Bonderman Travel Fellowship

Jay L. Cunningham

Photo of Jay Cunningham

Human Centered Design and Engineering


2023 Fellows

Hometown: Artesia, MS

Travel Locations: Benin, Ghana, Brazil, Jamaica, Barbados

Jay’s upbringing, identity, and family socioeconomic status are motivating factors of why he is pursuing the Bonderman Travel Fellowship. He wants to embark on a journey that his contemporary family members have no recollection of and one that his ancestors never had the choice to take. Jay deeply desires to retrace the transatlantic slave trade through the Global South and connect with the rich history, culture, and traditions of Benin and Ghana in West Africa, Brazil in Latin America, and Jamaica, Barbados, and surrounding Caribbean islands. Through Bonderman, his goal is to connect histories, stories, cultures, languages, and a sense of belonging among Black people in these regions. Through this fellowship, he hopes to achieve the following: 1) reconnect with his ancestral roots, 2) explore cultural landmarks, 3) experience vibrant cities, communities, and landscapes, and 4) gain a deeper understanding of Black diasporic history and culture extending from West Africa to the Americas.