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Bonderman Fellowship

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.

2018 - 2019 Fellowship Information:

Info sessions will be held at the Michigan Union Pond Room on the following dates:

  • Friday, October 20         5:30pm
  • Monday, November 13    5:30pm
  • Monday, December 4      12:30pm
  • Friday, January 12          12:30pm

Info sessions will be held at the CGIS office (Suite 200, Weiser Hall) on the following dates:

  • Thursday, November 2         12:30pm / 1:00pm
  • Wednesday, December 13    12:30pm / 1:00pm

Pizza and refreshments will be served at all Bonderman info sessions


The application deadline is Monday, January 29, 2018.

For more information or to start an application, click here!


The 2017-2018 Bonderman Fellowship Recipients

The Center for Global and Intercultural Study (CGIS) is proud to announce Stephen Dowker, Martin Jamal Jenkins, Kelly O’Donnel, and Ji Ye as the 2017-2018 Bonderman Fellows.  

Ji Ye, Earth and Environmental Science Major (TOP LEFT): "I like to think of myself as an adventurer. I believe in dreaming big and going all out. We are all capable of extraordinary feats and deserving of a kind and spectacular life. The moments I value, the ones that flood my mind and fill my lungs, are those in which I find myself marveling at the world and its people. I seek purpose and hope to share happiness. The Bonderman fellowship offers me the opportunity to take all that my education has taught me and break the limits. On the Bonderman, I will find my way from here by learning from others who are making their own way, however and wherever that may be."

Martin Jamal Jenkins, Biomolecular Science major (TOP RIGHT): "I see the opportunity of being the next Bonderman Fellow as an adventure, externally, and more importantly, internally. Internal adventure or self-discovery is something that is very important to me because we use core values to connect with others. I am intrigued by the endeavor of traveling without companionship because in theory, we are never truly alone. Even though the relationships I will make abroad may or may not be temporary, I welcome the opportunity to learn from each person that I meet along the way. Despite physical, cultural, and geographical differences, people of varying backgrounds can forge a common understanding through building and approaching the world with an open mind."

Stephen Dowker, Neuroscience major (BOTTOM LEFT): "Being born at the University of Michigan Hospital, growing up in Ann Arbor, and now graduating from the University of Michigan, I have had a lot of advantages. I spent a long time learning about the world in classrooms and enjoying pseudo-cultural experiences from the safety of my hometown. But to me all of these lessons are just tiny samples of something much bigger, something that can only be understood by immersing myself in the worldview of other peoples. In the same way that participating in research solidifies material learned in the classroom, I believe that travel solidifies cultural understanding. Never having really left this city, I know I have a lot to learn in this regard, but I am confident that this fellowship and the world itself will be great teachers."

Kelly O’Donnel, Psychology major (BOTTOM RIGHT): “I've always had dreams of travel and worldwide exploration, but assumed that my resource limitations rendered those aspirations impossible. I worked 50-hour weeks, joined every extracurricular, pushed myself in academics, and drove myself nearly insane with clinical psychology graduate applications to continue on the stringent path I thought was my only option; until I was given the opportunity of a Bonderman Fellowship. I immediately rescinded my PhD acceptance offer, and am fully embracing every unexpected turn I now face. While traveling, I hope to broaden my limited worldview, gain perspective into cross-cultural perceptions of mental illness, and to achieve insight that will promote future research into pediatric trauma response in underdeveloped nations." 


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