Bonderman Travel Fellowship

2024 Fellows selected

“Bonderman is a big thing, but it will never be just one big thing… It is made up of an innumerable amount of little moments and interactions and opportunities and landscapes.”

-Drew Pierce-Street (2020 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 329 students thus far.

We are excited to welcome in the 2024 Bonderman cohort. This year’s selection process was limited to graduate and professional students (please see more on this decision here). The eight 2024 Bonderman Fellows will travel to over thirty countries, spanning four continents collectively. Each fellow will independently explore two to three world regions, traveling in six to nine countries over eight months. 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: https://bonderman.uw.edu/applying/

About the 2024 Fellows

Regions and countries to be explored:

Algeria, Argentina, Bhutan, Botswana, Brazil, Cambodia, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, India, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Laos, Mexico, Morocco, Nepal, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tunisia, Turkey, Vietnam, Zimbabwe, 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 2024 cohort:

  • Interconnectedness
  • Reciprocal relationships with land
  • Disability rights
  • Biracial identities
  • Notions of the Absurd across the world
  • The connection between people and water
  • Queer communities around the world

Graduate and Professional Fellows

Photo of Adriana ApintiloaieiAdriana Apintiloaiei
Master of Marine Affairs
Hometown: Leesburg, VA

Adriana has always been curious about the ways a person’s environment and sense of place shape them and is particularly passionate about the connection between people and water. She hopes to use her Bonderman experience to explore the ways in which coastal communities interact with the ocean to better understand the cultural impacts that water has in different regions. Adriana will be spending time in both South America and Southeast Asia and hopes to get a sense of how people in these regions think about sustainability and conservation along the coast.

 

Photo of Shayla ChattoShayla Chatto
Ph.D. Candidate, Curriculum & Instruction
Hometown: Jones Ranch, New Mexico
As a Diné and N’dee woman, Shayla brings with her an Indigenous worldview and anticolonial perspective on her journeys across Abya Yala, Southeast Asia, and Africa. An integral aspect of her journey is the ways in which we build reciprocal relationships with Iand, with the more-than-human relatives, and with the Indigenous peoples who call this place home, while recognizing the ongoing colonial harms and survivance. Also, Shayla aspires to embody the solo travel and foraging abilities of woláchíí (an ant) with a central focus on land-based teachings, such as textile weaving, food sovereignty, land rematriation, and language/culture revitalization efforts.

 

Photo of Warren Han.Warren Han
Master of Science in Applied and Computational Mathematics
Hometown: Mukilteo, WA
Warren’s Bonderman Fellowship journey is an exploration and re-connection with what makes us the most human. His travels will take him through South Korea, Thailand, Northern Africa, and Peru. His travel explores the notion of the Absurd across the world. Given a life which is short, uncertain, and full of struggle – it reflects a creature which is short-sighted, greedy, and selfish. Despite this, Warren believes what defines our humanity is not our shortcomings, but a shared acknowledgement of mutual hardships. And in that acknowledgement, we find a potential to rise above self-interest and embrace camaraderie, laughter, and a stoic diligence to a meaningful existence.

 

Photo of Jada HollidayJada Holliday
Master of Education in Social and Cultural Foundations
Hometown: Tulsa, OK
Jada’s connection to family, found and extended, has created a deep longing to restore story with people. She has long sat at the feet of people she greatly admires and listened to them recount their adventures and moments that changed their lives forever. To explore these places firsthand feels like the culmination of what Cole Arthur Riley calls, the art of becoming. She longs to discover what parts of history live inside her and have been uncovered by her friends and students she’s had the pleasure of knowing for the past couple of years. With the Bonderman, Jada plans to explore the homes of her closest friends, her students, some of whom are embarking on their educational journeys as the first of many in their families, and her parents, grand and greats, who have lived their lives, preserving history that she is hopeful to explore and richly hold closely on this journey.

 

Joshua House
Master of Social Work
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Joshua’s pursuit of the Bonderman Fellowship was ignited by a study abroad experience during his undergraduate years. There, he formed a profound connection with his host family, transcending cultural barriers of age, race, sexuality, nationality, and political views. Despite these differences and challenging conversations, their mutual love and respect have withstood the test of time and distance across the world. This experience ignited Joshua’s passion to seek similar loving connections globally, aiming to challenge norms and foster an understanding of how people care for one another across the many differences that set them apart. Joshua will explore his biracial identity in places like South Africa and countries in South America, where biracial identities are common, and he will explore countries with rich queer communities. Joshua’s trip extends to places like Greece, Sri Lanka, Philippines, and Mexico, where he will engage with communities through music, festivals, and lively drag shows.

Photo of Anne MasseyAnne Massey
Ph.D. Candidate, Epidemiology
Hometown: Bellingham, WA
Though she once sought to be as independent as possible, Anne is now eager to explore models of interconnectedness that center community and the collective good. After living alone in a studio apartment through one pandemic and two graduate degrees, she’s come to realize that: 1) the traditional American systems of hyper-independence and individualism are often harmful and unsustainable, and 2) we are built for community and really do need each other. During her travels to Vietnam, Taiwan, Jordan, Turkey, Tunisia, Morocco, and Senegal she is excited to experience alternative frameworks and is particularly curious about the role of play, food, design, and friendship in fostering interdependence.

 

Photo of Ather SharifAther Sharif
Ph.D. Candidate, Computer Science and Engineering
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA and Karachi, Pakistan
Ather aspires to embrace his disability identity by visiting Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Costa Rica, Japan, Vietnam, South Korea, and Thailand. By learning about these countries’ disability rights history and distinct physical infrastructure for wheelchair users, he hopes to enhance his perspectives, challenge his viewpoints, and identify real-life barriers disabled people face. He hopes to acquire first-hand knowledge of how people and vastly different cultures outside the United States perceive disability and accessibility. He intends to start a travel blog to assist other wheelchair users in making informed travel arrangements. Through Bonderman, he desires to keep moving forward toward living an independent life on par with those who do not face the same limitations as he does.

 

Photo of Gus WettsteinGus Wettstein
Masters of Science in Environmental and Forest Sciences
Hometown: Milwaukee, WI
Gus is seeking to reflect on key components of his life that have shaped him as a person through his Bonderman travels. Growing up in Wisconsin, the Great Lakes were a fundamental part of Gus’s relationship to place and a dynamic refuge for both escape and connection. The African Great Lakes region is equally dynamic, vast, and diverse. Traveling in this region will present Gus with a range of opportunities and challenges as he looks to connect with people and communities that similarly find their lives intertwined with these ever-changing freshwater seas. A sense of community was also crucial in shaping Gus’s experiences of home and self. The reverberations of decades of war led to Wisconsin becoming home to a large number of Hmong, as well as a handful of other Southeast Asian ethnicities. These neighbors have become prominent members of Wisconsin’s communities and the state’s identity. Gus hopes to explore Southeast Asia and travel to areas of the Hmong homeland to learn more about the practices and values of community and resilience that have made their way to Wisconsin where they shaped Gus’s own concepts of community and belonging.