Local students making strides around the world

Several Green River High School students and graduates have recently been making strides in their studies and careers, challenging themselves, traveling the world, and preparing for new opportunities.

Studying in South Africa

Ashlyn Jensen got to spend two weeks in South Africa this summer helping animals and learning hands-on what it's like to be a veterinarian.

Jensen is a 20-year-old from Green River who is currently a Senior at Chadron State College in Chadron, Nebraska, majoring in General Chemistry and Organismal Biology.

Traveling with study-abroad organization Loop Abroad, Jensen was selected as part of a small team that volunteered at the Cango Wildlife Ranch caring for cheetahs, lions and other big cats, according to a press release.

The Loop Abroad Veterinary Service program brings students to South Africa for two weeks to volunteer alongside veterinarians from the US and from South African animal experts. Jensen and her team took a course in the anatomy, behavior, and conservation of big cats such as cheetahs and lions so that they could be better equipped to study and help support the animals at the Cango wildlife game reserve.

Jensen and her team provided care for the animals at the Cango Wildlife Ranch, including feeding the cheetahs and helping to provide enrichment for them. She was also able to go on a game drive to observe African wildlife, where she was able to see zebras, rhinos, giraffes, and many other types of African mammals and other wildlife.

Loop Abroad is the largest pre-veterinary study abroad program in the United States, hosting students in nine countries on six continents throughout the year.

Joining the Naval Academy

Triston Drozd, a Green River High School graduate, was inducted into the Naval Academy Class of 2027 on June 29, marking the beginning of six challenging weeks of basic midshipman training during Plebe Summer.

Approximately 1,200 candidates are selected each year for the Academy's "plebe" or freshman class, and each student is required to participate in Plebe Summer, according to a press release. During this time, plebes have no access to television, movies, the internet, or music and restricted access to cell phones. They are only permitted to make three calls during the six weeks of Plebe Summer.

The pressure and rigor of Plebe Summer is carefully designed to help plebes prepare for their first academic year at the Naval Academy and the four years of challenge that awaits them. As the summer progresses, the new midshipmen rapidly assimilate basic skills in seamanship, navigation, damage control, sailing, and handling yard patrol craft. Plebes also learn infantry drill and how to shoot 9 mm pistols and M-16 rifles.

Other daily training sessions involve moral, mental, physical, and professional development and team-building skills. Activities include swimming, martial arts, basic rock climbing, and obstacle, endurance, and confidence courses designed to develop physical, mental, and team-building skills. Forty hours are devoted to the instruction of infantry drill and five formal parades.

Founded in 1845, the U.S. Naval Academy today is a prestigious four-year service academy that prepares midshipmen morally, mentally, and physically to be professional officers in the naval service.

Preparing for Germany

Meeka Iwen, a student at Green River High School, was recently selected for the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) scholarship for the 2023-2024 academic year.

CBYX is a bilateral exchange program of the U.S. Congress and German Bundestag (Parliament), according to a press release. The program is administered by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs through non-profit implementing partners such as CIEE. 

Iwen will spend the academic year in Germany living with a host family and attending high school. The program will start in August when Iwen travels to Germany for a one month intensive German language program. 

Over the course of the year, Iwen will share a bit of Green River with their hosts in Germany. In addition to their role as citizen diplomats, CBYX participants also visit the German Bundestag, meet with German government officials, and explore the beauty and diversity of Germany.

Upon return to the United States at the conclusion of the exchange program in Germany, the participants will meet with their elected representatives on Capitol Hill.


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