The application for the 2023-2024 Project Bridge program has closed.
About Project Bridge
In the spirit of cultivating culturally sensitive leaders of tomorrow, the Mansfield Center, The Korea Society of New York City and the Pacific Century Institute in Los Angeles select twenty high school students to become Youth Ambassadors in the Project Bridge intercultural youth leadership program.
For the third time, Montana youth are able to take part in the academically enriching Project Bridge program. Selected Youth Ambassadors are Montana residents enrolled as juniors in a Western Montana area public, private or homeschool high school and will take part in an intercultural youth leadership and intercultural awareness program that advances the ability of its participants to understand and respect other cultures. Originally created in response to the 1992 Los Angeles riots, the goal of the Program is to “bridge” the gap among cultures through cultural awareness and leadership training. It aims to cultivate future community leaders and introduce them to U.S.-Korea relations, with an emphasis on cultural and racial sensitivity and a firm understanding of Korea.
Project Bridge has expanded its outreach, from the Los Angeles-based Pacific Century Institute and the Korea Society located in New York, to rural and tribal youth through partnering with the Mansfield Center at the University of Montana. This is the Mansfield Center’s only academic youth exchange with Korea, adding to our strong youth international exchange programs with Japan, China, Thailand, and Cambodia.
Through a competitive process, Project Bridge admitted 24 student Youth Ambassadors for its 2022-2023 cohort, including eight from western Montana. The Montana students joined a cohort of eight Los Angeles and eight New York Youth Ambassadors and three group leaders on a yearlong academic program.
The Program offers many exciting opportunities for its Youth Ambassadors to build leadership skills and intercultural competence, improve their public speaking ability, and grow their personal and professional networks. Students engage in bi-monthly educational workshops on topics such as Korean history, language, modern society, and U.S.-Korea relations, as well as race relations in the U.S., which are led by topic experts. A key element of the Program is a collaborative research project with their Los Angeles and New York counterparts. Pandemic allowing, the capstone event is an all-expenses paid ten-day study tour in spring 2024 to the Republic of Korea. In the past, Youth Ambassadors have visited Korean high schools, universities, government ministries, businesses, museums and have experienced a homestay with a Korean high school student, as well as an overnight Buddhist temple stay. Throughout the program, students meet with diplomats, government officials, and business leaders. Following the tour, students conduct a community presentation, sharing insights gained.
2023-2024 Program Timeline
October 9, 2023: Application Opens
November 6, 2023: Application Closes
Mid-November 2023: Applicant Interviews
Late November 2023: Finalists Announced
December 2023: Program Begins
March 2024: Study Tour to Korea
June 2024: Program Wrap-Up
2022-2023 Youth Ambassadors
My name is Max Carter, I am a junior at Big Sky High School. I am the Junior Class President of Student Government and the Junior President of our Health Science Academy. I most enjoy my science classes in school, including Principles of Biomedical Science, Biology, and Physics. Outside of my education, I enjoy Soccer, Pole Vault, and Skiing. I hope to gain insight about our current world problems from the diverse culture of Korea. On our trip, I am excited to learn about Korean history and the relations between the U.S. and Korea. I am also thrilled to create life-long friendships with my fellow Youth Ambassadors from Montana, California, and New York.
My name is Andrew Egan, I'm a junior at Beaverhead County Highschool. I participate in Cross Country, Track and Field, Future Farmers of America (FFA), as well as Student Government. My favorite subject in school is Welding and Metal fabrication which is offered through Montana Tech. Outside of school I love taking photos, hiking, and fishing. I love working outdoors and am looking forward to seeing the massive city of Seoul, South Korea. Having never been to a city as modern and big as Seoul it will be a pretty memorable experience. But I'm most excited for the memories I'll make and the stories I'll share with my community.
My name is Evyn Good, I’m 17 and go to Hellgate High School. I am a part of Hellgate’s speech and debate team, as well as Academic World Quest and Model United Nations. I play basketball and I fish and raft for fun whenever I am able to. My favorite subject is History and Sports Science because I love to learn about how our body works and how other things have worked in the past. I enjoy meeting new people and seeing the experiences and things that they have gone through. I believe this is the best way to understand the world around us, as well as finding ways that we can best help everyone else in our extended world. I am excited to meet new people in Korea and see what their day to day life is like, as well as how they interact with their social and physical environments around them. I hope Korean culture will allow me to better understand the world around me, as well as give me a new perspective on not only the world, but myself in the process. I hope to learn more and learn the best way to help myself, my local and global community throughout our process of going to Korea and meeting new people.
My name is Gerik Manger, I’m 17 and a junior at Hellgate High School. I am a part of our Student Government, the Debate team, and Model United Nations. I also play lacrosse and the drums, and enjoy biking and cross-country skiing. My favorite subject this year is by far philosophy, I love having discussions about the unknowable with my peers and hearing new perspectives. I am very excited to learn about Korean culture and how they interact with their natural and built environments, as well as each other and what kinds of things they connect over. I hope that the uniqueness of Korean culture will expand my perspective and allow me to transfer my new experiences and knowledge into the community and help spread a sense of understanding and acceptance of other people and their backgrounds.
My name is Jesse McCormick, and I’m a junior at Sentinel High School. I’m a member of the tennis and debate teams, and participate in MUN, Academic WorldQuest, and Amnesty International. I also love swimming for the Missoula YMCA Swim Team. My favorite subject is definitely history, because I love learning about how decisions hundreds of years ago have managed to affect us in the present. I like to read, play pickleball, and hang out with friends...as well as spend way too much time on TikTok. I am so excited to participate in Project Bridge and explore the similarities and differences between Korea and the United States, and learn ways to lead global dialogues.
Hello, my name is Nya Seibert and I am a junior at Stevensville High School. I am the captain of my Speech and Debate team where I participate in public forum debate. I am also a part of National Honors Society and Key Club. In my spare time I enjoy learning about recent events happening around the world and researching the history leading up to some of these happenings. I am excited to be able to learn more about Korea throughout this program!
My name is Reese Wolfgram. I’m 16 years old, and a junior at Broadwater High School in Townsend, Montana. I play volleyball, wrestle, and run track, as well as take on leadership roles in my school’s FCCLA, NHS, Student Council, and Interact clubs. In my free time, I love to hunt, go skiing, and travel within and outside of Montana. I am excited to learn more about South Korea’s culture, history, and relations with the United States. Through Project Bridge, I believe we can achieve the goal of better viewing others' perspectives and becoming great individuals.
I’m Sydney Yung. I’m a junior at Hellgate High School, where I play soccer and help out in the Model UN and SAVE clubs. I enjoy surfing, skiing, water coloring, learning computer science languages, watching Studio Ghibli films, and reading science fiction novels. I’m passionate about expanding the roles and participation of girls in both computer science and international policy. I see Project Bridge as an amazing opportunity to expand my own worldview and increase my sensitivity and knowledge around race relations, while building meaningful cross-cultural friendships. I’m very grateful for this opportunity and I’m excited to take advantage of it!
2021-2022 Youth Ambassadors
Samuel Kayll - Loyola Sacred Heart High School
My name is Samuel Kayll. I’m 16 years old, and I’m a junior at Loyola Sacred Heart High School. I am a member of Key Club, I play soccer and participate in speech and debate. In my free time, I love to play, write, and listen to music; hang out with my friends; and enjoy the outdoors. One of the issues I’d like to draw more attention to is racism against Asian-Americans, and I hope that Project Bridge gives me an opportunity to learn more about this problem so we can make steps towards eliminating hate crimes.
Cyrus Kiely - Hellgate High School
My name is Cyrus Kiely, I’m sixteen years old and a junior at Hellgate High School. I am a member of the tennis team, and if I had to choose my favorite subject in school, it would be Arabic, but I also enjoy math and history. I enjoy playing tennis, skiing, and spending time outdoors in whatever capacity. I am excited to learn about Korean history and relations with the U.S. with people of various perspectives and backgrounds.
Noel Migliaccio - Big Sky High School
My name is Noel Migliaccio and I am a junior at Big Sky High School in the Health Science Academy. I enjoy my science and math classes and being a part of our Key Club, Student Government, and soccer and track teams. In my free time I enjoy snowboarding and hammocking. In this program, I am hoping to gain cultural insight into Korea and meet new people that can help me and others become better people in our communities.
Lily Miller - Hellgate High School
Hi, my name is Lily and I am a junior at Hellgate High School where I am in student government and I love all my classes. Go Knights! I am a Montana girl at heart that loves skiing the trees, rafting rivers and surfing our local play wave. I am also a member of the Red Ants Pants Girl’s Rural Leadership program working on a project that highlights girls' voices in wilderness spaces. I race for the Hellgate Mammoths (state champion) mountain bike team and play competitive hockey. It is my dream to play hockey in college, and to study engineering and literature. When I was little, I started a project to help girls in Nepal access education, and I am honored to be a part of Project Bridge, which will help me learn more about the world outside my town and how young people can play an important role in global interconnectedness.