Today Global Citizen Year is thrilled to announce our first cohort of Fellowship winners through our ground-breaking new partnerships with Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and Washington D.C. Public Schools (DCPS).

Last fall both CPS and DCPS led a district-wide nomination process to identify highly motivated students to apply for the Global Citizen Year Fellowship. From a pool of talented applicants in both cities, Global Citizen Year selected four scholarship winners in each district. Through a competitive selection process, these eight students demonstrated the drive and curiosity to succeed as Global Citizen Year Fellows, as well as the leadership potential and motivation to make a positive impact.  

The DCPS and CPS Fellowship winners will join a cohort of 150 Global Citizen Year Fellows from across the country and around the world for a one-week orientation in late August, then depart for their country sites in early September. The students will be based in communities across Brazil, Ecuador, Senegal, or India, where they will live with a host family and apprentice with a community organization focused on education, health, or the environment. Through this experience, Fellows develop empathy, global skills and a sense of purpose, preparing them to thrive and lead in college and in 21st century careers.

The students will return to Chicago and DC in mid-April 2020, and all have plans to start college the fall following their Global Citizen Year.


As part of its Learn.Plan.Succeed. initiative, Chicago Public Schools has joined forces with Global Citizen Year to offer a select group of CPS graduates the opportunity to take part in this transformative global gap year between high school and college. Learn.Plan.Succeed. is the district’s initiative to ensure every CPS student graduates with postsecondary plan by 2020, which includes gap year opportunities like Global Citizen Year.

Chicago Public Schools values the diverse pathways our students take after graduation, and Global Citizen Year offers an enriching gap year experience that lays the foundation for postsecondary success,” said CPS CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “Whether CPS graduates enroll in college, start an apprenticeship, or participate in a gap year program, our partners like Global Citizen Year play a key role in providing opportunities for students and helping us reach our goal of every student graduating with a postsecondary plan by 2020.”

The four CPS Fellowship winners come from four different high schools across the city:

  • Zion Barnett-Bishop of Kenwood Academy High School / Global Citizen Year Senegal
  • Marcus Goley of Hirsch High School / Global Citizen Year Ecuador
  • Aaron Johnson of Bridgescape Learning Academies / Global Citizen Year Brazil
  • Ruby Levin of Senn High School / Global Citizen Year Senegal


DC Public Schools leads the nation in offering middle and high school students a hands-on global learning experience through their summer Study Abroad program. DCPS has joined forces with Global Citizen Year to offer a select group of DCPS Study Abroad Alumni the opportunity to continue their global learning through an extended leadership development and immersion experience between high school and college.

“As a result of our investments in the nation’s first district-wide study aboard program, over 1,500 middle and high school students have gone through life-changing experiences that have uniquely prepared them to be global citizens,” said DCPS Chancellor Lewis D. Ferebee. “These students are continuing their global learning experiences as alumni of  the DCPS Study Abroad program and I want to thank Global Citizen Year for partnering with us to ensure students are able to connect what they are learning to their future career interests and aspirations.”

The three Fellowship winners from DC Public Schools come from four different high schools across the city:

  • Blessing Ajayi of McKinley Technology High School / Global Citizen Year Brazil
  • Michele Heilman of Woodrow Wilson High School /Global Citizen Year Brazil
  • Nina Payne Phelps ACE High School / Global Citizen Year Ecuador

Through these partnerships, DC Public Schools and Chicago Public Schools are helping to build a pipeline of young leaders who have the curiosity, empathy and courage to drive social impact in communities at home and around the world.

Published by
Tilting Futures
Introducing Tilting Futures
Published by
Tilting Futures
Future Ready: Empowering the Next Generation of Global Changemakers
Published by
Tilting Futures
5 Key Questions for Designing an Immersive Learning Program



Tilting Futures logo

Global Citizen Year is moving forward as part of our new, larger brand: Tilting Futures. New name, same mission, expanded programs and impact.