People to People Ambassador Programs Celebrates 50 Years; Awards 50 Travel Scholarships Across U.S.

One winner from each state selected in honor of the organization's 50th anniversary

Feb 15, 2012, 08:00 ET from People to People Ambassador Programs

SPOKANE, Wash., Feb. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- People to People Ambassador Programs, the world leader in global educational travel experiences, has announced the recipients of their "50 for Fifty" contest.  A full Student Ambassador scholarship was awarded to one student in each state to further the organization's long-term goal of building cultural awareness and global understanding. 

"We are excited to commemorate 50 years and the more than 500,000 ambassadors who have traveled abroad with us," said Peg Thomas, president of People to People Ambassador Programs. "Providing these scholarships to a student in each state gives us a way to celebrate our history while providing students throughout the country with the chance to have the life-changing experience of connecting directly with different cultures."

The winning students received a place on their local Student Ambassador delegation traveling to destinations such as Europe, Australia, China and South Africa this summer. 

Coming from a variety of different backgrounds and spanning in age from 11 to 17 years old, the 50 winning students exemplify the diversity of American students today. Chi Leigh Warren, Kansas state winner, was born in China and adopted from an orphanage. Sarah Loret, Ohio state winner, grew up with a sister who is blind and deaf and has helped shape who she is today.  Ellen Wilson, Tennessee state winner, who was born three months premature at just two pounds and 15 ounces, has overcome potential learning issues and is inspired to become a neonatologist. These and other scholarship recipients are active in their schools and communities including athletics, JROTC, student council, National Junior Honor Society, theatre, choir, Boy Scouts and even traveling to help communities in need to places such as New Orleans and Mexico. 

The scholarship sweepstakes was open to full-time students in grades 5 through 12 who entered themselves via an online submission process. The 50 winners, out of more than 60,000 entrants, have the opportunity to travel on one of the more than 25 unique programs offered on all seven continents. Scholarship recipients were selected through a random drawing.

Student travel with People to People expands students' world views and stretches their horizons through education-based travel. Each program explores cultural attractions, offers homestays, incorporates community involvement through service projects, and provides unique People to People moments like meeting with parliament members in the UK, laying wreaths of remembrance at Normandy or staying in sacred Maori sites in New Zealand. Research shows that more than 80 percent of students who travel with People to People Student Ambassador Programs are accepted into the college of their choice.

The winning students expressed excitement about the special "backstage pass" access People to People trips provide:

  • "I am so excited to have this opportunity," said Megan Young, Indiana state winner. "I am most looking forward to being able to see how people live in other parts of the world and I am excited to see the historic places that I have only read about in books."
  • "I am most looking forward to staying with another family while I am there to see what their everyday lives are like," said Ellen Wilson, Tennessee state winner. "I can't wait to see the differences between their cultures and mine."
  • "I am most looking forward to learning the history of different countries and cultures, meeting the local people and participating in a service project," said Kaitlyn Clark, Virginia state winner.
  • "I traveled with People to People Student Ambassadors in the summer of 2009 to Europe. It was the greatest two weeks of my life!" said Katie Creamer, South Carolina state winner. "People to People is the best organization to travel with around the world and I can't wait to go on another adventure!"

Full list of winners is below:

  • Lorren Shaffer of Andalusia, AL – Andalusia High School
  • Delaney Crosby-Schneider of Soldotna, AK – Soldotna Middle School
  • Ariel Shelton of Peoria, AZKellis High School
  • Fabian Sims of Smackover, AR – Smackover High School
  • Jasmine Smith of Palmdale, CA – Endeavour Middle School
  • Viviane Turman of Grand Junction, CO – Grand Junction High School
  • Arian Silas of Berlin, CT – Berlin High School
  • Elizabeth Dissinger of Milford, DE – Milford Senior High School
  • Olexa Blecha of Stuart, FL – Community Christian Academy
  • Katie Johnson of Atlanta, GA – Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy
  • Jeron Ramos of Kamuela, HI – Honokaa High School
  • Kate O'Toole of Eagle, ID – Bishop Kelly High School
  • Pateese Terry of Forest Park, IL – Walter Payton College Prep High School
  • Megan Young of New Palestine, IN – Doe Creek Middle School
  • Hannah Anderson of Washington, IA – Washington Junior High School
  • Chi Leigh Warren of Shawnee, KS – Shawnee Mission Northwest
  • Jacob Collins of Hagerhill, KY – Our Lady of the Mountains
  • Meagan Moore of Sulphur, LA – Frasch Elementary School
  • Brian Johnson of Topsham, ME – Mt. Ararat High School
  • Debbie Olorunsola of Perry Hall, MDPerry Hall Middle School
  • Ciara McNeil of Brookline, MABrookline High School
  • Joshua Gould of Caseville, MI – Laker High School
  • Amanda Susnik of Duluth, MN – North Star Academy
  • Matthew Smith of Hattiesburg, MS – Sacred Heart Catholic High School
  • Emilie Stagoski of Ballwin, MO – St. Joseph Academy
  • Hannah Tullett of Kalispell, MT – Evergreen Junior High
  • Alex Zimmerman of Omaha, NE – Westside High School
  • Macy Helm of Las Vegas, NV – Faith Lutheran High School
  • Courtney Pelletier of Belmont, NH – Belmont High School
  • Dominique Antoine of Hillside, NJ – Union County Vocational-Technical School
  • Zachary Winchell of Farmington, NM – Piedra Vista High School
  • Noah Woodsinger of Endwell, NY – Maine-Endwell Middle School
  • Anna Lucia Wallace of Charlotte, NC – Anami Montessori School
  • Willi Ulness of Bismark, ND – Wachter Middle School
  • Sarah Loret of Sylvania, OHSylvania Southview High School
  • Lauren Lovelace of Sayre, OKSayre High School
  • Daniel Sloan of Grants Pass, OR – Grants Pass High School
  • Morgan Miller of Grove City, PA – Grove City High School
  • Jared Burt of Warwick, RI – Toll Gate High School
  • Katie Creamer of Pelzer, SC – Provost Academy South Carolina
  • Rebecca Klein of Sioux Falls, SD – O'Gorman Junior High
  • Ellen Wilson of Hixon, TN – Red Bank Middle School
  • Estefania Hernandez of Fort Worth, TXR.L. Paschal High School
  • Erica Heline of West Jordan, UT – Paradign High School
  • Amber Quinlan of Milton, VT – Vermont Commons School
  • Kaitlyn Clark of Suffolk, VA – Nansemond River High School
  • Colby Gage of Ellensburg, WAMorgan Middle School
  • Haley Petitt of Huntington, WV – Spring Valley High School
  • Matthew Maclay of Richland Center, WI – Richland Center High School
  • Dawson Rogge of Gillette, WY – Sunflower Elementary

About People to People Ambassador Programs

People to People Ambassador Programs is the world's most recognized educational travel provider. Since the 1960s, more than 500,000 people from around the world have traveled with People to People Ambassador Programs to help further global understanding through cross-cultural exchange. Offering unmatched safety measures and unparalleled access to foreign cultures and countries, People to People Ambassador Programs promotes personal success in a globalized world and fosters international friendships for both students and professional adults.

People to People Ambassador Programs is the exclusive educational travel provider of People to People International (PTPI), a nonprofit organization founded in 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to promote peace through understanding worldwide. Together, PTPI and People to People Ambassador Programs are united in a mission to bridge cultural and political borders through education and exchange. For more information, please visit  



Scott Cocking, Senior Director at People to People Ambassador Programs


(509) 568-7425


SOURCE People to People Ambassador Programs