Undergraduate Academic Affairs

May 5, 2014

UW students to explore far reaches of the globe by means of unusual fellowship

Undergraduate Academic Affairs

SEATTLE—Fourteen University of Washington students were recently awarded Bonderman Travel Fellowships that will enable them to embark on solo journeys that are at least eight months long and take them to at least two regions and six countries of the world.

Picture of mountain area with person runningThese fellowships, established in 1995 and worth $20,000 each, aim to expose students to the intrinsic, often life-changing, benefits of international travel. While traveling, students may not pursue academic study, projects or research. UW graduate students, professional students and undergraduate students are eligible to apply.

Collectively, the 2014 Bonderman Fellows will travel to Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Tibet, India, Sri Lanka, Israel, Turkey, Bulgaria, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Morocco, Iceland, Vietnam, Laos, Senegal, Liberia, Benin, South Africa, Brazil, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Hong Kong, Japan, Bhutan, Nepal, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Botswana, Namibia, Australia, Indonesia, Russia, Chile, China, Singapore, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Malawi, Mozambique, Uganda, Uruguay, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Antarctica, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Armenia. Their travel interests include skateboarding; international celebrations; the environment, spirituality and laughter; natural history; storytelling; sports; healing traditions and mindfulness.

Since 1995, 207 UW students—127 undergraduate and 80 graduate and professional students—have been named Bonderman Fellows, including the 2014 fellows. The application process includes an essay and an interview with a selection committee, composed of UW faculty and staff and former Bonderman Fellows. Brook Kelly, assistant director of academic services for the Honors Program and a 2003 Bonderman Fellow who chairs the selection committee, said the process is designed to select students who are open to the transformative potential of their journeys and capable of succeeding at what is an often challenging experience.

“We are always seeking fellows who are open to allowing this opportunity to transform them, while also being capable of completing such a rigorous undertaking,” she said. “The 2014 fellows are an inspiring group, and we are thrilled to watch their adventures unfold.”

2014 Undergraduate Bonderman Fellows

Wanda Bertram

  • International Studies
  • Hometown: Seattle

Travel objectives: From Southeast and Central Asia to Armenia and Turkey, I plan to visit cultures to experience various stages of social upheaval—what we might call “making history”—and explore the ways that local storytelling customs help people in such situations historicize their own experience. I’ll observe storytelling and historiography, not only through conversation but through arts, children’s stories, rituals, games, names, jokes, advertising, media and museums. As I examine how history making relates to consumerism, age relations, the idea of place, conflict resolution, and power structures, I’ll be challenged to complicate my preconceptions about world history and to narrate my own experiences differently.

Destinations: Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, China, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Armenia and Turkey

Wilson Carletti

  • Business Administration, Finance
  • Hometown: Seattle

Travel objectives: I want to travel to these places to appreciate the natural beauty of our world, engage in dialogue with local communities, and participate in sports in order to learn to understand their role in the lives of other peoples and cultures of South America and Africa. I also want to use the opportunity to focus on one of my passions: writing. I want to write about my experiences, as a mode of self-reflection and documentation for others, and to hone my art of storytelling.

Destinations: Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Antarctica, Argentina and South Africa

Nicolle Esparo

  • Biochemistry and Anthropology
  • Hometown: Poulsbo, Wash.

Travel objectives: Indonesia has mystified me since my first anthropology course, and the mountains and wilderness of South America have always called to me from glossy pictures in books. I have specifically chosen these regions because of the indomitable characters of their inhabitants and the value of their natural resources to science, both historically and in modern times. I want to walk in the footsteps of courageous indigenous peoples and revolutionary scientists. Whether I travel by foot, bus, boat or plane, I am excited to explore to my heart’s content.

Destinations:  Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore

Susan Glenn

  • Public Health
  • Hometown: Gig Harbor, Wash.

Travel objectives: I plan on travelling to Morocco, Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa to gain an understanding of the constructed idea of “Africa” and to transcend my predominately sub-Saharan focus of African Studies. I will also travel to Patagonia and Easter Island to explore issues facing environments, both past and present.

Destinations:  Chile, Argentina, Morocco, Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa

Walker Higgins

  • Economics
  • Hometown: Gardnerville, Nev.

Travel objective: I will begin in South Asia and then travel to Southeast Asia, and trek through Eastern Europe. I want to immerse myself in a location and culture, listening to its music, eating traditional foods, learning its history, seeking recommendations from locals, and exploring the land itself to see the world with fresh eyes. I want to figure out what I truly value in life, and if that thing is different from others. In the end, I want to discover who I am and gain a new perspective, hopefully changing those that I meet in turn.

Destinations: Sri Lanka, India, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia

Shantelle Johnson

  • Environmental Science
  • Hometown: Mesa, Ariz.

Travel objectives: My planned journey is about stripping away the layers of mental conditioning that have developed throughout my life and revealing the beauty in all things. Throughout my expedition, I plan to travel by plane, train, bicycle, ferry, and rickshaw to uncover cultural and religious relationships to nature, spiritual manifestations, and the formula for laughter. As I explore these regions my primary goal is to remain open and receptive to lessons that may present themselves along the way.

Destinations:  Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Tibet, India, Sri Lanka, Jerusalem, Turkey, and Bulgaria

Nicole Trosper

  • Bioengineering
  • Hometown: Boise, Idaho

Travel objectives: While traveling, I am interested in seeing the role that medicine plays in people’s lives, and ways in which we can participate in engineering which respects and enhances cultural identity. I seek to connect with people through a love of the land, cooking, and art. My journey will take me through Brazil, southeastern Africa, Cambodia and Vietnam. By visiting these diverse and vibrant places, I hope to engage in personal growth and foster a sense of global understanding.

Destinations:  Brazil, Malawi, Mozambique, Madagascar, Tanzania, Uganda, Cambodia and Vietnam


2014 Graduate & Professional Bonderman Fellows

Kevin Bicknell

  • Museology
  • Hometown: Groton, Mass.

Travel objective: I will travel to countries of the Balkan Peninsula and Southeast and East Asia, using the universal language of skateboarding to connect with people along the way. I have been skateboarding for much of my life, and now throughout my travels, I will be looking at it from a new perspective. At the same time, skateboarding will bring a sense of familiarity to the places that scarcely resemble home.

Destinations: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan and China

Pamela Bryan

  • Social Work
  • Hometown:  Shiprock, N.M.

Travel objective: By interacting with others in vast, diverse environments, I hope to connect with them and learn the stories and histories that form their communities and identity. In addition, my goal is to further develop my own self-awareness in how I interact with people from other cultures so that I can become more effective in my work towards social justice and creating positive change.

Destinations:  Chile, Peru, Brazil, India, Nepal, China, Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia and Australia

Tamara Gaffney

  • Law
  • Hometown:  Walla Walla, Wash.

Travel objectives:  For my Bonderman application, I spun a globe and pointed my finger to decide where I would want to travel. Though many times I landed in oceans, I eventually hit Namibia and Western Australia. Using these locations as my building blocks, I have found communities to immerse myself in across the globe. I will top off my trip of chance with a lifelong dream: traveling the Trans-Siberian railway.

Destinations:  South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Australia, Indonesia, Russia

Elizabeth Johnson

  • Urban Design and Planning
  • Hometowns:  Milltown, N.J.

Travel objective: As I visit small communities and rural areas. I  will engage with natural landscapes, and will move by human power wherever possible:  trek, bike, kayak, and climb! Along the way, I plan to connect authentically with people and cultures through their music, food, and customs. Throughout my travels, I will pursue embrace the unpredictability of travel and practice mindfulness.

Destinations:  Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, Bhutan, Nepal, Tibet, Tanzania, Madagascar, Ethiopia and Israel

Chase Magliocca

  • Education
  • Hometown:  Tacoma, Wash.

Travel objective: Day of the Dead in Mexico. Christmas in Argentina. Carnival in Brazil. Holi in India. New Year in Cambodia. Atsuta Matsuri in Japan. Celebrations like these unite people as they rejoice in a common cause. I am interested in experiencing celebrations of various national, cultural, and religious holidays and festivals around the world. Through this, I hope to gain a better understanding of their significance and traditions.

Destinations:  Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Brazil, India, Cambodia, Thailand, Hong Kong and Japan

Jawara McDuffie

  • Social Work
  • Hometown:  Winston Salem, N.C.

Travel objective:  My journey will begin in Southeast Asia where I will explore mindfulness practice. Through retreats in Vietnam and Laos, I hope to develop strategies to train my mind and body to live in the moment, be non-judgmental and cultivate a greater appreciation for the world around me. I will use these new skills and perspectives to explore the West African Diaspora. Through music, dance, art and food, I will learn how descendants of Africa are thriving in other parts of the world.

Destinations:  Vietnam, Laos, Senegal, Liberia, Benin, South Africa, Brazil, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago

Nicholas Rogen

  • Social Work
  • Hometown:  Sumner, Wash.

Travel objective: Boxed thinking leads to boxed dreams, and the Bonderman Fellowship will give me the chance to live outside my four-walled life. I want to push myself, take risks, and never stop seeking the unknown. I want to go to places I’ve only dreamed about—and to places that don’t have a Starbucks on every corner. I chose these Asian, African and Nordic countries as my destinations because all of them elicit fear and giddy excitement—the perfect mixture for a life-changing adventure.  As Ulysses said, “to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”

Destinations:  Cambodia, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka,