Bonderman Travel Fellowship

“The Bonderman: an invitation to step off the so-called path I was on. A gift of observation, solitude, challenge and of possibility.”

-Chelsea Affleck (2018 Fellow)

Each year a select group of UW students are provided a rare opportunity to independently travel the world as Bonderman Fellows. David Bonderman, a UW alumnus, created the Bonderman Travel Fellowship in 1995, and it has funded life-changing global journeys for more than 295 students thus far.  

This year, we are excited to welcome in the 2021 Bonderman cohort, who will join the other Bonderman fellows from this past year who are patiently and eagerly waiting for Bonderman travel to reopen. While UW Bonderman travel is currently on hiatus, the intention and spirit of the Bonderman Fellowship – to get to know other people and cultures, to go beyond one’s comfort zone, and to see the world as more complex than before – are especially relevant now. While we don’t yet know when our waiting fellows will be able to travel, we look forward to seeing what they make of this unique opportunity.

The ten Bonderman Fellows of 2021 will travel to over sixty countries, spanning five continents collectively. Each fellow will independently explore at least two world regions and six countries during an eight-month journey. The broad vision of the Bonderman is to inspire individual transformation by expanding the fellow’s understanding of themselves and of the complex and interconnected world we live in. With this vision in mind, each fellow designs a unique travel plan without academic study, projects or research. 

Bonderman Fellows are encouraged to challenge their assumptions about the places they explore and people they meet during their journeys, and instead be open to new discoveries. Increasing our interactions with different people, cultures and places around the world has become increasingly important as technology has accelerated globalization and shaped our digital collective lens on the world. Learning about the world through travel and in-person interactions provides a varied, humane, and complicated understanding of individuals and communities across the world. 

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 to the Bonderman Travel 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. For more information, go to:

About the 2021 Fellows

Regions and countries to be explored:

Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Cameroon, Chile, China, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, French Guiana, French West Indies, Ghana, Greece, India, Indonesia, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Lesotho, Philippines, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Nepal, Peru, Rwanda, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Tajikistan, and more!

While Bonderman Fellows don’t do research or study during their journeys, their travel interests are diverse. Below are some of the interests of the 2021 cohort:

  • Conservation, colonization, imperialism and environmental equity
  • Global citizenship and responsibility 
  • Religion, culture and identity
  • Collective liberation of oppressed peoples
  • The intersections between identity and the environment
  • The relationship between place and identity
  • Personal identity and ancestry 
  • Exploring sustainability through food
  • Radical self-care as a tool for resistance and decolonization
  • Community and individual healing
  • How culture shapes the pursuit of fulfillment

Undergraduate Fellows

Logan Windish
Bachelor of Design in Industrial Design with a Minor in Business Administration (Entrepreneurship)
Hometown: Sumner, WA
Logan has chosen a bicycle as his tool to literally and figuratively break down barriers, cross borders, and engage with the world around him. He continues to cling to the hope that at our core there still exists a common humanity. To witness the oneness within our diversity was a driving factor in his choice of countries. Recognizing that he daily wakes up in a place where he is the majority, he anticipates that this trip will, in many ways, challenge his preconceived notions and sentiments about the world. But he truly believes that if we seek out unique perspectives, different ways of seeing the world, and living in it, we’ll be changed for the better. Therefore, he’s beyond thrilled to have the opportunity to test this belief by traveling the world for eight months!


Meena K Vasudevan
Bachelor of Arts in Law Societies and Justice with Minors in Education, Learning & Societies and English
Hometown: Lincoln, NE
Meena has always been fascinated by world religions, syncretic religious practices, and ways of life that are different from the one she was raised in. She is particularly interested in exploring the ways various societies have organized themselves around religious and cultural differences while striving to create national identities. Meena hopes to create a deeper understanding of herself and the world around her through her travels to Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Nepal, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and Kenya.




Mihret Haile
Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration (Information Systems) with a Minor in Dance
Hometown: SeaTac, WA
Mihret believes in the spirit of the youth and wants to explore how young innovative entrepreneurs are shaping the future of the African continent and developing Black nations. With a deep passion for the collective liberation of all oppressed people, Mihret plans to use her positionality in this world to actively support young people creating sustainable solutions for their communities. Through this experience, she hopes to define her role in returning to her roots in Africa. Mihret plans to travel to Uganda, Rwanda, Nigeria, Ghana, Brazil, and Jamaica.

Graduate and Professional Fellows

Photo of Aislyn OrjiAislyn Orji
Master of Public Health (Health Metrics & Evaluation)
Hometown: Austin, TX

Aislyn has always been deeply curious about the dominant narratives often expressed about people and places, and the core societal tenets that influence these narratives.

In her travels, Aislyn is excited to take a look at traditional and emerging views of community, success, history, race/ethnicity, gender, leadership, language, and art. She hopes to understand how these are intertwined, and what their role is in creating within-country and between-country power dynamics. Aislyn will strive to form a deeper understanding of how people can effectively and equitably live together, and how bridges can be formed between groups with core tenets that seemingly differ. Aislyn’s itinerary includes Senegal, Morocco, Kenya, Japan, and Indonesia.


Héctor Emanuel Delgado Díaz
Ph.D. Astronomy & Astrobiology
Hometown: Cayey, PR
During his Bonderman journey, Héctor wants to explore the interconnection between different Latinx cultures and how similar or different they are from his own. He plans to travel to non-Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America, where he aims to discover how traditions, history, lifestyle, and other aspects of the culture resonate with him as a Boricua. After visiting Latin America, Héctor will visit countries outside of the Western Hemisphere where Latinx communities have prospered. His goals are to understand the native-immigrants’ relations and reflect on how the US-immigrants’ relations could be improved.




Katie Hall
Master of Communication (Communities and Networks)
Hometown: Silverton, OR
Katie’s trip will be guided by her interests in food and community building. She seeks to explore the ways in which communities and cultures are shaped by food, as well as better understand the barriers and threats to equitable, sustainable, and accessible food. In addition, she sees this trip is an opportunity to be challenged and grow deeply on a personal level. Her hope is that her Bonderman experience will expand her knowledge and abilities for empathy, communication, and global citizenry. Katie’s trip itinerary includes Argentina, Chilé, Ecuador, Peru, Morocco, Egypt, Thailand, Vietnam, and Japan.




Saida Mahamud-Tukri
Master of Public Health (Global Health) 
Hometown: Minneapolis, MN
Saida seeks to explore care as a collective and reparative act by tapping into the power of rest and radical self-care as a tool for resistance and decolonization. Saida chose Turkey, Bosnia, Mongolia, Malaysia, South Korea, Zanzibar, Rwanda, and Senegal. Many of the countries in her itinerary are chosen based on resonance that she finds in her own people’s history and culture, hoping to learn on a foundation of common ground. Themes like reconciliation, reconstruction, post-colonialism, pastoralism vs. technology, and religion are topics she hopes to investigate during her travels.




Taya Karpinska
Master of Business Administration in Technology Management, Master of Science in Information Systems
Hometown: Bellevue, WA
Culture shapes our perspectives in how we view the world, the values, and beliefs we hold. While immersing into this experience and building connections, Taya hopes to create dialog to learn how individuals around the world view their purpose in life, and how culture shapes the pursuit for fulfillment. She anticipates the diversity of perspective and exposure to global experience will grow her understanding of the world, and build appreciation towards diversity in values, beliefs, and culture. Her itinerary includes Japan, South Korea, China, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Egypt, Morocco and Bhutan.