Easton Branam, Master of Landscape Architecture (graduating in June 2012)
Area of study: Landscape Architecture
Hometown: Bigfork, Montana
Branam plans to explore seven distinct cultures through travels to Mongolia, Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Sweden, The United Republic of Tanzania and Iceland. She will use drawings and sketches to document the everyday realities and individual adaptations that occur as rural landscapes become more urban.
Shawn Connolly, Master in Teaching (graduating in June 2012)
Area of study: Teaching
Hometown: Woodinville, Washington
Connolly plans to travel to Mongolia, western China, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Cameroon, Gabon and Congo-Brazzaville. His goal is to explore the people, land and culture off the beaten travelers’ track. He is interested in seeing how local residents educate their children so that he can bring a greater understanding of and confidence in himself to his own classroom upon his return.
Michael Light, Master of Social Work (graduating in June 2013)
Area of study: Social Work with a certificate in Global Health
Hometown: Bellingham, Washington
Light’s journey will honor national days of independence and remembrance in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Brazil, India, South Africa and Rwanda, which share a history of colonialism that has oppressed people and claimed lives. His goal along the way is to develop a deeper appreciation for the power of human resiliency in resisting oppression so that he can become a more effective and principled actor in his work toward global health and justice.
Aaron Olson, Master of Public Administration (graduating in June 2012)
Area of study: Public Administration
Hometown: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Olson plans to embark on a spiritual and cultural pilgrimage that mirrors the journey of Santigo in Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist, one of his favorite books, and to visit Central and South America to improve his fluency in Spanish. He knew the time had come for him to realize his dreams of traveling the world after undergoing treatment for testicular cancer during graduate school.
Smita Pednekar, Master of Social Work (graduating in June 2013)
Area of study: Social Work
Hometown: Richland, Washington
Pednekar will begin her journey in Morocco and continue to Norway, Russia, Japan, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, India and Brazil. Inspired by Jean Brillat-Savarin’s “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are,” she plans to explore the development of culture and traditions around a relationship to food. She hopes to gain a better understanding of how access and abundance in certain nations contrasts with the limitations and lack of resources in others, and how those constraints define how people relate to each other and to their communities.
Sally Warner, Doctor of Philosophy (graduating in August 2012)
Area of study: Oceanography
Hometown: South Orange, New Jersey
As an oceanographer, Warner studies how water flows in and out of estuaries; now she is interested in going beyond the science and making connections with people who live near major water bodies. She plans to visit China, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, India, Egypt, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique and the major rivers that run through them.
Rocky White, Juris Doctor (graduating in June 2013)
Area of study: Law
Hometown: Auburn, Washington
White, whose passion is cycling, plans to bike through the Western Himalayas and the remote tropical islands of the South Pacific, making stops in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Fiji. He sought regions of the world least touched by modern industrialization and consumer culture, and he hopes to explore how these cultures regard the idea of urgency, leisure and productivity.
Hans Boenish, Master of Science (graduating in June 2011)
Area of study: Aeronautics and Astronautics
Hometown: Sequim, Washington
Boenish plans to observe and collaborate with fellow musicians in areas where music is closely tied to traditions and customs, primarily the Caribbean, South America and Southeast Africa. He hopes to learn new musical styles and techniques and to create music with an ever-changing lineup of performers.
Bradley Cebulko, Master of Public Administration (graduating in 2013)
Area of study: Environmental policy and natural resource management; international development
Hometown: Carmel, Indiana
As a precious resource, water is often a flashpoint for conflict between nations and neighbors, so Cebulko plans to travel from rainforests to mountains to deserts in order to explore how we build societies, develop personal relationships and resolve conflict through disputes over water. He looks forward to gaining greater understanding and making friends as he travels through three continents and a dozen countries, including Peru, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, India, Laos and Vietnam.
Elaina Jorgensen, Doctor of Philosophy (graduating in August 2011)
Area of study: Oceanography
Jorgensen’s goal is to gain a global perspective and challenge herself to do something she never thought possible. By the end of her trip, she hopes to have a more worldly perspective and a grasp of the essentials of a rewarding life. To accomplish this she will travel through Nepal, India, Borneo, Madagascar, Gabon, Argentina, Chile and Peru.
Gary Pollack, Master of Public Affairs (graduating in June 2011)
Area of study: Public Affairs
Hometown: Wayne, New Jersey
In his work in Public Affairs, Pollack been involved in initiatives for civic engagement; now he is anxious for a personal connection. As a singer and percussionist, his travels will take him through Brazil, Argentina, Senegal, Mali, Benin, Ghana, Nepal and India as he explores the role that music plays in these communities. Gary looks forward to internalizing the traditions of these diverse cultures while sharing his own with the people he meets on his journey.
Joanna Sylwester, Juris Doctor (graduating in 2014)
Area of study: Law
Hometown: Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Sylwester is interested in the influence of water on a country and community, and believes that women, as caretakers, are the vessels through which a resource as basic as water impacts monumental social movements. Her itinerary will include travel along and around the Amazon River, the Nile River, Lake Victoria and the Ganges River as she observes and reflects on how women access, benefit from and enjoy life on water.
Sarra Yamin, Juris Doctor (graduating in June 2011)
Area of study: Law
Hometown: Ridgefield, Washington
How different cultures perceive their children and define childhood will be Yamin’s focus on her journey. She hopes to gain insight into how other societies address children’s problems – insight which will assist her in her future career in juvenile law. Her Bonderman itinerary includes Japan, China, India, Thailand, Israel and Egypt.
Hilary Zetlen, Master of Public Health (graduating in June 2011)
Area of study: Environmental and Occupational Health
Zetlen’s proposal was motivated by her interest in environmental and public health issues, as well as agricultural work and environmental conservation. Her travels will take her through a number of countries including Bangladesh, India, Kenya, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda, Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Bolivia.
James Bullock, Master of Business Administration (graduating in 2010)
Area of study: Business administration
Hometown: Springfield, Virginia
James Bullock has a simple goal: “To meet diverse groups of people and open myself up to alternative viewpoints. By doing that as he travels through the Middle East, Africa and Asia, he hopes to learn about the business landscapes in these areas, particularly in respect to energy and infrastructure.
“My goals and itinerary are tentative by design, as I would like this trip to grow organically and be altered as necessary,” he said. “To borrow a quote from Dan Eldon, I believe ‘the journey is the destination.’”
Heather M. Burkland, Master of Public Health (graduating in June 2010)
Area of study: Social and behavioral sciences
Hometown: Fergus Falls, Minn.
Heather Burkland is intrigued by places where cultures converge – places such as Morocco, Haiti and Cambodia. At the same time, she wants to learn more about cultures that have remained relatively untouched by globalization, including indigenous Amazonian rainforest people in Brazil and the !Kung in Botswana.
Through her travels, Burkland intends “to embark upon an exploration of people’s everyday lives so as to understand the depth and diversity of human experience across the world.” Several months of solo travel will give Burkland opportunity for self-exploration, and “by better understanding my inner self, I will be able to more fully engage with community and offer leadership to the causes I care about.”
Burkland also plans to visit India and Ulithi, an atoll in the Federated States of Micronesia where her grandfather served in the Coast Guard.
Andrea Gough, Master of Library and Information Science (graduating in June 2010)
Area of study: Library and information science
Hometown: Boise, Idaho
Andrea Gough has two passions – knitting and libraries. On her journey, she plans to travel to South America and Southern and Eastern Africa where she can learn how local handicrafts fit into daily life and individual heritage of each place she visits.
At the same time, she wants to discover what role libraries play in various cultures. Gough has worked in Seattle libraries with patrons of many backgrounds and ethnicities.
“I’ve worked with several immigrant populations in Seattle, and I want to visit where they’re from and see what libraries are like to expand my conceptions of the many roles a library can play and be able to better relate to my patrons,” she said.
Anna Kramer, Master in Teaching (graduating in 2012)
Area of study: Secondary education, science
Hometown: Montesano, Wash.
In order to become the best science teacher she can be, Anna Kramer wants to learn more about her students. To do that, she will travel to the countries where most of her students have roots: Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Western and American Samoa, the Philippines and Indonesia.
Kramer teaches in a culturally diverse area of Seattle, and she wants to familiarize herself with the places which her students and their families identify with culturally and historically. By becoming better acquainted with her students’ cultural traditions, she will be better equipped to engage them in the classroom.
“As I travel, I will explore the nature of the communities’ relationships with the ecosystems in which they live, as well as strive to better understand how the unique biological communities and natural resources in each place shape the daily lives of the people living there,” she said.
Roxana Sara Norouzi, Master of Social Work (graduating in June 2010)
Area of study: Community-centered integrative practice
Hometown: Kirkland, Wash.
As an advocate for immigrant rights, Roxana Sara Norouzi has spent many years as a housing advocate for immigrant families in crisis. She has volunteered for a women’s empowerment microfinance organization in rural India and has researched immigrant youth’s experiences of racism in public schools.
With the Bonderman Fellowship, Norouzi will travel to the Middle East, East Africa and Latin America, regions of the world that have undergone socio-political and economic turmoil which have instigated migration trends.
“My journey will be framed by my work with vulnerable populations, utilizing relationship building and human connection as a way to cultivate healing and growth, both for myself and those I meet during my travels,” she said. “I hope to honor the people I meet on my journey by folding their stories into my future life, career, understanding of the world and who I am as a person.”
Jolina H. Ruckert, Doctor of Philosophy (Psychology) (graduating in 2013)
Area of study: Developmental psychology
Jolina Ruckert plans to follow the flames from Africa to India to China to Japan.
“I will explore the ancient human relationship with fire as it exists in the world today,” she said. “I will witness the various ways fire continues to foster and bond communities, tie us to our ancestors and our histories, and create and support tradition and culture.”
Ruckert’s journey will start in Africa where some of the earliest fire rituals have been documented and where fire remains in ceremony as a central aspect of social life. Her first stop will be in Namibia, after which she will travel by land through Botswana, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia.
Then, she will visit Asia, and end her trip in “the Land of Fire and Ice, Iceland, to witness fire as it emerges in natural forms and the innovative way people are harnessing fire to power their lives and their communities.”
Alena Elizabeth Suazo, Juris Doctor (graduating in June 2010)
Area of study: Law
Hometown: Camarillo, Calif.
How does colonization and oppression shape a culture? And how do communities gather the strength to resist and take back their independence? That’s what Alena Elizabeth Suazo hopes to discover when she travels through Africa.
She will begin in Cape Town, South Africa, and then head to Botswana, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Kenya and Egypt.
“From Egypt I will fly to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and make my way west to Chile,” she said. “I will travel north through Chile, to Bolivia and Peru, and finally will end in Mexico.”
By immersing herself in these indigenous cultures, Suazo hopes to understand them more deeply.
Sergey Feldman, Doctor of Philosophy (Electrical Engineering)
Sergey plans to take time off from Ph.D. work to try and approximate the legendary Journey into the Unknown in a world with few actual frontiers. He will travel through Eastern Europe, the Balkans, down the Silk Road, all over Asia, India, the Middle East and North Africa.
Deric Gruen, Master of Public Administration (graduating in June 2009)
Deric plans to visit two or three countries in the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America with a focus on interaction with local communities. He wants to explore countries where he can converse in Portuguese, Spanish or Arabic and will travel by bicycle within and at times between the places he visits. Deric plans to get a full experience by moving slowly, with respect for the people and environments that host him.
Melissa Maxa, Master of Science (Forest Resources) (graduating in June 2009)
Melissa will be traveling from South East Asia to Eastern Europe through most of the world’s major biomes. She would begin in tropical Cambodia and Vietnam and gradually move northward into the temperate forests, following China’s awe-inspiring rivers from mountains to sea. Train travel across northern China and Russia would offer up the wide remote expanses of grasslands, deserts, boreal forests, and taiga. She would then go southward through the rolling hills and plains of Eastern Europe’s big deciduous woods, from the lakes of Belarus through the Black Sea nations of Ukraine, Romania, and Bulgaria. This travel plan reflects her fascination with the complexities of the natural world and the diversity of ways that humans fit into it.
Allison (Ali) Mitnick, Master of Education (Special Education) (graduating in June 2009)
During her travels, Ali aims to interact with students and teachers in small learning communities that foster culture as an important part of identity. She wants to increase her cultural literacy by focusing on the interactions between families, children and formal schooling wherever possible. She wants to become a nomadic learner and see how culture is integrated into these learning centers, and experience how the students are also instilled with the power tools needed to succeed in the larger communities. She plans on visiting the indigenous communities across South America and Southeast Asia, newly independent communities in Kosovo, and Maori communities in New Zealand.
George Rodriguez, Master of Fine Arts (Ceramics) (graduating in June 2009)
George plans to start his Bonderman Fellowship by traveling to Japan at the height of cherry blossom season, visiting historic as well as contemporary cities. He will then head toward Spain, where he’d like to enjoy a bullfight or two before making his way toward Italy and Greece. From there he would enter South American, stopping in Peru, then traveling to Chile and ending off in Argentina.
Bethanne Zelano, Doctor of Philosophy (Zoology) (graduating in June 2009)
Prior to embarking on her intended career path, Bethanne wants to use the Bonderman Fellowship to travel to South Africa, Botswana, Egypt, India, China, and Borneo. She plans to experience the nature and the environment in each country, visit some nature reserves where she can and experience everything else interesting about the countries along the way.
Marleyse Borchard, Public Health
My adventure will be guided by my passion for handcrafts (knitting and needlework chief among them) and my interest in societies undergoing dramatic social change. I am however open to following other inspirations as the journey unfolds. Starting in Turkey, I will travel by bus and train through the Balkans, Eastern and Central Europe, the Baltic States, and Russia, then east by train across Siberia to Mongolia and China.
Highlights will likely include experiencing rich craft traditions, knitting with strangers, discovering stories of non violent revolution and innovative social change, and growing is self and world knowledge, and the ability to embrace ambiguity and risk.
Jed Murr, English
My travel will be split into three stages: 1) Argentina, Chile, Peru; 2) India, Bhutan, Nepal, Tibet; and 3) Vietnam. All three stages are intended to aid in developing the kind of critical consciousness described by Antonio Gramsci when he wrote that we must know ourselves as the products of a historical process which has deposited in us an infinity of traces without leaving an inventory.
I hope that my travels will help me to engage in the necessarily relational and cooperative process of unpacking and understanding my “traces” in relation to the peoples, places and cultures I encounter, with special attention to the intricacies and intimacies of the modes of cultural practice and interaction that have always inspired and intrigued me.
Nathan Parham, Curriculum & Instruction & Cognitive Studies in Education
We often focus on struggle and suffering without looking for parallel moments of strength and perseverance of the human spirit. The broad aim of this trip is to broaden my understanding of how different cultures have navigated struggle over time and how those struggles have shaped their stories and culture today. More specifically, I hope to gain a better understanding of how people around the world have worked to sustain hope in their lives and maintain the human spirit. The goal is to help gain a better sense of the positive elements of the human spirit that enable social change from within. My major destinations are Venezuela, Brazil, South Africa, Ghana, Egypt, India, China, and Japan.
Mario Andres Perez, Public Affairs & Civil and Environmental Engineering
To explore and challenge my personal views in how education and socio-economical status influences the quality of life of individuals around the globe. I would like to experience for myself whether countries such as China and India( which are developing relatively fast) share similarities to developing countries such as Ethiopia, the Czech Republic, Israel, and Thailand. I will also travel to Japan and experience how an industrialized country compares to the other countries.
Josie Randles, Speech, Language Pathology
I plan to travel throughout Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa. I look forward to discovering the connections I can make with others in the absence of easy conversation in a common language, and to discovering how social communication varies from culture to culture. The idea of being unable to easily express my feelings, my wants and my needs is frightening. How deeply will I be able to connect with others in the absence of a common language? How will it feel to spend nearly a year cut off and removed from the interactions and communication with others that I am accustomed to? How will this experience change who I am, the plans I have for my life, and by extension the relationships that I have with others?
Mamie Guillaume, Law
I plan to explore the cultures of three major regions of the world: Latin America, Southern and Eastern Africa, and East Asia, with particular focus on children’s needs. My goal is to begin to understand the unique cultures in each region so that in the future I will be a better advocate for children’s rights internationally. These regions highlight three particular threats to children: poverty, HIV/AIDs epidemic, and sexual exploitation. Per region, I plan to travel to the countries most affected by these threats and learn about the culturally specific needs of their children.
Jeremy Joseph, Bioengineering
I am involved in initiatives at the University of Washington to raise awareness and understanding of the lack of underrepresented minorities in the sciences. I have developed a growing interest in understanding multiculturalism and racial diversity and how they differ from our country to others. I will explore other countries in Latin America and Northern Africa that are rich in culture and racial diversity similar to my own and search for stories of success and leadership in various ethnic groups in both economically developing and established countries. I want to determine how citizens of other countries form their social structures, group identity, perspectives and how they are different from the U.S.
Jessica Lustig, Drama
I will fly into Arles and walk from Arles to Santiago de Compostela via the Camino Santiago pilgrim route. Next, I will travel down the Portuguese coast, by horse and donkey as much as possible. Then I will take a train and/or bus across southern Spain to Valencia and catch a series of small boats to most of the islands in the Western Mediterranean. Next comes crossing the Peloponnesian peninsula to depart from Athens, probably by train following the northern edge of the Black Sea, and heading out by train and bus to Nepal, Bhutan, Burma, and Thailand, before returning to Seattle.
Lina Nilsson, Bioengineering
I will travel through Eurasia and northern Africa in order to understand how different people define the concept of home. I will travel by Trans-Siberian rail from St. Petersburg, through the Russian taiga and the Mongolian Desert to Beijing. I will travel overland south through China to Vietnam, Laos and Thailand. I will travel by rail through India, from Calcutta to Bombay. Finally, I will travel through northern Africa, particularly Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco. To quote Henry Miller, I want travel where the destination is not merely a place but a new way of looking at things.
Alex Smolak, Social Work
My vision is to experience the holy places and communities of six major world religions in their places of birth. I will travel to the significant holy sites of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in the Middle East. In this region, I intend to focus on Israel and Saudi Arabia, but also plan to visit Iran and Turkey due to the presence of all three Abrahamic religions in both of these countries. When traveling to the significant holy sites of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Sikhism in Asia, I will focus on India and Tibet.
Marcella Cervantes, a doctoral candidate in molecular and cellular biology hopes to visit key southern hemisphere sites that figured in the voyages of Captain James Cook. She aims to re-create the thrill of discovery that characterized Cook’s travels so that she may inspire young, disadvantaged students to become scientists.
Adam Grupp is earning both a master’s of business administration and a juris doctor degree. Traveling in Australia, Japan, India, Egypt, Italy and Brazil, Adam is particularly eager to encounter live music performance as an experiential phenomenon.
Daniel Logan-Fasy, who expects to complete his juris doctorate in August, aims to venture from the conventional path that he has followed in his baccalaureate, his law studies and the internships that he has filled. Dan is drawn to seek our people engaged in volunteerism in South America, Africa and Southern Asia.
Miriam Rosenberg is completing a doctorate in molecular and cellular biology and will postpone a postdoctoral fellowship in order to encounter people and their notions of what is sacred and beautiful. Her destinations are Greenland, Iceland, the Galapagos, Brazil, Mexico, India, Turkey and North Africa.
Michael Sanchez, who plans to earn his master of public health degree in June, wants to explore values and human aspirations that overcome daily struggles at a basic survival level. His itinerary is tentative, but he will set out with Australia, India, China, Ethiopia and Brazil as his likely destinations. Michael describes his focus as to “rejuvenate the art of living.”