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Undergraduate Academic Affairs
University of Washington

2010 Bonderman Travel Fellows named

UW students explore far-reaches of the globe by means of unusual fellowship
May 27, 2010 Post to digg Post to delicious Post to facebook Post to twitter Post to google Post to stumbleupon Post to technorati Email article link

Ask a Bonderman travel fellow where she is going—or where he has been—and settle in for a fascinating conversation. You’ll get a long list of exotic places from Papua New Guinea to Bosnia to Iceland to Botswana, along with invaluable travel tips. You’ll learn how to lock your backpack to your bed at night to prevent theft and what to do if your credit card is swiped.

Each year, seven undergraduate Honors students and seven UW graduate students are awarded Bonderman Travel Fellowships —worth $20,000 each. The catch? Each student must travel solo for eight months, to at least six countries in at least two regions of the world. Students are not permitted to pursue academic study, projects or research. Their charge is to simply travel, learn, explore and grow.

Collectively, the 2010 Bonderman Fellows will travel to Ethiopia, Egypt, Papua New Guinea, Japan, China, El Salvador, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Columbia, Morocco, South Korea, Panama, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, Eritrea, Somalia, Belize, Haiti, Cambodia, South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Iceland, and other countries and regions. Their interests include learning about maternity and birthing practices, how large groups of people have been displaced because of conflict, approaches to environmental conservation, international business landscapes, places of cultural convergence, the role of libraries and fire rituals.

To learn about the worldwide travels of Bonderman Fellows in their own words and photos, check out this slideshow:

Since UW alumnus David Bonderman established the fellowships in 1995, 151 UW students—52 graduate and 99 undergraduate students—have been named Bonderman Fellows. UW graduate students, undergraduate students in the Honors Program and in UW Tacoma’s Global Honors Program are eligible to apply. The application process includes an essay and interview with a selection committee, comprised of University faculty and staff and former Bonderman Fellows.

The committee seeks students who demonstrate integrity, the capacity for vision and leadership, and potential for humane and effective participation in the global community. Candidates should demonstrate initiative, commitment and creativity.

The purpose of the fellowship is to push the fellows outside of their comfort zones, said Brook Kelly, Honors Program adviser and 2003 Bonderman Fellow who chairs the selection committee. Fellows are encouraged “to go into cultures where they are the ‘others,’ where they are the strangers,” she said.

“Certainly you meet people along the way, and you may want to travel with them for a little bit,” advises Helene Obradovich, the UW Graduate School’s director of fellowships and awards. “It is imperative for you to go out there alone. We want you to be conscious that all this experience is about you and your growth as an individual.”

When they travel, Bonderman Fellows stay in tents, hostels and budget hotels, and they couch-surf – crashing on sofas and in spare bedrooms of people they’ve recently met. Often they stay with families, sharing meals and conversations.

The fellows keep in regular contact with the UW staff, letting them know how and where they are. At some point in nearly every fellow’s journey, he or she gets lonely or depressed. The staff encourages them to resist the urge to pack bags and come home.

“Sometimes we give the advice of ‘go find yourself a fancy hotel with air conditioning and cable TV, and you will feel better in two days. I promise,’” Kelly said.

In preparation for their travels, fellows create itineraries and make travel plans in consultation with UW staff and former fellows. They follow advice such as buy the best backpack, get your vaccinations as soon as you can, renew your passport, pack extremely light and buy supplies wherever you go – but, by all means, take lots of underwear.

While fellows are not pursuing their studies on the travels, they are exploring interests they have, which often relate to their areas of study or career plans.

Anna Kramer, who is earning her master’s degree in teaching, teaches in a culturally diverse area of Seattle, and she wants to familiarize herself with the places which her students and their families identify with culturally and historically. To do that, she will travel to the countries where most of her students have roots: Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Western and American Samoa, the Philippines and Indonesia. By becoming better acquainted with her students’ cultural traditions, she will be better equipped to engage them in the classroom.

“As I travel, I will explore the nature of the communities’ relationships with the ecosystems in which they live, as well as strive to better understand how the unique biological communities and natural resources in each place shape the daily lives of the people living there,” she said.

2010 Undergraduate Bonderman Fellows

Zachary Triber Brown, Senior
Major: Computer Science
Hometown: Spokane, WA
UW Honors Program Student

Zachary BrownZachary Triber Brown plans to “romp” around South America, including a trip by boat along the entire Amazon River. Following that, he will backpack around Asia, stopping in China, Laos, and Thailand.

Brown wants to “observe and absorb these places and cultures, taking in what I can and hopefully leaving a tiny bit in return.” Photography, drawing, writing, and learning languages are how he hopes to catalog and express his experiences. He looks forward to “the ‘solo’ aspect of this journey as an unparalleled opportunity for personal reflection and spiritual development.”

Joseph Andrew Cramer, Junior
Major: Mathematics
Minors: Physics, Chemistry
Hometown: Lake Oswego, OR
UW Honors Program Student

Joe KramerAn accomplished lacrosse player, Joseph Cramer has also been recognized for his service as a tutor and volunteers in a homeless shelter. In his travels Cramer will “explore education across an array of cultures in hopes of learning how to empower the next generation of young students.” He is excited to visit the Himalayas and learn how Buddhist monks have integrated teaching modern science with ancient Buddhist principles. From Bosnia to Turkey, Singapore to Indonesia, South Korea to Japan, Cramer will learn how cultural differences impact teacher preparation, resources for student development, and math and science preparation.

“Everywhere I go,” says Cramer, “I will share my passion for children and education to connect with people and encourage a hope for unity in our world.”

Autumn Cutter, Graduating Senior (class of 2010)
Major: Sociology
Minor: Women Studies
Hometown: Sammamish, WA
UW Honors Program Student

Autumn CutterAutumn Cutter is an active volunteer in local and international social justice issues and in midwifery organizations, as well as a peer writing consultant in the UW’s Odegaard Writing and Research Center. Her Bonderman Travel Fellowship will be “guided by the theme of birth.”

She plans to travel through Central America, South America, Africa, the Middle East, and parts of Asia and talking with new mothers, midwives, pregnant women, doctors and nurses. She hopes these conversations and experiences will give her “a deeper insight into the creation of the next generation and will fuel my intense interest in women’s reproductive health around the globe.”

Luke Jensen, Junior
Major: Aeronautics and Astronautics
Minor: Mathematics
Hometown: Bainbridge Island, WA
UW Honors Program Student

Luke JensenLuke Jensen is an undergraduate researcher and a leader in several academic endeavors including being the president of the UW chapter of the Tau Beta Pi engineering honors society and the UW chapter of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Jensen will begin his travels in South America through which he plans to travel on motorcycle, learning Spanish, as well as “the beauty and humility of travel.” Following South America, he will visit several Asian countries, predominantly China.

“Most importantly,” writes Jensen, “I will travel with an open mind and a willing heart, turning my engineering education into a well-rounded understanding of what comes next for me and my neighbors all around the world.”

Brittany Ann Lichty, Graduating Senior (class of 2010)
Major: English
Minor: Education, Learning and Society
Hometown: Longview, WA
UW Honors Program Student

Brittany LitchyBrittany Lichty served as a resident adviser and is a volunteer and tutor in Seattle-area schools. She plans to travel to “countries with large groups of dispersed peoples due to conflict.” These plans will bring her through Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam then to Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, and finally to Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Somalia. “The purpose of my journey is to expand global education and encourage cultural tolerance and understanding.”

Upon her return to the United States, Lichty wants to expand study abroad programs for community colleges.

Nina Tan, Graduating Senior (class of 2010)
Majors: Economics and Cellular, Molecular and Developmental Biology
Hometown: Mercer Island, WA
UW Honors Program Student

Nina TanNina Tan is a Mary Gates Research Scholar and a UW Undergraduate Achievement Scholar, a member of the student organization Students for Equal Health, among other activities.

While traveling on her Bonderman Fellowship, Tan hopes “to learn about countries and their respective cultures and histories through the lens of food.” She will begin her trip in China, making her way to Tibet and Nepal, then India and Bangladesh. After Asia and Southeast Asia, her route will bring her to Eastern Europe and the Czech Republic, Croatia, Bosnia, and Herzegovina. From there, Tan will travel through Greece and explore the Middle East and Egypt.

After completing her travels and working for a few years, Tan plans to earn a master’s degree in Public Health.

Alex Win, Graduating Senior (class of 2010)
Major: Environmental Science and Resource Management
Minor: Streamside Studies
Hometown: Yangon, Myanmar
UW Honors Program Student

Alex WinAlex Win’s interest in the environment extends beyond the classroom and into volunteer positions with EarthCrop, the Seattle Aquarium, and the Urban Horticulture Library.

Through traveling, Win wants “to see the fish, wildlife and natural landscape I’ve seen on television growing up.” He plans to explore the jungles of Papua New Guinea to witness the “weird and wonderful birds of paradise and find the bright and deadly frogs of Panama, snorkel the dwindling colorful coral reefs in Indonesia and Belize, feel the hot sand between the toes in the deserts of Gobi, stop by the ever growing cities of China and hop across the border to journey with the seasons in the company of the nomads in rural Mongolia.” As if that weren’t enough, Win also plans to spend time in the Himalayas and India.

His trip is structured around learning about the “social, cultural, and financial impediments present in various landscapes and societies to see how they might hinder conservation efforts and find ways to balance the immediate needs of the people with the needs of the wildlife.”

2010 Graduate Bonderman Fellows

James Bullock, Master of Business Administration (graduating in 2010)
Area of study: Business administration
Hometown: Springfield, Virginia

Jim BullockJames Bullock has a simple goal: “To meet diverse groups of people and open myself up to alternative viewpoints. By doing that as he travels through the Middle East, Africa and Asia, he hopes to learn about the business landscapes in these areas, particularly in respect to energy and infrastructure.

“My goals and itinerary are tentative by design, as I would like this trip to grow organically and be altered as necessary,” he said. “To borrow a quote from Dan Eldon, I believe ‘the journey is the destination.’”

Heather M. Burkland, Master of Public Health (graduating in June 2010)
Area of study: Social and behavioral sciences
Hometown: Fergus Falls, Minn.

Heather BurklandHeather Burkland is intrigued by places where cultures converge – places such as Morocco, Haiti and Cambodia. At the same time, she wants to learn more about cultures that have remained relatively untouched by globalization, including indigenous Amazonian rainforest people in Brazil and the !Kung in Botswana.

Through her travels, Burkland intends “to embark upon an exploration of people’s everyday lives so as to understand the depth and diversity of human experience across the world.” Several months of solo travel will give Burkland opportunity for self-exploration, and “by better understanding my inner self, I will be able to more fully engage with community and offer leadership to the causes I care about.”

Burkland also plans to visit India and Ulithi, an atoll in the Federated States of Micronesia where her grandfather served in the Coast Guard.

Andrea Gough, Master of Library and Information Science (graduating in June 2010)
Area of study: Library and information science
Hometown: Boise, Idaho

Andrea GoughAndrea Gough has two passions – knitting and libraries. On her journey, she plans to travel to South America and Southern and Eastern Africa where she can learn how local handicrafts fit into daily life and individual heritage of each place she visits.

At the same time, she wants to discover what role libraries play in various cultures. Gough has worked in Seattle libraries with patrons of many backgrounds and ethnicities.

“I’ve worked with several immigrant populations in Seattle, and I want to visit where they’re from and see what libraries are like to expand my conceptions of the many roles a library can play and be able to better relate to my patrons,” she said.

Anna Kramer, Master in Teaching (graduating in 2012)
Area of study: Secondary education, science
Hometown: Montesano, Wash.

Anna KramerIn order to become the best science teacher she can be, Anna Kramer wants to learn more about her students. To do that, she will travel to the countries where most of her students have roots: Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Western and American Samoa, the Philippines and Indonesia.

Kramer teaches in a culturally diverse area of Seattle, and she wants to familiarize herself with the places which her students and their families identify with culturally and historically. By becoming better acquainted with her students’ cultural traditions, she will be better equipped to engage them in the classroom.

“As I travel, I will explore the nature of the communities’ relationships with the ecosystems in which they live, as well as strive to better understand how the unique biological communities and natural resources in each place shape the daily lives of the people living there,” she said.

Roxana Sara Norouzi, Master of Social Work (graduating in June 2010)
Area of study: Community-centered integrative practice
Hometown: Kirkland, Wash.

Roxanne NorouziAs an advocate for immigrant rights, Roxana Sara Norouzi has spent many years as a housing advocate for immigrant families in crisis. She has volunteered for a women’s empowerment microfinance organization in rural India and has researched immigrant youth’s experiences of racism in public schools.

With the Bonderman Fellowship, Norouzi will travel to the Middle East, East Africa and Latin America, regions of the world that have undergone socio-political and economic turmoil which have instigated migration trends.

“My journey will be framed by my work with vulnerable populations, utilizing relationship building and human connection as a way to cultivate healing and growth, both for myself and those I meet during my travels,” she said. “I hope to honor the people I meet on my journey by folding their stories into my future life, career, understanding of the world and who I am as a person.”

Jolina H. Ruckert, Doctor of Philosophy (Psychology) (graduating in 2013)
Area of study: Developmental psychology

Jolina RuckhartJolina Ruckert plans to follow the flames from Africa to India to China to Japan.

“I will explore the ancient human relationship with fire as it exists in the world today,” she said. “I will witness the various ways fire continues to foster and bond communities, tie us to our ancestors and our histories, and create and support tradition and culture.”

Ruckert’s journey will start in Africa where some of the earliest fire rituals have been documented and where fire remains in ceremony as a central aspect of social life. Her first stop will be in Namibia, after which she will travel by land through Botswana, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia.

Then, she will visit Asia, and end her trip in “the Land of Fire and Ice, Iceland, to witness fire as it emerges in natural forms and the innovative way people are harnessing fire to power their lives and their communities.”

Alena Elizabeth Suazo, Juris Doctor (graduating in June 2010)
Area of study: Law
Hometown: Camarillo, Calif.

Alena SouzaHow does colonization and oppression shape a culture? And how do communities gather the strength to resist and take back their independence? That’s what Alena Elizabeth Suazo hopes to discover when she travels through Africa.

She will begin in Cape Town, South Africa, and then head to Botswana, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Kenya and Egypt.

“From Egypt I will fly to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and make my way west to Chile,” she said. “I will travel north through Chile, to Bolivia and Peru, and finally will end in Mexico.”

By immersing herself in these indigenous cultures, Suazo hopes to understand them more deeply.

About the University Honors Program
The University Honors Program integrates challenging courses and diverse learning experiences for academically motivated students in a close community of faculty, staff, and peers. The core curriculum offers a broad liberal education, while departmental honors programs provide a deep disciplinary education. The program asks students to take intellectual risks; to seek an understanding of the interdependence of all branches of knowledge; to take leadership roles in confronting global change; to see the complexities of race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, and nationality; and to value a life of continuous learning and personal growth.

About the Graduate School
The Graduate School helps facilitate graduate level education and research through support programs and networks for faculty and students. Through graduate programs, The Graduate School and its students fulfill several functions vital to a healthy society: by fostering research, it advances human knowledge; by educating scholars and teachers, it preserves and transmits our cultural heritage; by training professionals, it makes information and help available to sectors of the public; and, by virtue of all of these, it contributes to the resolution of the problems and needs of society.

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