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Student and Alumni News and Resources

Maria Rueda
Immokalee High School
Daniel D. Bumstead Global Scholar Program

Maria has been preparing for college while sharpening her skills at a third language -- Mandarin Chinese -- and recently introduced a NCWA distinguished lecturer in Mandarin.

She attended courses at the Florida Virtual School in addition to her high school curriculum. As she has deepened her study, she has become a strong participant in a Great Decisions group and was a member of Model UN's Most Improved Team in 2023. Maria has discovered a passion for the connection of international affairs to human rights, migration and labor. Also among the proud moments in her journey, as she has completed leadership development courses and other work, including earning an Associate of Arts degree while in high school, she has managed to buy her own laptop -- and was thrilled when she obtained her driver's license. 

Maria has been taking rigorous coursework, including AICE General Paper, English Honors, Geometry Honors and Accounting Applications I. She has been a tutor for Guadalupe Center’s Tutor Corps Program, where she assisted elementary students with math, reading and writing homework and supervised young students in classrooms, cafeteria and recess.

She participated in SWFL Model UN in 2021 as delegate of the Kingdom of Sweden for the Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee regarding a peace proposal for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Maria has played on the Immokalee High School tennis team, representing the school at local and district level games, and has served as a Student Council member. To download Maria's report, click here.

Anya Brenner
Community School of Naples
and Daniel D. Bumstead Global Scholar Program
University of Oxford
Now studying at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland

Anya Brenner, a graduate of the Community School of Naples and one of NCWA's Daniel D. Bumstead Global Scholars Program graduates, won a two-week study scholarship to the University of Oxford in England to study international relations in the summer of 2022.

Since her return, she has been accepted at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland to continue her work in international relations. She has participated in a Great Decisions group, as well as other NCWA programs. While in high school, she volunteered for Legal Aid Society of Collier County, Golisano Children’s Museum, Harry Chapin Food Bank, Guadalupe Center Resale Store and Bonita Arts Center. She is conversational in Spanish and a beginner in German and was a member of Model United Nations, historical officer in HOSA, a member of Key Club, Wordsmiths and Spanish Conferencia, and was active in varsity softball and in taekwondo.

She received the 2020-21 Citizenship Award, was on the High Honor Roll, and received outstanding achievement awards in mathematics, world languages, and cultures and fine arts. She was nominated for Naples Daily News Athlete of the Week in softball.

Click here to download her report about her study at Oxford.

Liam Casco
Gulf Coast High School graduate
Georgetown University scholarship

Liam was one of 25 Student Scholars who received an all-expense paid trip to attend the fall 2023 WACA conference in Washington DC, where he made a contact that he hopes may lead to a college internship in Orlando.

Liam participated in NCWA’s Global Scholars Columbus OH program, summer study at Georgetown University, and was a member of the Gulf Coast High School winning Academic WorldQuest team in 2022, joining the team for an expense-paid trip to Washington to compete in national finals. He is attending the University of Central Florida. Download Liam's report here.

Liam meets Ambassador
Thomas Pickering, known
for service in Russia.

Ravi Lafalaise
Fort Myers High School
Tufts University France program

Ravi Lafalaise, a senior at Fort Myers High School, who is of Haitian descent, wrote in her essay about her summer study at the Tufts University Summit Program in France that the experience gave her an opportunity to refresh her French language skills and deepened her intention to develop a career in international affairs. She appreciated the emphasis of the French people on family time and their personal focus on the environment and conservation.

Her trip to the United Nations center in Geneva, "sitting where diplomats made world-altering decisions, walking the same halls as heads of state," strengthened her aspirations to work for the UN someday, and she has decided to study abroad in college. You can download her essay at this link. To view a video about her experience at Tufts in 2023, click here.

Lauren Crisci
Graduate of Barron Collier High School and Florida State University
International scholarship to China
and former president of NCWA Alumni Association

Lauren Crisci has now graduated from Florida State University with a degree in management information systems and is living in San Diego, where she is working on international supply chain policy for Collins Aerospace and is completing her MBA.

Because of her fascination with Tibet, she is planning a trip to Nepal and the Annapurna Circuit and then will start a two-year leadership rotation with her company. In the future she hopes to return to public service in the international aerospace sector.

A graduate of Barron Collier High School, she received an NCWA scholarship for the Student Diplomacy Corps in the 2019 China Program. To download her report, click here.

Chelsea Casabona
Graduate of Marco Island Academy and Florida State University
Accepted into Columbia University's Master's Degree program in journalism documentaries
Former scholarship winner for international affairs program in Vermont

We also heard from Chelsea Casabona, a scholarship winner who graduated from Florida State University and now has been accepted for a graduate degree.

"I wanted to share some good news I recently received," she wrote to Debbie Doyle, a School Outreach volunteer. "I was accepted into Columbia University for the fall of 2023 for their Documentary M.S. in Journalism program! I wanted to tell you because my love for international affairs started that summer in Vermont (when she attended the former G.I. V program in Burlington VT) and you have been such a great support system. Thank you for giving me that opportunity all those summers ago. I wouldn't be where I am without it."

Click here to download an article written by Chelsea about her journey leading her to be the first person in her family to earn a college degree.

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Alumni Association

     Chelsea Carabona, left, joins students and alumni
at the 2023 Alumni Luncheon.

Alumni members are asked to maintain contact with NCWA so they can encourage other students to apply for these opportunities and often serve as advisors to these underclassmen and women. They may do so by returning the Update Form below when they have completed an important activity or when they participate in an experience that broadened their knowledge of global issues. 

We encourage alumni in the Naples area to attend alumni membership meetings to share their experiences and to network as they pursue their world affairs-related college courses and careers.  

Before the pandemic, the School Outreach Committee in 2019 hosted a luncheon for students returning from summer programs to share their experiences. They had been part of the Georgetown, Vermont Governors Institute, and the overseas study programs. Later, we invited the 2020 scholarship winners to lunch with alumni to describe their programs and offer counsel and answer questions for those about to travel to Washington DC or overseas.

In 2021 we made available to our alumni videos of the NCWA lectures. In 2022, we returned to an in-person luncheon and welcomed a number of alumni and current scholarship winners. In 2023, about 20 students -- alumni and current scholarship winners -- attended the annual luncheon.

For Building and Maintaining our Network

The NCWA Alumni Association believes it is important to build a network of former students who can support each other and maintain ties to NCWA as they pursue their careers, many of which are in fields related to international affairs. See below for resources.

Alumni Roster (EXCEL) (PDF) – Attached is a list containing the names of recent alumni students along with minimal personal information about them.  (Name, high school attended, date & name of summer program attended. Persons interested in contacting any alumni member should address their request for additional information to: 

Linda Crescenzi (NCWA Chair)  978-852-9201 or 

Alumni Update Form (WORD) (PDF) – Alumni students can download and complete this form to let Council members know where they are now and how they are using their summer experience to help them make positive contributions to our contemporary world.  

Alumni updates (WORD) (PDF) – Read highlights from our alumni taken from the Alumni Update Form which have been featured in the NCWA Newsletter to all Council members.

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We educate, inspire and engage our community in international affairs and global issues.

Naples Council on World Affairs

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