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.

2020-21 UW nominee & 2021 Beinecke Scholar:

Sophia Carey

Junior, English & Comparative History of Ideas majors

Congratulations Sophia! Read the UAA news story announcing Sophia’s selection as a Beinecke Scholar.

Sophia Carey is a junior at the University of Washington studying English and the Comparative History of Ideas with a minor in Theatre Studies. She entered the UW through the Early Entrance Program at the Robinson Center for Young Scholars and has since focused her interdisciplinary studies in the arts, humanities, and social sciences into a passion for community-based theater and the intersections between public policy and the performing arts.

Her past research includes the paper “Performing Beyond Utopia,” which explored how residents of Lima, Peru, in the 1970s used community-based theater to resist and transcend dictatorial state agendas. Outside of performance studies, Sophia’s research has been featured in an open glossary of law, society, and justice terms, and in 2019, she earned the UW Library Research Award for Undergraduates for her paper investigating barriers to Latin American youths’ access to educational support services.

Sophia is currently the President of the Early Entrance Drama Society (EDS), a student-run drama club at UW. In almost three years of involvement in EDS, she has co-facilitated the translation of a 2020 production into a virtual format, performed in and directed several productions, and hosted drama-related events designed to build community and provide performance opportunities for students interested in arts and arts leadership. In addition to her work with EDS, Sophia has acquired significant experience with local nonprofit and community-directed theater, as a directing intern at Stone Soup Theater, a development assistant at ArtsWest, and currently as a volunteer at the Seattle Rep.

She plans to continue studying the potential for community-based theater to bring about material and political change through graduate research in a PhD or MFA program that combines practical approaches and critical scholarly research methods in the study of theater.

Sophia’s near and long-term goals: In the near term, Sophia plans to undertake a critical performance ethnography research project through Seattle Rep’s Public Works program, studying the potential for community-based practices to use language to produce a sense of utopian possibility that transforms the way theater is made at the structural level. She plans to present the results of this research at the Undergraduate Research Symposium in spring 2022. In the long term, she hopes to continue this research through a PhD in Performance Studies or an MFA in Theater Management and Producing, with the ultimate goal of using community-based theater as a catalyst for political and social change.

Sophia’s tips for future Beinecke Scholarship campus applicants:
Use your essay to show that you have a clear and specific plan for what you hope to study in graduate school while at the same time keeping in mind that your plans can, and probably will, change. When trying to articulate your hopes and plans for your academic future in less than one thousand words it helps to go through multiple drafts. One strategy is to completely retype your essay in a new document each time you go to revise it. This makes it easier to make bigger organizational changes.

History of UW Beinecke Scholarship Nominees and Scholars

2019 - 2020

Nancy Mendoza-Ruiz

Junior, American Ethnic Studies major

Nancy is a junior majoring in American Ethnic Studies and minoring in Diversity and Luso-Brazilian Studies. One of her passions is raising awareness about the Indigenous diaspora of Indigenous communities from Latin America that exist within the U.S. Throughout Latin America racism against Indigenous peoples is very common, that continues to be a problem in the U.S. Latinx communities. Many Indigenous people who migrate from different parts of the Americas are still subjected to anti-indigenous violence by the Latinx community in the U.S. She brings awareness to these identities and their experience with anti-indigenous racism that is faced by many Indigenous people. Indigenous people from all over Latin America are always erased under the Latinx ethnicity, this erasure is even more visible in Indigenous diaspora communities in the U.S. Her academic interests include language and cultural revitalization in Mixtec diasporas in the U.S. and how anti-indigeneity in the Latinx community impacts how 1st and 2nd generation Indigenous peoples in the U.S. diaspora. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. program in Ethnic or Indigenous Studies.

Nancy’s tips for future Beinecke Scholarship campus applicants:
It’s important to being as soon as possible! If you know the deadline then begin now and do not leave it for last minute. You will need time to make revisions and edits on your draft. Also, if you know what you’re passionate about and it ties into what you want to do for graduate school, talk about it in your essay! It shows your interest and commitment to your learning and what you want to study in the future. It really makes you stand out if you already feel passionate and know what you want to study.

2018 - 2019

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.

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