Bonderman Travel Fellowship

Gus Wettstein

Photo of Gus Wettstein

Environmental and Forest Sciences


2024 Fellows

Hometown: Milwaukee, WI

Travel Locations: Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania

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.