Meet the TAP Grant Finalists for 2019

We are so excited to announce this year’s finalists for the Travel Access Project Grants for Gap Year Travel. These fifteen finalists were chosen from over 200 submitted applications. We thought you’d like to meet them!

Oluwaseun Ayodele Olowoporoku

A Nigerian citizen who has attained all his qualifications from primary education to Post-graduate studies in Nigeria, Oluwasen is pursuing a doctorate degree in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. He is a prolific writer and researcher. His research interest is sustainable development, environmental conservation and pro-environmental behavior. He has authored and co-authored over 20 publications with topics ranging from sanitation practices and health, environmental sustainability, sustainable development, urban governance, transportation, among others. I am grateful to be TAP Grants finalist; it is my dream come through. It is an incredible opportunity I will seize without any reservation. The TAP Grant will enable me achieve my goal of gaining hand-on experiences on sustainable development and arrangement of cities especially those near water-bodies. I have always been eager to visit Netherlands to gain these experiences; TAP grant made my dream a reality.

Eaint Kabyar

My name is Eaint Kabyar Latt but most of my friends call me Joy as my mom named me after she named my brother’s name as Smile. I am from Myanmar (Burma) and I am a student of Globe. My passion is to have a life, which I will be able to provide a safe and free space to young people in Myanmar and I also want to live a life with peace and self-sufficiently. Recently, I am stepping into a journey of sustainable education while exploring things. I love travelling and I believe traveling is very good mentor of my life especially when I am travelling alone. I enjoy moving along with music and often feel fresh by letting my body move. I love colors, music, movement, books, trees, animals, trains and my travel backpack.

Isaiah Barber

Hi, I’m a Isaiah I’m originally from California but I’m presently living in North Carolina. I moved in 3rd grade across the country to stay where I’m at to this present day. This move was a massive change that shaped me who I am today, moving from a place where I called home to a small place where I’m known as just a stranger. This feeling/ state of mind altered how I have grown as a person and become who I am today. Growing as such so much I become a stranger to my family I came to the conclusion that in some way everybody is the stranger and feels like it. The years being a stranger to now, as I am still a stranger, taught me that it is not a bad thing to be such. It shows that your holding on to your identity, you are holding on to yourself, against the environment that is not familiar with you. Instead of altering yourself to become more camouflaged in it to get away from the awkwardness. I can easily say no to situations that I don’t like because I do not care how I stick out to others if I am an anomaly so be it. I pushed past the awkwardness and emotional detachment to find something much purer, independence. I allow myself to freely express my expressions however and whenever I want to. I can stand up in the middle class to say a joke to make everyone laugh making me standout to everybody with no problem and with no regrets. I am the stranger and I am happy to live like that. I actively participate in Chorus (my 4th year now) and this year I’m helping a big part with The Peter Pan play for Croatan Highschool. I feel my high school career as very successful in the last months which I’m pretty grateful about because I know made an impact on peoples’ lives through these years.

Keana Utsey

Keana Utsey is 19 years old, and currently live in San Antonio, Texas. She grew up in a military family, and moved every few years to many different cities, around the world. Being constantly on the go, she has developed a passion for learning about and experiencing different languages and cultures. For her gap year, Keana will be spending 8 months in India with Global Citizen Year. She will be living with a host family, and serving as a teaching assistant with Teach For India. She is immensely excited for what these 8 months entail, and hopes to connect with those she meets on her journey. After spending the majority of her life in traditional schooling, Keana is excited to take a year to completely immerse herself in a new culture, and learn in a different way. My name is Keana Utsey, I 19 years old, and currently live in San Antonio, Texas. I grew up in a military family, and moved every few years to many different cities, around the world. Being constantly on the go, I have developed a passion for learning about and experiencing different languages and cultures. For my gap year, I will be spending 8 months in India with Global Citizen Year. I will be living with a host family, and serving as a teaching assistant with Teach For India. I am immensely excited for what these 8 months entail, and hope to connect with those I meet on my journey. After spending the majority of my life in traditional schooling, I am excited to take a year to completely immerse myself in a new culture, and learn in a different way.

Oyewumi Ojedele

I am Oyewumi Ojedele. I began my Primary and Secondary school education in my native town: Ile-Ife which is the cradle of the Yoruba race in Nigeria. I proceeded to Obafemi Awolowo University for my Tertiary Education in Quantity Surveying and served my country Nigeria in th National Youth Service Corps after graduation in 2017. My mum established a small scale business in bags and souvenirs since 2004 in which I assisted her with sewing of bags. This marks the beginning of my interest in bag making and while in the university, I sew bags for my friends to support my income. In December, 2018, I started my business registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission in Nigeria and was awarded a certificate on February 14, 2019. A gap year is a golden opportunity for me to experience the world outside classroom and become a better person with an improved skill in the art and design of quality fashion bags through an internship in Shoe manufacturing industry in China. During my gap year, I want to learn the advance methods of making fashion bags and know more about the sophisticated machines used in the various design of bags. This will improve my skill and bring more diversity and creativity to my work. It will further upgrade my design to meet the international standard. This will help me to contribute to our local economy in Nigeria and train others in the field to meet up to standard. I am so happy to be a Travel Access Project Grant Finalist. I will always be grateful for the organizers of this award for giving me the opportunity to achieve my dreams.

Oluwafemi Michael Odunsi

Oluwafemi Michael Odunsi is a purposeful and vibrant Nigerian youth. I live in Sagamu, Ogun State, Nigeria. I am a lovable, diligent and resilient person. My philosophy is that life is all about positively impacting my generation and the upcoming ones, for a man or woman of such impact is a great memorial. I am currently a PhD researcher in Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Nigeria. I study at the Department of Urban and Regional Planning (URP).  I have to my credit 15 research articles published in both local and international journals. Before now, I studied URP at graduate level in Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, Nigeria After graduation, I obeyed the ‘Clarion Call’ to serve my fatherland Nigeria in the compulsory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) for between 2011 and 2012. I served in Abia State and I enjoyed everything about it, from the camping to teaching in my place of primary assignment. After NYSC, with my knowledge of Urban Planning designs and 2D/3D applications, I engaged in contract and freelancing jobs to support myself. In pursuant of my lecturing career, I bagged a ‘Distinction’ in MSc in URP in OAU for between 2014 and 2016. Within the programme duration, I was able to run a short course on Remote Sensing/Geographic Information System (RS/GIS) in which I attained the first overall, winning the first prize in 2016. I ran other GIS online short courses with ESRI. I took my professional examination in URP in 2016, passed and became inducted as a Registered Town Planner (RTP). Over the years, I have had a very busy academic life, with little travels. Thanks to Travel Access Project (TAP) for this great opportunity of making my dreams come true. It is my greatest pleasure and achievement in life, being the first grant I ever won. With this, TAP is providing me the opportunity to travel outside the Nigerian domain for a RS/GIS Internship in Greece at ‘Intern Abroad HQ’. This is an inclusive environment to learn and develop in RS/GIS as to help advance my skills, and expose me to real-time experience. I will be able to learn and integrate with other cultures and languages as well as engage in tourism activities. This will help my overall development. I will be able to fulfill my vision of imparting knowledge and developing human resources in Nigeria. I will also be able to have the capacity to help develop one of the most consolidated spatial data repositories which will provide spatial support for both private and government projects in the country. Above all, I appreciate the organisers of Travel Access Project Grants for this great opportunity. It is a positive impact on me, this generation and the upcoming ones. The organisers are forever great memorials. Thank you!!!

Keely Nadler

Hi! My name is Keely Nadler and I am currently a senior at the University of Missouri. Starting in September, I will be attending a language school in Valencia, Spain for at least 8 months. During my trip, I want to travel around Europe as much as possible in my free time. I also plan on checking some things off my bucket list such as becoming fluent in another language, learn how to surf, go skydiving, and many more!

Hannah Johnston-Wheeler

My name is Hannah Johnston-Wheeler and I am a grade twelve student at O’Neill CVI in Oshawa, Ontario. I am passionate about international affairs, justice and making a difference in the world. During my Gap Year, I will be volunteering in Ecuador with Me to We, exploring ancient ruins in Peru with my aunt, improving my French in France with a host family, teaching snowboarding in Whistler, British Columbia, lifeguarding in Banff, Alberta and hopefully doing some freelance travelling for a bit! I’m so excited and grateful to be a finalist for the TAP Gap Year Grant!

Angel Bryant

My name is Angel Bryant and I am an 18-year-old senior in high school from Jacksonville, Florida. While gap years are usually reserved for graduate school, I plan to take one between ending high school and starting college with Global Citizen Year. In Senegal, I plan to teach English to underserved schoolchildren while learning French and the native language, Wolof. I also get the opportunity to create my own community projects and share my gap year with others online.

Margaret Onanuga

My name is Margaret Onanuga, a female, and holder of a B.Sc. Education (Geography and Environmental Management) and M.Sc. (Environmental Management and Control) degrees from Tai Solarin University of Education and Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria, in 2009 and 2015, respectively. I am currently a doctoral researcher at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria. My research is on ‘modelling the effects of urbanisation on water resources, agricultural land and crop production in Ijebuland, Southwestern Nigeria’. My M.Sc. research was focused on urban solid waste management practices, using an extensive fieldwork approach. I acquired a stint of lecturing experience at Tai Solarin University of Education in 2017-2018, teaching Biogeography, Climate Science and Physical Geography of Nigeria to undergraduate students. I have also contributed to knowledge in publications and conference paper presentations. I am an alumna of Pan African Doctoral Academy (PADA) at the University of Ghana, Legon, Accra I have passion for capacity building, especially among the less privileged and marginalized population, who studies have shown to be vulnerable to the effects of climate change and many other socio-economic influences. I intend to spend the TAP Grant to improve learning skills and human capacity of primary school children on environmental education, resilience, adaptation and capacity building. I will also improve understanding on indigenous knowledge of dominate environmental challenges, particularly resilience to extreme climatic conditions and waste management practices in the area of placement.

Aiden Avery

Aidan is a 26 year old from Missoula, Montana. In 2018, he graduated from Seattle University with an undergraduate degree in Philosophy. Aidan’s primary interests are artistic expression and language, and he is passionate about using these in combination with his humanitarian values. Aidan will spend the 2019-2020 school year teaching English on La Réunion, a French island in the Indian Ocean. Aidan will use his Gap Year to determine his future education and career path. More specifically, the year will give him the opportunity to consider and practice the fields of Second Language Education, Creative Nonfiction Writing, and Translation/Interpretation. The upcoming year will also be an opportunity for Aidan to reach an advanced level in his second language, French, about which he is very excited!

Claire Burnet

A native of Asheville, North Carolina, Claire Burnet is excited to explore more of the world through a gap year. She is a founding co-president of her school’s Sustainability Club, a graduate of the Outdoor Academy, and participated in a Rotary International Exchange. With experience as a ropes course manager, science museum educator, and classroom volunteer, Claire is passionate about education and the environment. She has not yet decided on her exact gap year plans, but her options include Global Citizen Year, Omprakash EdGE, and NOLS, among others. She hopes to explore her love of learning and the natural world wherever life takes her! Claire enjoys playing field hockey, backpacking, traveling, cooking, working with children, and volunteering.

Tayson Amos

My name is Tayson Amos. I live in Klamath Falls, Oregon, a small rural town in which few beliefs differ from those of the general public. Being raised in an area like this has filled me with a thirst to travel. I have always wanted to experience more outside of this town, and a gap year is the perfect opportunity to experience the world. I plan on starting my gap year in September and travelling to Madrid, Barcelona, Costa Rica, Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand.

Jade Leung

Hi! My name is Jade and I am currently a final year student studying Biological Sciences at university. Amidst the stresses of preparing for final examinations this year, me and most of my classmates are thinking about what to do after we graduate. For me, the option of taking a gap year wasn’t what came to mind at first because it’s not an idea that my family and friends would consider as the perfect next step. However, as I considered my future path more, I realised that a gap year is what I need. I think that if planned right, a gap year will help me to step outside of my comfort zone, teach me about different cultures and lifestyles that cannot be learned in a classroom setting, and help to give some direction to my future path. This is why I am hoping to do a mixture of working, travelling and volunteering to give me a range of experiences and new skills.

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