The Bonderman Fellowship offers 4 graduating LSA seniors $20,000 to travel the world. They must travel to at least 6 countries in 2 regions over the course of 8 months and are expected to immerse themselves in independent and enriching explorations. Bonderman Fellows engage with cultures, people, and areas of the world with which they are not familiar, providing an opportunity to develop entirely new perspectives.
UM is 1 of only 2 schools—along with the University of Washington—to offer the Bonderman award. Fellows make their own travel itineraries and, because this is meant to be an individual experience, cannot engage in formal study at a foreign university, conduct formal research, or travel with a guest or organized group for longer than 10 days.
To keep up with the Fellows during their travels, follow us on the NEW Bonderman blog, Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat!
The 2018-2019 Bonderman Fellowship Recipients
Shruti Arora, Neuroscience and Evolutionary Anthropology major: During my time at U-M, I have been fostering my love of science, especially though my research in neuropsychiatric disease, specifically Bipolar Disorder. Science is my first love and I hope in whatever I end up doing, I will help bridge the gap between science and the public to help create a more informed community. I think an education is the greatest gift I have been given and I want to help ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to receive the same. When I am not in the lab, I do enjoying reading and try to do so whenever possible. I also love being outdoors (Michigan weather permitting). I am excited to explore some new hobbies on the Bonderman Fellowship, such as my budding interest in photography.
Ivyanne Augustine, English and German major: During my first year, I joined Nerdfighters at UM, which, contrary to what the name might lead you to believe, is not some kind of freaks n’ geeks fight club. It’s actually a nerdy social club that also does work with local charities, and I’m happy to say I served as its president for about three years. Some of the students in that group were fans of Starkid and decided to put on A Very Potter Musical, which lead to the formation of another student organization, NERDS (Not Even Really Drama Students) in 2016. NERDS is an amateur theatre group that produces a musical once per semester. From the script, to the music, to the actors themselves, NERDS productions are entirely generated by students. I’ve acted in three musicals and was the lead in one. This year, I researched and wrote my English Honors thesis, which was one of the most difficult but also the most rewarding endeavors of my undergraduate career. In addition to academic writing, a creative nonfiction essay of mine is part of the anthology Social Class Voices: Student Stories from the University of Michigan Bicentennial and one of my poems is featured in this year’s issue of Xylem Literary Magazine. It’s the first time my creative work has been published, but hopefully not the last.
Chetali Jain, Microbiology major and Writing minor: As shocking and scandalous, strange and confusing as it sounds for a Bonderman recipient to say this, I like trying new things. Coming from Novi, MI, I saw college as an opportunity to do this. I wore many different hats (ironically, I can’t pull off wearing actual hats due to my head shape): Sweetland Peer Writing Consultant, reporter and news editor for The Michigan Daily, EMT and professional ER minion, researcher at Yale Medical School, strictly “for fun” guitar busker, mushroom forager for my EEB class – the list goes on in a similarly eclectic fashion. Keeping busy and opting for the less obvious, more labyrinthine route has enriched and eternalized my time; I expect my Bonderman travels to be both a continuation and an entirely new version of this exploration.
Alexis Jones, Biochemistry major and Latin Language & Literature minor: Throughout my time at the University of Michigan, I have been involved in a number of extracurricular activities. My freshman year I walked onto the Women’s Rowing Team as a coxswain. The rowing team has become my second family and has taught me about commitment, time management, and what it means to be a part of something bigger than myself. As a junior, I served as the coxswain for the 2nd Varsity 8+, which placed third at the NCAA Championships—definitely a highlight of my college career. I am also involved in Greek Life and served as Vice President of Programming for the Panhellenic Association in 2017. After the Bonderman Fellowship, I hope to pursue medical school and one day become a surgeon.