Where Are They Now: Two Futures Inspired by a WorldStrides Program 16 Years Ago

In 2002, Kevin Bazan traveled with his middle school class on a WorldStrides program to Washington, D.C. His mom, Debbie, joined him, and that one experience in our nation’s capital proved to be the catalyst for a future in D.C. for both mother and son.

Now 29 years old, Kevin still remembers details from his week in Washington as an eighth grader. “Being in D.C. and seeing the bustle of the city was one of the most amazing parts of it,” he recalled. “Going to the capitol building and visiting the Jefferson Memorial are what really sparked my love of Government.”

Kevin took that love of government with him to college where he majored in Political Science, and then even further – to the Navy where he worked in Intelligence and accomplished learning Mandarin Chinese.

Kevin Bazan
Kevin visiting the White House while on a WorldStrides program in 2002
Kevin Bazan at the Vietnam Memorial
Kevin experiencing the Vietnam Memorial in 2002

His ultimate goal was and is to work for the State Department, and he credits the trip in 2002 with shaping that dream. “My love of the District which was sparked by my trip led me to search out jobs in the district, and thus, government. Once I started looking into those jobs, and coupled with my desire to promote diplomacy around the world, I decided I wanted to work at the State Department,” he explained. “The inspiring quotes inside the Jefferson Memorial proved absolutely formative to my future, and even today it is my favorite place to go and sit and think while I look out over the city skyline.”

Earlier this year, Kevin applied for grad school in pursuit of his dream, and on his application he referenced his WorldStrides D.C. trip. In the spring, he was accepted into the Strategic Intelligence master’s program at the National Intelligence University in Bethesda, MD, all in preparation for his diplomatic career.

Kevin at Mount Vernon
Kevin during a recent visit to George Washington’s Mount Vernon
Kevin & Debbie Bazan enjoying Mount Vernon
Mother and son duo! Kevin and WorldStrides Course Leader, Debbie, enjoying an afternoon at Mount Vernon

But Kevin isn’t the only Bazan who’ll be spending time in and around the nation’s capital. His mom Debbie was so taken with the experience of traveling that she went on to become a Course Leader with WorldStrides! She spends several months a year leading groups of students in D.C., and at the beginning of each trip she shares these words with the group:

“My first visit to Washington, DC was in 2002 when I came as a parent with my son on his WorldStrides 8th grade DC trip. The trip had a life-changing impact on him. As a result of that trip, my son decided that his ultimate goal in life is to work for the State Department as an ambassador for the United States.  He majored in Political Science in college and is currently serving active duty in the U.S. Navy. He still has an interest in someday working for the State Department. Students, I hope as we travel together this week that this trip will have the same kind of life-changing impact on each of your lives.”

Debbie is proud to now add to the story she has told to countless WorldStrides groups that Kevin is attending graduate school in pursuit of his dreams. “Sixteen years later his WorldStrides 8th grade D.C. trip is still impacting his life!” she marveled.

When asked what he would say to a teacher or a student who is considering participating in a WorldStrides program, Kevin said proudly, “I would say that it is definitely worth it to see where the heart of America beats, that learning our history allows us to plan for the future. Adding perspective allows us to broaden our minds away from potentially closed off notions which are enabled by not experiencing change of differences in opinion to that within which one is raised.”

Explore our programs and itineraries to learn more about how WorldStrides programs can impact students’ lives now and in the future.

Article written by Ellen Sewell

Ellen Sewell
Ellen’s background is in digital marketing, and she has a passion for travel and experiencing new places. When she’s not scrolling behind the screen sourcing content, Ellen enjoys spending time with her husband, son and golden retriever.

Related Itineraries