2011 Celebration Scholarship Recipients

Dalia Amin

Dalia Amin
Gary D. Kimura Family Scholar
Junior, Political Science

Dalia Amin is a junior majoring in political science with a minor in law, societies, and justice. At the age of nine, she moved to the United States from the Middle East and by adapting to American culture, was challenged to break from her previous Kurdish way of life. The first member of her family to attend college, Dalia’s pursuit of higher education goes “against the grain” of her native culture. Even so, she juggles school work with an extensive list of community and campus activities.

Since she was a teenager, Dalia has served members of underrepresented and at-risk communities. She began by volunteering to assist new members of her local Kurdish community which led to her starting her own non-profit agency called “Family Care,” a program that assists foreign families. She was the first Kurdish female elected to office as a Washington state Kurdish community representative, a position she held from 2006-2010. Dalia interned for Washington state senator Maria Cantwell and is a youth representative on the Renton Municipal Arts Commission. On campus, Dalia is the chair of the OMA&D Student Advisory Board, co-president of the Bollywood Appreciation Club, a Student Advocacy Alliance leader and a Husky Mentor. She previously served with ASUW as an ambassador and director of diversity efforts, and founded two student organizations (HUBRATS and Kurds@UW). In addition to her community and campus activities, Dalia works 20 hours a month as an express mechanic manager for her father’s business.

Dalia would like to earn a master’s degree in public administration or attend law school. After graduation, she plans to return to Northern Iraq and work as a Kurdish state governor or a minister of education. She also has a dream of establishing a home for abused and battered women in the Kurdish region of Iraq.


Matthew Anderson

Matthew Anderson
Wells Fargo President’s Achievement Award
Junior, History

Matthew Anderson is a junior majoring in history, with a minor in education. A first-generation college student, he has persevered through personal and academic challenges to excel at the University of Washington.

Matthew did not graduate from high school. He took the GED test and a few years later attended adult basic education classes to catch up on college standards in math and English. From there, he went to Tacoma Community College and then Bellevue Community College where he graduated with honors. When he returned to school, Matthew discovered he had a learning disability but developed the skills to overcome that obstacle through counseling. He transferred to UW in the fall of 2009 and has earned Dean’s list honors four times.

Matthew’s battles, however, are not limited to the classroom. He also suffers from a chronic medical condition that requires treatment on a regular basis. Using his own journey as inspiration, Matthew makes a remarkable effort to give back, helping students from diverse backgrounds who like himself, struggled with a number of different barriers. While at community college, he tutored an adult basic education math class and last summer, he tutored for a history class at Franklin High School through the Pipeline Project. Matthew currently volunteers at the Secondary Bilingual Orientation Center and would like to participate in even more community service activities, but cares for his youngest son every other weekend. He values that family time and arranges his study schedule accordingly.

A Husky Promise student, Matthew is reliant on scholarships, financial aid and loans to fund his education. After graduating from UW, he plans to attend graduate school, focusing on either education or history. Matthew is considering becoming a teacher and will no doubt be an excellent role model for the next generation of students.


Joshua Buenavista

Joshua Buenavista
Bank of America Scholar
Sophomore, Pre-Nursing

Joshua Buenavista is a sophomore pursuing a pre-nursing major. A two-time Dean’s list honoree, he excels with a difficult course load while juggling several campus and volunteer activities. Joshua has held numerous leadership and mentorship positions, and is very devoted to supporting his Filipino and Filipino American communities.

Joshua is an active member of the UW Filipino American and Vietnamese Student Associations, and participates in two different dance troupes, Kasama (a hip-hop crew) and Sayaw (a Filipino dance team). Comprised mostly of UW students, Sayaw continues to flourish as one of the top Filipino performing art groups in the greater Seattle area, as well as the Pacific Northwest. A member of the multicultural fraternity, Sigma Beta Rho, Joshua also serves as a mentor to high school students through the Filipino American Student Association’s Project FAMILY (Filipino Americans Mentoring and Instilling Leadership in Our Youth), an outreach program that provides high school students of any ethnicity with the resources to support them in their pursuit of higher education.

In order to assist his future nursing career, Joshua works in the radiology department at the UW Medical Center. In addition to his Dean’s list honors, he received the 2010 Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity Winter Student Recognition Award. After graduation, Joshua plans to work as a registered nurse while earning a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist license.


Bryan Dosono

Bryan Dosono
William P. and Ruth Gerberding/Early Identification Program Scholar
Junior, Honors Informatics (Human Computer Interaction)

Bryan Dosono is a junior majoring in informatics with a concentration in human computer interaction. His parents emigrated to the United States from the Philippines, but Bryan was born and raised on the Yakama Reservation in Wapato, Washington. Reliant on financial aid, he has always had to support himself financially to pay for school and at times has worked 30-hour weeks while handling a full class load.

In spite of financial difficulties, Bryan has held internships in the community, participated in undergraduate research projects, served in several capacities with UW student government, volunteered for community organizations and participated in study abroad programs. A two-time Dean’s List honoree, Bryan is a Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Scholar, a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship recipient and an Ellis Civic Fellowship recipient. Through a volunteer internship with InterConnection, Bryan learned to refurbish second-hand computers that were shipped to underdeveloped schools and impoverished communities around the world. Sharing technology and creating opportunities for low-income families helped to solidify his choice in major. His passion for information science was inspired by his study abroad experience in Costa Rica, where he helped residents of a rural village learn about and adapt to communicative technology.

Bryan plans to attend graduate school immediately after completing his undergraduate degree. He would like to pursue a Ph.D. in information science with the hopes of becoming a professor. He would like to contribute his technical expertise to the advancement of a government think-tank and possibly become the next U.S. chief information officer.


Mary Dunlap

Mary Dunlap
EOP Celebration Scholar
Sophomore, Pre-Nursing

Mary Dunlap is a sophomore majoring in pre-nursing. Fully dependent on financial aid to fund her college education, she has shown tremendous strength and perseverance through some difficult times.

During the first quarter of her freshman year, Mary’s mother passed away. At the time, her two younger brothers lived with extended family while she lived in the dorms on campus. But when summer arrived, she lived in shelters until she could afford her own apartment. Last fall, she became the sole caretaker for one of her brothers, and was met with the challenge of having a dependent while also working and keeping up with her studies. Both of her brothers now live with family members in different parts of the country, but Mary continues to help them by pursuing her academic goals.

In the face of personal adversity, Mary continues to focus on her studies and remain involved in several activities and community service projects. In addition to working part-time, she participated in a young ladies leadership group that was a part of the Seattle Youth Employment Center. She is currently a member of the Latino Medical Student Association and the UW Sisterhood.

Mary has a rich spirit of giving back. After completing nursing school, she plans to provide healthcare to members of underserved communities by opening her own medical practice. She would also like to work as a pediatric nurse in Haiti to serve one of the most vulnerable communities in the world.


Helen Fillmore

Helen Fillmore
Robert T. and Nancy J. Knight Scholar
Sophomore, Environmental Science and Resources Management

Helen Fillmore is a sophomore majoring in environmental science and resource management. She is part of the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California, and is extremely dedicated to helping the community she grew up in. She is very active with campus organizations and volunteer efforts as well.

Helen is highly involved with UW First Nations, serving as the communications chair and working with several events, including the annual spring powow. She is the First Nations representative on the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity Student Advisory Board, and represented First Nations at ASUW during the spring quarter last year. Helen is the co-director for Yehawali, one of four OMA&D-funded Community Academic Mentorship Programs for Underrepresented Students (C.A.M.P.U.S.). She directs the other three mentors in the program and mentors four students herself. In order to gain some experience in her major, last summer Helen worked for the Wildland Fire Management Department at the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Nevada. She was a part of a labor crew in the fire camps, working with various federal departments on an environmental issue.

Helen would like to enroll in a graduate program after completing her undergraduate studies. She hopes to re-open a school on her reservation in Nevada that once taught pre-school through middle-school students in her native Washoe language. When she was a child, Helen valued her experience at the school and by bringing it back, hopes to preserve her tribe’s traditions, especially its language. Regardless, Helen’s long-term goal is to work for her tribe and help her community members with the many issues they face on the reservation.


Marisol Gutierrez

Marisol Gutierrez
EOP Celebration Scholar
Junior, Pre-Nursing

A junior majoring in pre-nursing, Marisol Gutierrez is a single mother who is reliant on scholarship support and financial aid to fund her education. She juggles the challenge of caring for her child and attending school full-time, yet still manages to maintain a 3.46 grade point average.

Last year, Marisol balanced a five-week course to earn her Certified Nursing Assistant Certificate. Despite the demands at home and in the classroom, she remains involved in student organizations and volunteer efforts. Marisol is a member of Unidas Seremos, an organization for undergraduate minority women on campus that celebrates cultures and performs community service. She is a member of the Latino Student Union and was an EOP mentor during the fall quarter last year. Marisol volunteered at the Outpatient Cancer Treatment Center at Swedish Medical Center, providing support to patients. It was a cause she could relate to, as her father died from bone marrow cancer and her twin sister has been diagnosed with leukemia.

A recipient of the 2010 Ward Merit Award Scholarship, Marisol is inspired to pursue a career in healthcare based on her experience as a mother and the issues she faced seeking medical treatment for her young daughter. After graduation, Marisol plans to become a bilingual pediatric nurse practitioner to help the underrepresented Latino/Hispanic community in her hometown of Yakima, Washington. Marisol would also like to start a program that provides services such as childcare, financial aid, and transportation to single mothers who wish to further their education.


Anna Hohag

Anna Hohag
Robert T. and Nancy J. Knight Scholar
Senior, American Indian Studies

Anna Hohag is from the Bishop Paiute Shoshone Reservation in Bishop, California. A senior majoring in American Indian studies with a minor in international studies, Anna initially struggled with the move to Seattle but has found a new sense of community at the University of Washington thanks to services provided by the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity and the First Nations group.

Anna has participated in many community service opportunities with the Longhouse Media and Native Lens program, a non-profit indigenous media arts organization. During the spring quarter last year, she tutored at-risk middle-school youth through the Pipeline Project. In addition to her work with First Nations, Anna serves as a mentor to four UW students in Adelante Yehawali. She is most proud of her involvement in Wünüt, a coalition of young adults and Bishop Paiute Tribal members committed to action that positively impacts Native youth. Anna also finds time to participate in intramural softball and basketball.

Anna is able to afford college due to scholarships and financial aid including Husky Promise. After completing her degree at UW, she plans to attend a graduate program focused on indigenous political issues, tribal Indian law and tribal government. She is considering attending law school. Ultimately, Anna plans to pursue community service work that will help her Bishop Paiute community, as well as other native and minority communities throughout the country. She hopes to continue mentoring tribal youth and encouraging them to make positive choices with regards to community involvement, education, and cultural practices.


Brandon Ing

Brandon Ing
EOP Celebration Scholar
Junior, Biochemistry

Brandon Ing is a junior majoring in biochemistry with a minor in music. A native of Honolulu, Hawaii, he feels an obligation to his family to do well in school. It was especially hard for Brandon during his freshman year when his mother suffered a heart attack and he was thousands of miles away in Seattle. But he perseveres and continues to make his family proud by excelling in a difficult major and participating in several campus and community organizations.

Brandon is a member of the National Society for Collegiate Scholars and participated in Relay for Life as a member of the Minority Association for Pre-Health Students. He has served as a breakfast volunteer at the ROOTS Young Adult Shelter in the University District. Brandon is a mentor for two students through the OMA&D Mentor Power for Success program and volunteered as an escort and administrative assistant at the UW Medical Center Lung Transplant Division. Brandon has done quite a bit of work to prepare himself for his major. He worked as a student assistant in a biochemistry lab on campus and as an undergraduate researcher in a lab in the UW Medicine Department of Pathology. He also did an internship with the UW Department of Surgery.

A recipient of the 2010 Bank of America Merit Award and a Mary Gates Research Scholarship, after graduation Brandon plans to go to medical school or participate in an MD/Ph.D. medical scientist training program. He hopes that when he does become a physician or medical researcher, his work will aid underserved communities.


Mercedes Morales

Mercedes Morales
Lydia Gonzales Scholar
Junior, English

Mercedes Morales is a junior majoring in English who overcomes her share of personal challenges on a daily basis. Despite being a full-time student, Mercedes returns home to Camano Island every weekend to support her family. For the last two summers, she has worked as an executive assistant at the Stanwood Camano Community Fairgrounds. Due to her family’s financial struggles, Mercedes is fully dependant on financial aid to fund her own college education. She is a recipient of a 2010 EOP Endowed Scholarship.

Although feeling an obligation at home, Mercedes continues to persevere in her pursuit of an education and remain active on campus and in the community. She serves as the treasurer for UW Unidas Seremos, a Latina-based multicultural women’s organization on campus. The group fundraises for scholarships for UW freshmen women and volunteers with community organizations to host cultural awareness events. Mercedes volunteers with Phi Eta Sigma and Sigma Alpha Lambda, two academic honor societies on campus.

After earning her undergraduate degree, Mercedes plans to apply to the UW Master in Education Program. She would like to teach in a public middle or high-school and work with at-risk youth who face discrimination, poverty, and abuse.


Michael Peralta

Michael Peralta
Del Rio Global Citizens Scholar
Senior, American Ethnic Studies and Geography

Michael Peralta is a senior majoring in American ethnic studies and geography, with minors in diversity; education, learning and society; and environmental studies. He aspires to become a global citizen and is looking forward to his first study abroad experience in the Philippines this summer. Due to financial constraints, Michael thought that academic travel would not be possible. His ultimate goal by studying abroad is to further equip himself with an increased global perspective when it comes to transforming the way we think and discussing issues relating to education and identity transformation.

Throughout his collegiate career at UW, Michael has been involved in several campus programs including the UW Dream Project, the Pacific Islander Partnerships in Education (PIPE) mentorship program and GEAR UP. He continues his work of enhancing student life on campus by serving his third consecutive year as a resident advisor. In addition, Michael is a current Mary Gates Endowment Research Scholarship fellow, a four-year Leadership 1000 Scholar and was the 2009 Gary D. Kimura Family Scholar.

After graduation, Michael plans to apply to graduate school and pursue a Ph.D. in information science or education. His long-term goal is to become a professor, academic researcher and mentor to underrepresented minority students. He would like to conduct research on the relationships between race, education and issues of information access within local and global contexts. Michael also wants to continue working toward improving educational access for underrepresented minority students by creating and sustaining campus environments conducive to success for all students. He is interested in leveraging technology in ways that better serve the needs of underrepresented populations, particularly when it comes to their education and overall well-being as local and global citizens.


Fitradin Shanle

Fitradin Shanle
EOP Celebration Scholar
Junior, Political Science

Fitradin Shanle is a junior majoring in political science, with a minor in both diversity and education. At the age of two, she emigrated from Somalia to the United States with her family when civil war erupted there in 1990. Since then, Fitradin and her family have been challenged with adapting to a new way of life. One of five children, she grew up in low-income, publically funded housing in a violence-ridden West Seattle neighborhood, but it was a drastic improvement from the poverty-stricken refugee camps of her native war-torn country.

Fitradin’s family is reliant on her for financial support and she has held at least a part-time job since the age of 14. As a first-generation college student, she serves as an academic resource and mentor to her younger siblings. Fitradin is fully dependent on financial aid to fund her education at the University of Washington. Despite her responsibilities at home, Fitradin is very active with campus organizations. She is the vice president of the Somali Student Association, and is a member of the African Student Association and the Black Student Union. Her interest in promoting education to underrepresented students has led her to become a mentor in programs such as the UW Dream Project, the Adult Basic Skills Tutors at South Seattle Community College and SafeFutures. As a freshman, she served as an administrator support at the OMA&D Instructional Center and is an OMA&D Peer Advisor.

In the spring of 2010, Fitradin was accepted into the Ronald E. McNair Program that will aid in her pursuit of graduate studies. After receiving her undergraduate degree, she plans to join Teach for America to continue her work with underrepresented minority students. Ultimately, she wants her role in the University realm to serve as a representation for Muslim women of color.


Ashley Tuiasosopo

Ashley Tuiasosopo
UW Athletic Scholar
Senior, Mathematics

Ashley Tuiasosopo is a senior majoring in mathematics with a minor in education, learning and society. She has excelled both in the classroom and on the diamond, playing with the University of Washington softball team that won both the 2009 NCAA and 2010 Pac-10 Championship titles.

A local product from Woodinville, Washington, Ashley has earned three varsity softball letters after initially joining the team as a walk-on. Through her tireless work ethic, Ashley has earned the respect of her teammates and become an outstanding leader. Last season, she played in 16 games, starting three, and received the 2010 Husky Coaches Award.

Ashley’s goal is to earn a teaching certificate in math and return to her hometown to teach school. Despite her busy athletic and academic schedule, she has volunteered as a math tutor at several local elementary schools. Ashley is applying to both the UW Seattle and UW Bothell master’s degree programs in education.


Maxwell Walker

Maxwell Walker
Alfred and Marilyn Mus Scholar
Junior, Business Administration (Marketing)

Maxwell Walker is a junior majoring in business administration with an emphasis in both sales and marketing. Coming from a single-parent household, he would not be able to attend college without the help of scholarships and financial aid. This support motivates him to continue to excel and make the most of his opportunities at the University of Washington.

Active with campus organizations, Maxwell is a member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity and the Association of Black Business Students. He is a Costco Diversity Scholarship recipient as well. Maxwell has a strong commitment to community and service and giving back. His father works in the maintenance department for the YWCA of Seattle and for the past five years, has has volunteered there, cleaning buildings and assisting with low-income housing renovations. Over the holidays, he has served meals at Angeline’s Day Center for Homeless Women.

Maxwell is already preparing for a career in business having interned the last two summers with the Heinz Corporation. He served as an account manager for the Northwest Costco stores, learning about product placement, marketing and inventory control. Maxwell will be the second person in his family to graduate when he receives his diploma next June. He plans to attend graduate school and obtain a master’s degree in business administration.


Alexandra Zaballa

Alexandra Zaballa
President’s Achievement Award
Senior, Biology with Departmental Honors

Alexandra Zaballa is a senior majoring in biology with departmental honors. She is also pursuing a minor in diversity. Alexandra has maintained a 3.81 grade point average and earned Dean’s List recognition every quarter while juggling a difficult course load, volunteer efforts, campus activities, and undergraduate research. She plays on the UW women’s club soccer team, serving as a captain in 2010.

Since her freshman year, Alexandra has participated with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at UW, including the Biology Fellows program and the Integrative Research Internship program. She has worked in the Abkowitz Hematology Lab and developed a research project that she presented at the UW-Howard Hughes Medical Institute Undergraduate Research Symposium. She is a member of the Latino Medical Student Association and is involved with the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity’s Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity. Alexandra’s experience shadowing and interpreting for physicians inspired her desire to become involved in community healthcare. She serves as the undergraduate director for Al-Shifa, an organization that leads a student-run clinic advocating for the needs of underserved communities. Alexandra volunteers as a medical interpreter with Sea Mar Community Health Clinics, and spends time working at Children’s Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House. Last summer, she traveled to Rwanda with a group of medical personnel to create and run a health care clinic.

Alexandra’s accomplishments have not gone unnoticed. She is a Mary Gates and UW biology department scholarship recipient, and received an American Society of Hematology Trainee Research Award. Alexandra is applying to medical school and also considering pursuing a master’s degree in public health or health administration. Ultimately, Alexandra plans to work with underrepresented communities in the healthcare field and hopes that she can be a part of the effort to increase the percentage of Latino students who graduate from medical school and go on to serve their communities as physicians.

*Student Photos by Kathy Sauber, UW Photography

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