Introducing the Teaching Assistants for the GCI LEAD Challenge 2021
Updated: Jul 15
The GCI LEAD Challenge is a virtual 6-day program that focuses on Leadership, Ethics, Advocacy and Design Thinking. This year's 36 participants are welcomed to the GCI Community by 9 Teaching Assistants (TAs). All 9 TAs are GCI Ambassadors—once GCI Fellows who attended our flagship program, the GCI Summit—and continue to be vital members of the GCI Community. Many hold leadership positions as members of the Ambassador Advisory Council (AAC) or as Class Agents (representatives for the Fellowship cohort year).
TAs are proactive leaders who are enthusiastic about other cultures. They put their communication, leadership and problem-solving skills to the test each day of the program through mentoring and direct teaching responsibilities. Throughout the week, the TAs will be instrumental in working with a group of 4 participants as they develop a collaborative group project and create an advocacy campaign around a chosen non-profit organization.
We would like to thank all of our TAs who make it possible for GCI to engage, educate and empower our participants on their journeys to become global citizens.
GCI 2015, AAC
Citizenship: Hong Kong
Secondary School: St. Joseph's College
University: University of Hong Kong
Alvin is a graduate of the University of Hong Kong, with double degrees in Arts and Law. He now plans to obtain a Postgraduate Certificate in Laws and qualify as a solicitor.
The GCI Summit 2015 gave Alvin the tools and words to think global and act local. He was able to put these tools to good use in 2018 when he co-founded a startup to develop navigational aid for the visually impaired in Hong Kong, which has since been funded by a government incubation program. Passionate about social entrepreneurship, Alvin completed his capstone undergraduate course by interning at PILnet, a global pro bono clearinghouse that effects social change in local communities via public interest law.
Alvin is an avid practitioner of Wing Chun, which he used to co-teach at his university residential college before the pandemic. Basketball and gaming are also his go-to hobbies.
GCI 2016, AAC
Citizenship: United States
Secondary School: Amino Jackie Robinson Charter High School
University: Georgetown University
David Gomez is a recent graduate of Georgetown University where he majored in Culture and Politics and minored in Japanese. Originally from South Central Los Angeles, David attended Animo Jackie Robinson Charter High School and was accepted into the GCI Fellowship 2016. In the same year, he was awarded the GSP Seed Funding Competition Award to develop portable shower systems supporting the displaced community in Los Angeles.
Throughout his time at Georgetown, David focused his efforts on uplifting the voices of low-income working-class communities. During his undergraduate career, David interned with various labor rights organizations like the Restaurant Opportunities Center of DC, Many Languages One Voice, and the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs. Now, David currently works as an internal organizer for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) where he aims to uplift the voices of workers and increase their bargaining power.
Secondary School: Tenafly High School
University: Babson College
Eita is 19 years old and is currently a rising second year college student. If you had to describe him in three words it would be: curious, passionate, and ambitious. Having been a 2018 GCI fellow, an avid traveler, and an immigrant to the United States, Eita thrives in environments that are multi-cultural. As such, he feels that GCI has and will continue to be an environment where he can grow alongside leaders of the future. Throughout his years in middle and high school, he was a competitive soccer player, traveling to Europe and South America to compete. Now, Eita immerses himself in the entrepreneurship education environment of Babson College. In his free time, he enjoys playing basketball, electric guitar, and cooking.
GCI 2017, AAC
Citizenship: Turkey, United States
Secondary School: Hisar School
University: University of California, Berkeley
Elif is currently a student at the UC Berkeley pursuing a degree in Cognitive Science, with minors in Data Science and Public Policy. She has additionally completed the SCET certificate for Entrepreneurship and Technology, and hopes to work in Tech Policy. Her recent election as one of 20 Senators in the Associated Students at the University of California to represent the international, tech, entrepreneurship and engineering communities on campus, puts her at the forefront of campus politics and student advocacy. Elif is currently working as a Research Associate at Desireline, on a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation supported research project on family planning and HIV prevention in Africa. She grew up moving around a lot but spent her formative years in Istanbul, Turkey where she played licensed volleyball for seven years. Elif also enjoys curating Spotify playlists.
Head Teaching Assistant
GCI 2017, Class Agent
Citizenship: United States
Secondary School: Ravenscroft School
University: North Carolina State University
A North Carolina native, Ravenscroft School alumna, and GCI Ambassador and Class Agent from the class of 2017, Kem is thrilled to reconnect with the GCI community now as a TA! She is a currently a junior at North Carolina State University, double majoring in Sociology and Communication with a minor in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism management. At NCSU, Kem is a Global Ambassador and a member of the Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity. She plans to study abroad in Spain, in the Spring of 2022, and continue solo traveling after graduation. Kem is currently interning with a wedding planning company to work towards a future career in the wedding industry. Her hobbies include traveling, cooking, and crafting. Because of her background as a first-generation Iranian-American, she is also extremely passionate about advocating for religious freedom, and the environment. She very much looks forward to working with the 2021 cohort!
Head Teaching Assistant
GCI 2015, AAC
Citizenship: United States
Secondary School: Phillips Exeter Academy
University: Yale University
Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Kevin Zhen recently graduated from Yale University where he majored in East Asian Studies.
During college, he cofounded “Homecooked,” a social dining app that organized small, communal meals at the homes of local cooks. A passionate writing tutor and life coach, Kevin has also taught more than 60 students for over 800+ hours at iLearnWorld, an online tutoring company based out of Birmingham, Alabama.
Outside of academics and work, Kevin has also won international breakdancing competitions and is one of the chief organizers of the annual Hip Hop Block Party. He is devoted to exploring innovative ways in which technology can be used to disrupt education, real-estate and more.
Secondary School: King's Academy
University: University of Bristol
Sama is a Palestinian Jordanian artist, activist, and law student. Born and raised in Amman, she graduated from King's Academy in 2019 – where her roles included being president of the Student Leadership Council. In September 2021, she will start the third and final year of her law degree at the University of Bristol. In first year, she was the arts representative for her hall's committee. In second year, she worked at the Bristol Institute for Learning and Teaching, leading the Humans-of-Bristol-University initiative and tackling projects on decolonizing the university. She was also a student advisor for the Human Rights Clinic, treasurer for the Women-in-Leadership society, and Vice-President of the Friends-of-Palestine society. In third year, she anticipates leading both societies as president, joining the Law Clinic, and conducting further research on decolonization. She aims to pursue a career in human rights while maintaining involvement in arts and other hobbies.
Secondary School: International School, Vasant Vihar
University: University of Delhi
Sohini graduated with a major in Political Science from the University of Delhi in 2020, and is currently an India Fellow, at Gramin Shiksha Kendra in Sawai Madhopur, as part of a fellowship in the rural development sector. In 2013, she Co-Founded Breaking Barriers, the first gay-straight alliance and queer rights awareness/sensitization program at the school-level in India, and has since been deeply involved in intersectional feminist activism. She has participated in Columba 1400’s Student Leadership Challenge’14 in Scotland, Global Citizens Initiative’s GCYS’16 in Boston, Royal Commonwealth Society’s Gender Matters! Program’18 in Sri Lanka and the Summer Leadership Academy for Alcohol Harm Prevention’19 in Slovenia. A young advocate of gender equality, she was invited by UNESCO to speak at their Paris Headquarters on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia’16. Recently, she developed a program for middle-school students, pivoting the intersection of social identity with mental health and substance abuse.
Secondary School: African Leadership Academy
University: University of Notre Dame
Trevor Lwere is a rising senior studying Economics and Global Affairs with a PPE minor at The University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. He hails from Kampala, Uganda and is also a graduate of the African Leadership Academy in South Africa.
At Notre Dame, Trevor has volunteered with JIFFI, a student-led enterprise that seeks to end predatory lending in the South Bend area. He also recently served as president of the African students Association where he spearheaded the inaugural Pan-African Youth Conference held in March 2021.
Trevor is a member of the Glynn Family Honors program and the Kellogg International Scholars program at Notre Dame. Through Kellogg and Glynn, Trevor has pursued independent research focusing on youth political participation and agricultural value chain in Africa.
Thank you for your continued support. We are so excited to share the journeys of these GCI Ambassadors as they start their new chapter as GCI TAs!