Congratulations to senior Eileen Drolet, who has been selected as a 2020 Bonderman Fellow! This fellowship provides Eileen and her cohort of fellows the opportunity to travel the world independently for eight months in order to come to know the world in new ways. This year’s fellows have accepted the honor with the caveat that their travel will not take place until it is safe enough to do so, given the global covid-19 pandemic.
Eileen is an Economics major, and is double majoring in biochemistry. In addition to her academic studies, Eileen has been involved in student leadership for the last three years as a Resident Advisor and an Assistant Resident Director throughout her three years at UW.
Although this year’s fellows are not yet able to set off on their travels, Eileen is keeping positive about her eventual experience. “I haven’t had the opportunity to travel internationally before, so I’m really excited and proud to be a Bonderman Fellowship recipient and travel for eight months when it is once again safe and feasible to do so given the realities of the covid-19 pandemic,” she shared.
Established in 1995, the Bonderman Fellowship aims to expose students to the intrinsic, often life-changing, benefits of international travel by providing $20,000 to students to fund the adventure of a lifetime as they engage in independent exploration and travel abroad. Fellows are required to travel solo, for eight months, to at least two regions of the world with which they are not already familiar.
To foster individual transformation, fellows may not participate in a program or organization, engage in formal study at a foreign university, conduct research or other academic projects, or travel with an organized group during their fellowship. While traveling, Eileen hopes to reflect on how the natural world is integrated into other cultures, to think about community models of sustainability, to learn about environmental justice efforts, and to gain a more nuanced international perspective on land-use and natural resource management.
The Bonderman Fellowship was started by UW Alumnus David Bonderman. His generosity has allowed over 280 UW students to travel the world, and inspired his daughter to start a Bonderman Fellowship at her own alma matter, the University of Michigan.