The 2015 DC Team

Welcome to JapanAndres Alvarez, Jr.

Andres is a 16 year old rising senior at E.L. Haynes Public Charter School. He lives with his parents and his younger brother. He speaks English, Spanish, and has studied French and Arabic at school. His parents are both from El Salvador, and he and his family travel there to visit relatives most summers. His academic and future career interests involve aeronautical, flight, and civil engineering, as well as architecture. Andres is in his school’s Art club, a member of the Video Game Design Club, and the Robotics Club. He enjoys watching anime and playing video games with his brother. His community service activities have included tutoring peers in video game design, conservation work in Rock Creek Park, and volunteering at his church. In 10th grade he won his school’s Haynes Best Ways Award for strong citizenship, character, and community-building efforts within the school.

Korey Carter

Korey is a 17 year old rising senior at Friendship Collegiate Academy. His academic interests include mechanical engineering, computer science, and business management. He is involved in Leadership, Michael Walton Foundation, Robotics, Student Council, and Taekwondo. Last summer, he had the opportunity to study engineering in a special program at Syracuse University. In the future, Korey hopes to work in an engineering field and also to be the headmaster of his own Taekwondo Dojang. His community service activities include distributing condoms with Metro Teen Aids, YMCA Youth and Government, and Leadership Conference. Korey has held a life-long desire to travel and experience what daily life is like for people from other parts of the world – this is his first opportunity to travel internationally.

Caitlin McDermott

Caitie is a 15 year old rising junior at School Without Walls. She lives with her twin sister, younger brother, mother and father. She is involved in her school’s lacrosse team, literary magazine, and Japanese Culture Club, and is a singer in the school’s stage band. Her academic areas of interest are English and Literature. She loves reading and writing, especially classical literature and poetry. She is deeply interested in music, music theory and writing and producing her own music. Caitie discovered her interest in Japanese culture through music. As a child, she was exposed to many different kinds of music. Asian music intrigued her and she began exploring Korean pop, which led her to Japanese pop, which in turn drew her to other aspects of Japanese culture. She wants to study psychology, consoling, and therapy work in her future.

Dusan Murray-Rawlings

Dusan is a 16 year old rising senior who has a wide array of talents, activities, and interests, including a deep knowledge and passion for Japanese culture developed from a young age. He alternates his time between his mother’s and father’s home, and has a younger brother. His academic interests include medicine, bioengineering, music, arts, and global affairs. He has studied Latin and French. At school he is in wrestling and the jazz band. Out of school, he takes part in DJing classes at Words Beats & Life, Youth Leadership of Great Washington, and volunteer service at First Light Saturday Science Program. In his “spare” time, he DJs, writes journal entries, reads essays and comic books, writes comedy skits and short stories, draws, collects music, practices trumpet, goes thrifting, rides his bike, and walks. And so much more. This is Dusan’s first trip abroad.

Nina Reyes

Nina is a 16 year old rising senior at Banneker Academic High School. She lives with both her mom and dad, but on alternate days. Her mother is a teacher and her stepfather is a school principal. Her father is a business owner and her stepmother is a government employees.  She is a cheerleader and captain of her school’s volleyball team and co-captain of the softball team. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Gems, a program that focuses on service and self-development. She is also part of the school’s Amnesty International Club. She tutors younger children, volunteers with girls to build self-esteem, and teaches computer skills to seniors. Nina is excited to experience Japanese society because she is passionate about foreign policy and international affairs. Her ultimate goal is to become a diplomat.

Jarid Shields

Jarid is a 17 year old rising senior at Eastern Senior High School, with a 4.5 GPA and perfect attendance record. She lives with her mother, who works for the government. Academically, she is most interested in the natural sciences), but also enjoys English and creative writing. She aspires to study biology in college, and has been pondering the idea of becoming a college professor and getting her PhD. Jarid was the junior class secretary of the Student Government Association, and is also the publicity chairman of her school’s anime club. She relaxes by reading, knitting, and watching TV and movies. Her community service activities include preparing care packages for military members, and tutoring students. She has been enamored by Japanese pop culture since she was 12, and has learned as much as she can about Japanese music, TV, and anime. This is her first time traveling internationally.