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Silme Domingo & Gene Viernes Scholarship in Labor Studies

$6,000 scholarship for graduate students or entering freshmen or transfer students to the University of Washington

The Domingo-Viernes Scholarship provides $6,000 in financial support to either graduate students or entering freshmen or transfer students to the University of Washington who are committed to the principles of justice and equality and have demonstrated financial need. Students at any of the University of Washington's three campuses (Seattle, Tacoma, or Bothell) are eligible.

Founded through the efforts of the Inlandboatmen's Union, Region 37, this scholarship honors Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes, two inspiring leaders of the Seattle labor movement. Gene grew up on a farm in the Yakima Valley and began working in the Alaska salmon canneries at the young age of 16. Gene was a state wrestling champion and attended Central Washington State College on a full ride athletic scholarship. Silme graduated with honors from the University of Washington and went on to found the Seattle chapter of the Union of Democratic Filipinos. Together, they formed the Alaska Cannery Workers' Association and fought the brutal working conditions and racist management of the industry.

Despite opposition from all sides, Gene and Silme founded the Rank and File Committee in 1977 to struggle for union democracy and fair working conditions. They were elected to the leadership of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 37 in 1980, and worked hard to build links and solidarity with the people of the Philippines. Tragically, both were murdered on June 1, 1981. Corrupt former Local 37 President Tony Baruso and Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos were later implicated in the assassination. Their memory lives on as inspiration to workers and students striving for justice.

Deadline to Apply for the 2017-2018 Academic Year

Monday, May 29, 2017

Who Should Apply

The scholarship is awarded yearly to either graduate students or entering freshmen or transfer students to any of the University of Washington's three campuses (Seattle, Tacoma, or Bothell). In their applications, students must show commitment to the principles of justice and equality and demonstrate financial need. Students with an interest in labor studies or a family background in labor and social justice are encouraged to apply.

Students must demonstrate financial need according to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to qualify. Low-income, non-citizen students unable to file a FAFSA due to immigration status may instead complete the free Washington Application for State Financial Aid (WASFA). More information can be found at the UW Student Financial Aid website.

Those who do not meet FAFSA/WASFA requirement are highly encouraged to consider other scholarships offered by the Bridges Center.


How to Apply

To apply, a student should verify that they have financial need according to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) (or WASFA, if applicable) and prepare the following materials:

  1. Essay responses. Please answer each question briefly and send your essay responses in a single document:

    1. Tell us about one social justice or labor issue that has impacted you personally. How have you worked to address the issue? Please keep your response to less than 400 words.

    2. Describe some aspects of your background/identity that exemplify your commitment to social justice and labor (Your response may draw upon your answer to the question above). Please keep your response to less than 400 words.

    3. How will the Domingo Viernes Scholarship support the goals you have for your first two years at the UW? How do you plan to engage with the labor movement during your studies here? How will the fellowship prepare you for what you want to accomplish upon completion of your degree? Please keep your response to less than 400 words.

    4. If there are any special considerations or additional information you feel necessary to your application, please include it at the end of your application document (separate from your essay answers).

  2. A brief letter of support from a teacher or community member.

  3. A highschool or college transcript (which ever is most recent).

  4. Up to date contact information, including e-mail, mailing addresses, and phone number.

Please send all application materials in one document. If the support letter is confidential, it may be sent separately.

Please note in your application if you have applied to the University of Washington but have not yet received notice from the Admissions Office. If this is the case, you are eligible for the scholarship, but the award will be contingent on your admittance to the UW.


Where to Send Applications

Send applications by mail or e-mail to:

    Andrew Hedden, Associate Director
    Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies
    University of Washington, Box 353530
    Seattle, WA 98198-3530
    hbcls@uw.edu

Questions about the application or scholarship terms? Call (206) 543-7946 or e-mail hbcls@uw.edu.


Terms of the Domingo Viernes Scholarship

  1. Scholarship recipients will receive $3,000 per year during their first and second year at the University of Washington ($6,000 total during the two-year scholarship term). The scholarship may be used for any required components of the cost of education at the University, including tuition, books, or materials.

  2. Students will integrate labor studies into their University of Washington education by seeking out labor-related classes during their first and second years. Students will receive advising and support from the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies in order to meet this requirement.
  3. Students will become engaged with the labor movement either on campus or outside the campus. While the form of involvement is up to the student, the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies can advise and support student placements as needed.

    • On-campus undergraduate student groups include, but are not limited to United Students Against Sweatshop (USAS) and MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán). Graduate student organizations include Academic Workers for a Democratic Union (AWDU), Students for Labor and Employment Justice (SLEJ) and the academic employees union UAW 4121.

    • Students may also become involved off-campus in local, national, or international labor activism. This can include, but is not limited to an internship with a local labor organization, which can be arranged by the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies.


  4. Students will participate in events organized by the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies, including the Annual Awards Celebration in fall and the Labor Studies Social in winter. Graduate students will be expected to regularly attend the Labor Studies Workshare series (three times per quarter). Dates and details of other events will be announced at the beginning of each quarter.

  5. Students will submit their transcripts to the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies at the end of their first and second academic years.

  6. Students will meet with the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies staff every quarter during the scholarship period to discuss their progress through the scholarship requirements.

  7. At the end of each scholarship year, students will provide a one page report on their activities related to labor activism and labor studies.

Previous Winners

  • 2016: Alison Hill Steichen
  • 2015: Maria Blancas, Derek Dizon
  • 2014: Dimitri Groce
  • 2013: Isaura Jiménez Guerra
  • 2012: Mayra Alcaraz-Rangel, Felisha Palomera
  • 2011: Stephanie Velasco