Washington World Fellows Debrief Day

Saturday, the inaugural class of Washington World Fellows reunited for the first time in two months at the Seahawks headquarters to debrief their six-week study abroad adventure in Leon, Spain. The students, who earned 10 college credits from Central Washington University during the program this past summer, spent the day reconnecting with one another, sharing their feedback about the program, and entering into the next phase of the fellowship: college preparation.

The day began with an opening debrief session led by the Lt. Governor’s staff. Carlos Barajas-Zamora, a junior from Snohomish High School, shared his thoughts about the study abroad experience: “It was so nice to experience the culture, see the sights, talk with the people, and eat the food of Spain.”

During the midday debrief session, the fellows had the opportunity to share their feedback directly with the Lt. Governor about how the study abroad program had impacted them and the ways in which it had changed their perspectives.

“I feel like this trip has allowed for me to know myself better,” Michelle Jimenez told him, a student from Squalicum High School in Bellingham. “I got to see myself outside of all the distractions of home, and it made me realize how far I can continue to push myself.”

Thanks to the Seahawks Vice President of Community Outreach, Mike Flood, the fellows were able to go on an exclusive tour of the Seahawks training facility as well as get a sneak peek of the Seahawks’ pre-game Saturday practice on the Virginia Mason Athletic Center field. They were surprised when, after practice, Russell Wilson personally greeted them and posed for a photo.

The Seahawks were an early supporter of the Washington World Fellows program. In 2018, they championed legislation that dedicates a percentage of specialty Seahawks license plates revenues to the fellowship. They have continued to support the program in other ways, including providing space for events like Saturday’s reunion.

The remainder of the day, the students engaged in the fellowship’s college readiness programming. The Washington World Fellows program has partnered with The Learning Professionals tutoring program, which provides one-on-one tutoring and group training for SAT and ACT testing. The fellows took partial ACT and SAT exams, proctored by founder and co-owner of The Learning Professionals Arthur Emory, to identify their testing strengths and weaknesses for each test. The fellows will have weekly Skype group tutoring sessions with Arthur and his team from now until they take either the SAT or ACT. In addition to preparing students for the SAT and ACT, the Washington World Fellows program will help students become college-ready by assisting with college and financial aid applications, providing academic support, and by giving students access to unique leadership opportunities like the Washington State Senate Page program.

As the Washington World Fellows program continues in the upcoming year, the 2018 Washington World Fellows cohort will serve as peer-mentors to the next incoming class. The students expressed enormous enthusiasm about this idea, with some having volunteered to play a role in helping onboard the next group of students before even being asked.

“I am just as excited to be a part of this program now as I was at the beginning, and I can’t wait to meet and help the other fellows from the new cohorts,” said Teja Chunphakvenn-Pinkney, a student from Sky View High School in Vancouver. “This [program] has already made a positive impact on me, and I can’t wait to see the positive impact it will make on someone else.”


Washington World Fellows Return Home

Saturday, the inaugural class of Washington World Fellows returned home to Washington after their six-week study abroad experience in León, Spain.

The study abroad trip is the first part of the Washington World Fellows program, an equity-focused high school fellowship launched this past year by the Lt. Governor’s office, in partnership with the Association of Washington Generals. Following the study abroad trip, the fellows have access to two years of college-readiness support.

During their trip this summer, the Washington World Fellows earned 10 college credits from Central Washington University through intensive coursework in Spanish language and history, participated in weekly excursions to significant landmarks and historic sites, and lived with local homestay families.

Lt. Governor Habib waited at the arrival gate to personally welcome the fellows home when they arrived at SeaTac Airport. There, the Lt. Governor checked in with students to hear about their study abroad experiences.

“It was a life-changing experience,” said Carlos Barajas-Zamora, a student from Snohomish High School. “The people I met on this trip will forever be my friends, and I can’t wait to see what they will all do with their lives. I will forever be grateful I had this opportunity.”

Other students described overcoming challenges as a part of their learning experiences.

“Traveling overseas for the first time was difficult, but it was a fun challenge I wanted to be a part of,” said Anisa Robinson, who is from Garfield High School. “Doing these things with all these people I’ve gotten close to has made it even more fun.”

Emersen Slanga, who lives in the community of Tumtum in Stevens County, said, “This trip really tested me, and then it was really fun. I made lifelong friends. And it gave me lots of ideas for the book I’m going to write next!”

The Lt. Governor walked the students from their arrival gate to the baggage claim area, where their families and friends were waiting to pick them up.

“We’re so proud of this first class of Washington World Fellows, who rose to the challenge of traveling to a new place, studying hard, and immersing themselves in a foreign culture,” Lt. Governor Habib said of the students. “We’re thrilled to have them back in Washington, where we know they will continue to make us proud.”

To be considered for the program, students had to be nominated by their teachers or counselors, submit an application, and meet grade level and language requirements. Selected from an applicant pool of almost 300 students statewide, the 2018 Washington World Fellows were chosen for their academic drive, enthusiasm for learning, and clear personal determination in the face of adversity. Nearly all of the fellows will be the first in their families to attend college, and prior to this trip, none had experienced travel overseas.




Lt. Governor's Office Update:

Washington State Delegation Makes Site Visit to the

University of León



Office of the Lt. Governor
June 12, 2018

Last week, Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib led an education-focused mission to Spain that resulted in major new international support for the Washington World Fellows program.

The mission’s bipartisan delegation included state legislators Sen. Rolfes, Sen. Liias, Sen. King, and Rep. Ortiz-Self; as well as Hon. Consul Luis Fernando Esteban; representatives from Central Washington University; and other community leaders.

During the Lt. Governor’s trip, he:

  • Visited the University of León Language Center, where the Fellows will be taking their classes. There, he was joined by university president Juan Francisco García Marín to sign a formal agreement committing the Office of the Lt. Governor and the University of León to three more years of collaboration to further develop the Washington World Fellows program.

  • Met with Mayor Antonio Silván of the City of León, as well as with Vice President Castañón González of the Province of León to recognize the support local governments have shown for the program.

  • Met with U.S. Ambassador Duke Buchan III and embassy staff in Madrid to discuss the embassy’s role in facilitating the program.

“The students who are coming here are some of the smartest, hardest-working young people in our state,” The Lt. Governor said. “Our delegation worked to ensure that these deserving students have access to every benefit Spain has to offer. We know they will make the most of every opportunity.”

For more updates on the Washington World Fellows program, follow the program’s official Twitter and Facebook pages.



Photo credit: David Dick, CWU photographer

Washington World Fellows Welcome Day

Hosted by Central Washington University: Fellows meet one another in the center of the state for the first time

Office of the Lt. Governor

April 17, 2018

Lt. Governor’s Washington World Fellows program celebrates inaugural Welcome Day event at Central Washington University

Saturday, Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib delivered the keynote address for the Washington World Fellows Welcome Day at Central Washington University, the inaugural event of the Washington World Fellows program.

Launched this past year, the Washington World Fellows program is an equity-focused study abroad and college-readiness fellowship created by the Lt. Governor. The fifteen fellows selected for the program were chosen in March from an applicant pool of nearly 300 students from around the state, all of whom earned the nomination of a teacher or counselor and submitted an application to be considered.

The Washington World Fellows Welcome Day event marked the first time the fellows met one another. All fifteen fellows, many of whom brought their siblings, parents, grandparents, teachers, and principals with them, were able to participate.

“We were incredibly gratified to see so much enthusiasm for the program,” Habib said. “This is the type of excitement that transforms communities — starting with these fifteen students.”

Central Washington University hosted the Welcome Day, which included orientation sessions led by the Washington World Fellows program directors and Central Washington University staff to prepare fellows for the study abroad experience, and a grand Welcome Lunch celebration.

The Welcome Lunch featured speeches from other program partners, including Central Washington University President James Gaudino, Vice President of Community Outreach for the Seattle Seahawks Mike Flood, and Honorary Consul of Spain Luis Fernando Esteban. A full list of the program’s partner organizations can be found here.

As the culminating moment of the Welcome Lunch ceremony, the Lt. Governor individually called out each of the fellows to the front of the room to acknowledge a memorable achievement, biographical fact, or quote by the student.

At the end of the event, the fellows were treated to a special surprise when they were each given a new a Surface Pro 3, donated by Microsoft.

The Welcome Lunch closed with a traditional Spanish paella meal, during which the Lt. Governor met with families, teachers, and staff.

The fifteen students selected for the inaugural Washington World Fellows class are as follows:

Jacqueline Alvarez, East Wenatchee
Carlos Barajas, Snohomish
Luis Bravo, Seattle
Cristina Calleros Martin, Bellingham
Teja Chunphakvenn-Pinkney, Vancouver
Aileen Garcia, Othello
Michelle Jimenez, Bellingham
Tayah Kohler, Inchelium
Edgar Martinez, Marysville
Daniel Neary, Olympia
Aaron Padilla Monterrey, Bellingham
Anisa Robinson, Seattle
Amber Silvers, Bremerton
Emersen Slanga, Nine Mile Falls
Ryleigh Treichel, Kelso




15 Students Selected for the Washington World Fellows Program


Aileen G. - Adams County, Othello High School

Jackie A. - Chelan County, Eastmont High School

Teja C. - Clark County, Skyview High School

Ryleigh T. - Cowlitz County, R. A. Long High School

Tayah K. - Ferry County, Inchelium High School

Luis B. - King County, Chief Sealth International High School

Anisa R. - King County, Garfield High School

Amber S. - Kitsap County, Bremerton High School

Edgar M. - Snohomish County, Marysville Pilchuck High School

Carlos B. - Snohomish County, Snohomish High School

Emersen S. - Stevens County, Lakeside High School

Daniel N. - Thurston County, Capital High School

Cristina C. M. - Whatcom County, Bellingham High school

Aaron P. M. - Whatcom County, Sehome High School

Michelle J. - Whatcom County, Squalicum High School

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Washington World Fellows Program Meets Widespread Interest From Students; Gathers Support From Seattle Seahawks and Others


February 20, 2017

 Media Contact:                Kristina Brown, Director of External Relations

                                             360.786.7707 | Kristina.Brown@ltgov.wa.gov

Washington World Fellows Program Meets Widespread Interest From Students; Gathers Support From Seattle Seahawks and Others

Olympia-- Today the Office of the Lt. Governor announced that the Washington World Fellowship, a brand new equity-focused study abroad and college readiness program, received over 270 applications for its inaugural class of fellows.

The program was established as a partnership between the Office of the Lt. Governor and the Association of Washington Generals, in collaboration with Central Washington University and the Honorary Consulate of Spain.

“I’m excited that students from all over the state have shown interest in this program – from Prescott to La Push,” Lt. Governor Habib said. “Study abroad changes lives. I am thrilled that this fellowship will expand opportunities for these inspirational and hardworking students.”

This summer, 15-20 tenth grade students will embark on a six-week study abroad experience in Leon, Spain, where they will earn ten college credits from Central Washington University. Following the trip, students will have access to college readiness resources and other opportunities through their graduation from high school and beyond. The fellowship is offered at no cost to students.

Legislation sponsored by Senator Patty Kuderer, SSB 5746, would dedicate a portion of the Seahawks license plate proceeds to the program. The bill received unanimous approval from the state Senate last week, and is scheduled for legislative action in the state House of Representatives this week.

“The Seahawks are defined not only by their gameplay, but also by their commitment to community,” said Mike Flood, Vice President of Community Outreach for the Seattle Seahawks. “The Washington World Fellows program is a fantastic new opportunity for us to promote equity and inclusion in our state by providing our most underserved students with a life-changing academic and cultural experience.”

The 2018 study abroad program will begin June 30 and end August 10. Fellowship winners will be announced in March.




Announcing the Washington World Fellows program

December 7, 2017

The Association of Washington Generals is proud to announce the launch of a new statewide study abroad and college readiness fellowship: The Washington World Fellows program! Nominations and applications are now being accepted.

Established as a partnership between the Office of the Lt. Governor and the Association of Washington Generals, in collaboration with Central Washington University and the Honorary Consulate of Spain, the program will include a six-week study abroad opportunity in Léon, Spain in the summer of 2018, and a post-trip college-readiness support program. 

While studying abroad, students will have the opportunity to earn college credit through the program’s Spanish Language and Spanish Current Events & Politics courses; enjoy a truly immersive experience by residing with local host families; and learn about Spanish history firsthand on guided field trips. Following the trip, students will have access to college-preparation resources and other unique opportunities.

The purpose of the program is to provide students who may lack access to similar opportunities with a life-changing academic and cultural experience. For that reason the program, including airfare, is offered at no cost to students or their families.

For students to be eligible for the program, they must be nominated and have their applications submitted by February 16th. 

If you are a teacher, you may submit nominations online for up to three 10th grade students whom you think would benefit most from this program. To be eligible for the program, students must have completed at least one year of high school Spanish by the summer of 2018, or be able to demonstrate elementary conversational Spanish.

Up to 20 students will ultimately be chosen for the 2018 Washington World Fellows program. If you know a student who might be interested in this program, please share this information with them! 

For more information about the program, including a more complete list of partner organizations, please visit waworldfellows.org. If you have additional questions, please email info@waworldfellows.org, or call the Lt. Governor’s office at (360) 786-7707.