Funding and Scholarships

Funding through the IS Major

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The Newman Family Scholarship for International Studies

The Newman Family Scholarship for International Studies has been established to benefit women International Studies majors who strive to promote understanding of different cultures in the service of the greater good.

Lynne Newman is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin (BA ’67). Her Spanish major prepared her for a full life that has included travel all over the world. Exposure to a variety of cultures has increased her awareness of the need to promote understanding of different cultures. She believes that this understanding can lead to solving some of our global challenges including reducing armed conflict and promoting literacy and family planning for women. She and her husband Jim established the Newman Family Scholarship to benefit a women students majoring in International Studies within the College of Letters & Science.

How to Apply
Women students with Junior standing who are pursuing the International Studies major at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who have maintained a GPA of 3.5 or higher in the major, are eligible to apply for the award. A faculty selection committee will choose one or more recipients based on eligibility and the excellence of the proposals. Calls for application are shared with IS Majors in the spring term. To apply, complete the following form and submit materials to : Newman-Family-Scholarship-Self-Nomination-form-2024 (1).

The Newman Family Internship Award

With generous support from the Newman family, the International Studies Major offers funding for undergraduate women who have declared as IS Majors and need additional financial assistance to pursue unpaid or under-paid summer internships related to International Studies.

Lynne Newman is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin (BA ’67). Her Spanish major prepared her for a full life that has included travel all over the world. Exposure to a variety of cultures has increased her awareness of the need to promote understanding of different cultures. She believes that this understanding can lead to solving some of our global challenges including reducing armed conflict and promoting literacy and family planning for women. She and her husband Jim established the Newman Family Scholarship to benefit a women students majoring in International Studies within the College of Letters & Science.

How to Apply
Applicants must have junior standing and a minimum GPA of 3.3 in the major. Applications are due Monday, March 18th, 2024. Depending on remaining funds, applications will be considered on a rolling basis after the March 18th deadline. To apply, complete this form:  Newman Internship Award Application 2024 and send it to

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2023 Newman Family Scholarship Recipients

Newman Family Scholarship Award

Lilly Trkla

My name is Lilly Trkla, and I am a rising junior majoring in International Studies here at UW Madison. I am also earning certificates in History, Criminal Justice, and Classics during my time here. I initially chose to study IS because I have always had a passion for criminal justice,but my interests pertained more strongly to the way in which incarcerated people are treated in different systems across the globe. I believe that looking at other systems can help to inform our own. International Studies has allowed me to explore this topic, while expanding my perception of the problem itself. I have learned that looking at the problem itself often is not enough. IS taught me the importance of listening. If you want to understand an issue more in depth, maybe the first step does not have to be a cross-cultural systemic analysis, but should instead be talking to those directly impacted by the issue itself. It is through listening and understanding that we can build systems that actually benefit the people that they are made for. 

It is this mentality, found throughout the major, that really drew me in. I have always wanted to understand the broader context of complex global issues, and the IS major has allowed me to continually explore this.The multidisciplinary approach used within International Studies has given me the opportunity to take charge and follow my passions, while guiding me towards the exploration of new cultures, topics, and ideas. The lessons that I have learned and the experiences that I have gained as an International Studies major will remain with me forever. 

Lastly, I want to extend a thank you to the Newman Family for their ongoing support of women in the International studies major!


Natalia Torres

My name is Natalia Torres, and I am a rising junior majoring in International Studies (Global Security) and Information Science with a certificate in Political Science.

Becoming an International Studies student has provided me with an educational foundation that has enhanced how I continue to explore the world. Integral to the International Studies major’s mission is to provide a holistic education to students, something extremely valuable and necessary when addressing and working with multifaceted global issues. Such values are evident in how I continue to pursue my International Studies degree, in which I developed my passion for understanding the intersections between global issues and information and communication technology (ICT). I am interested in examining ICT in development (ICT4D), memory studies, connection to one’s political and social identity, and its influence during times of conflict. Such interest has led me to double major in Information Science in hopes of showcasing how one can merge two fields to understand and solve global issues.

I have witnessed and felt the utmost care for students to reach their fullest potential, shaping how I seek to expand my academic potential outside the classroom setting. Throughout the 2022-2023 academic year, I have had the opportunity to be a part of the Undergraduate Research Scholar (URS) program aiding in research to explore how Spanish-language radio shows influence Latino political participation in the United States. Involving myself in research has allowed me to build on skills and work to understand marginalized communities. As this academic year is approaching an end, I am excited to utilize the values and learning objectives central to the International Studies major as I prepare to become an exchange student at The University of Leeds in the United Kingdom for the upcoming academic year. 

Finally, I want to showcase my utmost gratitude to the Newman Family for understanding the importance of women in International Studies and acknowledging the immense influence women can and continue to present in their communities and beyond. This scholarship demonstrates the importance of supporting those who wish to work in the field or issues related to International Studies. Being awarded this scholarship with such an incredible cohort of women is truly an honor and a highlight of my time here at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Newman Family Scholarship Honorable Mention

Grace Deis
My name is Grace Deis and I am majoring in International Studies and Data Science with a certificate in Russian, Eastern European, and Central Asian Area Studies. I am a member of the College of Letters and Sciences Honors Program and a leader in Intervarsity Christian Fellowship.

I first became interested in international studies in high school when I joined Model United Nations. I loved researching issues from multiple viewpoints and was fascinated by how complex the world is. I wanted to learn more and decided to major in international studies. During my sophomore year, I was selected to be part of the Undergraduate Research Scholars program where I worked on a project about the Indian judicial system. Through this experience, I learned how important data is in researching international issues, which inspired me to add on a data science major. In the spring of 2023, I studied abroad in Scotland. Thanks to my international studies education, I had the context and analytical skills I needed to get the most out of the experience.

After graduation, it is my goal to work for the government at the intersection of international issues and data science. I am so thankful to the Newman family for this award and to all my professors and IS advisors that led me to where I am.


Zoe O’Halloran
My name is Zoe O’Halloran, and I am a rising senior majoring in International Studies (Global Security) with certificates in Global Health and Russian, Eastern European, and Central Asian Area Studies. While coming into this major my freshman year I did not have a clear focus, but throughout fascinating courses and extremely knowledgeable professors, I have been able to focus on a specific area of interest. Forced migration and refugee studies is an area I am extremely interested in, which has been supported through classes offered at UW, such as Southeast Asian Refugees of the Cold War, as well as opportunities I have experienced while studying abroad in Paris. After graduation, I plan to continue exploring this area of study through grad school and/or joining the Peace Corps! I am extremely grateful to UW and especially, the Newman Family!


Kamika Patel

My name is Kamika Patel, and I am a rising senior, majoring in International Studies and Communication Arts with certificates in Educational Policy and Business Fundamentals. While growing up as a second-generation Indian-American in different urban and suburban environments, I have been exposed to and formed relationships with people from various cultures and backgrounds throughout my upbringing. These interactions made me be encaptivated by cultural differences and similarities and I began wanting to understand the historical and political context behind them too. While I was declared undecided when I began my undergraduate studies, my wanting to pursue International Studies in higher education was heavily determined by the interdisciplinary approach of the major. I do not feel limited to one major or interest as the program combines the studies of foreign languages, history, economics, and politics. The diverse group of students this program attracts based on the various subjects and interests it encapsulates creates a rich learning environment where we can consider multi-layered issues from different perspectives. This is critical to understanding a rapidly advancing globalized and complex world presenting evolving challenges.
During my time in the International Studies major, I have had incredible opportunities to contribute to my education and personal growth. My coursework and leading professors have time and time again made me consider intersecting perspectives as worldly topics are brought to the forefront of engaging classroom discussions. I have also spent time working across different organizations to help English language learners improve their literacy and conversational skills and first or second-generation students with college or employment preparation. While working with an international organization based in Costa Rica, I learned more about the tourism and travel industries in remote areas. As a staff writer and editor for the Wisconsin International Review, a UW-Madison online foreign policy magazine, I have been able to research and write about underreported global affairs. During my study abroad programs in Argentina and Scandinavia, respectively, I have learned what it means to embrace the role of a first-time learner in an international context.
I will continue to study abroad in Scandinavia, Norway specifically, during the summer term of 2023 and return to UW Madison to welcome international students and help other students considering going abroad as well. After graduating from UW-Madison, I hope to go to graduate school for International Affairs and help global communities that face different challenges relating to economic and social inequalities with all of the skills I have developed through my IS major. I truly am grateful for the experiences I have had as an undergraduate student and thank the Newman family’s support of women in the International Studies major.

Sarah Sprinkman

My name is Sarah Sprinkman and I am a rising junior majoring in International Studies and Spanish with a concentration in Politics and Policy in the Global Economy. 

My interest in International Studies began in high school, where I had the opportunity to participate in the Global Scholars Program. Through this program, I learned about global issues such as climate change, gender inequality, and several refugee crises. I also had the opportunity to learn the Spanish language, which broadened my language skills, my knowledge of culture, and the ways in which the aforementioned problems impact Hispanic nations. To me, these issues seemed so pressing, and as a citizen of our world, I wanted to be as prepared as I could be to help. The IS program here at UW has absolutely prepared me to do just that. 

One of the most significant ways that I have been prepared to do this is through the interdisciplinary educational opportunities that have been offered to me here. For example, I am currently a Research Assistant in the Brauer Group Lab, which studies social psychology in tandem with an environmental conservation program in Mexico. This holistic approach is essential to understanding what makes some conservation programs more effective than others, and it has taught me many valuable lessons about the necessity for balanced approaches to solving global issues. Problems as massive as climate change warrant massive and holistic solutions that take into account cultural, social, economic, scientific, and a whole host of other factors. Thanks to UW-Madison, I understand the importance of comprehensive solutions to global issues, and I feel compelled to be a global citizen who helps to tackle these problems. 

In Spring 2024, I plan to study abroad in Madrid. After graduation, I would like to continue to study international relations by earning a master’s degree in development economics. I am so grateful to the Newman family for this award and their support of women in the IS major, and I am also thankful for the support I have received from my IS advisors and the faculty here at UW-Madison, especially Professor Lisa Naughton. 


2023 Newman Family Internship Fund Recipient

Tess Namy

This summer I had the pleasure and opportunity to work with The American Task Force on Lebanon, a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC. The American Task Force on Lebanon, also referred to as ATFL, works to strengthen the US-Lebanon relationship through advocacy and outreach work with Congress and The Administration, the policy community, media, and think tanks. This summer I joined the ATFL team to help promote an independence, prosperous, and democratic Lebanon. Within my role as a policy and outreach intern, I helped schedule and attended meetings with members of Congress to brief them on relevant issues in Lebanon and advocate intentional policy issues. Additionally, I helped monitor daily press releases from the State Department hearings conducted by the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and information from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee regarding United States foreign policy in Lebanon. This summer I was able to develop stronger professional communication skills while expanding my knowledge on Lebanon and foreign policy. This experience was extremely rewarding allowing me to advance my career pursuits in government work. Thank you to the Newman family for helping support me throughout the summer and benefitting me with this scholarship.

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2022 Newman Family Scholarship Recipients

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

My name is Alexis Kwak and I am a junior majoring in International Studies, Political Science, and Chinese with an Educational Policy Certificate. On-campus, I am involved in several student organizations and serve as President of both the Association of Women in Agriculture and the Political Science Student Association. I am also involved in organizations outside of Madison including the United Nations Food and Agriculture Committee on World Food Security – Private Sector Mechanism Gender Committee.

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 led me to my global logistics internship with Chippewa Valley Bean which has shaped my goals in the global sphere. Throughout the summer, I spent my time communicating with over 100 customers in approximately 35 countries, digitizing shipping documents for over fifteen of our international customers, finding ways for the company to be more efficient, training new members of the logistics team, implementing a new documentation policy with our Italian team, and making personal relations with business professionals all around the world.

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.

I am honored to have been chosen for the 2022 Newman Family Scholarship and thank the Newman’s for their continued support of women in the International Studies major.

Alexis’s Work: AgChat Supply Chain Episode


Marina Navarro, 2022 Newman Family Scholarship

My name is Marina Navarro and I am a rising senior, earning degrees in global health and international studies with emphasis on politics and policy in the global economy.

I have always had an international mindset. I always knew I wanted to work internationally in some capacity. My parents are both from Spain, and made sure I was raised with an awareness for the world and its cultures. They taught me Spanish, made sure I learned French in elementary school, and gave me the opportunity to spend my summers in Spain. I have them to thank for inspiring my interest in international studies.

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!

I am grateful for the Newman Family’s support for women pursuing careers in the international arena, and I want to extend a sincere thank you to my professors, TAs, and Molly Donnellan, all of whom have kept me inspired along the way.

2021 Newman Family Scholarship Recipients

Claire James:

My name is Claire James and I am a junior majoring in International Studies and Economics with a certificate in French. I am also a member of the Wisconsin International Scholars Program and the College of Letters and Sciences Honors Program, an editor for the Journal of Undergraduate International Studies, and an active member of UW-Madison’s Women in Economics chapter. Growing up in a small town, my high school French language classes allowed me to see the world through new eyes. Spending two weeks in China through an exchange program with a local university solidified my desire to grow as a global citizen and incorporate an international element into my undergraduate studies and ultimate career choice. My language skills and international experiences in high school led me to search for a university that not only offered a diverse and challenging International Studies curriculum, but also dedicated and accessible faculty and the opportunity to positively impact the wider university community.

The International Studies major has been one of the best parts of my undergraduate experience at UW-Madison. The coursework provides ample opportunity to carve one’s path within the major and take classes that link language, country, and cultural interests. I have had the privilege to learn from professors who bring the world to the classroom. I have also spent time working with learners of all ages both on and off-campus. My experience helping young students improve literacy skills, introducing international students to life in the United States and preparing them for study at American universities, and virtually meeting with English language learners during the pandemic to practice conversation has inspired me to advocate for equitable education for all types of students. As a language learner myself, I have personally experienced both the frustrations and the joys that come with learning something challenging. It is an understanding I will always carry with me.

I will be studying abroad in France during the fall of 2021 and could not be more excited to put the competencies I have strengthened through my International Studies major and coursework to good use. After graduating from UW-Madison, I plan to teach English abroad and then earn a graduate degree in public policy or economics. I hope to pursue a career with a focus on issues of poverty, economic diversification, and sustainable development. In my roles as an educator on campus, I have come to realize that change can be fueled by substantive educational opportunities. I truly have the International Studies major to thank for some of the most eye-opening experiences as an undergraduate and am grateful for the Newman family’s support of women in the International Studies major.

Lydia Nyachieo:

My name is Lydia Nyachieo and I am a rising senior studying International Studies and Philosophy with minors in French and African Studies.

Growing up here in Madison, my West African mom would tell me tidbits about the history and culture of different places in Africa, so I had a slight interest in global affairs before coming to UW. However, I didn’t consider the major until I took International Studies 101 after my freshman year. I was drawn in by the interdisciplinarity of the field – which incorporates history, culture, geography, economics, and politics from different parts of the world – and by how it gave critical insights into the different dynamic realities that underlie many international issues. Through various courses, such as Global Poverty and Inequality and Sociology of Developing Societies, I’ve become increasingly interested in issues around social and economic inequality and exploitation, global interdependencies, and equitable, sustainable development.

Throughout my time in the International Studies major, I’ve enjoyed studying other languages, including continuing to study French and starting to learn Swahili. I’m also a staff writer and editor for the Wisconsin International Review, a UW-Madison online foreign policy magazine, where I write on underreported global affairs.

This summer, I’m thankful to have the opportunity to do a virtual UW International Internship with the Associated Center for Agro-Based Development (ACADES), a Malawian organization that helps youth farmers in central Malawi with their agro-businesses. I’m also working as a virtual intern with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, an independent think tank based in Chicago, IL that seeks to provide insight into critical global issues. After graduating from UW-Madison, I hope to go to graduate school for international affairs and thereafter find ways I can best contribute what I’ve learned to help global communities that bear the brunt of different economic and social inequalities.

I want to say a sincere thanks to all of my professors, TAs, and IS advisors who have fueled my interest and expanded my perspectives on these international issues, as well as to the Newman Family for this award.

Some of Lydia’s published work:
· Thoughts on Identity, Diaspora, and Travel from a Non-Traveler (As Yet), March 2021
· The Imbonerakure: A Key Roadblock to Burundi’s Political and Civil Liberties, April 2020
· Economic Justice in Africa: Why We Should Pay Attention to President Addo’s Speech on Poverty, October 2019

Sofia Rodriguez:

My name is Sofia Rodriguez and I will be a senior this upcoming Fall 2021. I am originally from the Twin Cities area and graduated from Wayzata High School in 2018. I am majoring in Political Science and International Studies with a focus on global security, as well as pursuing a certificate in Gender and Women’s Studies.

My experience staying with a host family in the capital of Colombia is one that has stuck with me and colored my decision to choose International Studies as my major. Through this opportunity, I learned how wonderful it is to get to know a place different from home and I thoroughly enjoyed learning about my host family’s way of life and culture. On this trip, my school group and I also volunteered at the local

community center. We spent the day with the kids of the community, painting the center, playing futbol, and getting to know one another. It was a special experience that reminded me of the importance of cultural exchange.

More broadly, I’ve always had an interest in international affairs which led me to sign up for the introductory International Studies course with Professor Katie Jensen. The class was fascinating and from that day forward I knew I wanted to pursue a degree in International Studies.

This summer I am interning for The Daniel K. Inouye Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies, a regional U.S. Department of Defense Institute. As an intern, I am taking a course that gives an introduction to security issues in the Indo-Pacific region. I will also be working on projects with the faculty members which will be an extraordinary chance to learn from the Center’s talented and knowledgeable professors. I am thrilled to have this opportunity to look more in-depth at topics like environmental security, climate change, humanitarian assistance, and conflict resolution.

After graduation, I hope to work in a government or non-profit position and use this time to explore what Master’s degree I would like to pursue. At the moment, I am considering a Master’s in International Policy, Law, or Political Science. After not being able to study abroad due to the pandemic, I would love to obtain my Master’s in an international program.

I want to thank Molly Donnellan for informing me of this opportunity, Professor Katie Jensen for cultivating my knowledge in the International Studies field, and the Newman family for this incredible opportunity.

2020 Newman Family Scholarship Recipients

Biography of Kisa Sow

My name is Kisa Sow and I am a second-year student double majoring in Journalism (with a focus on Strategic Communication) and International Studies (with a focus on Politics and Policy in the Global Economy). In 2012, I moved to the Washington, DC area from Mali, my father’s native country. My time in Mali as well as my experience adapting to American culture inspired me to study International Studies.

In the summer of 2019, I interned as a photojournalist  for a Malian non-governmental organization that works with women’s sexual and reproductive healthcare. Thanks to my course work at UW, I was also able to gain a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of this experience. This experience also allowed me to gain a more realistic and sophisticated perspective on my childhood home while motivating me to pursue journalism.

Throughout my time at the University of Wisconsin, I have involved myself in many ways; I am currently the Communications Intern for the African Studies Program, I am a writer for The Daily Cardinal, and I am the Publications and Newsletter Chair for Alpha Chi Omega.

My academic experience at UW has motivated me to become more interconnected with the world and to dedicate myself to advancing social change. My courses at UW have helped me recognize and understand the political, economic, and social parameters of global issues. In the future, I hope to work with politicians and organizations to deepen and expand their international engagement and perspectives.

See some of Kisa’s published articles in the Daily Cardinal, below:

Wisconsin women to look up to in 2019

Karl Lagerfeld’s controversial legacy

Biography of Margaret (Maggie) Rowe

My name is Margaret (Maggie) Rowe and I am a junior majoring in International Studies. My interest in international relations and global development began in high school when I became the first ever student to graduate from Oshkosh West High School from the Global Scholar Program with a Global Achievement Education Certificate. Through this program I realized my interest in international human rights, equality, and sustainability. From then on, I have strived to be an advocate in my community and a responsible citizen of the world.

My background in global education motivated me to major in International Studies and since the first day I stepped foot on the UW campus, I have been an IS Major. When I began my academic career at UW-Madison, I wanted to focus my efforts on studying human rights, hoping to eventually develop a career in human rights advocacy. My goals have remained constant and my International Studies education has only further inspired me to work towards eradicating international inequalities and to be a voice for those who have been left voiceless.

In spring 2019 I studied abroad for six months in Galway, Ireland at the National University of Ireland-Galway. This experience completely transformed my view of international relations, culture, and global networks. Since then, I have secured a scholarship for summer 2020 to work at the Irish Centre for Human Rights (ICHR). In this position I will be collaborating on research projects and communicating with Irish government entities and nonprofits on comprehensive human rights strategies.

After I graduate, I would like to work for a non-profit in Ireland, focusing my efforts on human rights, environmental degradation, and environmental health. I hope to work as an advocate for international equality and strive to apply all the core concepts my International Studies Major has taught me. I want to thank the Newman Family for their generosity and for this amazing opportunity.

Biography of Savannah Donegan

Savannah Donegan is a triple major in International Studies, Economics, and History with a certificate in Global Health. She is involved in a number of campus advocacy and policy organizations including the Sifting & Winnowing Policy Journal, the Alexander Hamilton Society, the Women in Economics executive board, and as a member of The Women’s Network finance committee. She also enjoys putting her love of the social sciences to work as a Data Analyst Research Intern with the Wisconsin Center for Academic Research and as a Learning Community Programming Assistant with Chadbourne Residential College.

Savannah’s first experience with the International Studies Major was in International Studies 101 with Professor Stephen Young. After realizing how much she enjoyed the course, she enrolled in Professor Young’s Economic Geography course, where she worked with him and a small group of students to draft a research report on the concept of universal basic income. This remains her favorite class to date, as it allowed her to combine her interests in economics and international studies to create a tangible piece of original research. Savannah has also had the opportunity to take several Spanish courses, which have increased her depth and interest in international and regional studies.

In the future, Savannah hopes to participate in the Fall 2020 Wisconsin in Washington internship program, where she will participate in a full-time policy internship while taking intensive International Studies coursework. After completing her undergraduate program, she plans to pursue a Master of International Public Affairs and then work in policy research, international business, or government affairs before pursuing a Ph.D. and professorship in the social sciences. She cannot imagine a life or career without the joy of learning new things, advocating for fellow human beings, and being around exciting people and ideas. She tries to live by her favorite quote: “I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you’ve never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start over again.”

She would like to share her special appreciation for professors, TAs, and advisors – Stephen Young, Lee Palmer Wandel, Rasmus Lentz, Simeon Alder, David Danaher, Gregory Pac, Ben Kasten, Alicia Johanning, Molly Donnellan, and Steven Wong – for their kindness, extra office hours, and encouragement over her college career. She would also like to thank the Newman Family for this generous award.

2019 Newman Family Scholarship Recipients

Biography of Rachel Hunter

My name is Rachel Hunter and I am a junior majoring in International Studies with a focus on Global Security and certificates in Global Health and African Studies. I knew I wanted to major in International Studies before I came to UW-Madison due to my involvement in Model United Nations. Over the past six years, Model United Nations has been a formative part of my life in both high school and college. I enjoy representing a wide variety of countries and navigating around nations’ different wishes, cultural practices, and resources. My favorite committees involved human rights, conflict, and migration so a focus on Global Security felt like a natural fit.

My commitment to the International Studies major has only been solidified during my time at Madison. Through Madison’s Model United Nations team, I have been able to attend conferences in Chicago, Montreal, and at Harvard. I greatly enjoy working with other passionate students from around the world to create creative resolutions that tackle complex and ever-changing issues. Last semester I was also able to participate in the Wisconsin in Washington program, where I interned at the State Department in the International Organization Affairs Bureau. My time at State was unique because the office I was originally assigned to received word that it was going to be dissolved which subsequently gave me the opportunity to experience three different offices and gain practical experience on a variety of foreign policy topics.

This summer, I will be spending the first two weeks of June in a study abroad program called the UW Global Health and Human Rights Training in Spain and Morocco to Combat Sex-Trafficking. We will be working with survivors and different organizations to address human trafficking in a transit and destination country. After I finish the program I will spend two weeks traveling before I head to Peru for an eight week internship in Lima at the United States embassy in Peru. I will be working in the Executive Office as a staff assistant to the ambassador. I am incredibly excited to participate in these programs and gain new perspectives because I believe that an in-depth understanding of the international community can only come from practical experiences in the field and exposure to new people, cultures, and ideas.

After I graduate, I would like to work for a non-profit or non-governmental organization overseas for a couple of years on human rights issues like gender-based violence and human trafficking. I hope to use this time overseas to decide on a focus for graduate school as I would like to obtain a master’s degree. Ideally, I would also love to end up at the State Department or USAID one day.

Biography of Rebecca Hanks

I’m Becca Hanks and I’m a junior double majoring in Political Science and International Studies with a certificate in African Studies. I graduated from Urbana High School in Urbana, Illinois in 2016. I was planning on attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison as a biology major at first. The summer before college, though, a close friend was engaging in a ton of personal exploration and research on international issues and foreign languages. I hadn’t even considered studying the world as a possibility before that summer but, all of a sudden, I was hooked.**

My passion to experience the world around me has informed many of my most fulfilling experiences in college thus far. I lived in the International Learning Community my freshman year. I have served as an intern at the U.S. Department of State. I am the Editor-in-Chief for The Wisconsin International Review and a Communications Intern for the African Studies Program here on campus. And, of course, I am a student in the International Studies Major.

My coursework in this major has completely changed the way I view the world in my daily life. Initially, learning about countries like Namibia, India, or Ecuador was interesting to me because of all the differences I perceived between those places and the United States. Cultural and moral value systems, traditions, holidays, typical meals, clothing, language, religion… everything about these countries was exciting, exotic, and new. I wanted to absorb as much information about them as I possibly could and to learn how and why people across the world were so different from me.

Over the past few years, however, I have reached an even more satisfying understanding: that these people are not so very different at all. The International Studies Major has bridged the gap between my own experiences and those of others across the globe by helping me to wrap my head around the fact that they, like me, are simply living their lives as best they can in the environment in which they were born.

This understanding has given me a new sense of urgency in terms of the international work I would like to pursue in my future career, and I am sure I will have the skills and knowledge I need to engage in that work. I am primarily interested in positions at either a non-governmental organization or at the United States Agency for International Development.

** Funnily enough, that same friend is now studying physics and mathematics and we always talk about how we wish we could take more classes in each other’s fields. Having friends who love to learn about new things as much as you do is truly a blessing!

Biography of Tierney Hall

Tierney Hall is completing her second year at UW-Madison. She grew up in a Catholic family of four in the small town of Jefferson, Wisconsin. Her curiosity regarding the global community has been lifelong but was tangibly sparked in high school classes such as Human Geography and European History as well as through several trips to Guatemala. Therefore, Hall went into UW-Madison eager to major in International Studies. It wasn’t long before additional interests caught her eye as well, and she is now majoring in IS as well as Political Science, with an emphasis on the Middle East, Global Health, and Development Economics.

Hall originally decided to take Arabic language classes to obtain the skill set for the field of national security. However, as she became more interested in the culture she also became more aware of the many misconceptions present surrounding the region. She has since devoted her time on campus – as well as her career aspirations – to increasing cultural awareness as well as intercultural dialogue.

During Hall’s freshman year, she joined the Madison Refugee Resettlement Research team, which had a goal of proposing improved resettlement methods to state legislature. During her sophomore year, she gained a position in Badger Catholic as student leader of Alpha Omega, an outreach event to campus. Hall has since also become a Middle Eastern Student Ambassador through a program in the Middle Eastern Studies Program. They present to various audiences (including elementary through high schools and adults) on the culture and history of the Middle East. Additionally, Hall is currently working to co-found a new Arabic Culture and Language Club which will stand as a resource to those studying the Middle East as well as those who have no background knowledge. Students will have the opportunity to learn more about everything from Arabic dances to cooking to current affairs.

With this background, Hall hopes to pursue a career focusing on the ongoing refugee crisis in the Middle East. Although public health is her main focus, Hall plans to continue in advocating for greater cultural understanding throughout her life and career.

Biography of Trina Olsen

My name is Trina Olsen and I am a junior majoring in International Studies with a certificate in Global Health. After graduating from Madison West High School in 2015, I knew I was ready for an academic break and found myself craving a learning experience that was more hands-on and in ‘the real world’. I had never travelled outside of the U.S. when I decided to take a ‘bridge year’ with Global Citizen Year, in which I lived with an Ecuadorian host family for 7 months. My time in Ecuador was, and continues to be, an incredibly profound learning experience which shapes my current internationally-focused academic and personal interests.

Since travelling to Ecuador, I have also participated in a semester-long study abroad program in Querétaro, Mexico, where I was able to take most of my classes in Spanish and I (mostly) enjoyed the challenge of reading scholarly articles about Latin American regionalization in Spanish.

The International Studies coursework I have taken through UW-Madison has provided me with the broader, academic context and analysis needed to further reflect on some of my experiences and observations from abroad. Many of my classes have highlighted the importance of understanding how political and economic events influence cultural patterns and belief systems. Thanks to the IS Major, I have been able to pursue some fantastic professional development opportunities. I have plans to participate in UW-Madison’s Wisconsin in Washington D.C. program in Fall 2019, with the hope of learning more about one of my long-standing passions: women’s reproductive health policy. I have also really appreciated the opportunity this semester to volunteer as a Resource Navigator as part of a class for my Global Health certificate, which has taught me a lot about some of the unique community health issues that Madison faces.

In terms of post-graduation plans, I am considering applying for a Fulbright award, since I hope to continue expanding my knowledge of world affairs and deepen my appreciation for cultural understanding via living and working abroad. The idea of moving back to a country in South America and working there to become more fluent in Spanish is also very appealing. One of my long terms goals is to eventually become a certified Spanish medical interpreter. I am sometimes overwhelmed by the sheer amount of incredible opportunities to pursue post-graduation, which is definitely not a bad thing!

2018 Newman Family Scholarship Recipients

Biography of Alexandra Fochios

My name is Alexandra Fochios and I am originally from New York City. My family and I moved to Madison, Wisconsin after middle school,so I attended and graduated from Edgewood High School in 2015.

Being brought up in a bilingual and bicultural household has had a profound influence over my life. As a child, my father’s parents sent me to Greek school, where I spent afternoons learning the Greek language, singing songs, and attending Greek dance classes. On my mother’s side, I inherited an ear for a different language — Japanese. This was exclusively spoken in her Hawaiian household, where she was raised. I have spent a great deal of time in Kauai with my extended family, learning about their heritage and culture.

With this sort of background rooted in cultural and international differences, I knew that I wanted my studies at UW-Madison to reflect this part of my life. It was actually International Studies 101 which I took in the fall of my freshman year that inspired me to pursue this academic interest more seriously. Throughout my time at UW, I have utilized the International Studies major, the professors within it, and their courses in order to expand my knowledge about the global community that we live in.

It is because of these unique classes and professors that my desire to learn about this field has increased. As a result, last summer I decided to study abroad in Fez, Morocco in order to have a better understanding about Moroccan culture, language, and the North African region more broadly. I am extremely grateful for this experience because it was an opportunity that not only enriched my own academic and language skills but also allowed me to learn about other people’s perspectives on their society and the world.

Looking to the future, I know that the skills and experiences that I have gained thanks to the International Studies major will continue to influence me. As of right now, after I graduate in the Spring of 2019, I plan on attending law school. Although none of my plans are set in stone, I hope to one day pursue a career where I can incorporate my passion for International Studies.

Biography of Soeun Lee

Soeun (Sarah) Lee is a third-year student, majoring in International Studies (Politics and policy in the global economy) and Economics (Math emphasis) with a certificate in East Asian Studies. Soeun was born and grew up in Korea until she came to the United States at 15. She spent a year in Oregon as an exchange student, and went to and completed international high school in New York, where she completed the International Baccalaureate Diploma program. As she has been always exposed to different cultures around the world, and meeting friends from all over the world, she became familiar with living in the international environment.

Growing up in a military family in Korea, Sarah has been interested in Asia-Pacific relationships, including North Korean issues, which led her to the IS Major. She decided to major in Economics as her interest narrowed down to Asia-Pacific economics. At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she has taken several courses with the IS Major that fit her interest, such as International Business, Chinese Migration since 1500, International Industrial Organization, Korean History from 1945-present, Globalization and Education, and International Institutions and World Order. Taking Globalization and Education – which highlighted locating globalization in different spheres and thinking through the perspectives of ‘others’ – and a modern Korean history, she also became interested North Korean refugee resettlement issues and wrote final papers for both courses focused on North Korea.

She is currently working at the International Studies Major Office as a communication intern and has been also involved in several international-oriented student organizations, including UNICEF UW-Madison, Global Economic Forum (GEF), and The Wisconsin International Review (The WIRe). As a member and VP of the research team at GEF she has conducted a research and held a forum on the Hanjin Shipping Crisis in Korea (November 2016), Trans-Pacific Partnership (April 2017), and Health Care System in the world (November 2017). She has also covered the Asia and Oceania region for GEF’s bi-weekly newsletter and is a writer for the WIRe, publishing three articles about South Korean economic structures, diplomacy surrounding the Park scandal and Trump’s visit to Asia, as well as the recent Bitcoin frenzy (see below).

Soeun (Sarah) is planning to go to graduate school after graduation, studying Asia-Pacific policies and economic relationships. Even though she has not made a concrete decision, she wants to keep working in an international environment and hopes to work in think tanks on Asia-Pacific relationships.

New Cold War, or Make China Prosper

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South Korea’s Clever Diplomacy During Trump’s Visit to Asia

Opportunity for South Korea to break up ‘Chaebol’ system

Biography of Jordan Owen

I am a junior majoring in International Studies and Economics with a certificate in Educational Policy Studies. I graduated from Duke School in Durham, NC in 2011 and Carrboro High School in 2015. While in high school I was extremely fortunate to have Matt Cone as my World History teacher in my freshman year. He taught the course with an eye to global transformations, or the ways in which humans and their ways of life have varied across geographical contexts. He was also the faculty advisor for the Global Poverty Reading Group, which was an extracurricular in which I became interested thanks to the rigorous and engaging nature of his class. As a sophomore, I read a dozen books ranging from Poor Economics to Why Nations Fail to Arrival City, gaining an increased knowledge of the complexity of human societies and the staggering amount of inequality that exists in this world. At the end of the class we had the opportunity to meet and discuss the year’s undertaking with Jim Kim, the President of the World Bank, a leader whom I revere for his unwavering commitment to supporting human dignity regardless of geography. I proceeded to take every class my high school had to offer in social sciences, and I never tired of learning new ways to view global problems.

This naturally propelled me towards International Studies 101 in my freshman year at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The globalization lens helped me tie together trends that I had only just started to uncover during my secondary education. From that class, I proceeded onwards to Social Mobilizations in Latin America, a Survey of African Studies, and Globalization and Education. Each was radically different in its approach to understanding various parts of the world, which was the most enticing part. Some focused more on institutional structures, while others took a more theoretical approach. Combined with the neoclassical models that I was learning in my Economics courses, many of whose assumptions directly contradicted material from my International Studies classes, I have grappled with dualisms every day of the past two years. Among these, studying socioeconomic inequality and the legacies of colonialism have been the most engaging for me.

As a facet of learning about social inequality, I wanted to get hands-on experience in working towards social justice and racial equity. I have had the transformative opportunity to serve as both a facilitator and the Student Coordinator for the Our Wisconsin Program, which seeks to foster diversity inclusion within UW-Madison. Looking outside of the community that I have come to call home, and hoping to gain new perspectives on my topics of study, I decided to study abroad this semester in Sevilla, Spain. After an intensive grammar review, I have commenced my regular classes, all of which are in Spanish. I am taking Politics and Society of the Contemporary Arab World, Islamic Art and Culture in Spain, Migrations in Today’s Globalised World, and a Social Justice and Human Rights Practicum. Between the coursework, excursions with my program, and my efforts to engage with Sevillanos in every aspect of my day, I am stretching myself to see how people engage with each other and their society in another part of the world.

After I graduate, I am considering spending time abroad or in domestic service work before continuing on to graduate school. Though I do not yet know where my International Studies major will lead me, I know that it has provided a solid foundation for any work that requires analytical thinking and interpersonal skills. I have found many of my passions thanks to the interdisciplinary nature of the International Studies major, and will continue to pursue this type of learning moving forward.

Biography of Jenny Strugnell

Jennifer Strugnell is a junior pursuing a degree in International Studies with a focus on Global Security, and a certificate in Afro-American Studies. She was born in Madison and graduated from West High School after three years. Between high school and university, she spent a year traveling, starting in Western Europe, and spending time in Bali, Indonesia, and New Zealand. While traveling, Jenny developed a love of learning about other cultures and experiencing new ways of life. Despite these obvious connections to International Studies, Jenny remained adamant that she would pursue a degree in Environmental Science. However, after taking International Studies 101 with Erica Simmons, and International Studies 402 with Stephen Young, she knew that pursuing the major was the best option.

Starting at the beginning of her sophomore year, Jenny had the opportunity to intern in the Institute for Regional and International Studies at UW-Madison. She has worked closely with the Arabic, Persian, and Turkish Language Immersion Institute (APTLII), and was named the coordinator of the program in January 2018. Through working with APTLII, Jenny has gained a better understanding of the ways in which people relate to language learning and the diverse connections between history, language, and culture, both domestically and abroad.

Throughout the past three years, Jenny has taken classes on global poverty, cultural practices, and criminal processes, and has cultivated a passion for legal systems both domestically and abroad. Jenny is particularly interested in West Africa and the African diaspora. As she moves toward graduation next year, Jenny hopes to pursue a career focusing on civil and human rights. Ultimately, she would like to spend several years working in civil and human rights organizations, domestically or abroad, with the goal of attending law school once she has decided exactly what area of the field she would like to work in.

2017 Newman Family Scholarship Recipients

Michelle Lam
Michelle Lam is a current Junior majoring in International Studies, with a focus on Global Politics and Economy. Michelle was born in Hong Kong, but her family immigrated to Eau Claire, Wisconsin when she was 5 years old. While originally planning to become a doctor, Michelle instead decided to major in International Studies as she realized her passion to understand global ties and the positive and negative impacts of political economy on the daily lives’ of regular people.

International Studies 101 was what first sparked her interest in International Studies and pushed her to declare her major with the IS department, while still pursuing a pre-medical track. However, with her participation in the Taiwan-America Student Conference during Summer 2016, she realized her devotion to International Studies. Consisting of 20 American delegates, and 20 Taiwanese delegates, the conference facilitated the discussion on current issues in Education, Media, Environment, Trans-Pacific Affairs, and Education in today’s world. Both a fun and educating experience, Michelle now has cherished relationships with students ranging from across the U.S. to Taiwan. Wanting to pursue more international and cross cultural experiences, Michelle decided to drop the pre-med track to study abroad in London during Spring 2017 and participate in the Wisconsin in Washington D.C. program during Spring 2018. Currently studying abroad at the University of Westminster in London, she is already gaining different perspectives of the United States’ role in World Affairs, especially International Law and Politics. As people of all backgrounds study in London, their narratives have provided insight into the dominant role of the U.S. in International Relations, its resulting positive and negative consequences and oppositions. She is particularly interested in the Middle East and Southeast Asia and will continue to take Economics and Politics courses focused on these areas.

With graduation looming next year, Michelle plans to head out to Washington, D.C. to pursue graduate school, or a career with a think tank or in public policy. Ideally, she would like to pursue a job that will allow her to continue to study and learn International Affairs. No concrete plans have been made, however, and she is willing to keep an open mind to various opportunities that come her way.

Emma DeLaney Strenski

Emma Delaney Strenski, Newman Award Recipient 2017

My name is Emma DeLaney Strenski and I am from Indianapolis, Indiana. I graduated from St. Thomas Aquinas School in 2010 and from Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School in 2014. It was at Brebeuf, in a class called Genocide and Holocaust, that International Studies first caught my attention. My teacher, Mr. Tague, introduced me to the study of other cultures in times of extreme, unthinkable violence. I would like to especially thank him for that. Ever since I took that class, I knew that I wanted to focus my future studies on the history of genocide, the politics of war, and foreign policy measures.

At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I have taken classes geared toward this end goal, including classes on the Holocaust, World War II, Vietnam and Cambodia, US Foreign Policy, and US CIA Covert Warfare. These courses within the International Studies and History departments on campus have helped me gain a vast, diverse knowledge of conflict and resolution in modern history. This will culminate in my senior thesis, entitled “Preserving the Dayton Peace Accords with the Brcko Arbitration.” In this thesis project, I will trace the international arbitration and decision about Brcko, made under the Dayton Peace Accords, in order to examine America’s stances on human rights and individual sovereignty in the late twentieth century. I hope to explain the American approach to arbitrating multiethnic spaces using the case of Brcko, Bosnia as compared to other American interventions in the twentieth century.

The International Studies Major and my internship with the Columbia Support Network has helped me to channel my passion and interest in Latin America into preparation for a profession. In the future, I plan to use what I have learned about Latin America in my International Studies classes in the Peace Corps and law school. Immediately following my graduation in May of 2018, I hope to enter the Peace Corps for a two-year post teaching English as a second language to kids in Latin America. After completing a two-year tour in the Peace Corps, I intend to apply to the Georgetown University Law School. I will pursue a law degree with a certificate in Refugees & Humanitarian Emergencies. I want to learn about the law behind international human rights, the way it works, and how effective it is as a whole. I want to learn as much on the subject as possible, to best prepare me for a career in the field.

In short, what I have learned from my internship and my International Studies classes has influenced what I want to do with my life. This major program has helped to shape my future. I would probably be doing something completely different, perhaps something I would not be as passionate about, if I were not involved in the International Studies Major.

2016 Newman Family Scholarship Recipients

Kyra I. Fox
Miriam Kelberg
Jennifer Ostrowski

Jennifer Ostrowski, 2016 Newman Award Recipient
Kyra Fox, 2016 Newman Award Recipient

2015 Newman Family Scholarship Recipients

Alexandra Morgan
Kayla Pfeiffer-Mund

Kayla Pfeiffer-Mund, 2015 Newman Award

Funding through IRIS

The IRIS Awards Office manages its own funding opportunities (Scott Kloeck-Jenson Fellowships, IRIS Graduate Fieldwork Awards, Incubator Grants), coordinates the campus component of a number of external programs (Boren Fellowships, Fulbright US Student Program, Fulbright-Hays DDRA, Luce Scholars Program), assists students, faculty, and staff in exploring funding options, and much more.

Explore the resources on IRIS website, and contact Sarah Linkert, Assistant Director for Awards, with questions at & 608.265.6070.

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Boren Awards

Scholarships (for undergraduate students) & Fellowships (for graduate students) – provide unique funding opportunities for U.S. students to study less commonly taught languages in world regions critical to U.S. interests, and underrepresented in study abroad, including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. See the IRIS website for more information. For undergraduate & graduate students.

Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships

FLAS (Foreign Language Area Studies) Fellowships: U.S. Department of Education fellowships available through IRIS’s area studies centers.. For undergraduate & graduate students.

Fulbright U.S. Student Program (FUSP)

Don’t let the name fool you!! The Fulbright U.S. Student Program (FUSP) is designed to give soon-to-be & recent B.S./B.A. graduates, master’s and doctoral candidates, as well as young professionals, artists, and others, opportunities for personal development and international experience. Campus deadline for 2018-2019 awards is September 11, 2017. See the IRIS website for more information. For undergraduate & graduate students and alumni.

Luce Scholars Program

Luce Scholars Program is designed to provide an extended period of exposure to an Asian country for highly qualified young Americans who lack extensive knowledge of Asian affairs and who would not gain this knowledge through their normal career trajectories. Any professional field will be considered, except Asian Affairs/Asian Studies. For graduating seniors, recent alumni, graduate students, and junior faculty.