Critical Language Scholarship

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Wendy Gong

Critical Language Scholarship, China and Taiwan, 2017 and 2018

Wendy Gong is a registered nurse and product manager based in New York City. During her ten years working in healthcare, she realized that the healthcare industry needs to take significant steps to reduce waste. Seeing the amount of waste that the healthcare industry produces pushed her to make changes to her personal and professional life as a result of these convictions. Wendy plays an active role in numerous sustainability committees and led the effort to switch her workplace over to an 100% paper-free environment, streamlining electronic charting. As a medical devices global product manager, she advocates for sustainably sourced and recyclable products for the product portfolio and has selected global suppliers with environmental missions.

Wendy is an alumna of the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program in Changchun, China and Tainan, Taiwan, and served as alumni ambassador for CLS. She is also an alumna of the Kakehashi Project (Japan), 100,000 Strong Exchange Initiative (Xian, China), Freeman Foundation Asia Internship (Shanghai, China), and Rotary New Generations Exchange (Taipei, Taiwan). She graduated from the University of Kansas Medical Center where she studied nursing, and global and international studies. Currently, Wendy is planning to pursue a master’s degree in healthcare policy and public health with a focus on sustainability.

Kyla Harrison

Critical Language Scholarship Program, Oman, 2017

Kyla Harrison is passionate about making a difference in the social sector. Currently, she works as an associate consultant at The Bridgespan Group, a leading social impact consulting firm, in its New York office. At Bridgespan, Kyla has worked on several environmental and climate-centered engagements focusing on large philanthropic efforts toward climate change mitigation and adaptation, individual giving and impact investing toward climate change mitigation, and environmental justice.

Prior to this role, she worked at Mission Capital, a local nonprofit capacity builder in Austin, Texas as a consultant fellow. In this role, she specialized in strategic planning for nonprofits that work in several issue areas, including women's healthcare, education, and youth homelessness.

Kyla has a bachelor’s degree in Middle Eastern languages and cultures from the University of Texas at Austin, Plan II Honors Program. She is a member of the Board of Visitors for the Plan II Honors program at UT Austin.

Jenna Hayes

Critical Language Scholarship Program, Russia, 2016

Jenna Hayes is a graduate student pursuing her Master of Science degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and working as an adjunct professor of English at Fortis College. She views her work in counseling from the perspective of helping others "edit" their life stories. She is an alumna of the Critical Language Scholarship Program (CLS), studying in Vladimir, Russia. Jenna holds a bachelor’s degree in English and anthropology and a master’s degree in literature, with a specialization in 19th and 20th-century literature, from the University of South Dakota.

In regard to this seminar, she would like to share a quote from the Russian author, Leo Tolstoy. “One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between Man and Nature shall not be broken.” She believes that we have the opportunity—together—to make sure that this relationship is mended and fostered, and is the source of both health and happiness for all of Earth’s inhabitants.