UW graduate from Mercer Island receives travel fellowship

Nina Tan, a 2010 University of Washington graduate from Mercer Island, is one of 14 UW students who have been awarded Bonderman Travel Fellowships. Students traveling with this $20,000 fellowship set off on solo journeys that are at least eight months long, to at least two regions of the world. While traveling, students may not pursue academic study, projects or research.

Tan will begin her trip in China, making her way to Tibet and Nepal, then India and Bangladesh. She hopes "to learn about countries and their respective cultures and histories through the lens of food." After Asia and Southeast Asia, her route will bring her to Eastern Europe and the Czech Republic, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina. From there, she will travel through Greece and explore the Middle East and Egypt. After completing her travels and working for a few years, Tan plans to earn a master's degree in public health.

Tan was a Mary Gates Research Scholar and a UW Undergraduate Achievement Scholar, and a member of the student organization Students for Equal Health. She majored in economics and cellular, molecular and developmental biology and was a student in the UW Honors Program.

Since the Fellowship was established in 1995, 151 undergraduate and graduate UW students have been named Bonderman Fellows. The 2010 Bonderman Fellows are to travel to Ethiopia, Egypt, Papua New Guinea, Japan, China, El Salvador, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Columbia, Morocco, South Korea, Panama, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, Eritrea, Somalia, Belize, Haiti, Cambodia, South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Iceland and many other countries and regions. Their interests include learning about maternity and birthing practices around the world, visiting places where large groups of people have been displaced due to conflict, experiencing environmental conservation around the world, learning about international business landscapes and more.

The application process includes an essay and interview with a selection committee comprised of University faculty and staff and former Bonderman Fellows.

Brook Kelly, Honors Program adviser and 2003 Bonderman Fellow who chairs the selection committee, said the process is designed to select students who are open to the transformative potential of this journey and capable of succeeding at what is an often challenging experience.

"This year's fellows are a perfect balance of capable and open; we are so excited to see what they will do with this opportunity," Kelly said.

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