2016 Scholarship Recipients say “THANK YOU!”

In 2016, YYGS was able to grant full-tuition plus travel scholarships to over 25 students from around the world thanks to the generousity of our supporters. Without full financial support, these students would not have been able to attend YYGS and for that, they are forever grateful. Following the program, some of our scholarship recipients wrote letters to their benefactors to say thank you and describe the life-changing experience they had at Yale.

The messages below are written by students from India, Ethiopia, Russia, Brazil, Ghana, United Kingdom, Turkey, Mexico, and China.

Respected Sir/Madam,

I would like to thank you for giving me the wonderful opportunity to attend the Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship session of the Yale Young Global Scholars Program held from 26th July to 8th August at the Yale University. Coming from a middle class family in India, spending 2 weeks at Yale was something that I had previously only dreamt about, but with the help of a kind benefactor such as you, I was able to realize this treasured dream and spend some memorable time with students of extraordinary calibre from all around the globe.

At YYGS, I got the privilege to explore a lot of interesting subjects that I had previously had little knowledge about. The diverse range of topics that were covered as a part of different seminars allowed me to expose myself to a plethora of ideas that ultimately helped me develop my reasoning skills and sharpen my thought process. The conversations I had with people from different countries allowed me to gain some valuable insight into different cultures and lifestyles.

One of my fondest memories remains to be that of the practice sessions for the Capstone group project.  As a part of YYGS, we were required to work on an idea under a broader theme in groups of 5-6 and then pitch that idea in front of the other groups at the end of the program. We worked with our instructors to develop our idea into a basic business model and in the process, gained some valuable lessons in understanding team dynamic s and the art of pitch. The challenging atmosphere that we were a part of for 14 days stimulated all of us to work harder and at the end of the program we all left as better, more dedicated students.

Personally, the time I spent at Yale as a part of the YYGS was one of the most illuminating experiences of my life. It has helped me evolve my perspective as a young student and has inspired me to work harder in all my undertakings. I shall forever be indebted to you for having made all of this possible for me.

Thanking you,

Akriti Dhasmana

Dear Donor,

I want to give great thanks to the donor who covered my flight cost and ground transportation. Without their help I could not have attended the Yale Young Global Program. I wish I could know them and tell them more about my future goal. This person’s help changes my life and they will forever be a part of my life story.  The program gave me a life changing experience. Months ago, I only thought about my school activities. I didn’t have the time to think as international student.  My life, my goals and my future were limited by my country. But now, the Yale Young Global Program has helped me to think “outside the box”.

When I wrote the essay for my Yale application, (Please describe the factor that has most influenced you and your hopes and dreams and how have they shaped you?) I had said this on the conclusion part, “If I didn’t find the geography book in the 6th grade who knows what my hope and dreams would be. This Yale Young scholar opportunity is another factor that can influence my hopes and dreams even further and maybe help me to one day answer these questions. ” after I participated the program this statement has become true. I learned the environmental problems of our world and the environmental polices of different countries. I now understand that the responsibility of solving these problems are in my generation. I have aspired to become an astrophysicist to do whatever I can to solve these types of problem.

Now I am an international student. I have a number of friends from South Korea, China, USA, Armenia and more. I have heard the incredible stories of people that came from both good and bad situations. For example, the girl who comes from Zimbabwe told us about the white Zimbabwean violation of the right to ownership of their land and in Pakistan, we heard about the mascara on the girl’s school friends by the terrorist’s group. This is not the only thing I have learned from the program. I have also learned about international environmental conventions like that of Paris and Copenhagen.

Both my father and my mother are teachers but their annual income is lower than $2500, so you can guess easily that if I hadn’t received the travel scholarship, I wouldn’t have participated in the program. Even though my tuition was fully covered by Yale, I couldn’t have found the money to travel to the United States. I don’t have the words to express my feelings. I understand that a one page letter is not enough to thank you but one day I am confident that I will get the chance to express my gratitude in person.  

Thank you, Thank you very much! Without you, I wouldn’t have had this miracle experience.

Sefinew Misganaw

Dear Sir or Madam,

Unfortunately, I do not know your name, however, you helped me more than a lot of people I personally know did. Thank you so much for all you have done for me. Perhaps, you have no idea how grateful I am for your help, and how much the opportunity to participate in YYGS has meant to me.

I was raised in a tiny town in Moscow province with a population of approximately fifteen thousand people. My parents went to small low-quality Russian colleges, and none of my grandparents has graduated from college. Having this background, I could never imagine that one day I would cross a threshold of Yale University campus. Yes, I have always been a dreamer, and, I guess, this character trait made me apply to YYGS. But lets be honest - dreams have limits.

Before coming to YYGS, I thought I had no chance to get in. Actually, I even asked my best friend to check the application status for me, because I thought I would not be able to read a rejection letter myself. Imagine my reaction, when she read a word ‘congratulations’ out loud. I could not realize it was real, my thoughts were jumbled, and my heart went out of rhythm.

I had the same feelings, when I was entering Phelps Gate. I literally felt like Harry Potter. I could not believe that it was happening to me, the girl from Moscow province. But it was real.

There was no day I felt dissatisfied with something at YYGS.  Lectures were extremely interesting, and all of activities were useful and fascinating. However, what I find most important is that every single person was incredibly intelligent, curious and kind. So I was glad to be surrounded by such a great group of people.

I have never experienced something like this program before. YYGS left a myriad of positive memories and new knowledge in my mind. However, what is more essential, YYGS helped me to realize that dreams do come true, even if everyone around thinks it is impossible.  My dream would not come true without your tremendous help.

Thank you so much!

With gratitude,

Arina Lopukhin

Dear Donor,

What I am about to write will probably never be enough to express such infinite gratitude I am feeling towards you, something I will carry for the rest of my life. For the last days you have provided me an unique, incomparable opportunity which is attending Yale Young Global Scholars, a summer program promoted by one of the world’s most renowned universities.

As you may already know, I am a 17-year-old Brazilian student whose strongest passion is global affairs in all its extensions: the different cultures humanity relies upon, the languages spoken worldwide, the relations between nations and their negotiations, along with many other aspects as much important. For that reason, what I have been pursuing is a career in this field of knowledge in which I will be able to cause a positive impact in the world, seeking peace for mankind through the resolution of conflicts, poverty eradication and what I believe to be the utmost thing: education for all. Thanks to you, I am one step closer to that goal.

From the moment I first stepped into Pierson College I was greeted and warmly welcomed by an awesome staff of instructors; little did I know that my amazement with the program was just at the very beginning. Minutes later after that moment, friendships were already being made, conversations started, and everyone was really excited that all the previous virtual conversations could finally be translated into face-to-face discussion.

As the days passed on, I got to know more and more people, all of them from different parts of the world, different languages, distinguished backgrounds, distinct habits and perspectives of life, but at the same time all of them brought together by a single common characteristic: their commitment to changing the world into a better place. It soon became evident to me the impressiveness of each person I met around the campus, each one of them with an outstanding personality. It did not take long until I realized what kind of individuals I was dealing with: genuine leaders, transformers of the future. Being in this sort of environment, in company of such brilliant people, surrounded by all this diversity not only inspired me but also it helped me broaden my horizons, open my mind, widen my perspectives, and above all: learn. Each person taught me a single lesson, be it either how to greet in their languages or how generous humankind can be, as well as a really precious thing: the true value of friendship. I can tell with all certainty that during this time I made real lifelong friends.

And besides all this, I cannot help mentioning all the intellectual content I was exposed to. Each lecture and seminar was a new discovery, a new learning, a complement not only to my knowledge but also to my life. I feel hugely privileged for having had the opportunity to listen to and learn from  the greatest people I have ever met: renowned professors, experts, people who once held important functions in the government, individuals greatly successful in their careers; getting to know their history, their struggle, their path to success inspired me in such a manner that I now have them as examples in which to mirror.

All lectures, seminars and other events held by the program contributed immensely to the increase of my intellectual capabilities such as critical thinking skills, eloquence, argumentation, creativity, proactiveness, altruism and multifaceted thinking, allowing me to have a broaden approach towards an issue, considering its various points of view; all that was possible due to the great competence of the program’s faculty, including its directors, lecturers and instructors, who encouraged us the whole time to reflect, not giving us ready answers, but rather introducing us to an objective train of thought.

My favorite seminar was one named “Bridging the gap between the rich and the poor in developing countries”,  taught by Chaste Niwe, in which we were encouraged to leave our comfort zones and become aware of the real everyday lives of millions of children in Africa who live in hunger, lack of basic needs and low-quality education, often having to abandon school in order to work; but most important, we learned how we can change that situation for those people, and how we can be the hope and maybe the salvation of millions.

I also learned a lot from the “TED Talks” event, in which some fellow students within us gave us a brief speech based on a remarkable fact of their lives, or a subject in which they have great interest for. The majority of the stories told were really emotional, and showed me that behind a person may be a background of sadness and overcoming, teaching me the importance of not judging anyone and caring for others’ feelings. My favorite speeches were given by two students both from Pakistan. The first one told us how he was expelled from his village after facing one of the most influential religious figures of his place, someone who he really appreciated and admired, and which also had been neglectful with the death of his cousin, who he loved. The second one was about the forbidden love which the student was going through: he was born Sunni while his lover was born Shia.

Another event which was decisive for my next step in my educational career was the “Career Talks”, in which we had the opportunity to learn from the past experiences of three individuals whose professional success has been achieved. One of my favorite was Mrs Schutte’s talk, for her history was really inspiring for me: she left a life in a farm and managed to enter Yale university, giving her best in everything she did and pursuing a great professional career. She also encouraged me a lot by advising me not to let financial situation getting in the way, for it is really possible for me to obtain financial aid once I would have no conditions to afford college in a foreign country. Of course the process of application in my country is expensive, but once I have real chances to be approved for Yale, it is worth each penny.

I could also not help mentioning New Haven’s beauty and gorgeousness. The old-fashioned architecture impressed me a lot, especially in the cross-campus location, where Yale’s magnificent library can be found.

Well, there are certainly much more to be told than what I have tried to, but some feelings I believe cannot be put into words, so I will keep them in my heart and memory. What I finally want to say is that you, when kindly selecting me for receiving this scholarship and you who made it possible have changed my life forever, be sure that for better. You have contributed in a wonderful and unexplainable manner to my academical knowledge and my future career. You have made it possible for me to honor not only my parents but also my whole family, once I am the first one among them to have gone this far both physically and intellectually. You made my parents proud of me, showing them that all their struggle in raising me was really worth it, and that all the values which they transmitted me have worked. Thank you so much for allowing me to be part of this lifelong experience which is Global Scholars. I will never forget what you have done to me, and I promise being grateful for the rest of my life. Be sure that everything that I got from this program will be used to somehow improve my community, and that not a single knowledge acquired will be wasted.


Luiz Felipe da Silva Moraes

Dear Donor,

I will never forget the moment I received an email saying that I had been granted the opportunity to attend the YYGS program on a Travel Scholarship. Before that moment, my mom was about to call off all my preparations due to financial constraints.

When I arrived on the Yale campus I was overwhelmed by the majestic landscape, since this was my first time of traveling abroad. I met a lot of people from different backgrounds which has enriched my perspective of the world. My favorite seminar was entitled, “Questions concerning technology “. I was most interested in that particular seminar because I am considering a career in the field of Information and Communication Technology. During the seminar, we discussed about the impact of technology on our world today. And ironically, we learnt that technology is a major contributor to lives which have been lost over the past century.

We also learnt that technology could still play a major role in “saving ” our planet! One interesting aspect of the program was working on our Capstone projects with our peers. It helped me to improve my interactive skills with others tremendously. I am currently in my senior year and will complete high school next year. I plan to write the SAT so as to get the chance to study abroad, provided I can secure a scholarship.

This great summer experience would have been a fantasy without your assistance. I am forever grateful. But I believe you will reap the good works you have sown. Thank you.


Reuben Cobbinah

Dearest YYGS,

Attending the Applied Science & Engineering session of Yale Young Global Scholars 2016 was undoubtedly the best experience of my life! Thanks to this experience, I have found the confidence to pursue the US as my top destination for further education studies - a concept that seemed very unachievable and unrealistic beforehand. Before attending I knew very little about the US education system and I ended up leaving almost being an expert in the system (and several other global education systems from Australia to Ethiopia!) thanks to the plethora of diverse and talented like-minded individuals I met- some I which I have undoubtedly formed lifelong friendships with. Thanks to this program I know I have a brother or sister in every corner of the world from Texas to Mexico City to Melbourne. The most valuable thing these 14 days have taught me is that it really is possible to connect with people separated by borders and seas (making my dream of US study a bit less scary!). I will never forget the amazing seminars, lectures and discussions which stretched and challenged my mind; spanning topics from ethics of artificial intelligence to economics of pollution control. Brian Scassellati’s lecture on ‘Robots that teach’ exposed me to the progressive research and amazingly interactive professors at Yale who have all deeply motivated me challenge myself through extracurricular activities and strive for the best scores possible. However, the most powerful motivation to achieve my dream of US study is by far to be reunited with my YYGS companions. It seems unimaginable that this experience would have passed me by if it was not for the generous scholarship I received. Thank you for an experience that will definitely remain in my heart for the rest of my life.

-Oliver Osei-Asibey
United Kingdom

Dear Donor,

I am writing this letter to sincerely thank you for your generous scholarship covering my travel expenses to and from Yale Young Global Scholars Program this summer. I was over the moon when I learned that I was the recipient of your scholarship.

I am a rising senior from Turkey, attending a high school for the gifted students in my country with a full scholarship. I aspire to study English literature next year in college, and I am planning on applying to US universities that offer financial aid to pursue my dreams. I am also interested in biology and environmental studies, which made this program particularly important for me. I was desperate in December 2015 looking for summer programs in the US that would offer me financial aid to cover pretty much all of the tuition fees. I had never been to a summer program abroad, and never even applied to one because of my lack of hope in financial aids. I wanted this to change. Never had I known that one simple Google search would have been enough to do just that.

I came across Yale Young Global Scholars Program (YYGS) just in time for the New Year’s. I read every single word available on their website. I was ready to apply. It took me a while to gather financial documents, write essays and a résumé, but in February I submitted everything. Prior to finishing my application, I got an e-mail from YYGS announcing a travel scholarship for a student from Turkey. I thought that my chances of getting this scholarship was slim, considering the number of high school juniors and sophomores in Turkey. On April 2nd, a day after I learned that I was accepted to the program with full tuition scholarship, I was contacted as the recipient of the travel scholarship. And it is all because of you. Thanks to your generous heart I was able to go on a trip I would have struggled a lot to afford otherwise.

After almost four months of anticipation, it was finally July 25th. My excitement was at its peak as I boarded on the first of my two flights, and it has only reached new heights throughout my 18-hour journey to Yale. I woke up next morning to the first day of the Sustainability, Energy & Environment session. I was delighted by just the thought of making new friends from around the globe. Our first official day as Young Global Scholars was reserved for an opening meeting and icebreaking. We were all assigned to smaller groups and toured the campus while getting to know other people.

Throughout the program we had a grand total of eleven lectures, including the first and last lectures taught by the executive director, Ted Wittenstein. These lectures involved more than just the science behind climate change. Although we learned how greenhouse gases work, we also searched for innovative solutions to emit less carbon dioxide, and looked for the legislative aspect of climate change at Yale Law School. Discussion groups created a healthy environment for around fifteen scholars to have a conversation about the lectures. Everyone had eight seminars in addition to the lectures, but there were over a hundred options to choose from in the virtual “blue book” sent to us several months prior to our session. Although all of my seminars were really informative, one seminar stood out for me: “Skyscrapers: The Good, the Bad, and the Empty.” That is because I am really interested in urban design and incorporating green spaces into metropolitan areas, but part of the reason I latched on to this topic was that I was born and raised in a city with a lot of high-rise apartments, so I felt a personal connection to the topic we discussed.

Capstone project is essentially a time reserved to research and create solutions to a current issue regarding sustainability, energy or environment. My group studied environmental racism in Latin America, and none of us was familiar with the topic. At times it was challenging to work with something brand new to me, but my love of learning about other people’s backgrounds made the work a lot easier.

Between everything I learned about climate change and meeting hundreds of new friends, YYGS broadened my horizon. It was an experience I will never forget, a memory I left in the past with tears in my eyes. Thank you for being a kind and generous person and caring about people in need. I owe the best two weeks of my life to you and Yale for giving me this opportunity. I hope one day I will be able to contribute to the education of children just like you.


Ugur Dursun

Generous Donor,

I would like to thank you so much for paying for my traveling expenses. My time here at YYGS in the BBS program has been wonderful! I have learned so many things and met so many different people. Although all of the seminars I’ve taken have taught me a lot and have been very interesting, my favorite seminar so far is one called “Advanced triage and medical rationing”, where I learned about organ transplant policies and how to triage on a mass casualty incident.

The most exciting thing I’ve learned during the BBS session is that I am really interested in pursuing a major in Biomedical Engineering! My next step in my educational career would be college applications, and of course, I will apply to Yale University. A favorite memory of BBS I always will remember is not a specific favorite memory, but the people I’ve met, all from so many different places with many different stories to tell. I thank you again for this opportunity you’ve given me to travel here to Yale! I hope all goes well in your life and I wish you the best.


Ximena Latapi

To Whom it May Concern,

Thank you for helping me have a very fascinating and incredible journey at Yale. I have learned deeper knowledge from this tremendous program, I have obtained valuable experience from lectures and seminars, I have met many nice friends and I have mastered lots of practical skills from my capstone project and simulation. And the most important is that I have entered a new world where I have realized that I should try my best to keep going, keep learning to achieve my dream.

My favorite seminar was ” digital footprints.” In this seminar, other students and I took pleasure in discussing about social media. The outstanding instructor created a dramatic class environment and held the process of seminar very well. We started a wonderful brainstorming session that broadened my horizons and made me gain a holistic view about social media as it is related to terrorism now. Indeed, I had a very good time.

SIMULATION is the most interesting and exciting part during IAS, we pretend to be an important and different role in a organization or country. We come to work, discuss and argue together and experience a life as a leader, diplomat or journalist. And the process is out of imagination because they even found a new European community, which became crazy. At the same time, I enjoyed it a lot.

After this program, I will come back to China to finish my senior school and then take the college entrance exams to go to one of the best universities in China. Maybe in the future I will study abroad for further study.

My most unforgettable memory is the new friendship with these smart participants. I met lots of people who are from all over the world and thus I have learned much about different cultures like Brazil, Canada, England, Pakistan and so on. We have different perspectives about GRAND STRATEGY, discuss about current issues and coordinate with each other to do an awesome job.

I am genuinely grateful and hope you would be proud of seeing what I have gotten from this program.


Xue Wang