It is a pleasure to welcome our Spring 2015 Cohort of students. Well, maybe not welcome (they have been here for two months!). But introduce them to you. And let you know how extraordinarily open-hearted they have been in entering into their new life here in Córdoba. It is a great delight working with them and getting to know them!           

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGrant Cotner is a philosophy major, originally from Peoria, Illinois, and currently attending Saint Louis University. He dreams of one day opening a Cobblewagon with his best friend selling fresh pies out of a wagon in New York City. He has started a community garden in front of Casa Sol, the student house in Córdoba and we now proudly grow our own fresh fruits and vegetables. His genuine and joyful laugh and excitement in life keeps all of Casa de la Mateada in good spirits.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALadies and gentlemen, meet the one and only Emily Haas. A true Milwaukee, Wisconsin native, Emily loves the outdoors; she considers this her “happy place.” She is a junior at Saint Louis University, majoring in Psychology and Latin American Studies and minoring in Urban poverty studies. This global traveler has been to India and El Salvador–Emily’s favorite color is a forest green. When she’s not studying or volunteering, you may find Emily playing some music or going on an outdoor adventure. She is enjoying getting to know the people of Argentina and learning the culture and language.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMeet Marianna Hernandez, a junior psychology/sociology major at Loyola Marymount University. Hailing from sunny Los Angeles, the city of angels, this chica truly is one. Sweet, smart, and always ready for a good laugh, Marianna is a woman of many gifts. In high school, she started dancing folklorico, and quickly discovered her natural ability to move to the music—and her hips don’t lie. Marianna is an adventurer who dreams of hot air balloon rides and New York City. Up next on her to do list is exploring her new home—feeling the rhythm of Córdoba’s centro, travelling Argentina, and trying everything from music to museums to the world-renowned asado (though she wouldn’t mind a scoop of guacamole every once in a while).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJonathan Ishi is 20 years of age, but 21 by heart. Part of an intercambio from Mexico, he actually is a California native and loves the beach. He studies political science and will one day be president of the United States. His favorite color is blue and I bet you didn’t know he has completed 6 marathons. He loves spicy food and watching House of Cards with roomie Grant. He is the creator of the CASA traditions of confession time and breaking bread. He most assuredly will be the last one to finish his food and have put away at least three plates. He always is able to convince you of what you know you want to do (the master of peer pressure). But seriously the dude’s got a big heart and is gonna go far in life. He lives with passion and will never fail to make you laugh. Cheers to the rest of the CASA experience, stay awesome Yonathan.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEileen Margaret Mallof was born on October 8, 1993 in Japan. She grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin along with her 5 older siblings. Her favorite childhood memories are of spending the summer with her family at their cabin in Two Sisters Lake in Northern Wisconsin. She is a third year student studying Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in Marquette University. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, especially her nieces and nephews. She is really enjoying her time in Argentina. She takes great pleasure in figuring out the public transportation system, playing soccer, and working on her Argentine accent.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACassie Novinger, 19, is a sophomore at Saint Louis University, Missouri, where she is currently studying Public Health and with current minors in Spanish and Theology. An avid runner, Cassie is hoping to run a marathon in downtown Cordoba this May and will run a triathlon back in the United States this fall. Her goal is to ride her bike across America. The sweet tooth of the Casa Crew, she is the first to taste test all sweets, especially the famous Argentine Dulce de Leche. Cassie dreams of having a clothes line and garden in her future home in Nicaragua. Cassie is a bright light of hope and optimism in the CASA house and always eager for the next adventure.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADaniela (Dani) Velazco, a psychology major from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, graces our community with her gentile presence and love for adventure. Apart from being this cohort’s official animal whisperer, she is the number one consumer in empanadas and alfahores. Her love for adventure sparks her determination to explore Argentina top to bottom, which includes leading a scavenger hunt to find the mysterious llamas that exist somewhere on the UCC campus.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAisha Noni Walker, which means life that is a gift from God, grew up in sunny San Diego.  She later discovered that she was the queen of the world.  Aisha likes to refer to herself in the third person, and frequents local tea shops in Cordoba, as a queen should.  Aisha has never broken a bone, because queens are graceful.  She is a dreamer, an explorer, and a traveler and has been known to travel upwards of thirty hours for a short, but exhilarating trip.  A soccer player at heart, Aisha frequently beats Argentines at their own game.  She is fun, full of wonderful energy, hilarious comebacks, and a joy to be around!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATess Natalie Weaver brings to us her coffee-know-how and rain tolerance from Spokane, Washington. A sophomore Spanish and European Studies major at LMU, Tess graces us daily with her passion for fitness and life. When not leading the cohort in Insanity workouts or spending time with the babies of Nuestro Hogar III, Tess can be found cheering for the Seahawks, hiking, and talking about her favorite foods (including but not limited to: Mexican, IHOP, dulce de leche, and protein shakes). The redhead of our cohort, Tess is a fiery adventurer excited for life in Córdoba.

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