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a double major in History and World Arts and Cultures. While at UCLA, she worked at the university special collections library and archive and UCLA's Hammer Museum. She is interested in pursuing a career in public archives, museums or libraries. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she is eager to explore all that Germany has to offer through CBYX this year!

Alana Walker

Most Recent Educational Institution:
Grinnell College

Professional Field:
Film & Television

Alana Walker graduated from Grinnell College with a Bachelor of Arts in History. During her studies, she interned at animation studios and studied film in Denmark, solidifying her passion for film and television. Since graduating, she has worked at a local bakery in San Francisco while traveling to various film festivals in North America and writing short screenplays. Alana hopes to study at a media university to gain practical film production experience, intern for a German film or media production company, and visit various film festivals in Germany.

Colorado

Kati O'Connell

Most Recent Educational Institution:
Red Rocks Community College

Professional Field:
Web Development

Coming from the Mile High City, Kati is currently a student at Red Rocks Community College. She has been working in Web Development and Design for the past two years, where she is passionate about ensuring web accessibility standards in the public sector. While in Germany, she hopes to gain experience in computer science, spend time in the lovely outdoors, and of course, eat plenty of strudel. After returning home, Kati plans to apply to the University of Colorado Boulder to further study Computer Science.

Connecticut

Benjamin Piro

Most Recent Educational Institution:
Rochester Institute of Technology

Professional Field:
Machine Learning Engineer

Benjamin Piro is currently pursuing a B.S./M.S. dual degree in Computer Science at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Leading up to CBYX, he has dedicated himself to furthering his knowledge in the fields of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing at the Universität Osnabrück in Osnabrück, Germany. Embracing the opportunity to experience multiculturalism, Benjamin eagerly anticipates immersing himself in German language and culture during his time with CBYX. His ultimate goal is to secure an internship in the realm of machine learning software applications or research, paving the way for a successful career as a machine learning engineer.

Florida

Laura Palacio Londoño

Most Recent Educational Institution:
Yale University

Professional Field:
Anthropology and public health

Laura Palacio recently graduated from Yale University with a degree in Anthropology. She currently works as a youth educator at Planned Parenthood. She intends to pursue a public health internship in Germany that focuses on bettering maternal health outcomes and hopes to become a public health researcher in the future.

Maria Patiño

Most Recent Educational Institution:
University of Florida

Professional Field:
Community and Social Service

Maria Patiño graduated from the University of Florida in 2022 with a Bachelor of Science in Family, Youth, and Community Sciences and a minor in Education Studies. She is currently working as an Assistant Director for a local non-profit in Gainesville, FL. Maria looks forward to increasing her knowledge of the German language, culture, and NGO / Non-profit sector while in Germany. During the internship phase of the fellowship, she hopes to work in the German education system or with a non-profit that serves immigrant/migrant communities. After completing the CBYX-YP fellowship, she plans on attending graduate school for program planning and evaluation.

Shrisha Saravana

Most Recent Educational Institution:
University of Florida

Professional Field:
Data Science

Shrisha Saravana is a second-year student studying Data Science at the University of Florida. Shrisha was born in India and raised in beautiful Tampa, Florida where she is a Data Analytics Intern at Vispero, the world's leading assistive technology provider for the visually impaired. Her hobbies include reading, art, writing, and traveling. She is excited to learn more about German culture during her year with CBYX and further her interests in data management and international business during her internship at BetaSystems in Berlin. Shrisha hopes she can use her experiences to build intercultural bridges and make lifelong friends.

Georgia

Tara Kehoe

Most Recent Educational Institution:
University of Georgia

Professional Field:
Biological Research

Tara Kehoe recently graduated from the University of Georgia with a B.S. in Microbiology and a B.S. in Nutritional Sciences with honors, minoring in Classical Culture and Biology. She has spent the last two years researching parasitoid wasps and intends to continue biological research at a laboratory while in Germany. She plans to pursue an advanced degree and narrow her research interests following the CBYX program. Tara is excited to become an active member of her community in Germany and pursue her career interests.

Illinois

Erin Sugg

Most Recent Educational Institution:
School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Professional Field:
Arts

Erin Sugg recently graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Arts with a concentration in Fashion and Fiber and Material Studies. She will be working on architectural river cruise tours in Chicago until she leaves for Germany in July. She plans to continue pursuing her interest in textiles while in Germany by interning at a museum or arts organization.

Indiana

Eric Feeney

Most Recent Educational Institution:
Vassar College

Professional Field:
Environmental Education

Eric Feeney just completed a President's Administrative Fellowship at his alma mater Vassar College after graduating in Spring 2022. He majored in both Environmental and International Studies and is excited to pursue opportunities in environmental education while abroad. In his free time, Eric likes to make music, dance, film YouTube videos, bake, create theatre, and explore new places. During the program, he hopes to meet people of all different walks of life and perspectives while cherishing every moment.

Justin Romer

Most Recent Educational Institution:
Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana

Professional Field:
Law and Policy

Justin Romer recently graduated from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana where he received a B.A. in International Studies with a concentration in Human Rights and International Law. He also received a Minor in Creative Writing. Prior to graduating he worked as an Assistant Program Manager for an Anti-Poverty Orientated Non-Profit where he lobbied members of Congress to pass legislation supported by the organization. He also spent a summer in Vienna, Austria where he worked as a writer for a global network of non-profit focused accelerators and co-working spaces based in the city. While in Germany he hopes to improve his German language skills while continuing to work in the field of community focused non-profits and/or social policy research. After the conclusion of the CBYX program he hopes to attend law school to study International Law.

Iowa

Michael Adato

Most Recent Educational Institution:
DePaul University

Professional Field:
Military History

Michael Adato graduated from DePaul University in March of 2021 with a degree in History and Political Science. For the past two years, he has worked for the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago, educating community members about Jewish history and antisemitism, as well as leading trips to Israel. In addition, he works with historians around the world as a tour manager and script writer for Battle Guide Virtual Tours, a startup that creates innovative content about military history. Michael will continue to work in military history education and remembrance whilst in Germany, with the hope of making such history more accessible to the general public.

Kansas

Eden Brockman

Most Recent Educational Institution:
Kansas State University

Professional Field:
Journalism and Communications

Eden Brockman is a native Kansan, passionate about solutions journalism, being involved in her community, and lifelong learning! Eden graduated with honors from Kansas State University with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communications. The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences recently awarded Eden a Heartland Emmy for her video special exploring political polarization among Generation Z in Kansas. Eden looks forward to continuing her research firsthand about social and democratic trends in Germany this year.

Louisiana

Kyron Thomas

Most Recent Educational Institution:
Louisiana State University

Professional Field:
Materials Science

Kyron Thomas is a Chemistry major in his final year at Louisiana State University. Prior to LSU, he graduated from Bossier Parish Community College with an Associate of Physical Sciences. Kyron has spent the past two years carrying out research in the Department of Chemistry with a focus on environmental health. Currently, his project involves the development of alternative materials for batteries. In the future, he intends to pursue his interests in the field of energy storage as a PhD student, and ultimately as an academic researcher. During his time in Germany, he hopes to work as a research assistant in one of Germany's world-renowned research institutions.

Maryland

Pat Cupay

Most Recent Educational Institution:
Bucknell University

Professional Field:
Civil Engineering/Construction Management

Pat Cupay graduated from Bucknell University in 2021 with a Civil Engineering degree. After life at Bucknell, Pat kick-started her career at a construction company in the DC area. Pat enjoys experiencing tangible end-products, being a part of a collaborative team, and developing meaningful relationships with everyone that she encounters. Pat also advocates for the awareness of harmful chemicals found in building materials through her volunteer work with Spec Matters. As a CBYX fellow, Pat looks forward to her time in Germany to make life-long connections and to dip her toes in the German construction industry in a whole new language.

Massachusetts

Matthew Rose

Most Recent Educational Institution:
Duke University

Professional Field:
Technology

Matthew Rose grew up in Hamilton, Massachusetts and received his B.S. in Computer Science magna cum laude from Duke University in December 2020. After his undergraduate studies, he moved to Boston to work as a senior software engineer at the inbound marketing company, HubSpot, and later joined the wearable technology startup, WHOOP. During his stay in Germany, he intends to explore related fields like product management and A.I. governance as well as improving his knowledge of the German language.

Hannah Scholl

Most Recent Educational Institution:
Oberlin College

Professional Field:
Public Policy

Hannah Scholl graduated from Oberlin College in 2021 with a double major in German and Politics and a minor in Environmental Studies. She has spent the past two years working in an Austrian secondary school as a US Teaching Assistant in the Teaching Assistantship Program of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF), administered by Fulbright Austria. Through Oberlin, Hannah was a research assistant in the politics department, a student representative of Oberlin at the Athens Democracy Forum in association with the New York Times, and was the chair of The Green EDGE Fund, a student board that finances and generates projects within the community that promote environmental sustainability. Passionate about pursuing a career in public policy, she has also interned for U.S. and State representatives, with a non-profit think tank in Boston, and has worked on numerous political campaigns. After receiving a German National Honors Society study away scholarship and then having to leave her study away program in Germany after fewer than two weeks there due to the pandemic, Hannah is especially thrilled at the opportunity to deeply explore and immerse herself in the German language and culture, develop a more international perspective, serve as a cultural ambassador for the U.S., and gain international work experience in her field.

Michigan

Raaj Govil

Most Recent Educational Institution:
University of Michigan Ann Arbor

Professional Field:
Philosophy, Politics, and Economics

Raaj Govil is a rising junior at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor double majoring in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) and Economics. In Germany, he hopes to study German politics and how that effects the German welfare system. He also plans to intern at a German law firm, to see how the legal system differs from the one in America. After coming back to the United States, he intends to complete his last two years of college and apply to law school.

Veda Joynt

Most Recent Educational Institution:
University of Michigan

Professional Field:
Engineering

Veda Joynt recently graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor's degree in Nuclear Engineering. She is excited to join the 40th CBYX young professionals cohort this year. Veda has performed research in natural language processing and machine learning and plans to pursue opportunities in computer science while in Germany. She looks forward to improving her professional skills, linguistic skills and making new friends.

Soham Naik

Most Recent Educational Institution:
University of Michigan Dearborn

Professional Field:
Software Engineering, Machine Learning and Image Processing

Soham Naik is currently studying Computer Science at the University of Michigan Dearborn, specializing in Machine Learning and Image Processing. He aspires to secure an internship with a German firm or Research Institute and to further enhance his fluency in German. His ultimate goal is to build a career in Software Engineering.

Minnesota

Yasmin Afifi

Most Recent Educational Institution:
Wellesley College

Professional Field:
Design & Technology

Yasmin Afifi graduated from Wellesley College with double majors in Computer Science and Cinema & Media Studies. Driven by a quest to explore interdisciplinary approaches, she seeks to bridge the realms of product development, technology, and design. During her time at Wellesley, she served as a teaching assistant for introductory Computer Science and Human-Computer Interaction courses. She also co-led women's health education and co-design workshops in Kenya as part of MIT's Gender & Development D-Lab course. As an Albright Global Affairs Fellow, Yasmin collaborated with a local nonprofit to scale their online presence and provided consultation on UX designs for their upcoming mobile app. Currently working as a Software Engineer in Boston, her professional interests revolve around education, empowering women, and nurturing her entrepreneurial mindset. In Germany, Yasmin is excited to gain cross-cultural perspectives and skills that she will use to influence, empower, and connect people across geographic limits.

Yordanos Degefe

Most Recent Educational Institution:
Johns Hopkins University

Professional Field:
Public Health

Yordanos Degefe recently graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a degree in Public Health Studies and a minor in Psychology. While in Germany, Yordanos hopes to gain exposure to the public health sector through an internship focused on the immigrant population’s experience with healthcare. She plans on applying this knowledge to her future career as a physician and advocate for health equity. Yordanos is excited to engage with the German community in various ways—with her host family, peers in university, and through volunteering and service projects.

Andy Klenzman

Most Recent Educational Institution:
DePaul University

Professional Field:
Software Engineering

Andy Klenzman is a philosophy graduate turned passionate software engineer, driven by a desire to use technology to address the challenges of addiction. With a deep understanding of complex problem-solving and a commitment to harm reduction practices, Andy aims to contribute his interdisciplinary skills to an organization in Germany focused on leveraging software for transformative solutions in addiction treatment. Inspired by his background in philosophy, Andy brings a unique perspective and a user-centric approach to create innovative software applications that make a positive impact on individuals' lives.

Missouri

Julia Beliz

Most Recent Educational Institution:
University of Miami

Professional Field:
Environmental Engineering

Julia is currently a Project Engineer for water resources projects at a consulting firm in Miami. She graduated in December of 2022 from the University of Miami, where she earned a B.Sc in Environmental Engineering and studied Mandarin. During her undergraduate career, she interned on Capitol Hill through the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, served as a research assistant for atmospheric air quality projects at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, and interned for a local civil engineering firm. Growing up in a bilingual household, and seeing first-hand how languages open up new worlds have inspired Julia to take language studies seriously. Julia looks forward to improving her German skills this year, and be able to communicate the passion she has for her field of work in a different language. She hopes to learn from other engineers in Germany and pursue graduate studies after the CBYX program.

Nevada

Zoe Dockery

Most Recent Educational Institution:
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Professional Field:
International Business and Import/Export Management

Zoe Dockery is pursuing a degree in International Business at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. As a Las Vegas native, Zoe is a proud graduate of the Las Vegas Academy of the Arts where she studied classical singing. Inspired by the music of great German composers, she began studying the German language when she reached university. While in Germany, she hopes to complete an internship in the Import and Export Management field. Zoe looks forward to learning the skills needed to begin a career in the international trade and commerce industry.

Daniel Gutierrez

Most Recent Educational Institution:
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Professional Field:
Finance and Risk Management

Daniel is currently studying Finance at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He will be working as a supply chain support assistant for The Fastenal Company before heading to Germany. While in Germany he intends to pursue a banking or insurance internship in order to learn more about risk management. He is excited to share his love of cooking, and music with his future German friends.

Helena Middleton

Most Recent Educational Institution:
University of Nevada Reno

Professional Field:
Geography

Helena Middleton has a Bachelors of Science in Geography and a minor in Geologic Sciences from the University of Nevada Reno. She works in an Ecohydrology lab where she participates in fieldwork and helps to process and analyze field and climate data. She is excited to improve her German language skills and deepen her geography and hydrology knowledge during her time abroad. She is also excited to explore the natural environment and culture of Germany.

New Jersey

Julianne Bruggemann

Most Recent Educational Institution:
Georgetown University's School of Health

Professional Field:
Global Health

Julianne Bruggemann graduated from Georgetown University's School of Health with a degree in Global Health and a minor in German. Her past experiences include research assistantships at The World Bank and Heidelberg University. While in Germany, Julianne hopes to deepen her understanding of the German healthcare system and take classes in healthcare financing and policy. In her free time, she hopes to photograph and paint the local scenery.

Nina Liloia

Most Recent Educational Institution:
Barnard College, Columbia University

Professional Field:
Environmental Policy / Environmental Justice

Nina Liloia recently graduated from Barnard College, Columbia University, with a major in Political Science and a minor in Environmental Science. At Barnard, she was the manager of a student-led food co-op, where she gained a love of cooking and building community. She was also a Multi-Faith Fellow, participating in weekly multi-faith discussion and learning with other students, and was the managing editor of the Columbia Science Review. Nina is committed to community-based work and passionate about fighting for equitable energy and climate policy. She hopes to work in the climate policy or environmental justice field while in Germany.

New York

Gretchen Burmeister

Most Recent Educational Institution:
Cornell University

Professional Field:
Soil Science

Gretchen recently graduated summa cum laude from Cornell University with a B.S. in Agricultural Sciences. During her time in college, Gretchen was involved with New York Soil Health and the North American Food Systems Network. She is interested in studying soil biology, agroecology, and natural resource management. While in Germany, Gretchen looks forward to resuming her study of the German language, immersing herself in German culture, and learning from all her new experiences. Gretchen is absolutely thrilled to be part of the CBYX program.

Molly Langevin

Most Recent Educational Institution:
University of Rhode Island

Professional Field:
Animal Science

Molly Langevin is a recent graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she majored in animal science and minored in German. During her time at URI, she had the opportunity to intern and volunteer at a number of institutions, including Utica Zoo, Southwick's Zoo, Buttonwood Park Zoo, and Mystic Aquarium. She is interested in advancing the field of animal behavior and welfare and is excited to explore the field abroad.

Jack McKernan

Most Recent Educational Institution:
Fordham University

Professional Field:
Galleries, Libraries, Archives, & Museums

Jack is a graduate of Fordham University with a B.A. in 2022 and an M.A. in 2023, primarily studying the history of social movements in the 20th Century. He is currently researching the American New Left, its global context, and its aftershocks. He however maintains a number of additional interests, including the History of Sexuality, History of Immigration, and the Philosophy of History. He has additionally worked for a number of years in the Bronx County Archives and hopes to bring that experience to Germany, obtaining a rich sense of the library & museum industry as it exists across borders.

Annie Serkes

Most Recent Educational Institution:
Saint Michael's College

Professional Field:
Marketing

Annie's educational background includes a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Saint Michael's College. With a major in Business Administration and a minor in Media Studies, Journalism, and Digital Arts, Annie possesses a comprehensive understanding of business principles and a creative mindset that is essential for the marketing field. Annie's professional journey has allowed her to gain valuable experience in the marketing industry. Annie works as a Sponsorship Fulfillment Associate at the New York Racing Association (NYRA) and will work in this position until she leaves for Germany. With a diverse skill set and a deep interest in German culture and language, Annie is eager to contribute her talents though a marketing internship with a German company.

Nathalia Tavares

Most Recent Educational Institution:
Columbia University

Professional Field:
Theatre Production

Nathalia Tavares is a Dominican-American theatre artist from New York City passionate about the intersection of arts and social justice. In May 2023, Nathalia graduated from Columbia University with a Bachelor of Arts in Ethnicity and Race Studies. Through this major, Nathalia specialized in Protest Performing Arts, i.e. the study of how different art mediums like theatre, film, and music can be used to advance social change. Having had experience in performance and playwriting, Nathalia aspires to become a theatre producer so that she can continue to uplift the stories of underrepresented people. Nathalia is excited to travel to Germany this year and immerse herself in the country’s arts and culture scene. Nathalia looks forward to learning German, living with a host family, working within theatre production, and engaging in meaningful cultural exchange.

North Carolina

Rachel Code

Most Recent Educational Institution:
Elon University

Professional Field:
Marketing and Philosophy, Politics, & Economics (PPE)

Rachel Code is a recent graduate of North Carolina's Elon University where she studied marketing and PPE (the intersection of philosophy, politics, & economics). She intends to pursue university courses in politics, urban planning/sustainability, queer theory, and creative writing while in Germany. In the coming year, Rachel looks forward to exploring rural Germany, volunteering at local community gardens, sharing her culture via cooking, and making life-long connections with the people she meets along the way. Following the CBYX program, Rachel hopes to continue living abroad and will eventually enroll in a masters program of archival science, with a focus on becoming an archivist of queer history.

Kyla Farmer

Most Recent Educational Institution:
Culinary Institute of America

Professional Field:
Baking and Pastry Arts

Kyla Farmer is a recent graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. There she earned her associate's degree in baking and pastry arts and her bachelor's degree in culinary science. Kyla enjoys cooking, baking, gardening, and the outdoors. While in Germany she hopes to work in a bakery while expanding her knowledge of the German language and culture. In the Future she hopes to work in culinary research and development.

Mollie Zoffer

Most Recent Educational Institution:
Northwestern University

Professional Field:
Nonprofit and international relations

Mollie Zoffer is a 2022 graduate of Northwestern University with a major in Social Policy and a minor in Middle East & North African Studies. She currently works for an international security think tank in Washington, DC. In Germany, Mollie plans to intern at an international development organization and travel throughout the country. She hopes to pursue a career at the intersection of the international relations and nonprofit spheres.

Oregon

Helena Brinker

Most Recent Educational Institution:
Clackamas Community College

Professional Field:
Chemical Engineering

LHelena Brinker is from the Portland, Oregon, area and currently lives in Clackamas, Oregon. She recently graduated from Clackamas Community College with an Associate of Science in Chemical Engineering. She currently works at the Candy Basket, which is known for creating unique chocolates, truffles, and saltwater taffy sold all over Oregon. In between classes and work, she enjoys baking bread, patisserie, and creating art. In Germany, Helena wants to improve her German fluency and looks forward to meeting new people from all walks of life. Helena hopes to travel around Germany and surrounding countries to better understand her new home and international cultures. After the year abroad, she plans to finish her Bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering. Helena is currently co-enrolled at Oregon State University in the College of Engineering.

Pennsylvania

Alex Glatz

Most Recent Educational Institution:
Case Western Reserve University

Professional Field:
Entrepreneurship & Aerospace Engineering

Alex has earned two degrees from Case Western Reserve University: a BSE in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, and a master’s degree in engineering and management. While at Case Western, he competed on the football team. Alex aspires to intern at an entrepreneurial firm within the aerospace or green energy sectors. He is eager to learn about environmentalism in German engineering and intends to apply the acquired knowledge to engineering in the United States.

Rhode Island

Emma Giventer-Braff

Most Recent Educational Institution:
Brown University

Professional Field:
Opera Singer

Emma is a recent graduate of Brown University, where she concentrated in Music and East Asian Studies. During her time at Brown, Emma was the president of Brown Opera Productions, where she executive-produced, music-directed, budgeted, advertised, and overall managed multiple full shows, concerts, artist residencies, and other events. Before heading to Germany, Emma is making her opera stage debut in Miami Music Festival's production of Ravel's "L'Enfant et les sortilèges" as La Bergère/La Chouette/La Chauve-Souris. In Germany, Emma hopes to hone her craft in one of the most significant opera cultures in the world, both as a performer and as an arts administrator.

South Dakota

Charlotte Goodhope

Most Recent Educational Institution:
University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management

Professional Field:
Entrepreneurship

Charlotte Goodhope graduated from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management with a bachelors degree in Entrepreneurial Management. During her undergraduate, Charlotte interned in Vienna, Austria for a Startup accelerator. Post-grad, she subsequently worked as a Sales Analyst for Unilever, learning about the consumer goods industry. Charlotte aims to build on her business knowledge with legal, financial, and foreign perspectives in Germany. She looks forward to advancing her education and language skills while representing the United States as a cultural ambassador.

Tennessee

Gus Gaston

Most Recent Educational Institution:
CSAS and UTC

Professional Field:
Art & graphic design

Gus Gaston (American, b. 2000) graduated cum laude from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a BFA in Graphic Design in December 2022. Their practice primarily explores communicating ideas and messages that transcend the bounds of language. Their thesis work, My Birthday is Green, Yellow, and Purple articulates their synesthetic color-grapheme associations, discussing interactions between synesthesia and obsessive-compulsive disorder. As they continue to grow in their practice, Gaston is focused on making art that communicates complex ideas about self identity, cultural differences, and personal histories. Through a multi-disciplinary practice, Gaston is able to utilize illustration, design, collage, mural painting, and other media. They are excited to study German language, as well as art movements such as Bauhaus Design, German Expressionism, and contemporary street art.

Cheney Greene

Most Recent Educational Institution:
University of Virginia’s College at Wise

Professional Field:
Business Administration

Raised in the historic town of Rogersville, Tennessee, Cheney Greene is a student at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise in Wise, Virginia. She is studying Business Administration and intends to focus on Hospitality and Tourism Management upon her return to the United States. While in Germany, Cheney is excited to make lasting connections and immerse herself in German culture, while also furthering her experience in her chosen career field.

Texas

Abraham Alvarado

Most Recent Educational Institution:
Tufts University

Professional Field:
Education

Abraham Alvarado (he/him/his) is a Spanish - World Language Educator that works for the state of Massachusetts. He graduated from Tufts University in 2021 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish. In 2022, he graduated from Tufts University with his Masters of Teaching. During his CBYX, he intends to pursue an internship that aligns with his passion for education. In the future, he aims to become a World Language Department Head, and continue to better language acquisition programs.

Payton Dugan

Most Recent Educational Institution:
Southwestern University

Professional Field:
International Relations & Political Science

Payton Dugan graduated from Southwestern University in December 2021 with a B.A. in Political Science and double minors in German and International Studies. She is currently working as a trainer and legal assistant at the company Vaco onsite at Google. While in Germany, she hopes to work in international diplomacy and is looking forward to learning more about the transatlantic relationship from the European perspective.

Caleb Monroe

Most Recent Educational Institution:
Culinary Institute of America

Professional Field:
Culinary Arts / Brewing

Caleb Monroe recently graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York with a Bachelor's Degree in Culinary Science, where he previously earned his Associates in Culinary Arts. He is very passionate about the how and why behind food and beverages, as well as how what we eat impacts our bodies. During his time in Germany, he is excited to meet many new people and bring our two countries closer together. He is hoping to further his education in food and beverage by interning in a Restaurant or Brewery in Germany.

Utah

Aaron Hawley

Most Recent Educational Institution:
Utah State University

Professional Field:
Video Game 3D Artistry

Aaron Hawley is a dedicated 19-year-old student at Utah State University, currently focused on pursuing an education in 3D modeling for video game development. With a strong passion for video game development, Aaron aims to make a meaningful impact in the industry by creating high-quality 3D assets for video game studios such as Bungie or Ubisoft. While in Germany, he hopes to gain experience and improve his ability to 3D model by working for a video game studio. Aaron is an avid outdoorsman who has spent his life surrounded by mountains and hopes to participate in outdoor activities such as climbing, hiking, and running while in Germany. Aaron is excited to participate in the video game industry and looks forward to experiencing German culture firsthand.

Virginia

Abena Appiah-Ofori

Most Recent Educational Institution:
University of Virginia

Professional Field:
Immigration Resettlement

Abena Appiah-Ofori is an August 2023 graduate of The University of Virginia, where she will obtain her degree in Religious Studies and Global Development. From an early age, she developed a deep passion for exploring new and unfamiliar places, immersing herself in diverse cultures, and meeting new people. During the past spring semester, she studied abroad in Bilbao, Spain through the School for International Training. Her internship with The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy provided her with valuable insight into the challenges faced by immigrants of diverse backgrounds. Abena has been awarded the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals scholarship, and will be spending the next year with a German host family. She will be attending classes at a German university, interning in her field of interest, and representing the United States as a cultural ambassador. Abena's goal is to continue her coursework in migration patterns and policies, while actively engaging with her local university in Germany. She also hopes to gain hands-on experience by interning with a German organization that focuses on immigration and refugee issues during the CBYX internship phase. Currently, her two hobbies are creating and consuming films, and exploring the world through travel. Both of these passions satisfy her eagerness for adventure and her love of storytelling, allowing her to experience and share unique perspectives with others.

Violet Jetton

Most Recent Educational Institution:
University of Richmond

Professional Field:
Environmentalism

Violet Jetton is a recent graduate from the University of Richmond with a B.A. in Environmental Studies and is originally from Lexington, Virginia. This year Violet will be participating in the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals. She is a member of the 40th Cohort and will travel to Germany for the year in July where she will participate in language classes, university classes, and an environmental internship.

Washington

Lauren Bergman

Most Recent Educational Institution:
Whitworth University

Professional Field:
Business Administration

Lauren Bergman hails from the rural town of Walla Walla, WA and is thrilled to join the 40th CBYX Young Professionals cohort. She's a graduate of Whitworth University with a Bachelor's in Business Administration. She participated in a month-long exchange program to Germany in high school as well as worked as an au pair in Bavaria for 6 months in 2021. She can't wait to return to Deutschland and plans to hike as much as a possible, enjoy cultural traditions with new friends, and speak German everyday. Lauren encourages all those interested in cultural exchange to apply for this amazing program.

Marina Ikuse

Most Recent Educational Institution:
Washington State University

Professional Field:
Food Science

Marina Ikuse is a Food Science master's student at Washington State University. Her research focuses on extrusion processing and scaffolding technologies for cellular agricultural applications. In Germany, she intends to secure a food science internship researching and applying novel food technologies. She is looking forward to experiencing a different food culture and learning the approaches to food innovation within the German food system.

West Virginia

Chloe Bailey

Most Recent Educational Institution:
Shepherd University

Professional Field:
Government Affairs

Chloe Bailey is a recent graduate of Shepherd University where she earned a Bachelors of Science in Political Science. She is a proud graduate of Buffalo High School where she was involved in FFA, National Honor Society, Band of Blue, and Student Council. At Shepherd, Chloe participated in Student Life Council, was the president of the Debate and Forensics Team, and served as the student representative on the board of the Bonnie and Bill Stubblefield Institute for Civil Political Communications. Outside of school, she has interned with the West Virginia Secretary of State's Office, West Virginia Senate Committee on the Judiciary, and the Office of United States Senator Shelley Moore-Capito; while remaining involved in Putnam County 4-H and the Putnam County Fair. Chloe loves to travel and is immensely excited to travel to Germany and represent West Virginia as part of the 40th Cohort of the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals Program. She hopes to apply the skills she has learned in school and in her various internships to her time and Germany and return to the Mountain State with new ideas and energy. Upon her return, Chloe plans to jump into preparing for the 2024 Putnam County Fair before beginning law school.

Wisconsin

Rebecca Draeger

Most Recent Educational Institution:
Germantown High School

Professional Field:
International Business

Rebecca Draeger is a recent graduate from Germantown High School in Germantown, WI. When she returns from Germany, Rebecca intends on studying International Business and International relations at the University of Wisconsin Madison, with the intention of working with the State Department and becoming a foreign service officer.

Tahlia Micoley

Most Recent Educational Institution:
University of Wisconsin - Madison

Professional Field:
Finance

Tahlia Micoley graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Madison with a B.B.A in Finance and a certificate in Spanish for Business. Throughout her time at UW, Tahlia gained knowledge and hands-on experience working at an internship and completing a capstone project in financial advising. While in Germany, she hopes to expand her global perspective to better understand the international market and the demands of its users. Tahlia is excited for the unique cultural and linguistic immersion of CBYX and the opportunity it provides to merge her profession with her passions to positively impact the communities around her.

Joshua Niedbalski

Most Recent Educational Institution:
Fox Valley Technical College

Professional Field:
Culinary Arts/ Hospitality

Joshua Niedbalski is an aspiring culinary arts and hospitality professional with a strong focus towards sustainable food systems. Josh is a graduate of Fox Valley Technical College in both culinary arts and hospitality management. Throughout his time Josh has worked amongst areas of the culinary industry and food supply chain ranging from kitchens to organic farms. During his time in Germany Josh plans to expand his knowledge in sustainable food systems and their connection to restaurants and better prepare himself to support growth in building a stronger local food infrastructure.