Ridgefield native awarded Youth Exchange fellowship in Germany

Ridgefield High School graduate Kent Rapp has received a fellowship from the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals (CBYX) program.

The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) student has been studying genetic engineering, bioinformatics, and systems biology at the University of Rostock in Germany since October and began the final phase of the fellowship in January with Willpower Energy, a German startup that helps homeowners produce their own fuel from atmospheric carbon dioxide, water, and electricity.

Rapp began the fellowship in August, with two months of intensive German language education in Cologne. From there, he traveled northeast to the port city of Rostock to take courses. He shares an apartment with other university students and works in a café.

CBYX was created in 1983 by the U.S. Congress and German Bundestag (parliament) to strengthen ties between the two countries through citizen diplomacy. Each year, 75 Americans and 75 Germans are chosen for the reciprocal, full-immersion program. More than 2,000 American students have participated in the exchange, which typically draws more than 500 U.S. applicants a year.

Rapp was drawn to the CBYX program by the opportunity to gain a better understanding of life in Germany and to do his part as a global citizen.