Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards

Each year the Beinecke Scholarship offers 20 scholarships to undergraduates who intend to pursue a master’s or doctoral program in the arts, humanities or social sciences. Applicants must be nominated by their universities to compete for this national program, and UW is able to nominate one student in their junior year each year. Selected students receive $30,000 to be used for graduate study and $4,000 in their senior year.

Learn more about the Beinecke Scholarship Program and UW’s nomination process.

View the Beinecke Scholarship directory for a comprehensive list of all scholars.

2018 – 2019 UW Nominee:

Jesse Loi

Junior, Philosophy and Mathematics majors

Jesse Loi

I never realized that I’d get any substantial funding for what I wanted to study, which surprised me when I found out such an opportunity existed. I hope to use the Beinecke Scholarship to help me afford graduate schools that I might not otherwise have been able to afford and give myself more freedom in going to schools without a deep financial burden.

I am currently majoring in philosophy and mathematics and plan to go to graduate school to pursue work on Immanuel Kant, particularly in his ethics of consent and human rights (such as whether or not we can or cannot act in self-defense). I would like to use this training in order to do work in academia to help students attain greater critical thinking and analytical skills.

I became interested in this work when I realized that the philosophy major could help me answer the questions that I had thought couldn’t be answered. I grew up in a family that didn’t demand too much from me other than that I pursued the college work that they never had the opportunity to attain, which gave me a lot of intellectual freedom and room to explore different ideas, which only expanded due to the courses I took here. At the same time, I was motivated to teach after several experiences I had working with the Pipeline Project and tutoring math at the high school level. That willingness to teach coupled with my curiosity in the field of philosophy was what pushed me to try to pursue this path. I am currently working on a project on Kant’s 3rd Critique focusing on aesthetics in order to attain a stronger theoretical background on him.

In my free time, I enjoy running, trading card games of all sorts, and the few DnD sessions I can squeeze into my weekends.

Jesse’s tips for future Beinecke Scholarship campus applicants:
It’s important to think about what you’d want to do in the future in the best case scenario. Show the scholarship committee that you’ve done your work and have committed time into researching possible opportunities and gave a strong motivation for why your work is important and why you enjoy doing it. This doesn’t mean a total commitment though! Plenty of people change their plans in the future, so don’t feel like you’re dead set on this path.

History of UW Beinecke Scholarship Nominees and Scholars

2017 - 2018

Brian Dang, Nominee

Junior, English and Drama major

Brian Dang

Brian is a junior majoring in English and Drama. He is passionate about the power of stories and the intersection between creative and critical writing. He is an avid theater artist with focuses in playwriting and theatrical design. He also spends his time with literary research, and it is with these two modes that he explores the nuances of storytelling. He plans to enter a Ph.D. program for English after graduating from the UW with the intent of becoming a teacher who can support others to tell their stories. On the side, Brian likes to write in his diary, watch movies, revel in hopeless romanticism, pet cats, and eat bread.

Brian’s tips for future Beinecke Scholarship campus applicants:
If you’re passionate about what you do and want to continue doing it through graduate school, go for it. It really shines through and makes a big difference! Talk to your professors in your field to get an idea of where and what you want to study, and how. They’re a very good resource for you, and it will help them write your letter of rec. Also, don’t be scared to apply. I almost didn’t apply because I didn’t think I had a chance to get the nomination.

2016 - 2017

Nala Williams, Nominee

Junior, Anthropology, Near Eastern Studies major

Nala Williams

Nala is a junior pursuing dual degrees in Anthropology and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. Her academic passions include ethical archaeology, learning languages, and making academia accessible to marginalized communities. Following Nala’s graduation from the University of Washington in Spring 2018, she intends to earn a PhD in Anthropology.

2015 - 2016

Michael Monicatti, Nominee

Junior, Drama Performances and Communications major

2016 Beinecke Nominee, Michael Monicatti

While not performing in plays and musicals on stage, Michael spends his time reading novels, listening to NPR podcasts, and volunteering with the Undergraduate Theater Society as their Publicity Director. He works for a local catering company and is very passionate about health and wellness topics. Recently, Michael performed with the on-campus Gospel Choir. He is spending his last chunk of time here taking advantage of the new musical theatre training and fascinating courses about human behavior in the psychology department. After graduation he plans to perform around Seattle building up his resume before attending graduate school for an MFA in Acting on the East Coast.

2014 - 2015

Elizabeth Castro, Nominee

Junior, International Studies major, Education, Learning & Society minor

Elizabeth Castro

Elizabeth Castro’s parents immigrated to the United States from the state of Veracruz in Mexico. She describes herself as la hija de campesinos, which is Spanish for “the daughter of farmworkers”, as this phrase captures many of her life experiences. Elizabeth grew up and attended school in rural farmworker communities in Washington State and Mexico. Knowing many of the triumphs and trials of her farmworker communities, she is further motivated to help others in their quests for better lives through a career in education.

Elizabeth’s experiences working with immigrant and English language learning youth serve as inspirations for her interests in education research. As she aims to pursue a Ph.D. program in Educational Policy, Elizabeth seeks to contribute to creating a more equitable educational infrastructure in the U.S. Ultimately, Elizabeth wants to work on policy at the federal level and mentor and motivate students in her personal endeavors. Elizabeth’s research interests include immigrant youth experiences, English Language Learning, and programs that foster educational equity.

Elizabeth attended Columbia Basin College as a Running Start student in high school where she earned her AA degree. At the University of Washington, Elizabeth was part of the College Assistance Migrant Program as a first-year student which helped lead her to many resources on campus. Elizabeth has served as an undergraduate research assistant in two College of Education projects: The Parent-School Equitable Collaboration Project and Civic Lessons and Immigrant Youth. Working as an assistant has helped Elizabeth gain insight on graduate school and research methodology. In the summer of 2014, Elizabeth was supported by the HEP CAMP National Association and obtained an internship in the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Migrant Education. In Washington D.C., Elizabeth gained skills in understanding education evaluation data and policy advocacy that helps fuel her career aspirations.

2013 - 2014

Savannah Ledgerwood, Nominee

Junior, Psychology major, Diversity minor

Savannah Ledgerwood

Savannah is a strong advocate of experiential learning and tries to be as involved on campus as possible. She is involved on campus in three capacities: as a student leader, educator, and researcher.

Leadership is a newfound passion of Savannah’s. She was accepted into the UW Leaders program via the Associated Students of University of Washington (ASUW) in her sophomore year and was hired on to continue as a mentor for the program the following year as a junior. She intends on continuing with the program as a senior and continuing to volunteer and attend community events on campus. She also channels her leadership experience into her different jobs on campus as a front desk student assistant for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and campus tour guide.

After a positive experience as a student in the Freshman Interest Group (FIG) program, Savannah applied to be a FIG leader to have her own cohort of 20-25 students as a sophomore. She has since continued on each year she has been an undergraduate student and plans to have her third and final class of first year students in fall of 2014. Having this teaching experience also inspired her to become an undergraduate teaching assistant for the Psychology of Racism and Minority Groups (PSYCH 250) in fall of 2013.

Savannah became involved with undergraduate research her junior year at UW. She conducts research at Stereotypes, Identity, and Belonging Lab (SIBL); a Social Psychology lab interested in how people’s choices and behaviors are influenced by cultural factors. She plans to continue on with SIBL to develop her critical thinking lens until she graduates from UW.

Savannah is interested in utilizing her skills and positive experiences with undergraduate research, community building, and leadership development to maximize retention rates of first generation and community college transfer students. She plans to pursue a career in higher education in order to create opportunities for these populations of students to feel better connected and supported in university settings.

2012 - 2013

Anh Huynh, Nominee

Psychology and Communication (Journalism) major


2011 - 2012

Audrey Brown, Nominee

Junior, Sociology and Comparative History of Ideas (CHID) major

2010 - 2011

Byron Gray, Scholar

Political Science, Law Societies & Justice, Asian Studies (South Asia) major, South Asian Languages & Literature (Hindi) minor

Byron Gray is a triple major in the departments of Political Science; Law, Societies, & Justice; and Asian Studies with a minor in South Asian Languages & Literature. Although Gray’s research explores a diverse range of topics – including religious politics, nationalism, political violence, human rights, and law – his inquiries are united by an underlying interest in how people conceptualize the world and how these conceptualizations shape political and social struggles. His work is regionally focused on South Asia and attempts to combine a rigorous understanding of social theory with in situ empirical work. In the summer and fall of 2010 Gray spent seven months in India dedicated to language training in Hindi and research for an honors thesis through the Jackson School of International Studies, which explores how family law has become a site of political struggle for different social and religious groups in post-colonial India. As part of this research, Gray interviewed activists and politicians from the Indian Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Muslim, & Parsee communities. Following graduation he plans to pursue a PhD in either Political Science or Sociology. His aim is to become a professor focused on the political structuring of South Asian society.

He is also a member of the newly formed Undergraduate Research Leader program, which seeks to facilitate outreach to undergraduates interested in becoming involved in the research process. Outside of class, Gray likes reading modern literature such as that of Kafka and Borges, and also enjoys science fiction films that play with philosophical themes such as Blade Runner or Tarkovsky’s Stalker. He is also an avid fan of video games.

2009 - 2010

Garrett Strain, Nominee

International Studies and Economics major


2008 - 2009

Luke Caldwell, Scholar

Comparative History of Ideas and Philosophy major, Human Rights minor


2007 - 2008

Laura Hinton, Nominee

Anthropology major


2006 - 2007

Vi Nhan, Nominee

International Studies and Political Science major


2005 - 2006

Meily Mendez, Nominee

Music and Applied Music (Piano) major


2004 - 2005

Gloria Kim, Nominee

Sociology major


2003 - 2004

Kristi Govella, Scholar

Political Science and Japanese major


2002 - 2003

Melinda Holm, Nominee

Art History major


2001 - 2002

Vincent Gonzalez, Nominee

Comparative History of Ideas and International Studies major


1999 - 2000

Miguel A. Bocanegra, Scholar

Political Science major


1994 - 1995

Erin K. Schneider, Scholar

Comparative History of Ideas major


1975 - 1976

Jeffrey E. Lehman, Scholar

Biological Sciences major