Fulbright US Student Program
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the largest U.S. international exchange program offering opportunities for United States students to undertake international graduate study, advanced research and teaching in elementary and secondary schools worldwide.
2017-18 undergraduate Fulbright semifinalists
Katherine Anastas - Spain, English Teaching Assistantship
2017 Graduate: Communication (Journalism)
Katie Anastas graduated from the UW in August 2017 with a degree in Communication (Journalism) and a minor in Spanish. She is currently a production assistant at NPR Music.
As an undergraduate, Katie worked as a features intern at The Seattle Times, an editorial intern at Crosscut, a DJ at Rainy Dawg Radio and an editor at The Daily. She was also a research associate with the Mapping American Social Movements project in the Department of History, where she helped produce interactive maps of the United Farm Workers movement, the underground press of the Vietnam War era, the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and the women’s suffrage movement.
During summer quarter of 2017, Katie studied abroad in Berlin, where she learned about community responses to the arrival of immigrants and refugees. She conducted a research project comparing past and present struggles with immigrant and refugee housing in Berlin. The project allowed her to combine her love of conducting interviews, researching public policy, learning about history and producing multimedia projects.
If selected for the Fulbright program, Katie would bring her love of teaching to Spain. In high school, Katie spent her summers working as a Girl Scout camp counselor, and she eventually earned the Girl Scout Gold Award for teaching computer classes in English and Spanish to middle school girls in San Diego county. Katie hopes to learn about how education and women’s empowerment intersect in Spanish culture.
Katie’s Tips for Future Fulbright Applicants:
Try your best to meet the campus deadline for the Fulbright application. I also applied last year, but missed the campus deadline, and I realize now just how many valuable resources I was missing out on. The advisers at UW helped make my application more polished and detailed, and they pointed out areas of improvement I would have overlooked on my own.
TraMese Byrd - France, Academic
Jessica Collins - Taiwan, English Teaching Assistantship
2017 Graduate: International Studies
My undergraduate studies are a direct reflection of where my passions lie. I graduated with a Bachelors of Art degree in International Studies with a focus in Global Development through the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies. In addition, I double minored in Global Health and Chinese Language. Altogether, these areas of study deepened my understanding of international development and health. I aspire to allow these passions to dictate my career path which is why I am pursing Fulbright Scholarship and a career in international development. During my time at the UW, I spent four months studying abroad in Kunming, China, taking intensive Mandarin classes and conducting an independent research project on HIV and hepatitis C Co-infection. My second study abroad experience in Nepal exposed me to the the difficulties of managing aid organizations in the wake of a crippling earth quake. Now that I have finished my degree, I work for a social enterprise company, MiiR, which donates 3% of its profits to clean water initiatives and other empowerment projects. A Fulbright English Teaching Award would be the culmination to my previous experiences because it would enable me to gain a sharper understanding of international development and a deeper cross-cultural connection.
Jessica’s Tips for Future Fulbright Applicants:
Mason Fletcher - Spain, English Teaching Assistantship
2017 Graduate: Political Science; History
I am from Puyallup Washington, 30 miles south of Seattle. I have two sisters, one older, one younger. My parents are both teachers in the Puyallup School District. I had the esteemed opportunity to run track and field at the UW under coaches Greg Metcalf and Jason Drake. I had a terrific experience at the UW and learned the meaning of service and connectivity. I returned to Puyallup during college and spoke at the local schools; touching on leadership qualities, goal-setting and tips on how to balance schoolwork and athletics. However, I learned from the students as much as they learned from me. The value of education is invaluable, I am taking this opportunity to teach abroad, to widen my audience and to learn from students overseas. I plan to attend law school and provide a legal service to those most in need. As an Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Spain, I will be given the communication skills necessary to provide a free legal service to the low-income members of our community, especially in Spanish-speaking areas otherwise denied access to legal aid.
Mason’s Tips for Future Fulbright Applicants:
Think and reflect on why it is you want to go or study what you study to provide a strong underlying reason as to why you deserve a certain scholarship.
Lellisse Gonfa - Nepal, Academic
Jake Hansen - Russia, English Teaching Assistantship
Senior: Russian Language, Literature, and Culture
Jake Hansen was born and raised in Boulder, Colorado, and throughout childhood fostered interests primarily in the areas of chemistry and mathematics. It was not until he arrived in Seattle that he began to take a serious interest in philology and language learning. Since then, he has studied abroad in St. Petersburg, been selected as recipient of several departmental awards and as an ACTR Russian Scholar Laureate, and is now completing a B.A. in Russian Language, Literature, and Culture here at UW.
With hopes to continue developing as a philologist and teacher, Hansen has applied for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) Grant to Russia. While in Russia, he would work as an assistant in a university English program and also pursue the formation of collaborative relationships with young Russian authors and musicians.
Hansen has in the past collaborated with Russian authors to produce translations, including with Russian prose stylist Olga Isayeva, whose short story Avtobus (“The Bus”), a masterfully crafted portrait of everyday life in the late Soviet Union, he is currently working to get published in American literary journals.
In addition to translation praxis, Hansen is interested in the theoretical side of translation and its interaction with linguistic models. In February 2018 he delivered a talk at the Praxis Conference here at UW discussing some problems in legal translation and ways in which they have been addressed by professionals.
After spending a period of time teaching abroad, both expanding his knowledge and honing his teaching abilities, Hansen has interest in returning to American academia and continuing his development as a language specialist and scholar of Slavic Studies.
While not studying, Hansen enjoys working as a barista at the Café Allegro, spending time with friends and family, playing the drums, watching films, riding his bicycle, connecting with the natural world, and making forays into creative writing.
Siu Fung Gary Lau - India, Academic
2017 Graduate: Political Science
I wanted to apply for the Fulbright to India because I want to gain more experience in the country, research experience and more language training. I would like the Fulbright because it is a great opportunity to meet other like-minded students and it would prepare me for grad school and/or future career.
Gary’s Tips for Future Fulbright Applicants:
Start early, because there are a lot of components that take a long time to come through. For example, some Fulbright countries require a foreign institution to serve as your sponsor. and those contacts might take a long time to reply. However, don’t let that deter you if you begin late, you never know what can happen if you don’t try.
Jessica Lo - United Kingdom, Academic
Senior: Biochemistry; Neurobiology
Jessica Lo is a graduating senior who is pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science in both Neurobiology and Biochemistry. She is a neuroscientist to her core, blending a passion for work at the bench with a desire to engage people in her communities. For the past two years, Jessica has worked in a neurodevelopment lab studying autism in relation to the Tbr1 and Tbr2 genes. Specifically, her research has concentrated on characterizing these genes in the basal forebrain and midbrain. Her research is currently on its way to publication, and she hopes that her work will provide a deeper understanding of how the Tbr1/2 genes contribute to global development of glutamatergic neurons.
In her time away from lab, Jessica founded and currently acts as president of a student organization dedicated to serving survivors of brain injury. She has grown the organization from one person to thirty (and counting) in the course of a year, avidly growing partnerships with organizations in Seattle in order to provide a robust resource to the brain injury community. Jessica also interns with Full Life Care, working with survivors of brain injury in low-income situations through physical- and social-based rehabilitation.
As a Fulbright-er in the United Kingdom, Jessica sees her passion for science and communities continuing to blend together. With the support of the Fulbright commission, Jessica will work with Dr. Zoltan Molnar to understand myelination of long-range projection neurons, a process that is disrupted in diseases such as multiple sclerosis and potentially even schizophrenia. She hopes to start a similar brain injury support organization oversees at Oxford, too. In all, Jessica hopes to continue working with the brain injury community and pursuing research from the standpoint of a physician. Upon returning the US, Jessica plans to apply to medical school and eventually become a neurosurgeon.
Jessica’s Tips for Future Fulbright Applicants:
Get started early on finding an overseas contact for a letter of affiliation (if it is required). I started six months in advance and still wished that I had more time. People become busy, and it’s always a leap to reach out to someone you may not meet face-to-face. However, just be persistent and be proactive. I helped my affiliate write my letter after talking to him about his research once–it expedited the process, and I’m sure it saved him some time, too!
Jennifer Louie - Taiwan, English Teaching Assistantship
Senior: Business – Marketing and Information Systems
I was born and raised in New York and dove into uncertainty by deciding to attend the University of Washington four years ago. With an academic background studying marketing and information systems at the Foster School of Business and strong interests in social justice, I hope to pursue a career in marketing strategy and content creation for positive social impact. Throughout college I have been involved with a co-ed business fraternity Delta Sigma Pi as the VP of Community Service, founded an undergraduate chapter of Net Impact as an RSO under Foster, and co-founded an arts and culture magazine in Seattle called Human Condition. At the core of these involvements is a passion for people, curiosity to learn, and inclination to work hard and stay involved with my community. I owe a great deal to the educators, mentors, and institutions that shaped the educational journey of my life and am inspired to help shape the journey of others. Fulbright is an incredible opportunity to engage in understanding others, practicing empathy, refining communication skills, and interacting cross culturally. It embodies the values I see in marketing when it comes to building relationships and communicating ideologies through a constant willingness to learn and grow an understanding of one another. As a Fulbright Scholar semifinalist I am honored and humbled to be considered for the incredible opportunity to be an English Teaching Assistant in Taiwan. If chosen, I aim to contribute whole heartedly and learn humbly from this experience.
Jennifer’s Tips for Future Fulbright Applicants:
Like any application, I recommend doing lots of self reflection prior to and during the Fulbright application. It’s critical to truly take the time to ask yourself the tough questions and dig deeper beyond what the application questions state point blank. For example, my answer for why I chose the specific country took me weeks of questioning and thinking to get right. My number one advice is to be genuine and unique in your answers while tying it to the big picture. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help, you likely won’t get this on your first, second, or even third try but it helps to have another or multiple other pair of eyes take a look at what you’re submitting!
James Love - Germany, English Teaching Assistantship
Kylie Luse - Spain, English Teaching Assistantship
2017 Graduate: Psychology; Spanish
As a recent graduate of the University of Washington, I have applied to the Fulbright Student Program to be an English teaching assistant in Spain. As an ETA I would be able to gain invaluable experience working in a classroom with English language learners that would further prepare me to apply for a Master in Teaching program upon my return to the United States. My long-term goal is to become a dual language teacher for elementary school children, so that I am able to teach both English to native Spanish speakers and Spanish to native English speakers. After graduating from UW with a B.A. in Spanish, I strongly believe in the importance of learning a second language, as it opens up doors for communication and the understanding of different cultures, and I would love to serve as an aide to students during their academic journey.
After studying abroad in Cádiz, Spain through UW’s program, I would be excited to return to Spain to immerse myself in the Spanish language so that I can become fluent. Living abroad in Spain helped me to grow as a person and gain new experiences and I am eager to learn even more by returning. I also would be excited to travel not only around Spain, but other European countries as well. After my first visit, I have added many more places to my bucket list that I am ready to cross off!
Kylie’s Tips for Future Fulbright Applicants:
My advice would be to ask for your letters of recommendation and write your essays far in advance so that you can come into interviews confident with specific questions for improvement.
Yesenia Navarro-Aguirre - Peru, Academic
2017 Graduate: Human Evolutionary Biology; Anthropology of Globalization
Yesenia Navarro is a recent graduate of the University of Washington(Class of 2017), with majors in Human Evolutionary Biology and Anthropology of Globalization. During her undergraduate career, Yesenia was very active in the fields of anthropology and research.
As a research assistant to Dr.Holman, Yesenia worked two years of her undergraduate career on a project that involved research on women’s reproductive health. In this role, she first learned how to analyze data and conduct statistical analysis. Additionally, she was introduced to programming languages that would enable further data manipulation.
Her time alongside Dr.Holman was instrumental in creating and sustaining a longtime passion for research. She soon discovered from this pivotal point in her life that she wanted to focus her career path for the prevention of infectious diseases.
Furthermore, once Yesenia graduated from the University of Washington, she attended the T.H Chan School of Public Health Summer Epidemiology Program. She learned over the course of the program, that it is through the field of Epidemiology, that bridges together the implementation of statistical strategy with community-level interactions that control and prevent the spread of disease.
Overall, her experiences as a undergraduate and postgraduate allowed Yesenia to fully comprehend her passion for public health. Her recent research interests include HIV/Tuberculosis prevention and zoonotic diseases endemic to Latin America. She is also particularly eager to learn how to use novel statistical methods to model infectious disease outbreaks.
Yesenia’s Tips for Future Fulbright Applicants:
Time management is a integral aspect of the application process. The grant writing process proved to be a daunting task. What made it manageable was creating personal deadlines and accountability to those deadlines with your mentor. Having someone to personally overlook your work and see if your are making progress its also another key to success.
Philip Palios - United Kingdom, Academic
Anika Patel - Thailand, English Teaching Assistantship
2017 Graduate: Biochemistry and Interdisciplinary Honors
Growing up, I was fortunate to have been exposed to a variety of cultures and languages. By the beginning of high school, I had seen 5 of the 7 continents. Over the years, I transitioned from being a tourist to a cultural ambassador by setting out on each new adventure with a personal goal of furthering my understanding of the delicate and dynamic art of communication.
As a premed, I am committed towards improving access to not only quality healthcare, but also to vital resources necessary for people to live sustainable lives. Teaching English excites me because it provides people with skills necessary to take part in the larger global economy. Opening up this opportunity allows people to not only improve the quality of their own lives, but also promote social and economic development in their countries.
I hope to heighten my social perceptiveness and cultural competency, which will be useful for communicating effectively with my future patients as a doctor. Pursuing a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship would take me one step closer to this goal. As an aspiring physician, taking advantage of any opportunity to use and build upon my cultural insights will continue to inform my passion for incorporating cultural awareness into patient care.
Currently in my gap year, I enjoy working at Swedish Hospital as both a scribe in the Emergency Department and as a technician for an otolaryngologist. In my free time, I love rock climbing, playing the harp, volunteering at a nursing home, and teaching English to refugees in Seattle.
Anika’s Tips for Future Fulbright Applicants:
Scheduling meetings with the Fulbright advisors was very valuable for me. I brainstormed ideas for why I am interested in Fulbright and what makes me competitive with them, and they helped me mold my thoughts/ideas into a more coherent story. I also encourage future students to reach out to previous Fulbrighters early — names of previous winners can be found on the website, I looked them up on Facebook, sent them a message, and they were more than happy to help and answer questions. What I learned from talking to past Fulbrighters helped me determine whether this was something I truly wanted to do, and how I could frame my application in the most competitive manner possible. Whether or not I receive a Fulbright Scholarship, it is these conversations that have made me reflect on my life’s story to understand why I am where I am today, making me 100% sure of the career path I have chosen to take.
Caleb Perez - Switzerland, Academic
Since my junior year of high school, I have been deeply involved in biomedical research, driven by a curious scientific mind and a commitment to advancing the field of medicine. These motivations guided my pursuit of an undergraduate degree in bioengineering here at UW. Throughout my undergraduate studies, I have had the opportunity to work in many different labs across a breadth of fields. A turning point in my career came during my participation in a summer research program at the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research under Dr. Michele De Palma. There, I studied a novel cancer vaccination platform that was already showing the ability to limit tumor burden in preclinical studies. Witnessing the remarkable therapeutic potential of this vaccine firsthand cemented my commitment to a career in cancer research, working toward the development of similar treatments. This experience also drove my application to the Fulbright program, which would support my return to Switzerland to continue work on this promising therapeutic.
Outside of the lab, I have participated in Bioengineers Without Borders for several years, working on the design of a low-cost hydration monitor for application in the developing world. I also strive to help prospective bioengineers through their coursework as an undergraduate teaching assistant for three different departmental classes. Following my graduation in the spring, I plan to continue both biomedical research and teaching by pursuing graduate school and an eventual academic career, where I hope to lead my own lab devoted to the translation of cancer therapeutics.
Caleb’s Tips for Future Fulbright Applicants:
Choose the country and project wisely based on how you can craft the strongest application — how can you make this specific project in this specific country relevant to your previous experiences and future goals?
Nicole Shermer - Peru, Academic
2016 Graduate: International Studies
Nicole Shermer graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Washington with a B.A. in International Studies in 2016. In both the Running Start program and at UW, she engaged in extensive advocacy and organizing experience as a Campus Leader for the ONE Campaign, an organization focused on fighting extreme poverty and preventable diseases in sub-Saharan Africa. She met with elected officials, campaigned on important legislation, and found a passion for global development issues.
Nicole eventually interned for both the ONE Campaign in Washington, D.C. and the African Chamber of the Pacific Northwest (ACCPNW) in Seattle. She also studied abroad in San Sebastian, Spain, during her senior year. She currently works as the Program Coordinator for the Middle East Center at the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington. Her Fulbright experience in Zana, Peru, will allow her to explore the intersections of sustainable environmental development and cultural history and develop valuable personal relationships within a community abroad. After the Fulbright, Nicole hopes to attend graduate school to study Environment and Development and eventually work for an international development organization.
Nicole’s Tips for Future Fulbright Applicants:
Start as early as possible – feel free to email professors and possible contacts even if you don’t feel like you have a full idea of what you want your project to be. They can help you come up with ideas and possible directions for your research. If I had done that my application process would have been a lot easier. It’s also a good idea to have an adviser or a professor look over your grant proposal many times to help you with feedback; at some point though you just have to go with your gut when people give conflicting advice or advice you disagree with. Also, make sure your recommenders know that exact date of the application deadline.
Tammy Tarhini - Germany, English Teaching Assistantship
2017 Graduate: Molecular, Cellular, & Developmental Biology (B.S.); Medical Anthropology & Global Health (B.A.)
After taking a gap year in Germany through the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Scholarship, Tammy entered the UW as a premedical student with an interest in global health. To supplement her premedical coursework, her background as a Lebanese American led her to pursue opportunities such as serving as an Arabic-English medical interpreter at the MAPS/MCRC health clinic in Seattle, and studying abroad in Jordan to volunteer in a Palestinian refugee health clinic through UNRWA. These experiences helped her identify a strong interest in pursuing a career in global health with a focus on underserved populations, specifically Arabic-speaking refugee/immigrant communities.
As a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant grant recipient, Tammy will work with students from refugee and minority backgrounds in Germany. She hopes to contribute her Arab-American background, past experience in Germany, and teaching experience to these students and their classroom experience. At the same time, she hopes to further her career goals through this opportunity to keep working with underserved populations in international settings, and by taking concurrent coursework in Global Health.
Tammy’s Tips for Future Fulbright Applicants:
Start earlier than you think you need to, and don’t hesitate to use the many resources the UW makes available for applicants.
James Wilson - Germany, English Teaching Assistantship
2016-17 undergraduate Fulbright semifinalists, finalists & alternates
Max Carey - Alum, Linguistics
Max graduated from the UW’s Romance Linguistics program in December 2015. As a Post-Baccalaureate student, he conducted research on Spanish-speakers’ acquisition of certain English consonants and the language attitudes to Spanish held by its speakers in Washington State. Max had the opportunity to present his research at the UW’s 5th Annual Undergraduate Linguistics Colloquium and the Cascadia Workshop in Sociolinguistics. Currently, he works as an Associate Spanish Teacher and a part-time ESL teacher in the Seattle area.
Before coming to the UW, Max became interested in linguistics and Spanish through a variety of experiences both at home and abroad. After minoring in Spanish at Western Washington University, Max participated in the North American Language and Cultural Assistants program in Almería, Spain, worked as an ESL instructor to adults in Mexico City, and led trips of high school students to Latin America. These experiences are what provoked his interest in linguistics.
By pursuing graduate programs in Mexico, Max hopes to gain the requisite knowledge to pursue a career that widens the American perspective of Latin America and fosters intercultural understanding. He hopes to accomplish this by applying linguistic theory to language learning, for example, by creating pedagogical materials that are optimized for students with particular language backgrounds and make us of Computer Assisted Language Learning. This could include anything from a flash card application that contains high-frequency false cognates between English and Spanish (English ‘actually’ ≠ Spanish ‘actualmente’) to lesson plans for Spanish classes that contain multimedia materials with a healthy balance of different dialect regions. In addition, Max is interested in experiencing with simultaneous bilingual instruction, that is, concurrent English instruction for Spanish-speakers and Spanish instruction for English-speakers followed by interactive activities. In addition to applied linguistics, Max is also interested in learning more about theoretical linguistics.
Kevin Celustka - Senior, International Studies
Kevin has been selected as a finalist for the Fulbright US Student Research Program. If selected, he will spend a year in Kampala, Uganda, studying the influence of viruses on the development of cancers at the Hutchinson Center Research Institute Uganda.
Kevin is a Senior, majoring in International Studies in the Jackson School Honors Program. Kevin is also pre-med, and plans to apply to medical schools after a gap year focused on research.
Throughout Kevin’s four years at the UW, he has been involved in student government and research. Kevin served on the leadership of the ASUW Student Senate for three years, and currently chairs the Provost Advisory Committee for Students. Kevin also works at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and participated in the Fred Hutch Summer Undergraduate Research Program in 2016. For the past three years, Kevin has also volunteered as a mentor in the UW Leaders program.
Kevin hopes to help shape a more equitable world at the intersection of research and policy, and the Fulbright US Student Research Program would take him one step closer to this goal.
Molly Herbert - Alum, Law, Economics & Public Policy and Global Studies (Bothell)
Mollie Holmberg - Alum, Biology
As a Fulbright Scholar at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, British Columbia I hope pursue an MA in Geography where I will study the ways human governance and economic systems influence the circulation of capital and living beings in the context of zoos, agriculture, and wildlife refuges. Canada is notable among developed nations for the portion of its economy comprised by agriculture, forestry, fossil fuel extraction, and mining, contributing globally significant exports in all these sectors. Its large swathes of wilderness and rich environmental history also make it an ideal setting to study how these settings transform through commodification. By studying contemporary and historical land use commodity chains in Canada, I will gain a richer understanding of the issues than I could by conducting this research elsewhere. This work will propel me through a PhD and eventually professional scholarship in geography that I will use to help scholars, policymakers, and the public recognize the lands and peoples with which their lives are bound and grasp how global economic systems and the narratives people tell about them both create and confound these bounds.
As I pursue my graduate work at UBC, I also plan to spend time getting to know the people and geographies of British Columbia through recreation and volunteer work. As an avid biker, cycling will allow me to explore the Vancouver region more extensively than I would be able to on foot and more intimately than I could by car. Although British Columbia has one of the smallest Francophone populations of all Canadian provinces, I also hope to continue improving my French language skills and familiarity with francophone cultures by volunteering with Le Centre Culturel Francophone de Vancouver, an organization that hosts language courses and francophone art and cultural events in Vancouver, BC.
Sofiya Idris - Alum, Society, Ethics, & Human Behavior and Health Studies (Bothell)
Benjamin Lee - Alum, International Studies, Chinese
Benjamin Lee graduated from University of Washington in June 2015 with highest honors in Chinese and International Studies. He studied under the departmental honors programs at the Jackson School and the Asian Languages & Literatures Department.
During his junior year, Ben studied abroad in National Taiwan University as a Boren Scholar. He studied Mandarin, Taiwanese politics, and cross-strait relations. He also received the UW Presidential Scholarship for the 2014 – 2015 academic year, which funded his senior honors research project that compared how democratization in Taiwan and South Korea affected cross-Strait and inter-Korean relations. Ben presented his research findings in three different undergraduate conferences in Seattle, Cheney and Seoul.
In November 2014, Ben participated in in Strait Talk, a student conference on cross-Strait relations at Brown University. He worked as the Editor in Chief of the consensus document, which listed proposals from U.S., Chinese and Taiwanese delegates on how to maintain peace across the Taiwan Strait. Ben was also one of three undergraduate Young Global Leaders at the Slade Gorton International Policy Center, where he was awarded the Sally Gorton Leadership award for his preparation of a policy table with former U.S. Ambassador to China, Gary Locke.
After graduation, Ben worked at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace as a junior fellow for the Asia program. He assisted senior scholars’ research on security issues in US-China relations and published several articles for the Diplomat. For the 2017-2018 academic year, he was awarded the Fulbright Research and Study Grant to China to conduct research on cross-Strait relations. Eventually, Ben would like to work in the government where he can contribute to American foreign policy in the Asia-Pacific.
Sopeck Nop - Alum, Computer Science and Systems (Tacoma)
Sophie Nop (Computer Science & Systems, BS ‘16) has been offered a grant from the prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Program to Cambodia for 2017-18. She will be spending a year in Kralanh, Cambodia and plans to work with a local NGO on a participatory research project: Her goal is to better understand how mobile app development can advance digital literacy in rural areas, and how Cambodian youth interact with technology. Huge congratulations to Sophie and to everyone who’s taught, inspired, and supported her during her time at UW Tacoma.
While at UW Tacoma, Sophie served as ASUWT president from 2015-16 and was reognized in the inaugural Husky 100 cohort. She also founded UW Tacoma Dreams Big — a technology conference to encourage everyone, especially women and people of color, to pursue STEM careers.
Alexandra Piunti - Senior, Scandinavian Studies
Alexandra was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. An avid language learner, Alexandra spends much of her free time improving her skills in Latvian, Lithuanian, Korean, Spanish, and Russian. After studying abroad with AFS in Latvia as a senior in high school, Alexandra moved to Scotland, where she studied International Relations at the University of St. Andrews and competed with the university’s ski team. In 2016 she transferred to the University of Washington and focused her studies on the politics, societies, and defense of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia as a Scandinavian Studies major with a Baltic focus. Inspired by her time in Latvia, where she was exposed to the country’s thriving BMX culture, Alexandra’s Fulbright research centers around the history and impact of BMX on the community of Valmiera and the relationship between grassroots and elite sports and development. She plans to return to UW’s Scandinavian Studies Department in the future as a graduate student, and pursue a career as a Baltic scholar.
Joshua Remillard - Senior, Politics, Philosophy, & Economics (Tacoma)
Caleb Smith - Alum, International Studies
Caleb is a builder, thinker, truth-seeker, fact-gatherer, and self-taught web designer. A true native of Seattle, Caleb loves the outdoors and a good down jacket. When he isn’t working, his bags are packed and he’s on the move. This eagerness to experience the world led him to pursue a degree from University of Washington’s Jackson School of International Studies.
During his time at UW, Caleb spent a semester abroad in Geneva, Switzerland studying multilateral diplomacy and sustainable development. While there, he conducted research for the Global Institute for Water, Environment, and Health on the utility of private sector investment in alleviating environmental crises. This research led Caleb to develop an intense curiosity for clean technologies and how they can be used to overcome social and environmental challenges.
The following year Caleb participated in a task force researching approaches to eliminate extreme poverty by 2030. His section of the report evaluated current development practices in South and Southeast Asia and identified strategies for reforming aid practices to better assist in promoting economic development and protecting the environment.
After graduating, Caleb worked as the Washington Policy Associate for the Seattle-based clean energy economy nonprofit, Climate Solutions. There he served as the lead analyst for legislative and regulatory policy development covering state and federal climate policy, clean energy, carbon markets, utility regulation, and transportation fuels.
Most recently, Caleb has been working as a research partner with a cohort of urban sustainability professionals, developing a report identifying pathways to improve the efficacy of urban climate action programs.
Caleb also serves on the board of the nonprofit New Dawn Guatemala, an organization that works to foster ecological sustainability, economic vitality, and educational advancement in rural Guatemalan communities. In 2016, Caleb traveled down to Guatemala with a film crew to collect footage for a documentary film about the economic, political, and environmental pressures inflicting these communities.
Olivia Smith - Senior, Sociology
Olivia Smith is a soon to be graduate from the University of Washington with a degree in Sociology, and a minor in Spanish. Throughout her time in college, Olivia has been heavily involved with First Year Programs, where she served as both an Orientation Leader and FIG Leader, as a mentor through the UW Dream Project, and the Black Student Union, in which she served as the president during her senior year. After having her first experience abroad in Spain, through a summer study abroad program, Olivia hoped that she would once more have the opportunity to explore worlds outside of the US. Combining her yearn to travel and her passion for education, Olivia is excited to pursue an English Teaching Assistant Grant through Fulbright. Through this Fulbright opportunity in Mexico, Olivia hopes to make valuable connections with students, as well as strengthen her sense of cultural awareness and competency, that will furthermore translate to her future experiences within education. Upon returning from Mexico, Olivia hopes to attend graduate school, where she can receive a master’s in education or teaching.
Connor Tsuchida - Senior, Bioengineering
With a high school math teacher and a university biology professor as parents, I’ve always known the importance of both education and educators. Seeing as educators develop the next generation of great minds, ideas, and innovation, my hope is eventually teach and lead a research laboratory at the university level. I’m currently in Dr. Ying Zheng’s lab where my research focuses on developing a renal cell carcinoma kidney-tumor-on-a-chip to recapitulate tumor-induced angiogenesis. The goal is to develop a microphysiological model that better simulates the human microenvironment in order to more efficiently test developing cancer therapeutics. Outside of research, I am deeply involved in student leadership as the President of the UW Chapter Biomedical Engineering Society and Co-Founder/Editor-in-Chief of Denatured Journal. In whatever spare time I have, I love to travel to new places, try new cuisines, and go to sporting events around Seattle. After graduation I plan to pursue a PhD in Biomedical Engineering in order to continue to develop as a researcher. After graduate school, I hope to pursue a professorship and be a leader in the classroom and the laboratory.