Bonderman Travel Fellowship

“Hard—a little like being broken open—but 100% worth it.
-Anonymous Bonderman Fellow

Photo of 2019 Fellows

Each year a select group of UW students are provided a rare opportunity to independently travel the world as Bonderman Travel Fellows. David Bonderman, a UW alumnus, created the Bonderman Travel Fellowship in 1995, which has funded life-changing global journeys for more than 280 students thus far.

This year, 18 Bonderman Fellows will travel to over 60 countries spanning five continents. Each fellow is required to independently explore two regions and six countries with which they are not familiar, over eight months. The broad vision of the Bonderman is to inspire individual transformation by expanding the fellow’s understanding of themselves and the complex, diverse and interconnected world we live in. Within this vision in mind, each fellow shapes their unique intentions and travel plan, though they may not pursue academic study, projects, or research.

Bonderman Fellows are encouraged to be aware of and challenge their assumptions about the places they will explore and people they will meet along the way, and be open to new discoveries. Increasing our on-the-ground understanding of different peoples, cultures, and places around the world has become increasingly important as technology has accelerated globalization and shaped our collective digital lens on the world. Learning about the world through travel and in-person interactions prompts a varied and rich understanding of the global community that fellows take into the rest of their lives and careers.

About David Bonderman

For more than twenty years UW alumnus David Bonderman has annually supported UW students via travel fellowships that ask them to explore, be open to the unexpected, and come to know the world in new and unexpected ways. The University of Washington Bonderman Fellowship expanded its impact in 2017 with a $10 million endowment from David Bonderman.

Applying for the Bonderman Fellowship

UW graduate students, professional students, and undergraduate students are eligible to apply for the Bonderman Travel Fellowship. The application process includes an essay, a proposed itinerary, and an interview with a selection committee composed of University of Washington faculty and staff, as well as former Bonderman Fellows. The application for the 2020 fellows will be available in November 2019. For more information, go to:

About the 2019 Fellows

Regions and countries to be explored:

Collectively, the 2019 Bonderman Fellows plan to travel to Morocco, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Bhutan, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Philippines, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, India, Chile, Indonesia, Samoa, China, South Korea, Kenya, Madagascar, Egypt, Mongolia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Papua New Guinea, Colombia, Brazil, Taiwan, Japan, Nepal, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Turkey, South Africa, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Benin, Myanmar, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, and more.

While Bonderman Fellows don’t do research or study, their travel interests are diverse. Below are some of the interests of the 2019 cohort:

  • The role of food across cultures and religions.
  • Celebrations of cultural, religious, and historical importance.
  • Natural resources and environmental protection.
  • Health equity.
  • Hiking in diverse landscapes.
  • Buddhist cultures.
  • Traditional indigenous textiles.
  • Resiliency of queer and trans people of color.
  • The role of public transportation in social and economic mobility.

Undergraduate Fellow Profiles

Photo of Andrew de GraaffAndrew de Graaff
Hometown: Marysville, WA
ndrew intends to see how communities and cultures connect through art, music, religion, dance, and other forms. Modern advancements, technology is particular, have created a more connected global community though this increased level of connection does not guarantee increased understanding and respect for differences. In light of this, Andrew hopes to see how people celebrate their differences instead of using them as ways as sources of division. He also hopes this experience will help him find a way to contribute to our global community in the future. Andrew’s itinerary consists of Chile, Argentina, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Thailand, Indonesia, and Japan.

Photo of Terrell EngmannTerrell Engmann
Biology: Molecular, Cellular, and Development with Departmental Honors
Hometown: Spanaway, WA
Terrell is excited to expand his world view as a Bonderman Fellow and his travel itinerary is largely influenced by his desire to work toward improved health equity globally. Terrell plans to explore the diverse array of communities, from densely populated cities to small rural villages, in order to gain a better understanding of inequities. He is also looking forward to experiencing the beauty of various cultures, peoples, and natural landscapes throughout his travels. Terrell hopes to travel to Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Chile, Namibia, South Africa, Mozambique, and Vietnam.

Photo of MaKenzie FocklerMaKenzie Fockler
Civil Engineering with College Honors
Hometown: Vancouver, WA
In the context of our complex and sometimes chaotic world, MaKenzie looks forward to exploring what creates hope and resilience in others. As she draws on her interest in feminism and religion, and her progressive political values, MaKenzie wishes to explore these subjects in relation to the experience of hope. She is excited to take a step outside of her field of engineering to explore a range of globally relevant topics. She also hope that this opportunity will help her grow into a more well-rounded individual who is capable of collaborating with a broader spectrum of people. This experience will also serve as a strong foundation for her future career in international development. MaKenzie hopes to travel to Ecuador, Argentina, Chile, Morocco, Jordan, Israel, Tanzania, Kenya, and Madagascar.

Photo of Sarah Forrest

Sarah Forrest
Public Health-Global Health with Departmental Honors; Nutritional Sciences (minor)
Hometown: Newport, OR
Sarah plans to explore foods across different countries and the role of food within cultures and religions. Through her travels, she hopes to develop more globalized—and less western-centered—knowledge and beliefs surrounding food, nutrition, and health. Specifically, she aims to explore multicultural perspectives and approaches to understanding and attaining health in different regions of the world. After completing her travels and working for a few years, Sarah plans to earn a master’s degree in Public Health and pursue a career in the global health field. Sarah hopes to travel to Brazil, Peru, Chile, India, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, and China.

Photo of Daniel GodfreyDaniel Godfrey
Medical Anthropology & Global Health with Interdisciplinary Honors; Human Rights, and International Studies (minors)
Hometown: Renton, WA
Dan is on the hunt for a changed perspective and a more in-depth and nuanced understanding of the human experience, across cultures and regions. In his travels he hopes to learn about a diverse range of religious traditions and how these traditions can facilitate greater conflict and/or harmony. As a student of global health and human rights who has read extensively about the rights of different people and places, he now seeks to gain a real-world understanding of our global community. Dan hopes to travel to Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Nepal, India, Chile, Argentina, and Bolivia.

Photo of Savannah LawtonSavannah Lawton
Hometown: Flagstaff, AZ
As a lover of the outdoors, Savannah hopes to experience the variety of landscapes around the world. She is an avid hiker and she hopes to trek in Patagonia, the Himalaya, and more. Savannah hopes her time traveling will help inform her how to be a good global citizen in ways that schooling cannot. Given that she plans to spend the next decade in academia becoming a surgeon, this travel opportunity is rare and valuable. Savannah plans to travel to Iceland, Mongolia, Nepal, Vietnam, Argentina, Chile, Peru, and the Galápagos Islands.

Photo of Angelia MirandaAngelia Miranda
International Studies & Philosophy with Departmental Honors
Hometown: Kent, WA
Angelia has shaped her itinerary to trace a path alongside local celebrations of cultural, religious, and historical importance. She is excited to experience these celebrations as well as the daily rhythms of life in diverse and new settings. This will be her first significant international journey since immigrating to the US as a young girl.  As an aspiring advocate in public policy and law, she hopes to gain a deeper understanding of those whose backgrounds and identities differ from her own in order to better defend those in the world who are marginalized, underserved, and misrepresented. Angelia also hopes to discover sources of human resilience in the face of economic, geographic, and cultural challenges. Angelia hopes to travel to Turkey, Mongolia, China, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Argentina, and Chile.

Photo of Bryan NakataBryan Nakata
Communications: Journalism
Hometown: Pullman, WA
Bryan was exposed to many diverse cultures during his academic career in Seattle, and he hopes to continue building on this with a global perspective through the Bonderman Fellowship. He also expects to learn to connect with others on a more individual level, discover other methods of storytelling, and further explore how to relate across cultural difference. In addition, he hopes to gain insights as to how other people in the world find fulfillment in their lives. Bryan’s travel itinerary includes Thailand, India, Japan, Egypt, South Africa, Ghana, Bolivia and Peru.

Photo of Robert SternbergRobert Thadeus Sternberg
Environmental Science & Resource Management with Departmental Honors; Quantitative Science (minor)
Hometown: Newbury, NH
Thadeus plans to explore how people around the world rely on their natural spaces and resources, and how environmental protection laws may differ among countries. He also wants to see how a combination of government, citizens, and indigenous people manage these unique and often imperiled places. Thadeus developed his knowledge of the United States’ laws regarding land use, park systems, and endangered species through studies in resource management and wildlife conservation. He believes that with a greater understanding of other countries laws, or lack thereof, he will gain a better understanding of non-westernized laws and perspectives in his field.  He hopes to visit countries with unique ecosystems including China, Nepal, Vietnam, Laos, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Madagascar, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina, and Papua New Guinea.

Graduate/Professional Fellow Profiles

Photo of Cindy ChenCindy Chen
Public Administration
Hometown: Orlando, FL and Sammamish, WA
Cindy plans to explore what mobility means to people across the world. She often learns the most about cities and cultures through the ways that people use transit, and how access to transit increases people’s access to economic, cultural and social opportunities. On her trip, Cindy wants to use public transit to learn what access to mobility looks like in countries with different levels of inequities, and how people’s identities affect the way they move through public spaces. She is thrilled to have this opportunity to step outside her comfort zone and learn from those she meets along the way. Cindy hopes to travel to Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, India, Brazil, Colombia and Chile.

Photo of James ClarkJames (Jac) Clark
Chemical Engineering
Hometown: Greenville, SC
Jac’s two primary goals for his journey are to immerse himself in Buddhist cultures and share his love of food with people from around the world. Mindfulness practice has added immense value to Jac’s life, and he hopes to learn more about these techniques from the cultures in which they originated. For all of his life, Jac has had a passion for making and sharing food with people. By learning regional culinary techniques and volunteering to cook in homeless shelters and monasteries, he hopes to learn about world cuisines while giving back to the communities he visits. Jac’s travel itinerary includes Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, India, Nepal, Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil.

Photo of Stephanie GroverStephanie Grover
Social Work
Hometown: Rocklin, CA
Through her work experiences and studies as a Social Work graduate student, Stephanie has developed a passion for exploring the stories and journeys of people within their communities.  In particular, Stephanie is interested in learning about food, farming, raising animals, the significance of food in different global cultures, and how communities are working on growing food sustainably. In addition, Stephanie enjoys music and is excited to learn more about music and dance in other parts of the world. She is hoping to travel in Mongolia, Nepal, Thailand, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Peru, Argentina, and Chile.

Photo of Daniel G. HernandezDaniel G. Hernandez
Aquatic & Fishery Sciences
Hometown: Downey, CA
As a descendent of the Cora people of Nayarit, Mexico, woven into Daniel’s traditional textiles are mountains, rivers and plants. Ranging from belts to blankets, these woven pieces depict the landscape upon which Daniel’s indigenous culture evolved. As a Bonderman Fellow, he wants to learn the stories told in the handwoven textiles of the indigenous people around the world. On his voyage, Daniel would like to explore what natural landscape attributes have helped shaped the indigenous textiles, and everyday lives of the native peoples. Daniel hopes to travel to Tibet, Nepal, India, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador.  

Photo of Courtney JacksonCourtney June Jackson
Public Health, Global Health
Hometown: Guerneville, CA
Courtney’s interest in structural inequities has led to questions about justice, accountability, and healing. For example, what does it mean to forgive and to reconcile at personal, community, national, and even international levels. It is with these types of broad questions in mind that she approaches the Bonderman Fellowship, hoping for opportunities to explore the meaning and possibilities of justice. Courtney’s itinerary is shaped as a journey to bear witness to injustices and pain, and learn about methods to heal and move forward. Courtney hopes to travel to Brazil, South Africa, Rwanda, Cambodia, and East Timor.

Photo of Alyssa McClureAlyssa McClure
Public Administration
ometown: Vancouver, WA
Alyssa has always been interested in global events and history. She is looking forward to hearing people’s stories and witnessing how other countries function. Drawn to geographically and culturally diverse areas, she is excited for this opportunity of a lifetime and to visit places she has always dreamed of going. She is most interested in experiencing some of her favorite foods in a new light, hiking new places, and getting a more global perspective of public service. Her itinerary plans include Morocco, Tanzania, and Argentina, among other locations.

Photo of Mateó B. OchoaMateó B. Ochoa
Cultural Studies
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Mateó is a queer K’iche Guatemalan who believes art is central to the resiliency of queer and trans people of color (qtpoc). Before returning to academia, Mateó exhibited and performed a variety of creative projects focusing on qtpoc survival, homelessness, and mental health. They hope to use their time throughout the fellowship to rejuvenate their artistic practice, soak in the beauty of different landscapes, and most importantly, build new relationships with qtpoc communities from around the world. Mateó is excited to feed their nomadic heart by visiting Brazil, China, Colombia, Egypt, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Rwanda, and South Korea.

Photo of Emmanuel RodriguezEmmanuel Rodriguez
Hometown: Toppenish, WA
Emmanuel’s Bonderman application was inspired by his parents’ decision to take the ultimate plunge into uncertainty by immigrating to the U.S. in their early twenties. On his journey, Emmanuel hopes to wrestle with the fundamental rationale and values that propel individuals and communities to leap into unknown situations to improve their life circumstances and themselves. He hopes to greater understand what leads people to these types of major changes. Emmanuel’s itinerary includes Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Ethiopia, South Africa, Philippines, Thailand, and Cambodia.

A ninth graduate Fellow declines to be identified at this time.