Celebrating IS Major Award Winners

Olivia Ligman Awarded 2023 Richard Ralph Winter Phoenix Rising Humanitarian Scholarship
Article by Meg Hamel

Olivia Ligman imageOlivia Ligman has received the 2023 Richard Ralph Winter Phoenix Rising Humanitarian Scholarship from the College of Letters & Science. Through the Student Workers’ Rights Committee of Associated Students of Madison (UW–Madison’s student government) Ligman emerged as an advocate for labor rights for students working in campus dining and residence halls. Looking ahead, she plans to “work with disenfranchised and historically exploited communities, such as children, and Black women, in labor education and empowerment. I also aim to organize against prisons and incarceration, and for the recognition of incarcerated workers’ rights. Through this organizing and education, my ultimate goal is to mitigate harm done to these communities, and create actionable paths to change that are accessible, meaningful, and sustainable.” She is from Amherst, Portage County, Wisconsin.

Apply for the $5000 Richard Ralph Winter Phoenix Rising Humanitarian Scholarship, November 15, 2023–January 15, 2024, open to enrolled L&S undergraduates who have completed their first year at UW–Madison and will be enrolled in the 2024–25 academic year.

The selection committee for this scholarship praised the breadth of her campus and community service, for she has served as director of the Wisconsin Union Directorate Global Connections Committee, editor of the Journal of Undergraduate International Studies, participated in the 2022 Public Policy Leadership Conference at Harvard Kennedy School, tutored at a local community center, and helped high-achieving, low-income high-school students navigate college application processes through the Matriculate program.

Ligman intends to graduate in Spring 2024, after completing an intriguing combination of academic programs: a College of Letters & Science Bachelor of Arts degree with majors in African Cultural Studies and International Studies with an emphasis on Politics and Policy in the Global Economy. She is also on track to graduate with four of UW–Madison’s academic certificates: Global Cultures, Languages, and Education; Social Justice and Education; Middle East Studies; and East Central European Languages, Literature, and Cultures.

“I anticipate working as a community educator, organizer, and librarian, focusing on labor history and intersectional approaches to liberation. As libraries become one of the few bastions of free and publicly accessible literature, internet access, and meeting space, the role of librarians has become vital for social and community well-being, as well as public education and literacy,” she says.

The Richard Ralph Winter Phoenix Rising Humanitarian Scholarship, made possible by the generosity of Charles Manthey Winter (’66), recognizes humanitarian achievement and service, encouraging excellence and commitment in the application of humanitarian ideals, and affirming the moral obligation to provide for human welfare.

The 2023 scholarship selection committee included Professor Harry Brighouse (Philosophy); Dean Ladwig, Assistant Director of the Morgridge Center for Public Engagement; Ulrich Rosenhagen (History and Religious Studies), also director of the Center of Religion and Global Citizenry; and Professor Sasha Maria Suare (History and American Indian Studies).

Kamika Patel, BVO Scholarship Award Winner to study at Lund University in Sweden and Oslo Norway

Congratulations to Kamika Patel, International Studies (Global Security) major, who was recently selected as a study abroad scholarship recipient from the Brittingham Viking Organization (BVO). She will be studying at Lund University in Sweden and the University of Oslo Norway in Spring 2023 and Summer 2023, respectively.

The scholarship program places one scholar in Finland, one in Sweden, and one in Denmark based on majors, availability at the partner universities, and scholastic aptitude. The program culminates with all three scholars studying together at the International Summer School at the University of Oslo in Norway. Scholar cohorts travel together to Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Norway to visit Viking alumni and celebrate cultural holidays. The scholarship is designed to cover housing, tuition/program fees, roundtrip flights to Scandinavia, visas, insurance, and a generous living and travel stipend, with the total value of the program up to $25,000.

As a BVO Scholar, Kamika is most looking forward to traveling around Northern Europe and learning about the different countries in Scandinavia, within the classroom and beyond. There will be a range of experiences for her to participate in, including comparative studies, enjoying natural landscapes, and visiting quaint towns and big cities to connect with the countries’ histories and cultures. She is even more excited to meet a range of Viking alumni from the past 65 years of the program.

Congratulations Kamika!

Amelia Catacutan, 2022 Newman Family Scholarship


“Amelia Catacutan is a student at UW-Madison majoring in International Studies and Educational Studies with certificates in Asian American Studies, Educational Policy, and Social Justice and Education. She pursued international studies out of interest due to her upbringing in a Filipino household and exposure to a variety of cultures. With her involvement in foreign exchange programs in school, she found herself fascinated by international studies specifically as it relates to education. She is a proud member of the Filipinx American Student Organization (FASO) and hopes to use her knowledge to make schooling more accessible and beneficial for marginalized and multicultural students. She is grateful for the support of the IS program and the Newman family.”

Alexis P. Kwak, 2022 Newman Family Scholarship


“Coming from a small town in Northern Wisconsin, I was itching to learn more about the world. When I came to UW-Madison, I was able to take advantage of the opportunity to learn through the international studies major. I chose the international studies major because of the broad spectrum of information it provides about different aspects of culture, language, and politics across the globe. This summer, I will be interning with Land’s End as their Global Sourcing intern to gain more knowledge on trade imports and become a better-rounded member of the supply chain community. Upon graduation, I am planning to use my knowledge gained to attend graduate school in the area of Homeland Security. As for my career, I plan to enter the field of agricultural trade security and port infrastructure development to ensure that people around the world are receiving high-quality, safe products in a timely manner.”

Marina Navarro, 2022 Newman Family Scholarship

“My classroom experience as an international studies major has opened my eyes to the complexity and interconnectedness of international development and health. As a result, the IS major has allowed me to take my interest in community health & development and apply it on a larger, global scale. Beyond the classroom, I am an active member of the Immigration/Indigenous Rights Policy Team at Amnesty International at UW-Madison, and have interned as a Communications and Development Intern at Health Access Connect – a non-profit organization focused on increasing healthcare access in Uganda.”

“After graduation, I hope to work in government or the private sector and use this time to explore what Masters degree I would like to pursue. I am currently considering an MBA in Sustainable Development and Diplomacy. After the incredible experience of my semester abroad in France, I’m very interested in potentially obtaining my degree abroad!”

Claire James, Wolff Fellowship 2022

Claire James“The College of Letters & Science’s Wolff Fellowship provides $45,000 to an L&S senior “to pursue their passions without limits,” as described by donors Paul Martin Wolff ’63 and Rhea S. Schwartz. The fellowship emphasizes both academic accomplishment and community service. “When we set out to create this opportunity, we knew there were students with incredible talents and a desire for service that we could support,” said Paul Wolff, a UW-Madison history graduate. “Claire James is clearly an exceptional graduate who we are proud to champion as she pursues these worthy efforts.”

“This summer, James will work on English language programming in Nagasaki, Japan, and then move to Seoul, South Korea to teach English to high-school students planning to study at U.S. colleges. This builds on her experiences volunteering with Madison’s Open Doors for Refugees, where she has helped English-language learners at Madison College practice conversation.”

Lydia Nyachieo, Marshall Scholarship 2021

“Established in 1953, the Marshall Scholarship Program gives high achieving U.S. students the opportunity to study at the graduate level at any university in the United Kingdom. The program was created to honor the ideals of the Marshall Plan and to foster appreciation of the U.K. among future U.S. leaders. Up to 50 scholarships are awarded each year; there are 41 winners in the 2022 class of Marshall Scholars.

“Marshall Scholars are considered among the top undergraduate university students in the United States,” says Provost Karl Scholz. “The competition is intense and the selection process long and rigorous. This is a tremendous honor for Lydia, and we’re thrilled as a university to be playing a role in her education and in helping to launch what will surely be an impressive career.”

Daniel Ledin, Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Summer Enrichment Program Scholar

“The Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Summer Enrichment Program provides undergraduate students with a deeper appreciation of current issues and trends in international affairs, a greater understanding of career opportunities in international affairs and the enhanced knowledge and skills to pursue such careers. During the fully funded six-week intensive program, scholars will participate in a variety of programs with leading foreign affairs professionals and will attend virtual events at diverse locations around Washington, DC, including the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and Congress.”

“Daniel Ledin is a junior majoring in Political Science and International Studies and is the first UW-Madison student ever selected for the program. Daniel, who hopes to one day work for the U.S. Department of State, specifically the U.S. Foreign Service, says he “pursued the Rangel program because I knew it would grant me unparalleled professional development and career exposure. I look forward to interacting with various think tanks, government agencies and NGOs to learn about the different opportunities available in the international affairs sector. In addition, I am excited to immerse myself in a cohort of passionate students from across the nation.”

Tierney Hall, Tommy Thompson Leadership Scholarship, 2020

The Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership offers scholarships to undergraduate students at each of the University of Wisconsin System’s four-year campuses.  Scholarships are intended for undergraduates who have shown public leadership in their lives in a way that reflects the general legacy of Governor Tommy G. Thompson.  Governor Thompson was a broad thinker who offered common sense solutions to tackle big problems through teamwork and an unending zeal to make our state a better place. We seek high quality applicants who reflect Tommy’s spirit, have demonstrated leadership during their time in college, and will continue to lead in the future.

Alondra Avitia, Outstanding Student Employee of the Year, 2020


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