Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander (AANAPISI) Scholarship
James Sweeney (History, BA ‘23)
Alea Francine Camacho (Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, BA ‘22)
Alea grew up on the tiny island of Guam and was inspired by her community and family to better herself and serve her people. Alea grew up in a single parent household and is the first person in her family to attend college. Recognizing the island’s healthcare services’ shortcomings, Alea is planning to pursue a master's degree in Occupational Therapy (OT) and provide access to OT on the island. Her dream is to spearhead an occupational therapy program at the University of Guam, and she hopes to inspire fellow islanders to enter this field.
Hyungeeu Choi (Information Technology, BS ‘23)
Hyungeeu is Korean American who immigrated to the US in 2004. He decided to study Information Technology to work in the cyber security field after five years of active military service. While in the military, he learned about the structure of the organization and the importance of data communication. The military emphasized data security because leakage of even small pieces of information can affect the result of the mission.
Valomanaia Elizarraraz (Ethnic, Gender, and Labor Studies, BA ‘23)
"I'm living the fast life" is what Valomanaia tells herself after every success and failure. She is a 19-year-old independent college junior who has been crawling her way to success despite all the obstacles she encounters. The thought of helping her Polynesian people and family is what keeps her walking on the path to success. She is interested in advocating for the importance of mental health in her community, especially among young people.
Exita Lealofi (Ethnic, Gender, and Labor Studies minor in Global Engagement, BA ‘23)
Becoming a UW Tacoma student, Exita has learned that the more she witnesses and experiences a community's lack of inclusion and diversity, the more she wants to make a difference among her peers to create a sense of security and belonging. Exita became a Pack Advisor to work with incoming students on campus during the past year as well as the co-founder of the UW Tacoma Pacific Islander Student Alliance, which aims to foster a more critical and thorough understanding of PI issues and identity while advocating for PI community needs. She has volunteered at multiple high schools and non-profit organizations, and she hopes to pursue a master's degree in social work with a focus on providing protection and safety for API women and children who have experienced violence and abuse.
Brandon Bourgette (Business Administration: Marketing, BA ‘23)
Brandon grew up in a single parent home and initially struggled academically in high school. With the help of tutors, he learned how to utilize his time and how to study more effectively. The next quarter, he was on the honor roll: “What I learned is that it is okay to ask for help when you need it; not only in school but in life.” Brandon is now a marketing major and plans to attend dental school specializing in Orthodontics after graduation. Once he opens his practice, he plans on providing pro bono services to members of his community. Brandon believes that healthcare is a fundamental right for everyone.
Komisi is a first generation college who hopes to use his computer science skills to support his community. In addition to being a student, Komisi serves as a Peer Success Mentor at the UW Tacoma Teaching and Learning Center. He is also proud to have co-facilitated a workshop to 80+ college students at a conference about health, networking, being a speaker at a scholarship donor dinner, as well as mentoring high school students on their path to college. After graduation, Komisi plans to work for a tech company and hopes to inspire other Pacific Islanders to pursue STEM careers.
Ihsanullah Abdulrahimzai (Premajor)
Achieving higher education had always been Ihsanullah’s dream especially since neither of his parents graduated high school. As an immigrant to the United States, it wasn’t clear if that dream was attainable, and family obligations initially prevented him from attending university. Ihsanullah has worked as a Finance Officer and Payable Accountant for over four years in Afghanistan. After coming to the U.S., he attended Highline College to pursue an Associate Degree of Business Emphasis in Accounting (DTA). He is working towards an Accounting degree at UW Tacoma.
Melissa Atienza (Global Studies and Business Management, BA ’20)
Growing up as a military child, Melissa lived in Indonesia, Japan, Italy, and Bahrain for eleven years before returning to the United States to attend college. During her first year at UW Tacoma, Melissa joined the Asian Pacific Islander Student Union (APISU), an organization she now leads as president: “APISU has taught me the importance of a cultural identity … If we lose our ancestral footprint, we lose our uniqueness ... As president of APISU, I want to carry the tradition and essence of the organization, be an influencer that encourages the next generation of APIs to achieve the unthinkable, especially higher education.” Melissa also works as the Marketing Assistant for Career Development on campus.
Jonah was born and raised in the Philippines and immigrated to the U.S., where he focuses his studies on Computer Engineering. He is pursuing this field because he is passionate about technology development: “The technological revolution of the 21st century, and the innovation that continues to result from it, has changed everything we thought we knew about the world. The way we work, live, and communicate was altered immensely in the last ten years, and will continue to change as more and more advancement is made in technology.” He looks forward to helping to shape this future.
Caleb Chang (Computer Science & Systems, BS ’21)
Caleb is studying Computer Science with the goal of becoming a software engineer, and he hopes to develop technology that benefits older adults as well as people with disabilities. He plans to join the HusCII coding club on campus and pursue an internship with a tech company this summer. Knowing as much as he does about both hardware and software, he is often asked by friends and family to help explain new technology and volunteers in community centers to help older adults with technology use.
Joseph Dayonot (Information Technology, BS’ 20)
Joe is a half Samoan, half Filipino student studying Information Technology at UW Tacoma. He is currently the treasurer for the Asian Pacific Islander Student Union (APISU). Joe plans on continuing to work with APISU in helping others find their place on campus.
Abid Rahmani (Business Administration, BA ‘21)
Abid was born in Afghanistan, but his family decided to seek refuge in Pakistan as the security situation in his country of birth worsened. After completing primary, middle, and high school in Pakistan, Abid moved back to Afghanistan in 2008 to work on USAID funded economic and regional projects. Due to his employment with a U.S. government agency, his life was in jeopardy, and he eventually moved to the United States with his family.
After working as a security officer in the U.S., Abid is now a business student at UW Tacoma. He continues to work as an Economic Development Specialist with the Diocese of Olympia while pursuing his education. His goal is to pursue an MBA in Management and to eventually run his own business.
Francine Ruth (Pre-major)
As a recipient of the AANAPISI scholarship, Francine vows to work diligently to bridge families and communities while encouraging support for one another. “My journey in obtaining my degree has given me the liberty to speak about learning for a lifespan to my children and many others. To return to [college] at 39 years old was not a choice I took lightly.”
As her son became gravely ill, Francine watched her two teenagers support him selflessly. Her children’s compassion encouraged her to stop her career and follow a longtime dream of working toward a bachelor’s degree. The AANAPISI Scholarship will support her in achieving that dream.
Motivated by her own experiences during adolescence and early adulthood, as a Bonderman Fellow, Drew plans to explore the intersection of spirituality and resilience. Mindfulness and meditation have been significant aspects of her daily life, and she plans to dedicate her time discovering cultures that find their roots in these practices, and where they, and the natural environment inspire resilience through acceptance of the present, and grace in understanding the past and implications for the future. Drew plans to immerse herself in the respectful consideration of cultures that continue to influence and shape the lens through which she views the world and her place in it. Her Bonderman journey will take her through South America visiting Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. She then will spend time traveling through Southeast Asia where she will stay in Cambodia, Thailand, and Laos among other countries. Finally, Drew’s Bonderman travels will conclude in India and Nepal.
Azad Mohammed (Geospatial Technologies, MS ‘18)
Maps were Azad’s way of understanding and knowing the unfamiliar world around him, outside of his hometown in Boise, Idaho and his place of birth in Kurdistan. He has always been intrigued by them in any format, either on screen or on paper; the power they can hold is central to his motivation to obtain a master’s in geospatial technologies. Realizing he is part of this global world and that he somehow fits somewhere, he has always been adamant to take that next step outside of his comfort zone. His countries of choice reflect that statement: Peru, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Israel, Lebanon, and Jordan.
Kevin Bogue (Sustainable Urban Development, BA ‘15)
Kevin has a strong interest in the construction, environmental stewardship, and continued development of urban centers. As a Bonderman Fellow, he plans to explore urban environments throughout Southeast Asia, Turkey, as well as Southern and Eastern Europe. He hopes to return with new and exciting ideas about more sustainable approaches to urban planning and development.
The Bonderman Travel Fellowship provides $20,000 to fourteen UW students every year for eight months of solo travel to at least six different countries in two main world regions.
Chinese Government Scholarship
Inteus Taylor (Global Studies, BA ’15)
He will be pursuing a Master’s Degree in Global Studies at Nanjing University.
While at UW Tacoma, Inte studied Mandarin and spent a full academic year in China. He participated in UW Tacoma’s summer study abroad program in China and also studied at Nanjing University through CIEE.
Inte is very skilled at learning foreign languages: he studied Japanese in high school, is proficient in Mandarin and is hoping to tackle Korean next.
Korey, a veteran and Computer Science student, started his study of Mandarin while in the U.S. Army and has been interested in Chinese culture for a while. “When I found out about the CLS program I immediately started the application process. Although studying in China won’t contribute to my major, my hope is to earn a minor in Asian studies. I look forward to the opportunities and experiences that lay ahead!”
Beleqsa Tamaami (Global Studies, Global Honors, BA’16)
Last fall, Beleqsa studied abroad at Al Akhawayn University in Morocco as a 2015 Gilman Scholar; she will be continuing her Arabic study in Jordan this summer. As the oldest sibling and the first in her family to attend college, Beleqsa has spent a lot of time convincing her parents that studying abroad is worthwhile and of great benefit to her. As a result of her own experience, Beleqsa is motivated to provide access to higher education opportunities such as study abroad to her siblings and other youth.
On campus, Beleqsa worked in the Center for Service and Leadership as the Spring Breakaway Coordinator. Her 2015 spring service project focused on mentoring youth at the Willie Stewart Reengagement Center alongside other UW Tacoma students and staff volunteers. Huge congratulations!
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the Critical Language Scholarship provides fully funded overseas summer language institutes in fifteen foreign languages.
Foreign Affairs Information Technology (FAIT) Fellowship
Melanie Randall (Information Technology, BS'17)
Melanie is a first-generation college student who transferred to UW Tacoma from Highline College in 2015. Prior to UW Tacoma, she was a pastry chef in restaurants on the East Coast, in the Southwest, and right here in Washington. She has also worked in sales, customer service, and at the IT help desk for REI. She may not have realized it then, but these fast-paced, multi-cultural environments have prepared her well for her future role as a Foreign Affairs IT Specialist.
Melanie is also the proud mother of a daughter who’s attending college. With support of the FAIT Fellowship, Melanie will be pursuing a Master of Science in Information Management at the UW iSchool. Congratulations to Melanie, her academic unit, and her mentors!
The Foreign Affairs Information Technology (FAIT) Fellowship prepares students for careers as Foreign Affairs IT Specialists in the U.S. Department of State's Foreign Service and provides financial support for graduate school, mentorship, and funding for two summer internships with the State Department.
Degan Hussein (Biomedical Sciences, BS'21)
Degan planned to participate in the 2020-2021 academic year Korea University Exchange Program in Seoul, South Korea. "I was inspired to apply to this program because my minor is Korean, and I wanted to spend some time in the country that I was studying. This will be my first time living alone, and I hope that it will be an impactful time away from home. One of my passions has always been learning languages so I am excited for this opportunity." Due to COVID-19, she had to defer the award until 2021. Degan also received the Gilman International Scholarship.
The Freeman-ASIA provides support for undergraduate students who are planning to study overseas in East or Southeast Asia. Grantees help promote study abroad on their home campuses and communities.
Fulbright U.S. Student Program
Saranda Ross (Communication, BA '15; UW Law School, JD '19)
A Tacoma native, Saranda Ross is a 2019 UW Law graduate and licensed attorney who has received a Fulbright Scholarship to conduct fieldwork in Brazil. Fluent in Portuguese, Ross will work with underserved communities in Brazil to advance equal access to food justice. Her project focuses on legislative and sociopolitical solutions to environment-related food insecurity including availability, access, utilization, and stability of resources.
Ross is well-prepared for the challenges she will face in completing her nine-month project. While she earned her bachelor’s degree in communications and human rights from UW Tacoma, she also volunteered offering civil legal aid services at Tacoma Pro Bono. She then lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she studied Spanish and volunteered for a local environmental organization. During law school, Ross received a FLAS fellowship to study Portuguese and international law, and was also a Senior Managing Editor on the Washington International Law Journal. In addition to working at a civil litigation law firm during her 1L and 2L summers, she received funding from a second FLAS fellowship to continue her Portuguese studies in Lisbon, Portugal.
Currently, Ross is a law clerk at the Washington State Court of Appeals, a volunteer attorney for Tacoma Pro Bono, a board member in two legal minority associations, and a professional mentor to pre-law students. In her free time, she trains in Muay Thai, worships the moon, and binge-reads post-apocalyptic novels.
Sophie Nop (Computer Science & Systems, BS ‘16)
She will be spending a year in Kralanh, Cambodia and plans to work with a local NGO on a participatory research project: Her goal is to better understand how mobile app development can advance digital literacy in rural areas, and how Cambodian youth interact with technology. Huge congratulations to Sophie and to everyone who’s taught, inspired, and supported her during her time at UW Tacoma. Sophie served as ASUWT president from 2015-16.
Maksim Rusev (Accounting, BA ’15 & MAcc ’16)
Maksim is no stranger to international travel and language learning. He is proficient in Spanish, Russian, and Bulgarian, and studied abroad in St. Petersburg and Mexico as an undergraduate. He has family roots in Bulgaria and is now making the most of his Fulbright in Bulgaria: In addition to teaching at a secondary school, he started a speech and debate team that is competing all over the country, is coaching the school's basketball team, and started a language exchange cafe. Here's a brief video summarizing his first 100 days and pictures from his time in Bulgaria.
Lizeth Garcia (Politics, Philosophy and Economics '13)
As the first UW Tacoma student to receive this award, she will be developing and leading language classes at a Brazilian teachers college and representing the U.S. abroad as a citizen ambassador.
Lizeth is the first in her family to graduate from college, and she has gained valuable tutoring experience while working with a local community organization that supports the education of Latino children. Since graduating from UW Tacoma, she’s worked as a legislative aide at King County Council.
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards funding for one academic year of self-designed study, research, creative projects, or teaching English in one of over 140 countries around the world. Eligible applicants are U.S. citizens who will have a bachelor's degree before the start of the grant, but not yet a PhD.
Fund for Education Abroad Scholar
Brooklyn Jennings (Law & Policy/Human Rights, BA ‘23)
Brooklyn's future goals are to graduate from University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts degree and apply for a Washington-based law school. After law school, Brooklyn hopes to work as an attorney with specialization in immigration law.
Brooklyn's top 3 goals for the time abroad:
Increase Spanish vocabulary and boost confidence when speaking Spanish.
Have meaningful interactions with host family and other local Peruvians.
Learn how to inspire other First Gen/non-traditional students to study abroad.
Gabriela Romero (Ethnic, Gender, and Labor Studies; Psychology BA ‘23)
Fund for Education Abroad Scholar, 2021 (deferred)
Gabriela is a transfer student from South Seattle College, currently in her junior year at UW Tacoma. Throughout her college journey she has truly began to find herself through my studies. She says: “My education is easily one of the most important things to me, and I feel immensely grateful to be able to study at the University of Washington Tacoma. I am currently in the midst of declaring a double major in Psychology and Ethnic, Gender, & Labor Studies and very much look forward to continuing on to attain my PhD in Psychology. My passion is people, and although I am not entirely sure of what my future holds, I know that whatever profession I chose will be centered around helping people live more fulfilling, happy lives. I strongly believe that every human being, regardless of ethnicity, gender, or socioeconomic status, deserves to have their needs met in order to thrive in their communities.” Gabriela is hoping to study abroad in an intensive Spanish language program.
I will be participating in the ALBA Barcelona: Foster Partner Program. I have always had the desire to travel abroad, and I am interested in going to new locations and experiencing other cultures. Barcelona is a city with a rich, layered history and thriving culture, which is one of the main reasons I decided to participate in this program. This will be my first time traveling to Europe, and I am optimistic that my experience will be impactful to both my personal and professional development.
Kaytlyn Ruff (Psychology, BA 23)
I am a UW Tacoma student who will be participating in Prague- The Psychology of Culture, Food, and Human Development program, which will take place this summer. This will be my first time studying abroad. I will experience Prague through its neighborhoods, markets, museums, and travel to the nearby region of Moravia, explore food pathways and the impact of the Eastern Bloc communist state on contemporary food and life. I am so excited to share my experience.
Jasmine Delfin (Psychology, BA 22)
I will be studying abroad this summer 2022 in Prague. I will be studying in the Psychology of Culture, Food, and Human Development program. While abroad, I will explore the Czech foodways and the impacts of the world wars to the 40 years as an Eastern Bloc communist state ending with the Velvet Revolution along with the role of geopolitical forces in human wellness and development. I am very excited about this experience and can’t wait to share it all with you!
Natalye Guzman (Spanish Language & Culture and Psychology, BA '21)
Natalye planned to participate in the summer 2020 Spanish Language and Culture in Cusco, Peru program. "I've always wanted to visit South America; the Mesoamerican and Andean history fascinates me. I grew up understanding Spanish as I was born to Mexican parents, but I seek to recognize the complexities of Latinx culture. I intend to learn about different experiences on the continent of America in order to grasp a better understanding of the experience of immigrants and the Latinx community in the U.S." Due to COVID-19, she had to defer the award until 2021.
Degan Hussein (Biomedical Sciences, BS'21)
Degan planned to participate in the 2020-2021 academic year Korea University Exchange Program in Seoul, South Korea. "I was inspired to apply to this program because my minor is Korean, and I wanted to spend some time in the country that I was studying. This will be my first time living alone, and I hope that it will be an impactful time away from home. One of my passions has always been learning languages so I am excited for this opportunity." Due to COVID-19, she had to defer the award until 2021. Degan also received the Freeman-Asia award.
Nicole Hunter (Communication, BA' 20)
Nicole planned to participate in the summer 2020 Vietnam: Peace and Social Change program. Due to COVID-19, she had to defer the award until 2021.
Harmanjit Dhillon (Biomedical Sciences, BS' 21)
Harmanjit planned to participate in the early fall 2020 CFHI: Public Health and Community Medicine in Delhi, India program. Due to COVID-19, he had to defer the award until 2021.
Fadumo Diriye (pre-major, '20)
Fadumo will be participating in the 2018 CIEE Summer Korean Studies program in Seoul, South Korea. Longer bio forthcoming.
Shivani Lal (Sustainable Urban Development, BA '19)
Shivani will be participating in the summer 2018 UW Urban Design and Planning United Kingdom: Sustainable Regional Development program. Longer bio forthcoming.
Tina Van (Business Administration, BA '19)
Tina will be participating in the summer 2018 UW Tacoma Ecuador: Spanish Language and Culture program. Longer bio forthcoming.
Vasika Cheng (Communication, BA '19)
Vasika will be participating in the Seoul National University Exchange program in South Korea for the 2018-2019 academic year. Longer bio forthcoming.
Sponsored by the Department of State, the Gilman is a merit-based study abroad scholarship for Pell grant recipients. In 2014, Christine Brubaker-Holland (Healthcare Leadership) and Tiffany Fox (Global Studies) received Gilman Scholarships to China.
Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program
Mika Tanaka (Global Studies, BA ’20)
Mika has traveled to Japan multiple times throughout her life, visiting her family and friends across the country. Her father was born and raised in Hiroshima, Japan and he is the one who encouraged her love for the language and the culture. During one of her visits to Hiroshima, Mika had the opportunity to speak to the children at a local daycare she once attended; this experience introduced her to the idea of teaching English abroad. Mika would like to inspire others, in both the U.S. and Japan, to explore cultures other than their own through travel and study.
Robert Gillis (Writing Studies, BA ’19)
I’ve been living in Washington all my life, and now that I’m graduating from the University of Washington Tacoma, I’m looking to experience the world. Since I was young, I’ve always been interested in visiting Japan and in becoming a Japanese-to-English translator and English teacher there. My goal is to immerse myself in the culture and language of Japan and become a cultural ambassador between Japan and the United States. This will be the first time I travel outside of the United States.
Chelsea Huddy (Politics, Philosophy & Economics, Global Honors, BA ’17)
Chelsea is headed to Kyushu University in Japan this summer. It was the music and animes of the Japanese TV show InuYasha that first drew her to Japan. While at Tacoma Community College, Chelsea worked with Japanese exchange students and started learning the language. As a former student at an alternative high school, she hopes to inspire other students like her to study abroad after her return. Chelsea also works in our Office of Student Transition Programs.
The JET Program is a competitive opportunity that allows young professionals to work as Assistant Language Teachers (ALTs) in public and private schools throughout Japan. The JET Program is sponsored by the Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR), the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), and the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC).
Latino Center for Health Student Scholars Fellowship
Veronica Ramirez Ramsay (Healthcare Leadership, BA ’21)
My current study and work focus consists of advocacy and inclusion for the underserved communities including the Latinx community. I have been able to continue to promote the health and well-being of Latinx communities amongst the pandemic. As a Latina of color and an aspiring healthcare leader, my long-term career goal is to improve health amongst the Latinx community through advocacy, policy, and activism. I currently work at the Downtown Emergency Service Center DESC, a non-profit agency based in Seattle that provides services for the homeless population. In collaboration with case managers and administrative staff, I have advocated for and helped translate materials in Spanish for clients who are undocumented by aiding in the paperwork and documentation process. Furthermore, I am able to improve the patient experience in a hospital setting by assisting with basic care for patients as a COPE Health Scholar at Swedish Hospital. Working collaboratively with physicians, nurses, and the rest of the health care team with the mission to deliver high quality care. Last year I discovered the urgency of policy advocacy, so I decided to pursue a fellowship in public policy. I have developed the tools to create change in my community, as a fellow of Centro Latino’s Institute of Public Policy, Training & Education. An advocacy effort I am partaking in is including the artwork of Dolores Huerta at the state capitol. Dolores Huerta is the labor leader and civil rights activist who, with Cesar Chavez, is a co-founder of the National Farmworkers Association. I am wholeheartedly committed to being a servant leader to the Latinx community and achieving the optimal health and well-being of my community.
Stacey Fernandez (Social Welfare BA ’20)
Stacey Fernandez was born to Mexican immigrant parents and grew up in Southern California. The pursuit of a higher education led her to the Pacific Northwest. During her time at UWT, she took on many roles as a student leader to promote a safe and inclusive campus. Some of the roles include serving as President of the Student Social Work Organization, Senior Coordinator in the Center for Student Involvement, and serving on various committees. Stacey is an advocate for social justice and plans to pursue a career in student affairs.
The Latino Center for Health offers fellowships to UW students in health sciences programs in an effort to support the next generation of leaders and scholars who are committed to promoting the health and well-being of Latinx communities in Washington State
Mary Gates Research Scholarship
Kyle Tomyn (Global Studies, BA ’22)
My research (advisor: Dr. Vanessa de Veritch Woodside) focuses on climate refugees from Central America and their prospects for US immigration. It analyzes the reasons behind the lack of immigrants citing climate concerns in the US, and discusses the current and future issues this population is facing. The results of this study indicate that this group is a marginalized one and is facing challenges that traditional migrants are not facing. In addition, they are not known of because climate change is not an accepted motive for asylum processes in the US or anywhere else in the world for that matter. Solutions are explored, and it is decided that first and foremost, this population needs legal recognition. From there, there are actions that the US and Central American governments can take such as special work visas, planting trees, funding social safety nets, and most importantly, cooperation.
Alexandria Rios (Biomedical Sciences, BS ’22)
Alexandria will use the Mary Gates Research Scholarship to continue her research on endocrine disruption in Daphnia magna, an aquatic microcrustacean and established model for ecotoxicology. Specifically, she will study the interactive effects of perchlorate, an environmental contaminant, and hypoxia (low oxygen) on the invertebrate endocrine system. Perchlorate is currently not regulated in our drinking water despite its known endocrine-disrupting effects in vertebrates. Data generated from this research is critical for future policy related to perchlorate regulation, which will ultimately help protect human and environmental health. Following graduation, Alexandria plans to attend medical school with the goal of becoming a physician.
Veronica Ramirez Ramsay (Healthcare Leadership, BA ’21)
Veronica has utilized the Mary Gates Research Scholarship to facilitate research focused on investigating the lack of access to healthcare in populations with chronic health conditions. Supported by faculty advisor Dr. Weichao Yuwen, the global component of the research is comparing a local healthcare system in the U.S. to an international one. In addition, the research focus consists of investigating the laws and policies in Washington State that contribute to the lack of support for individuals and families with chronic conditions and barriers of access to healthcare. Ultimately, suggesting policy changes that enable equal access to healthcare for individuals with chronic conditions. As an aspiring healthcare leader, Veronica’s long-term career goal, is to improve access to healthcare for underserved communities and marginalized populations through research, policy, and advocacy.
Alexa Knight (Biomedical Sciences, BS 22')
Alexa will use the Mary Gates Research Scholarship to fund her research into arsenic resistant bacteria in periphyton communities. The research will continue with characterizing bacteria community organization, composition, and abundance in addition to screening for arsenic resistant genes. This work is supported by Dr. Alaei's lab in collaboration with Dr. Jim Gawel's research team studying arsenic uptake in periphyton communities in nearby lakes. Further characterization of these communities give insights that may lead to bioremediation techniques in the future.
Myai Nguyen (Healthcare Leadership BA ’20)
For this research, Myai is working with Dr. Laing and four other members. The research team addresses healthcare decision-making and system-level support for safety-net patients. This work is part of a larger study of 101 low-income patients who are accessing services in community health centers in Western Washington. Patients completed surveys about their perception of services received and their assessment of ways they think the healthcare system can help them make the best decisions about their healthcare. Myai plans to pursue a Master's of Public Health at the University of Washington Seattle after graduation, with a focus on global health.
Anna Howard (Healthcare Leadership BA ’20)
With the Mary Gates Research Scholarship, Anna will be continuing research on healthcare delivery for marginalized patients in safety-net clinics located in Washington, DC. The aim of this research, guided by Dr. Sharon Lain, is to better understand which needs of safety-net patients are not currently being supported by community health clinics - in an effort to have them be considered and implemented in future healthcare frameworks. Upon graduation, she plans to pursue a Master's of Public Health with a concentration in Epidemiology; she hopes to continue researching and addressing social determinants of health in underserved populations.
Casey Wagner (Premajor BS ’22)
Casey is a sophomore at UW Tacoma, currently looking to dual major in Computer Science and History. He hopes to synthesize these interests into a future career. Currently splitting his time between working on campus at the IT Help Desk and with the Labor Solidarity Project, the titular independent research project under Dr. Michael Honey has made for a busy, but incredibly exciting quarter. Casey's research includes the parsing, annotation, and citation of FBI files related to a book project currently being undertaken by his advisor Dr. Michael Honey. The compilation of a rudimentary guide on proper citation practice in regard to FBI files is also underway. In addition to this, contextual research has been conducted on the period and place surrounding the various files in order to more properly pull pertinent information. The project has been underway for one quarter already, and will continue for at least another two.
Tucker Stewart (Computer Science and Systems BS ’20)
Tucker's research aims to improve forecasting models for anticipating peak volumes using time series decomposition. He is working on his research with Drs. Juhua Hu (Primary) and Anderson Nascimento (Collaboration), in collaboration with Infoblox, a Tacoma-based network control and security company.
Grace McKenney (Environmental Science BS ’19)
The Mary Gates Research Scholarship is an enormous honor, and it feels like a dream that I have actually been awarded it. This scholarship will help support my research in the Becker Lab on the DNA of bivalves (i.e. clams, oysters, and mussels) in Washington State.
For the past few years Becker Lab has been concentrating on a project tasked with counting and visually identifying bivalves in water samples collected around the state of Washington. Now that the visual identifications are complete, my research turns to analyzing the DNA of certain bivalves in order to get a better identification. My research will bring us one step closer to understanding the multitude of bivalve species living in the waters of Washington State.
The Mary Gates Research Scholarship is a competitive scholarship for undergraduate UW students who’re engaged in faculty-guided research, scholarly or creative work in any field.
Mary Gates Leadership Scholarship
Adán Espino Jr. (Law & Policy, BA '19)
Adán Espino Jr is a Washingtonian born and raised and has felt a passion for his community since high school. Studying for the Law & Policy degree with a minor in Economics, Adán has served as UW Tacoma's student lobbyist to advocate for State Need Grant funding, student loan reform, and investment into UW Tacoma. He is currently advocating alongside the university administration for two new engineering degree programs and a new academic building on campus.When he graduates, he hopes to continue fighting for his South Sound community and maybe even serve as an elected official.
Evelyn Ramirez (Information Technology and minor in Law and Policy, BS '23)
Evelyn Ramirez was born on the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands, Spain, and moved to Washington state at the age of six with her mother and sister. Evelyn’s Mary Gates Leadership project consists of working alongside the Fuse organization and legislative candidates as a voice for minorities and underrepresented groups. In the effort of improving access to healthcare, community resources, and education in K-12. Ultimately, Evelyn is committed to being the voice of underrepresented communities and empowering them through civic engagement.
The Mary Gates Leadership Scholarship encourages undergraduate students to develop their leadership abilities through practical experience, personal reflection and in community with mentors and peers.
North American Language and Culture Assistants to Spain
Nicole Baker (Psychology, BA '17)
Nicole is a first generation college student who found her love of international exchanges during her first study abroad in France & Italy during the summer of 2016. Nicole spent her last year at UW Tacoma actively involved in two psychological research teams and working as a Global Affairs Fellow, encouraging other students to experience the transforming power of international education. Upon her graduation in 2017, Nicole participated in an immersive language program in Santiago, Chile. Afterwards, she began a Master's program in Management at Seattle Pacific University. Now having graduated and enjoying the fruits of her academic labor, Nicole is eager for the next step of her journey in the Galicia region of Spain.
Audrey Weber (Arts, Media, & Culture, BA '18)
This upcoming academic year I will be teaching English, and acting as a Cultural Ambassador in Galicia, Spain. I participated in a Study Abroad program in Spain last summer, and since then have been both improving my Spanish language skills, and dreaming about going back! Being mindful of the impact I am making while spending time in foreign countries is very important to me, as such I am very excited about this opportunity. Not only will I be able to immerse myself in the culture around me by virtue of having extended time in country, and engage with local communities on a deeper level due to having more advanced language abilities. I will also be in a position to build relationships with people of varying ages, and represent my own culture during a critical time in American history!
Carmen Valenzuela-Burger (Global Studies, BA '14)
Like many transfer students, I had bounced around a bit before settling into UW Tacoma. I originally came from my home of Portland, Oregon looking for some new scenery, unsuspecting of the catalyst this campus would turn out to be. It became apparent when I seized a study abroad opportunity at the end of my junior year. I studied international law and human rights in Ireland and the Netherlands, a program that aligned perfectly with my own personal interests as well as my major, Global Studies.
Studying abroad allowed me to work as a Study Abroad Ambassador in the Office of International Programs upon my return, a role that I thoroughly embraced until I graduated in 2014. It was my responsibility, along with the other Study Abroad Ambassadors, to promote UW Tacoma’s study abroad programs and to assist students in their international endeavors.
As a first generation student, I felt incredibly proud to be helping my peers pursue such powerful and enriching opportunities. I had never imagined, before studying abroad, that I could ever offer such a service to my campus. During my early years of college, I had lacked the proper tools to navigate higher education; I struggled with utilizing available resources and establishing a place within the student body. At UW Tacoma, I found my place and, as a mentor in International Programs, strove to help others find theirs too.
Not long after graduation I decided to apply for the Fulbright, in hopes of becoming an English teaching assistant in Colombia. At the same time, I applied for the North American Language and Culture Assistants program in Spain. I was lucky enough to begin work in the Office of Advancement, which allowed me to stay close to my incredibly supportive network on campus, while continuing to develop my professional experience. Professors, colleagues, and friends all became allies in both application processes.
Within a short amount of time I was admitted to the Language and Culture Assistant program and am currently awaiting my regional placement. Even though I felt disappointment in not being accepted for a Fulbright grant, I couldn't be more excited now to move to Spain and spend the next year assisting Spanish students in their English language learning, while at the same time improving my own Spanish-speaking ability and immersing myself in the rich culture of the Iberian Peninsula. I know that all of the skills I have honed here at UW Tacoma will serve me very well in this new role, and I can't wait to get started.
Madhuri Sharma (Computer Science and Systems, MS ’22)
Madhuri is currently working on her Master’s thesis under the guidance of Prof. Wes Lloyd. Her thesis research is on resource contention in cloud computing. Before beginning her graduate studies, Madhuri worked for eight years as a software developer at Infosys Ltd, India. In that position, she would counsel women who were finding it difficult to balance work and life and would help them retain their jobs.
Madhuri also serves as Vice-President of the Women in Computing Sciences club at UW Tacoma. She is also an active member of the Associated Students of UW Tacoma, where she is hoping to develop a stronger alumni network and to implement initiatives to increase funding and scholarships to students.
The Northwest Star Legacy Scholarship Program awarded by the Society of Women Engineers provides financial assistance to those who identify as a female/woman and are studying community college, baccalaureate, or graduate programs in preparation for careers in engineering, engineering technology and computer science.
NSF CSGrad4US Fellowship
Steven Golob (Computer Science and Systems, BS ’19)
Steven is a lifelong student of mathematics and computer science. Having spent time at the Boeing Company as a software engineer, working on the flight simulator, he is now looking forward to his long-anticipated pursuit of graduate studies. His research interest is in privacy-preserving machine learning, a critical field that addresses the widespread concerns of handling personal data securely. Steven sees research in PPML as a way to contribute meaningfully toward essential technologies. At the same time, working in academia will allow him to fuel his passion for helping and mentoring his fellow computer science students. The CSGrad4US fellowship places emphasis on addressing underrepresentation in the computing disciplines, to which Steven is firmly committed, and he is grateful to have been invited to help where he can.
The CSGrad4US fellowship provides an opportunity for bachelor’s degree holders who may be working in industry or other sectors to return to academia and pursue research-based doctoral degrees. In its inaugural year, a diverse cohort of 70 CSGrad4US Fellows was selected based on their demonstrated interest and potential in pursuing a Ph.D. degree in a Computer and Information Science and Engineering field.
NSIN X-Force Fellowship
Alexander Amado (Computer Science and Systems, BS '21)
Alex is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Systems with the goal of learning about the technologies that surround us. He is the Chair of Diversity for Outdoor Adventure Club and loves to explore the outdoors. He also works as a quantitative tutor at UW Tacoma’s Teaching and Learning Center. As a NSIN X-Force Fellow, he will get to study, research, and develop a project with a team.
The NSIN X-Force Fellowship program funds undergraduate and graduate STEM students who are interested in solving real-world national security problems in collaboration with the U.S. military.
Point Foundation BIPOC Scholar
Eileen Jimenez (Education, Ed.D '23)
Eileen’s mother is Maria Cruz Jimenez, her grandmother is Eloisa Saavedra and her great grandmother is Isidora Saavedra, matriarchs of the Otomi people. She is an indigenous queer artist and scholar currently living in occupied Duwamish Territory (Seattle, WA). Eileen was born in southern California, but her family is from Michoacán and Mexico City.
As an indigenous leader, community member, and as an artist, everything she does and creates is influenced by her many intersecting identities and lived experiences. She creates the art, the structures, the programming, and the educational experiences she wishes her community and she would have seen and had access to as a self-described ‘girl from the 'hood.’ Eileen’s leadership is grounded in community and specifically, she believes it is her role to continue to show up, disrupt the dominant narrative, and gain access to institutional resources to share them with her community. Her family’s stories, values, theories and practices keep her feeling whole throughout this process and she finds support through community care.
Currently, Eileen works at a community college supporting students to navigate higher education and trying to dismantle white supremacist and institutional racist policies and structures. She is currently in an Ed.D, in higher education program at the Muckleshoot Tribal College and the University of Washington, Tacoma. She loves reading and learning and you will probably see the themes of decolonized education in her current body of artwork and programming at work.
The Point Foundation offers college scholarships to promising LGBTQ+ students and just announced the first class of BIPOC LGBTQ Scholars.
Presidential Management Fellows Program
Anastasia Cale (Community Planning, MA '19)
Anastasia was selected as a Presidential Management Fellow in 2021. Anastasia was fortunate enough to move almost every two years during her formative years as a military child. Before she attended college at the United States Military Academy, she had lived in four different countries and developed a deep love of her fellow human. Her father's service inspired her to join the Army, where she served as a Signal Officer for five years. Following her time in service, Anastasia enrolled in and completed University of Washington - Tacoma's MA program in Community Planning where her love of humans and their impact on the community grew so much that she began a career in housing policy through working at the Tacoma Housing Authority. Anastasia hopes to continue her love of equitable housing policy at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Brandon Jacobsen (Global Studies, BA '10)
Brandon was selected as a Presidential Management Fellow in 2017. Brandon is a Tacoma native, and went to public school in his hometown all the way through his time at UW Tacoma. In addition to majoring in Global Studies, he pursued minors in Hispanic Studies and Global Engagement. After graduation, he taught high school Spanish as well as serving for a time as Education Director at Tacoma’s very own Alchemy Skateboarding. In 2015, he left the City of Destiny for the other Washington (DC) to pursue a Master’s degree in the field of Peace and Conflict Resolution and a career in public service.
Upon finishing his graduate studies at American University’s School of International Service in 2017, Brandon was selected as a Finalist for the Presidential Management Fellowship, the U.S. Federal Government’s flagship leadership development program. He obtained an appointment in 2018 at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, where he serves as the Communications and Outreach Lead in the Presidential Management Fellows Program Office. As part of his fellowship, he will also carry out a detail on the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. He currently resides in the Brookland neighborhood of Washington, DC.
The Presidential Management Fellows Program is the flagship leadership program of the US Office of Personnel Management. It includes a two-year appointment with a federal agency and leadership development for advanced degree candidates.
There, he will learn about current issues in international affairs and acquire valuable skills to prepare him for a career in the field. He is most interested in how religion shapes foreign policy and hopes to improve relationships between the US and Muslim countries.
Omer’s journey has been a remarkable one: Born in Sudan, he immigrated to the U.S. when he was 13. He spoke Arabic at home and didn’t know any English when he first arrived. He is now a sophomore at UW Tacoma who is not only thriving academically but also mentoring high school students through the Students Together Empowering Personal Success (STEPS) program. It doesn’t end there; he is active in the Muslim Student Organization, works at our Teaching and Learning Center and as an IT Student Assistant as well. His faculty mentor is Turan Kayaoglu.
In 2015, the program selected 15 Scholars out of over 500 applications. Omer is the first UW Tacoma student to be chosen for this prestigious program and only the second UW student in the program’s history.
Scholarship for Women Studying Information Security
Kebra Thompson (Computer Engineering and Systems, BS '15)
She is one of 16 Scholars nationally. Kebra is pursuing a second career after eighteen years as a high school math teacher. She is planning to use math to solve problems and looks forward to doing that in the field of cybersecurity.
She will also be working with Dr. Ka Yee Yeung at UW Tacoma on a National Institutes of Health (NIH) sponsored research project on data coordination and integration. The research is a collaborative effort between six universities across the country.
The Scholarship for Women Studying Information Security (SWSIS) is sponsored by Applied Computer Security Associates, Inc. and Hewlett-Packard. It supports female students who’re pursuing degrees in fields relating to information security. For more information, please visit the program website.
Tillman Military Scholarship
Shortly after earning his bachelor’s degree, James enlisted in the U.S. Army as a Counterintelligence Agent and later became a Green Beret. He served two tours of duty in Afghanistan and one in Iraq earning two Bronze Star Medals for his service. While deployed to Afghanistan he conducted village stability operations and helped to establish the Afghan Local Police (ALP) program.
As a post-bac student at UW Tacoma, James took prerequisite classes for the Physician Assistant program he will be starting at the UW Seattle campus this summer. He was a founding member and treasurer of the Student Veterans Association on campus. Long term, he hopes to practice and provide access to healthcare both in the rural Midwest and in Southeast Asia.
The Tillman Foundation provides scholarships for veteran and active-duty students with extraordinary academic and leadership potential, and a strong service orientation.
Chanise Jackson (Law and Policy & Business Administration, BA 23')
Jackson is a double major in law and policy and business administration. She is the Co-Chair (with Jimenez) of the UW Tacoma Global Honors Student Leadership Council and President of the Urban Debate Society. Originally from Fredericksburg, Virginia, Jackson developed a love for public service when growing up low-income and first generation meant relying on the community around her for needs, instructions, and hope alike. She is passionate about writing poetry, Lupus awareness, public service, human rights and activism. In her future career, Jackson wants to use her activism, experiences, and love for people to bring volume to the voices often silenced.
Jimenez, who is from Tacoma, is a junior studying law and policy and minoring in global engagement. He hopes to pursue a law degree upon graduation. He currently serves as Co-Chair (with Jackson) of the UW Tacoma Global Honors Student Leadership Council and is the School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences (SIAS) senator. He also serves as a Commissioner on the City of Tacoma’s Human Rights Commission, which studies, investigates, and mediates community issues that may result from discrimination. Prior to pursuing his undergraduate education, Jimenez worked in the non-profit sector as a fundraiser and development associate.
A highly competitive award, only 62 students were selected nationwide this year for the Truman Scholarship from more than 845 nominations. The scholarship recognizes aspiring leaders driven to make change at the policy level. Students are selected on the basis of leadership skills, demonstrated civic engagement, academic potential and a desire to pursue a career in public service.
Taylor Owens (Criminal Justice, BA '21)
Taylor Owens is a Criminal Justice major, minoring in American Indian Studies, and a descendant of the Squaxin Island Tribe who hopes to use restorative justice to strengthen Native American communities. She has been working as a Tobacco Cessation Specialist for her tribe for almost two years developing innovative public health programming. She is also interning for the Department of Justice as a Legal Assistant focused on Indian Country cases.
Seeing a need in her community, she has been organizing an annual Youth Education, Career, and Recruitment Fair that connects Native youth to post-secondary education and career opportunities. After graduating from UW Tacoma, she plans to pursue a Master's in Public Administration with the goal of working in tribal government.
Faith Ramos (Sustainable Urban Development, BA ’16)
She was also awarded a Gilman International Scholarship to study abroad in the Netherlands this summer.
Faith worked for fifteen years in arts and other non-profits before coming to UW Tacoma, including for National Parks programs that bring economically disadvantaged youth to the parks. She also has a strong background in filmmaking and produced, shot, edited, and narrated the documentary “Heart & Sold,” which addresses gentrification in Seattle's South Lake Union neighborhood.
Faith is a returning student; she built her first career on only a high school education after she had to leave college for both familial and financial reasons.
She is currently an Urban Forestry intern for the City of Seattle and hopes to work on environmental justice issues long-term. As an undergraduate researcher, Faith is examining the links between urban forests and human health. Her research is guided by Drs. Matthew Kelley and Linda Ishem. Faith would also like to give special thanks to Gregory Lund and Mark Pendras for their ongoing encouragement and support.
The Udall Scholarship awards 55 scholarships to sophomore and junior level college students committed to careers related to the environment, tribal public policy, or Native American health care. The Udall Foundation seeks future leaders across a wide spectrum of environmental fields, including policy, engineering, science, education, urban planning and renewal, business, health, justice, and economics.