Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards

Student Stories

2016-17 Student Stories & Celebration of UW Applicants, Nominees & Scholars

(Updates will be made throughout the year as different scholarship application processes conclude at various times.)



Hamda Yusuf, 2016 Charles B. Rangel Fellow & 2016 Fulbright Student

Hamda Yusuf.Rangel2016

The Rangel Graduate Fellowship program aims to attract and prepare outstanding young people for careers in the Foreign Service in which they can help formulate, represent and implement U.S. foreign policy. Each year, the Rangel Program selects 20 outstanding Rangel Fellows in a highly competitive nationwide process and helps support them through two years of graduate study, internships and professional development activities, and entry into the Foreign Service. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program offers research, study and teaching opportunities in over 140 countries to recent graduates and graduate students annually.

Hamda Yusuf graduated in 2016 with a degree in International Studies and minors in German and African Studies. She is a Somali-American and calls both Hargeisa, Somalia and Seattle, Washington home. Hamda has been heavily involved with the Somali Student Association on campus and served as the Community Affairs Officer. Earlier in her undergraduate studies she was able to intern with Senator Maria Cantwell’s Seattle office where she focused on immigration and visa issues. During her time at UW she developed a passion for studying immigration pathways, cultural studies, and human rights.

These passions were a big motivation in her applying for both the Rangel Fellowship and the Fulbright-Austria Community Based Combined Grant for the 2016-2017 year. Having already participated in the Spring in Vienna study abroad program her sophomore year, Hamda felt well prepared to return to a city that she found both beautiful and perplexing. With the Fulbright grant, she will work as an English teaching assistant in an Austrian secondary school, attend classes at the University of Vienna, and work with an organization that finds better housing for refugees in Austria. If she manages to have any free time, she hopes to fulfill her dream of hiking parts of the Alps.

After her Fulbright year, Hamda plans to join the Rangel Fellowship Program and do her graduate studies at the New School’s Milano School of International Affairs in New York City where she will focus on conflict and security. Hamda hopes to eventually serve as a consular officer for the Foreign Service, where she will be able to work to promote security and increase understanding between nations. As a first-generation college student, Hamda wants to recognize her parents for always motivating her to be a positive force in the world.