News Details

Congratulations to graduating Psychology senior Melissa Guzman, who was awarded a Bonderman Fellowship!

For more than twenty years UW alumnus David Bonderman has annually supported UW students via travel fellowships that ask them explore, be open to the unexpected, and come to know the world in new and unexpected ways. The University of Washington Bonderman Fellowship will expand its impact with a $10 million endowment from David Bonderman.

Thanks to this generous endowment, UW is able to both increase the number of fellowships and boost financial support by fifteen percent (up from $20,000 in 2016 to $23,000 per award this year). Not only will more people benefit more deeply from the experience in the near future—the endowment also ensures that this leading-edge alumni experience will continue in perpetuity.

The Bonderman Fellowship fosters individual transformation via wandering and wondering for eight months of solo travel to two regions of the world, expanding fellows’ understanding of themselves and the complex world we live in. These fellowships continue to be a great honor as they are a rare opportunity for growth that still requires individual sacrifice and recognition of personal responsibility on the part of each fellow.

During a conversation with UW President Ana Mari Cauce at a 20th anniversary event, Bonderman explained the purpose behind the fellowships. When asked: “How do you advise those of us who want to make a difference in the world to do so?” Bonderman replied: “The United States is admired throughout the world for its culture; the best way you can go about bringing change is by being you. There is no better ambassador for the U.S. than you.”

Melissa Guzman
Law, Societies, & Justice and Psychology
Hometown: Othello, WA

While at the UW Melissa has discovered her love for traveling and learning about other cultures. She first set her eye on the Bonderman Fellowship her sophomore year, and is beyond excited to have been selected as a recipient. While traveling, she plans to explore the cultural variation of gratitude. Her hope is to learn about how people across cultures express, understand, and interpret gratitude; and that through her experiences she can expand her own capacity for gratitude. She is eager to explore the world and challenge her beliefs about herself and grow to be more independent and adventurous throughout her journey. Melissa’s travel will include Thailand, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, India, Chile, Indonesia, and Samoa.

Read more about the award and awardees here.