Skip to main content

News & Events

PhD Student Jay Cunningham receives UW Bonderman Travel Fellowship

July 28, 2023

Jay Cunningham, a PhD candidate in the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering, has been named a University of Washington Bonderman Fellow 2023.

Administered by the University Honors Program and the Graduate School, Bonderman Fellowships enable students to undertake independent international travel to explore, be open to the unexpected, and come to know the world in new ways.

Jay CunninghamJay Cunningham
HCDE PhD Candidate
Hometown: Artesia, MS

Jay’s upbringing, identity, and family socioeconomic status are motivating factors of why he is pursuing the Bonderman Travel Fellowship. He wants to embark on a journey that his contemporary family members have no recollection of and one that his ancestors never had the choice to take. Jay deeply desires to retrace the transatlantic slave trade through the Global South and connect with the rich history, culture, and traditions of Benin and Ghana in West Africa, Brazil in Latin America, and Jamaica, Barbados, and surrounding Caribbean islands. Through Bonderman, his goal is to connect histories, stories, cultures, languages, and a sense of belonging among Black people in these regions. Through this fellowship, he hopes to achieve the following: 1) reconnect with his ancestral roots, 2) explore cultural landmarks, 3) experience vibrant cities, communities, and landscapes, and 4) gain a deeper understanding of Black diasporic history and culture extending from West Africa to the Americas.

Cunningham is one of eight UW students selected for the annual overseas travel award. Read more about the 2023 Bonderman Fellows here.