Established in 1991, the Boren Undergraduate Scholarship provides funding opportunities for U.S. students to study languages and world regions critical to U.S. interests (including Africa, Asia, Central & Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America & the Caribbean, and the Middle East).
2020-2021 UW scholars & alternates:
Eva Jacroux, Scholar
Junior, Political science
I am completing my third year at the University of Washington majoring in Political Science and minoring in Data Science. I am currently an intern at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory where I work on policy-driven projects in U.S national security and develop my data science skills. During my time in Morocco, I hope to focus my area studies on the impact of U.S national security interests abroad and its intersection with neocolonialism in the MENA region. National security interests present pressing concerns for sovereignty overseas. My work at PNNL has exposed me to the complexity of national security policy in the United States and the many facets that analysts at PNNL research to inform it. My personal goal is to question and analyze the impacts of decisions made in the U.S on other countries. I am passionate about the importance of history, and specifically colonial history, informing the interactions between states today. In Morocco, a history of French colonialism created tensions in the Western Sahara, the same conflicts that are now exacerbated by the December peace deal between Israel and Morocco which was facilitated by the U.S. As multiple powers increase their presence on the African continent, understanding how a legacy of colonialism impacts current foreign policy relationships will be vital. With my background in French, I hope to expand my language skills and spend my time in Morocco learning Arabic. Through the lens of language study, I will be able to further reflect on the connections between colonial history, neocolonialism, and current U.S policymaking.
Eva’s Tip: I recommend planning in depth exactly what it would look like if you were to get the scholarship as you write the application. There are many moving parts to going overseas for an extended period which involves coordinating between study abroad, your department on campus, and your destination programs. I applied with a plan for summer of 2021 knowing that most likely it would be pushed back to spring of 2022. I found my destination programs early so that I was able to talk to the study abroad office and my department to see how this would impact my schedule for senior year, how to fulfil my major requirements, and whether independent learning credits would be a smart option before I submitted the application. Knowing this, I took my minor capstone a year early in order to free up my spring quarter just in case, and am now incredibly grateful that my advisors were able to help me create a long term plan to finish my undergraduate career on time.
Previous UW Boren Scholars and Alternates
2019 - 2020
Estey Chen, Scholar
Junior, Political Science & History major
I am a second-year interdisciplinary honors student majoring in political science and history, but my interest in both subjects and desire to ameliorate social inequalities began long before beginning college.
Reading stories of bravery in the face of immense hardship offered glimpses into experiences different from my own, instilling in me the importance of questioning the status quo and a commitment to uplifting marginalized communities. Meanwhile, volunteering for GOTV in 2016, two years before I myself could vote, gave me a sense of purpose and an outlet for my frustrations with Asian American and youth apathy. Though I was often met with blank stares, unanswered doorbells, and disconnected phone lines, the work energized me to aspire to craft equitable policy that protects civil rights and promotes good governance.
Moreover, courses and an internship with Congresswoman Jayapal’s office challenged me to use a global lens to explore unfamiliar areas of study and conceptualize effective structural reform. I learned that the most pressing issues affecting the U.S. are neither unique to our modern era or contained within our borders. While taking a comparative cold war history class, for example, I was struck by my unfamiliarity with Southeast Asia, Indonesia in particular. I grew up speaking Cantonese, had traveled around China numerous times, and had both researched and taken courses relating to East Asia; the fact that Indonesia is the third largest democracy in the world, played a significant role in cold war politics, and emerged relatively recently from a military dictatorship was news to me. This instilled in me the value of understanding cross-cultural histories of oppression to form collaborative policy solutions and motivated me to apply for the Boren.
Ultimately, I hope to combine my interdisciplinary knowledge of political systems and history, lessons learned while immersed in the culture of Malang, and language skills for a long career of affecting positive change at the federal level. Through a position at USAID or the DOJ, I envision myself developing culturally competent democratic reforms or working within the legal system to increase government accountability for groups traditionally excluded from political processes.
Estey’s tip: Take full advantage of the early UW application deadline and help offered by Office of Merit Scholarship staff. Not counting minor edits, I estimate that I reworked both essays a total of at least 6 times! If not for the early deadline, I would have underestimated the amount of revisions required and been left with worse essays. Also, don’t be intimidated by the interview; they panel is there to help and can share insights from the perspective of former application review committee members. Moreover, verbally articulating to the panel of interviewers why I believed I was qualified for and wanted to participate in the Boren Scholarship gave me greater clarity of my own goals. I used their live feedback, in addition to feedback from staff at the Office of Merit Scholarships, to sharpen my essays. Even if you don’t have time for an in-person essay review session, you can email drafts of your essays to receive feedback remotely.
Ryan Lowry, Scholar
Senior, Mathematics & Atmospheric Sciences major
I am currently a student at the University of Washington and cadet in the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps. I am studying Mathematics and Atmospheric Sciences. I grew up in a military family and experienced most of my childhood overseas. A lot of my experience overseas has really molded how I look at the world and how different cultures interact with each other. When I started at UW, I wanted to learn Korean as the language’s writing system seemed the most accessible. I took a full year of it Freshman year and admittedly struggled for most of it. I do not think I had a good enough understanding of why culture and language are important, so I lacked motivation. It was only after my sophomore year that I really developed an understanding and appreciation for culture and language. I was able to explore a lot of opportunities and develop a community, such as my Taiko drumming group. I have been a part of UW Taiko Kai since my Sophomore year and it has really helped me understand the value of cultural awareness and expression. A lot of my experiences at UW have made me eager to study abroad and be a part of a larger opportunity to share in cultures. Receiving the Boren Award is an amazing opportunity that I hope I can use to further learn about the Korean culture. Once I graduate from UW, I will be entering the military as an officer and I will hopefully be utilizing my acquired language skills in my duty roles. Whether in a military or civilian capacity, I hope that I can get opportunities in the future to travel overseas and perform duties that spread goodwill and cultural awareness.
Ryan’s tip: Start the application process early. There’s going to be a lot of drafting and editing of the essays you’ll need to write. Think about why you want the scholarship and how it will help you further your career goals. Knowing why you’re applying will be a great motivator and will really strengthen your essays.
2018 – 2019
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Conor Cunningham, Scholar to Latvia
Senior, International Studies major
I am currently a senior majoring in International Studies with triple minors in Russian language, French language, and Russian, East European, and Central Asian studies. I specialize in cybersecurity issues in Eastern and Western Europe, Central Asia, and Russia. I am currently a Cybersecurity Fellow in the Jackson School and I received a Mary Gates Research Scholarship to support my work building a comprehensive dataset of all Russian political interference around the world. During my time as a Cybersecurity Fellow, I have specialized my studies to focus on international cybersecurity issues, taking Jackson School courses on the topic and participating in two Global Research Group projects (previously named Applied Research Projects) for Microsoft’s Defending Democracy team on election security. Last summer I was a recipient of a Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship to fund intensive Russian study in Moscow through the Ellison Center for Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies. During my Boren award and in the future, I hope to continue to develop my interests in cybersecurity and Eurasian studies. As a Boren Scholar I will be participating on a study abroad program in the south-eastern Latvian city of Daugavpils. I will be living with a host family, studying at Daugavpils University, and immersing myself in the culture through excursions and extra curricular activities. I am thrilled to have the chance to immerse myself in a city that is so rich in its culture and history. Following my Boren experience I hope to attend a graduate school in the Washington DC area to continue pursuing my interest in Eurasian studies and cybersecurity. After graduate school, I am excited to pursue a career in the federal government using the cultural and linguistic skills that I attained during my Boren experience.
Sarah Slack, Scholar to Brazil (Declined Award)
Junior, Bioengineering major
As a Bioengineering major, I started at the University of Washington eager to determine how I might contribute to medicine. Since a few months into my first year here, I have been researching in the global health oriented Woodrow Lab, within the Department of Bioengineering, which has confirmed my desire to pursue a career focusing on international health, likely infectious disease. I started taking Portuguese classes during my second year, primarily motivated by the uniquely welcoming culture I experienced while traveling in Brazil with my father as an eighth grader to visit his old exchange family. Since then, my motivation has shifted towards integrating Portuguese, and what I have learned from studying it, into my future career. The conversations I have had and the variety of perspectives I have encountered while taking Portuguese have shown me the importance of researchers communicating with the different communities they are working to help. Uniquely and deliberately moving between the lab and the community will allow me to learn from my conversations, conducting the translational research I feel has the most impact. Speaking Portuguese prepares me for a future collaborating with the global Lusophone communities that play an important role in international health and security, potentially responding to infectious disease threats in Lusophone areas as a part of the Centers for Disease Control. With the support of my research mentor and Portuguese professor, I have applied for opportunities including the Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship and the Boren Scholarship which will support the summer intensive language study in Brazil that I need to make these goals a reality.
Oliver lang, Alternate to Morocco
2017 - 2018
Isabel Bartholomew, Alternate to South Korea
Sophomore, Linguistics major
My name is Isabel Bartholomew, and I am a second-year undergraduate student double-majoring in Korean and Linguistics at the University of Washington. Studying abroad has always been an huge academic goal of mine; thus, I am studying abroad next academic year in South Korea. Studying abroad for a year is a crucial opportunity to build my Korean language skills and regional knowledge while taking courses related to the Korean language, area studies, and linguistics. This would bring me one giant step closer to my long-term goal, which is to work in translation/interpretation or language analysis within the U.S. government. Given present-day American involvement on the Korean Peninsula, the United States government is in need of individuals with a deep understanding of the Korean Peninsula and expertise in Korean language. Because of my passion for the Korean language, I am interested in Korean-English translation and/or interpretation careers within the federal government and related agencies. I am passionate about these jobs because they fit well with my language skills and interest in the Korean region.
Sara Leibson, Scholar to South Korea
Senior, Korean and International Studies major
Well, I’m back at it again with another year in Seoul, South Korea thanks to the David L. Boren Scholarship. Instead of graduating on time with my peers, I decided to extend my UW graduation to study Korean at Yonsei University’s Korean Language Institute for the 2018-2019 academic year. I previously studied at Yonsei University in summer 2015 and then studied at Seoul National University in my junior year and the summer after. While this will be my fourth time going back to South Korea, I can’t wait for what’s in store. In addition to improving my Korean language skills, my personal goals for this upcoming trip include running in the Gyeongju Cherry Blossom Run (for the second time!), hiking Hallasan, visiting Ulleungdo, and keeping up my Mandarin skills through studying for the HSK.
After my program in South Korea, I hope to participate in a graduate school program with a focus on International Relations and East Asia or participate in the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. I plan to fulfill the scholarship service requirement by working as a Foreign Service Officer in the U.S. Department of State.
Sarah Rinehart, Scholar to Mozambique
Junior, Public Health major
Population health is inextricably linked to development and stability of communities. Coming from Iowa, I had a unique opportunity at the age of sixteen to travel to Ecuador on a biology trip and speak with communities in the Amazon about their challenges. The trip caused me to reflection on the interconnections between human health, the environment, and the economy. This prompted a passion for the multidimensional nature of global health issues. It was also on this trip that I first fell in love with foreign language. My knowledge of Spanish helped break down language barriers and allowed a deeper understanding of the communities that I visited. Upon entering the University of Washington, I had begun to learn Portuguese due to my interest in Latin America. With the support of the Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship, I was able to study Portuguese in relation to global health. I am beyond grateful for the wonderful Portuguese and Public Health professors at the UW who have been so supportive and ultimately prepared me for this next step in my academic career. With the support of the Boren Scholarship, I am excited to continue my Portuguese and global health education in Mozambique. The scholarship provides a fascinating opportunity to connect my passion for global health and language to US national security priorities. I have confidence that the African Language Flagship Initiative (AFLI) will be invaluable to improving my linguistic abilities and deepening my understanding of Mozambique history and culture. Long-term, I plan to pursue dual medical and public health (MD/ MPH) degrees. I would like to specialize in Pediatrics and focus on initiatives to improve children’s health and wellbeing. In addition to clinical training, the language abilities and knowledge of the region gained through AFLI will prepare me to work in the area of health system strengthening and community based initiatives designed to improve population health in Mozambique.
Ethen Whattam, Scholar to India
Senior, Aquatic & Fishery Sciences major
Ethen Whattam is a junior in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington. He has had the opportunity to work on research examining the impacts of small-hydropower dams to assisting on identifying the impacts of freshwater crayfish in a river system at UW. In addition, Ethen has been able to intern at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Sequim, WA, researching freshwater swamps and performing ecological restoration, and at Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team. Apart from his academics, Ethen was a founding member of FieldNotes, an environmental research journal, he leads the College of the Environment Student Advisory Council, and he was a founding member of the UW Shellfish Farm. After completing his undergraduate degree, Ethen hopes to pursue a graduate degree then enter into the environmental security field where he can help solve issues at the intersection of freshwater and national security.
Ethen’s tips for future Boren applicants:
Throughout the application process for this scholarship some of the most valuable experiences I had was speaking with a variety of professionals in the field who were able to help me refine my essays and arguments while also illuminating other facets of the issue that I was unaware of. In addition, another experience that was important to me was learning how to construct a narrative that weaved my past experiences with my current passions and why this country and program align with my goals. Through talking with professors, students working at the writing center, and others, I was able to learn from them on how they incorporate narratives into their work. These two experiences were highly valuable to me during the application process for the Boren.
2016 - 2017
Zöe Hyra, Alternate
Junior, English major
2015 - 2016
Iman Akhtar, Scholar to India
Senior, International Studies – South Asia major
My name is Iman Akhtar, and I am a senior at the University of Washington. I moved from Pakistan to the United States almost four years ago to begin my life as an undergraduate at UW. I was sixteen years old at the time and struggled hard to adjust to life on my own in America, but eventually I figured (most of it) out. That massive cultural and geographic shift forced me to think about my place in my communities and in the world. It made me passionate about the way that the United States and the South Asian region relate, communicate, and conduct their relationships. I spent my childhood representing America in a sea of Pakistani’s, and during my time at UW I have tried my best to represent my Pakistani heritage among people who often don’t know very much about it.
The Boren Scholarship has enabled me to make another cultural and geographic shift, this time to India. Though it neighbors Pakistan, the country I was born in, it feels incredibly distant because of political tensions. I have been given the chance to visit a country I believed was out of my reach in order to learn my forgotten first language, Urdu. I can only imagine how much I will gain from this experience, but I hope to return to the U.S not just with a critical language under my belt, but also some of the deep insight that is a requirement for understanding a region as complex and interesting as South Asia. I can’t wait to take everything I learn with me in the coming years as I fulfill my government service requirement, attend graduate school, and push forward towards a career that calls for dedication to the region and a desire to bring the U.S and South Asia closer.
Ednauh Kamlondym, Scholar to China
Sophomore, International Studies major
My name is Ednauh Kamlondy and I am currently a sophomore at the University of Washington. While I call Seattle my hometown, I was born in Nairobi, Kenya and spent my early childhood there. I am majoring in International Studies with a possible focus on international development. I entered high school with an interested in language and international affairs and it lead me to take part in a high school exchange program. I received encouragement and additional support from a local organization called One World Now; they focus on providing opportunities, scholarships, and application workshops to underrepresented youth. I have had the pleasure of meeting diplomats, representatives, and other professionals in International Affairs careers; the biggest takeaway is that they are looking for a diverse, motivated group of students to continue what they have begun.
I am planning on using my Boren Scholarship to further my understanding of Chinese language and culture. In developmental work, China is becoming a key player in many regions of the world and in Africa especially. By being aware of cultural norms and values, we can understand their methods of distributing foreign aid and the importance they place on intercultural collaboration. I planning on fulfilling my service requirement at the USAID and then returning back to school. I am hoping to achieve professional proficiency and once I return to UW continue work with International Student organizations as well as One World Now. Chinese is a key element in my future career and in building lasting cross-cultural relationships.
Gary Lau, Scholar
Political Science major
Zachary Reshovsky, Scholar (declined)
Junior, International Studies major
Zachary Reshovsky was born in Pasadena, California on December 2nd, 1993. Both artists by trade, Zachary’s father and mother had careers in cinematography and professional illustration respectively . At age 12, he moved up to San Juan Island, enrolling in a local alternative school. Here, he enjoyed engaging in a variety of subjects, ranging from creative writing to mock trial to geographic studies. Following 8th grade, his family moved to Bellevue, Washington, where he attended Interlake High School. At Interlake, he completed the rigorous International Baccalaureate program in 10th and 11th grade, one year ahead normal schedule. He is majoring in International Studies at the Jackson School with an East Asia Concentration and intends to work in diplomacy, intelligence, and/or international human rights law following his graduation.
Natalie Riel, Scholar to Senegal
Junior, International Studies major
In the fall I’ll be studying French and Wolof at the West African Research Center alongside other Boren scholars. During the spring, I’ll be participating in the CIEE Development Studies in Dakar program, which focuses on developmental economics and West African politics. Both programs will allow me to experience everyday cultural interactions and speak French in a casual environment by staying with a host family. To prepare for these immersive experiences, I’ll be spending the summer taking intensive French and Wolof courses at the University of Florida.
The Boren Scholarship provides an incredible opportunity for me to solidify my French language skills while studying development in Senegal—both of which will be key components of my future career.
Ultimately I want to work in either the Bureau for Africa or the Office of Food for Peace—specifically with the Feed the Future Initiative, which is attempting to address global food security and diminish poverty levels in developing regions. Before beginning my career with the U.S. government I plan to serve in the Peace Corps, hopefully in Senegal, and then continue my studies of international political economy and development at graduate school.
My goals for this program are to improve my French and Wolof skills, make friends with Senegalese people, prepare for graduate school and my future career, and ultimately feel comfortable in a culture that is vastly different from my own. I feel incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to immerse myself in Senegalese culture and I can’t wait to share my experiences there with my friends and family back home.
Payton Young, Scholar
International Studies major
2014 - 2015
Gennevi Lu, Scholar to Brazil
Junior, Community, Environment & Planning major, Latin American Studies minor
Gennevi Lu is a first-generation student born in Seattle and raised in a Chinese-Vietnamese immigrant household. Throughout her educational career, she has developed a passion for poverty alleviation by promoting access to education. After being selected as a Summer Search Scholar, she has persevered through economic and social obstacles in pursuit of a career in the Foreign Service.
Since entering the University of Washington, she has interned at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, conducted neurobiology research at UW, worked as a web developer for several start-ups, engaged in entrepreneurship under the Foster School Lavin program, mentored students with the Dream Project, and interned with the Seattle Neighborhood Planning Committee. These experiences allowed her to gain skills from both a technical and human user perspective.
She applied to the Boren Scholarship because during the past four years she has devoted her time in Latin America, becoming fluent in Spanish. She has volunteered in Paraguay twice, once in Argentina, learned about sustainable architecture in Colombia, and interned in Guatemala. She decided it was time she studied Portuguese in Brazil to qualify for a position in the Foreign Service to build relations with Latin America.
This summer, she will be representing the U.S. as an ambassador during the World’s Fair in Milan, Italy. Following her experience as a public diplomat, she will embark on her journey as a Boren Scholar to São Paulo, Brazil, where she will continue her studies and conduct research for her senior thesis about ways to combat drug trafficking.
Upon her return, she intends to pursue an MA in Public Affairs and continue towards a career in the Foreign Service, working in the Office of Brazilian and Southern Cone as a regional affairs officer, where she plans to foster and promote productive alliances between the United States and Latin America.
Sara Mac, Alternate
International Studies major
2012 - 2013
Jessica Franklin, Scholar to China
Junior, Chinese and International Studies – China major
Jessica Franklin was born in California but spent most of her early childhood in Okinawa, Japan and Seoul, South Korea. As a military brat, she frequently moved from country to country and was exposed to different cultures, value systems, and beliefs. Through these interactions, she learned to adapt and work with people from vast cultural backgrounds. Living most of her life in military bases in the Pacific, she grew up experiencing the work of U.S. diplomacy and Foreign Service and observed how countries maintained and strived to improve their diplomatic relations. Thus, her interest in foreign relations and regional security issues was greatly influenced by the international environment in which she grew up.
As a Korean American, Jessica was fluent in both English and Korean by first grade of elementary school. She then developed an interest for Japanese in middle school and began to learn the language as a hobby. In high school, she started taking Mandarin Chinese and instantly fell in love with the language and culture. Now she is a double major of International Studies and Chinese. Jessica really enjoys learning new languages and traveling, and she hopes that through her one-year at Tsinghua University, her Mandarin language proficiency will greatly improve.
Since high school, she aspired to be involved in U.S. foreign policy and diplomatic relations, especially with countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Specifically, she is interested in regional security issues in the East Asia region, centering on China, the Koreas, and United States. After her one-year language intensive study abroad in Beijing, China, she will return to the University of Washington to graduate. Following her graduation, she plans to go on to study foreign relations in graduate school then pursue a career either in the Department of State as a Foreign Service Officer or the National Security Agency as a language analyst.
Charlotte Guard, Scholar to Turkey
Junior, International Studies major, Near Eastern Languages and Civilization minor
Charlotte Guard was born and raised in the beauty of the San Juan Islands in the Pacific Northwest where she developed a passion of nature, community and reading. During the 7th grade, in an attempt to broaden their lens of the world, her mother took Charlotte and her siblings on a backpacking trip through Turkey. The trip sparked an interest in travel, language acquisition and Turkey itself.
From there, Charlotte spent her junior year of high school studying in Barcelona, Spain where she learned Spanish, broken Catalan, and ate lots of cured meats. After graduating from high schools she took a year off to study with a National Security Language Initiative Scholarship in Adana, Turkey. The ten months there living with a host family, attending high school and taking outside language classes cemented her desire to continue studying Turkish and the region.
At the University of Washington she has been able to fulfill that goal through the university’s Turkish program while pursuing a degree in International Studies with a focus on development. The University of Washington has been a tremendous environment with dedicated and interested professors, who have helped channel her interest in other languages and cultures into a major in international studies with a minor in near eastern languages and civilizations.
Additionally, Charlotte enjoys exploring the unique neighborhoods of Seattle where there is always a delicious cup of coffee and bagels to be had. She is also able to make use of Washington’s topography by snowboarding in the winter and hiking in the spring and summer.
Next year Charlotte will be studying with the Boren scholarship at Boğaziçi University. There she is excited to take classes overlooking the Bosphorus, learn about international studies from a different angle and speak as much Turkish and eat as much Kebab as she possibly can.
Benjamin Lee, Scholar to Taiwan
Junior, Chinese and International Studies major
Ben was born in Bloomington, Indiana, but spent most of his youth in South Korea. During his youth, Ben visited North Korea’s Mount Kumgang where he realized the ideological cleavage that divided the Korean peninsula. In high school, Ben participated in the China Japan and Korea Youth Camp in Nanjing, China. At the camp, Ben developed a keen interest in the historical relationship among China, Japan and Korea. As a result, Ben came to see China, Japan and Korea less as individual nation-states and more as parts of East Asia, continually interacting with one another.
After 18 years in South Korea, Ben came to the United States in 2008 and subsequently matriculated at the University of Washington in 2011. Based on his experience, Ben decided to major in International Studies with a concentration on East Asia. Ben’s interests include inter-Korean relations, Sino-Japanese relations and Sino-North Korea relations. The Jackson School faculty and the East Asia Library have provided him tremendous support and resources for Ben’s academic pursuits.
As a Boren Scholar, Ben will attend National Taiwan University over the 2013 – 2014 academic year. He plans to study Mandarin, Taiwanese politics, and cross-strait relations. Most importantly, Ben will study the similarities and differences between the division of the Korean peninsula and the division of China.
After graduation, Ben plans to become a Peace Corps Volunteer in China. Ben believes that the Peace Corps Volunteer experience will give him an opportunity to enhance his understanding of China and the Chinese people. After Peace Corps, Ben will return to the University of Washington to obtain a Ph.D in International Studies with a track in Peace, Violence and Security.
Michael Wright, Alternate (Bothell)
2011 - 2012
Louisa Johnson, Alternate to Ecuador
Sophomore, International Studies major, Spanish, Latin American Studies minor
Before I even arrived at UW, I knew I had a desire to travel and learn about other cultures. During high school I participated in a foreign exchange to the Netherlands and travelled around Bolivia and Peru. Both of these experiences opened my eyes to a world of opportunities. During my freshman year, I developed an interest in the Middle East and decided to study abroad in Morocco in order to start learning Arabic. I absolutely loved my time there- Morocco is an incredible mixture of Middle Eastern, European, and African cultures. Although I loved Morocco and the Arabic language, I knew my passion was in Latin America. I took several classes in the Jackson School that really shaped my understanding of Latin America and focused my interest. I have written several research papers on the effects of oil development on the environment and Indigenous populations in Ecuador. During my junior year, I plan to study at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador where I will take classes in environmental studies and Quechua, the major Indigenous language in South America. With this experience, I hope to join the Peace Corps after I graduate and eventually study International Environmental Policy in graduate school. My interest in the environment and Indigenous studies has given me an alternate view of development that I hope to carry to my future career- whether that is with the government or a more local organization.
Tim Litts, Scholar to Egypt
Senior, Naer Eastern Languages & Civilization and Comparative Religion major
Tim Litts was born and raised in Walla Walla, Washington where he lived his entire life until graduating from high school. In high school he discovered he had a knack for languages and enjoyed language learning. Growing up in a small town, he wanted to travel and see more of the world, so starting in high school Tim began considering an international career. After graduation he decided to take time to work and live on his own before starting college to mature and save money. After a year of living on his own working in telemarketing and customer service, Tim decided it was past time to get back in school and started studying at Bellevue College with plans to transfer to the University of Washington. The choice to take time off from school turned out to be a good one and he excelled at Bellevue College. After receiving an AAS degree, Tim transferred to the University of Washington.
Studying Arabic rekindled his love for languages, and Tim decided to pursue a degree in Near Eastern Languages and Civilization, as well as Comparative Religion, another interest.
Tim quickly became involved with a fledgling RSO, Bridges Interfaith Council, and has been an officer in the organization since his first quarter at UW. He was elected President for this academic year and is now preparing to hand the organization off to the next leader.
Starting this summer, Tim will be studying abroad in Egypt for an entire academic year, from August until May, at which point he will return and graduate. He plans to go on to study international affairs in graduate school and prepare for a career with the State Department.
2010 - 2011
Charmila Ajmera, Scholar to India (declined)
Senior, International Studies – South Asia major
Charmila Ajmera is a graduating senior in the Jackson School of International Studies with a focus on South Asia. She is graduating with departmental honors from the Jackson School this fall and has recently completed her undergraduate honors thesis. Charmila will travel to Sierra Leone this summer for a study abroad program and will attend the American Institute of Indian Studies in Jaipur, India this fall to study Hindi. Following this, she will begin her travels through East Africa, the Mediterranean, Russia and Mongolia as a 2011 Bonderman Fellow. After returning next winter, she hopes to apply for graduate school to continue her study of international politics and development.
Dean Chahim, Scholar (Declined)
Civil Engineering and Individualized Studies major
Marianne Fisher, Scholar to Jordan
Senior, International Studies and Near Eastern Languages & Civilization major
Marianne Fisher is a current senior undergraduate at the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies and is double-majoring in International Studies with a track in International Political Economy and in Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations with a concentration in Arabic. The bulk of her undergraduate career and personal life has been dedicated to international affairs; she has been involved with the internationally oriented non-profit program OneWorld Now! since her junior year of high school and maintained volunteer work and an internship with it for nearly two years. She lived abroad with a host family in Morocco for the summer of 2008 and has since developed a high intermediate proficiency in Modern Standard Arabic. Her participation in IGRSS (Institute for Global and Regional Security Studies) courses at the Jackson School, aiding a former Ambassador with a manuscript that is scheduled to be published in 2012, and other experiences were large proponents of her interest in international safeguards and policy. She interned with the University of Washington’s Office of Federal Relations this past Spring, working with higher education lobbying and federal policy analyzation in Washington, DC. She is currently living in Jordan through a FLAS (Foreign Language & Area Studies) Fellowship and will be studying at the University of Jordan and the Qasid Institute in Amman through the 2011-2012 academic year.
Sara Hefny, Scholar to Italy (declined)
Senior, Near Eastern Languages & Civilization major
Sara Hefny is a senior in the Near Eastern Studies department with a focus in Languages and Civilizations. For the past two years she has worked with the Ottoman Texts Archive Project as an undergraduate researcher, translating and researching the history of a set of 19th century Iraqi diaries. In her research, she was struck by the migratory trends of the various ethnic communities in the Middle East and how they were affected by the political standing of the Ottoman Empire. Sara will carry this research to Rome for the 2011-2012 year to study the migration trends of Arab populations to Italy and the European Union as a result of the recent political unrest in the Middle East and North Africa. Following graduation and return from Rome, she hopes to go onto graduate school at Oxford or the Geneva Graduate Institute to study migration and development. In addition to her studies, Sara works at a downtown restaurant to fund her travel bug and coaches volleyball at Seattle’s Cascade Volleyball Club. She is a member of Washington’s Alpha Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa and is a recipient of the University of Washington’s Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research Scholarship for her work with the Svoboda Diary Project. In her free time she enjoys playing volleyball, experimenting in the kitchen, and trivia nights with her friends.
Daniel Minter, Alternate to Argentina
Senior, Neurobiology major
Daniel Minter is currently a 4th year neurobiology student at the University of Washington, and proposes to conduct an independent research project in Buenos Aires, Argentina from July 2011 to July 2012. He has been offered a position at the Institute of Genetic Engineering and Molecular Biology (INGEBI-CONICET) in the laboratory of Dr. Ana Belén Elgoyhen, a highly renowned neurobiologist and 2008 winner of the L’Oreal-UNICEF prize for women scientists. In this position, Dan will learn advanced neurophysiological and molecular techniques that will prove invaluable for his future career as a physician scientist. Upon returning from Argentina, he plans to apply to medical school in order to pursue either a MD or a MD/PhD. Dan is extremely passionate about the health of our general population, and has a specific interest in the many issues facing America’s growing Hispanic community. Dan plans to integrate the skills and experiences he will garner during this upcoming year into his future career, whether that is as a clinician or as a physician-scientist.