District 5730

Rotary Youth Exchange



Jon Affonso


Jon graduated from Jesuit High School in Sacramento and spent the year after graduation as a Rotary Exchange student on the west coast of France. While he was there, he studied at a French Lycèe but was more of a student of the language, the food, and the culture which meant drinking many different types of wine. After he returned home, he began tasting in wineries all over California and comparing California wines to the wines he had enjoyed in France. He enrolled at Sacramento State studying Geology as he enjoyed the outdoors. As he contemplated being a geologist in the "real" world he also began to think about becoming a winemaker. After finishing a BS in Geology he began a master's program in Enology from Fresno State. There, he worked as a research scientist studying agricultural techniques to optimize fruit quality. He went back to France to work for Chateau Angeles (a premier grand cru winery) in St Emilion to learn traditional French winemaking techniques. Returning to California, he worked as a research scientist for Sutter Home Winery (Napa) and then a winemaker for Dry Creek Vineyard (Sonoma) where he made some award winning wines. Rounding out his education and experience, he earned an MBA in Wine Business at Sonoma State where he wrote a business plan to start an urban winery. The research paper was the bridge from a dream to reality and beginning of Rail Bridge Cellars. After one more stint as an Enologist, this time at Renwood Winery, Jon opened Rail Bridge Cellars in 2007.


Maureen Considine


Maureen Considine has been a member of the District 5020 Youth Exchange Committee since 1998. District 5020 is a bi-national district that includes Vancouver Island, Canada and the western part of Washington State from Seattle to just north of the Oregon border. Maureen has served as the Club Contact Officer, the Inbound Chairperson and since 2004 when the district moved to a Country Contact Officer Model, the Latin American Country Contact Officer. She is a member of the Rotary Club of Olympia, Washington.

She is the parent of a son who was an exchange student to Mexico in '97-'98 and a daughter who was an exchange student to Argentina in '00-'01.

 In 2006, with the idea of improving the preparation of Outbound students, Maureen developed an outline for an in-depth research project for students to complete prior to departure. This project was shared at the Brazilian Youth Exchange Officers meeting in 2007 and at the RI Conference in Los Angeles in 2008. The outline has been adapted and used in districts all over the world.

Maureen is a nurse practitioner, health educator, and health consultant with a specialty in reproductive health, adolescent health and cross cultural healthcare. She currently works for the State of Washington managing a statewide family planning program that serves low income men and women. She is a nationally recognized clinician, educator and trainer.


Hannah Marianetti


Hanna Marianetti is a Rebound student from District 5170 living in San Jose , CA. She was an Outbound student to Cumana, Venezuela in 2009 – 2010. Toward the very end of her exchange she was asked if she would like to participate in the Rotaplast Mission that was coming to her host city. The last three weeks of her exchange year she spent with the Rotaplast mission team. She used her language skills to translate for the visiting mission team and the patients and families as well as the Venezuelan volunteers for the project. Toward the end of the mission, they were short on nurses and Hannah filled in as surgical assistant for the plastic surgeons doing cosmetic repairs to earlier reconstructive surgeries.


When asked why she chose Venezuela as a host country, she said that she wanted to see what it was like to live in a country that had a very different political system than the United States. She also wanted to experience living with political instability. When asked how her parents felt about her choice of country she replied, "Well, that was a bit of a process...."

After returning from Venezuela, Hannah went to summer school in the summer of 2010 at the local community college. She will graduate from high school this coming June with credits to spare. She is working to maintain her fluency in Spanish and playing on her school's La Crosse team and involved with drama and music. She has played piano since she was a small child.


She is applying to college and is interested in studying environmental science. She is considering being an environmental engineer or working for the US State Department as a diplomat working on environmental issues.



Mariana Saettone


Mariana Saettone is a 17-year old exchange student from the province of Sucre, Venezuela. She is being hosted by District 5150, comprised of San Francisco, San Mateo and Mahn Counties in California. She has been involved with Rotaplast as long as she can remember – at least since she was 9 years old. Her father is a coordinator for Rotatplast in Venezuela and she has accompanied him on many, many missions. Her early responsibilities were to comfort and soothingly distract babies and small children while anesthesia was being administered. As she grew, so did her responsibilities. Growing up in a bilingual household, she speaks fluent English and Spanish. With the knowledge she acquired about cleft lip and palates and the procedures done to correct them, she became an integral and invaluable part of each mission, translating between the non-Spanish speaking Rotaplast teams and the patients and their families.


Mariana has thrown herself into her exchange year with gusto. She is perfecting her already fluent English, she was in the cast of the recent production of "Footloose" at her high school will try out for the spring theatre production as well. Despite a very busy schedule, she has made time to volunteer in a small nursing home in her host city.


She loves to cook and has introduced her host families to Venezuelan cuisine. Mariana plans to apply to the University of Alaska in Anchorage and study nutrition. She knows that she will have many more opportunities for continued service with a degree in nutrition.


Terri Nicole Sawyer


Terri Nicole Sawyer is ROTEX from ESSEX, transplanted to Utah in 1993. She is the current Outbound Coordinator and former YEO for District 5420 where she enjoys rounding up youth and sending them around the world.


Nicole is the last of 15 siblings and blames RYE for her life and the success she has had after going RYE to Brasil. She has 3 children, 3 cats, 2 geckos and 1 exchange student in her home right. Her daughter Gabriella is currently on her exchange in Spain!

She currently practices social work for the State of Utah in which she lovingly refers to her job as working in the supermarket of human misery.


Hunter Tanous


Hunter Tanous is from Carmel, California and is a Senior studying International Relations and Global Studies at the University of the Pacific. He first became involved with Rotary through RYLA Leadership Camp during high school, where he heard about Rotary Youth Exchange. After graduating high school Hunter spent a year on Youth Exchange with District 5230 in San Bemardo, Argentina.


After returning from Argentina Hunter began attending the School of International Studies at the University of the Pacific. He became involved in the University's Global Center for Social Entrepreneurship and began a local chapter of a non-profit that seeks to create a model for sustainable orphanages in Guatemala. He traveled to Guatemala three times working and researching for the organization. At the university he also began to study Arabic, eventually leading to him receiving a Rotary Cultural Ambassadorial Scholarship for Amman, Jordan. After spending 6 months at the University of Jordan studying Arabic and the completion of the scholarship, Hunter moved to Damascus, Syria to continue his Arabic studies.


Hunter is now in his final semester at the University of Pacific. He is president of the Council of University Social Entrepreneurs, an Analyst for the Integrated Development Program, a student run consulting group for non-profits and social enterprises, and is completing the training to volunteer for the Red Cross Disaster Action Team in Stockton. In the future Hunter hopes to combine his international education, language skills and knowledge of social entrepreneurship to pursue a career in Disaster Relief.



Dennis K. White


Dr. Dennis White was an American Peace Corps volunteer in Iran from 1968-1970. Following his return to the United States, he earned a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and has worked in a variety of social service and educational institutions. He is currently a licensed psychologist in private practice in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. He works with many international exchange programs. He served as Program Consultant to the District 6220 Rotary Youth Exchange (RYE) Board for 16 years. He makes annual presentations at Youth Exchange Conferences, Zone Institutes and District Governor's Conferences in such diverse locations as Michigan, Illinois, Florida, Nevada, California, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Alaska. He has made similar presentations in Germany, Turkey, Brasil, Ecuador, Canada, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, England, Taiwan, Australia and Mexico.


He is a Paul Harris Fellow, a former Club RYE Officer, past Chairman of the International Youth Exchange Committee and past President of the North American Youth Exchange Network. He is the founder of and co- webmaster of www.yeoresources.org, a Youth Exchange resource web site. He has written numerous articles about Youth Exchange, particularly related to Culture Shock and Reverse Culture Shock.



Serena Williams


Serena is a doctoral student of linguistics at the University of California, Davis, specializing in sociolinguistics. Sociolinguistics is the study of how language serves and is shaped by the social nature of human beings. It explores the many and diverse ways in which society and language intertwine. Serena was an Assistant Professor of Spanish and English as a Second Language (ESL) at Brescia University in Owensboro, Kentucky from 2003-2008, and also Interim Director of the Center for ESL at Brescia for a year. She has a master's degree in Applied Linguistics from Montclair State University in New Jersey and a master's degree in Spanish Literature from the University of Washington.


Serena's younger sister, Jessica Williams, was a Rotary Exchange student in Northern France in 1996-1997. The experience learning the French language and culture was so positive that both of Serena's parents and her sister joined Rotary.


Serena has done research with Rotary exchange students, both Inbound and Outbound, about their sense of identity once they are bilingual and/or bicultural. She asks them to elaborate on ideas such as feeling like they are "more" of a person or a "different" person since they had life experiences in another language and culture. She asks them to reflect on embarrassing moments or times when they feel like they can't speak or won't speak as well as those moments when they really felt they expressed themselves in another language. Her position is that these personal and social issues play an important role in a person's ability to acquire a new language fluently.


John A. "Jack" Young, PDG


John (Jack) A. Young is the 2005-06 PDG for Ohio Rotary District 6630 and is a Board Member of Shelter Box USA. Jack is the current District RYE Inbound Chair and has served a Rotary International Presidents representative in 2010 and has been a speaker on the Rotary Foundation in Australia. He has served 2 years as Zone 28 membership coordinator and 2 years as Zone 29 Literacy Coordinator.


In April 2010 he received Rotary's highest honor in receiving the "Service Above Self" award in which there are no more than 150 Rotarians worldwide who receive this award each year. Jack is a level 3 Paul Harris Fellow and a member of the Bequest Society of the Rotary Foundation. He has been on 5 Rotary Mission Trips to the "Children of the Dump" in Nicaragua and one to the Dominican Republic. He also serves on the Board of Directors for American-Nicaragua Hope and Relief International as well as being a member of the Fellowship of Scouting Rotarians.


Jack is a life time Accredited Senior Professional in Human Resources: a 32 degree mason; founder and past administrator of a 90 Suite Senior Assisted Living Facility in Ohio. He is currently administrator for Hanson Services, an In Home, non-medical assisted living organization for seniors. As a USAF veteran, he is secretary for the Cleveland Ohio North Coast Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen. He has 3 children and 5 grandsons and he is engaged to Marsha Pappalardo who is a Rotary Club Past president and past assistant governor in Ohio.