Bonderman Travel Fellowship

Alex Taipale

Photo of Alex Taipale

Biochemistry with Departmental Honors


2013 Fellows

Travel Locations: South Africa, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Turkey, Israel, Jordan, India, Nepal, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia

Alex wants to better understand multicultural perceptions of humanity and personhood through the exploration of ideas and rituals surrounding death. Exploring such a range of cultures with diverse mortality demographics, religious beliefs and cultural permanence will allow her to better understand how death and our own humanity is viewed around the globe. She hopes to ultimately apply this knowledge to help lead America’s healthcare and biotechnology industries toward producing technologies that respect multicultural perspectives on what it means to be a human being.

Alumni Reflections

How did the Bonderman impact your life?

“It completely changed my perspective on the world and how I relate to people. I no longer had a scarcity mindset and understood the shared experience on people all over the world.”

What is a favorite memory from your Bonderman?

“One of the wildest experience I had was couchsurfing with a 4 person family in a 10’x10′ cement room in Uganda, and seeing their generosity and joy even though they were living in so much poverty. I also played in a lot of pickup Ultimate Frisbee games in Cambodia, Uganda, India, Thailand, South Africa and met a ton of international frisbee players!”

What are you doing now?

“I am a software engineering manager at Cisco. I help organize gatherings and festivals and art projects for my community in the bay area. I have continued to travel a ton and took a work sabbatical to travel for 8 months.”
Alex Taipale during Bonderman.

Alex Taipale during Bonderman.