University of Washington

Funding Opportunities

Ottenberg-Winans Fellowship Fund


The Ottenberg-Winans Fellowship Fund was established to honor the contributions of Professors Simon Ottenberg and Edgar V. Winans to the African Studies Program at the University of Washington and to the field of African Studies. During their distinguished careers, Professors Ottenberg and Winans taught and mentored numerous students and advanced scholarship on Africa. Recipients of this fellowship commemorate their legacy.


Eligible students may be enrolled in any undergraduate, graduate or professional school at the University of Washington. For UW students traveling to Africa, the fellowship can be used to support travel and related expenses, living expenses, and research materials. For African students visiting or studying at UW, funds can be used to support same expenses as well as costs related to attending the UW. Fellowships are expected to be awarded for amounts between $250 and $750.

DEADLINE: Friday, April 3rd 2015
Awarded students will be asked to submit a photo and a short description of the project to be featured on our African Studies website


Questions about the fellowship or the application process should be directed to:


2015 Ottenber-Winans Fellowship Application

2014 Fellowship Recipients

African Studies warmly congratulates the 2014 Ottenberg-Winans recipients:

Ashley Andelian - Undergraduate student in the Department of Linguistics 

During my study abroad trip in South Africa, I will be doing ethnographic research on language and education, language and identity, and language variation. Language and education will be a focus of my research by visiting schools and observing code-switching and language varieties of the students and their teachers. Another focus of the research on education in South Africa will be done by participating as a Zulu student, where then I could compare and contrast the angles of how a subject is taught there as opposed to here. Tsotsitaal is a newer, mixed language that I will likely be exposed to while in South Africa. After I return, I will have the chance to do some syntactic research on this language. The in-group uses of Tsotsitaal are another aspect I will be observing for the ethnographic part of my research, with focus on language and identity.


Britta Anson - PhD student in the Department of History 

I will be an international affiliate researcher at the University of Cape Town in Cape Town, South Africa during summer 2015, where I will undertake archival research for a PhD in History. Tentatively titled Empire Afloat and the Making of Modern South Africa: Transnational Networks, Imperial Power, and Passenger Steamships between London and Cape Town, 1870-1910 my dissertation seeks to shed light on the ways in which the modern world has been shaped through the power of non-governmental actors by examining the role of the British Union-Castle steamship company in the settlement and shaping of modern South Africa. Specifically, I consider the formation of a culture of British (and European) travel to Africa alongside, and in conjunction with, the expansion of global capitalism in the form of settler colonialism. Actively promoted by shipping magnates, this travel culture developed as a by-product of imperialism. I aim to write a social history of a cultural phenomenon, analyzing travel writing alongside business and governmental records to understand how the particular way South Africa was imagined abroad shaped the formation of a British settlement whose impact would be felt well into the twentieth century.


Cynthia Simekha - Undergraduate student in Public Health with minor in Global Health

and Geography

There has been growing scholarly attention to the fact that most global health projects/research are disproportionately focused on specific locales resulting in temporary restricted interventions. This approach is, in some significant sense a ‘betrayal’ of the very idea of global health. This study asks how Seattle’s various global health institutions and organizations approach Global health in Kenya. I hypothesize that most global health projects promote the production of inequity, unequal and uncaring exchanges between donor institutions and the recipients. I analyze the socio-historical, economic and political histories and ties between Kenya and global health institutions in Seattle drawing on political-economy analysis and feminist care ethical analysis. I also thematically code and analyze ethnographic interviews to investigate the relationship between the responses and the main research topic. I expect to find that global health projects may not necessarily achieve their intended goals because they do not fully consider the four phases of care, which involve attentiveness, responsibility, competence and responsiveness. Understanding the factors influencing the production of unequal and uncaring exchanges in global health is essential as it will impact how global health projects should be conducted.

Eloho Basikoro - PhD student in the Department of Geography


My primary research priority is to study gender gaps in Nigerian health policies through the lens of AIDS policies and intervention programs using the Niger-Delta region as a case study. Using a feminist political-ecology approach and a mixed methodology (qualitative and quantitative), this multi-scalar study will address other relevant objectives to include: Firstly, investigating the disconnect between AIDS programs and social structures – patriarchy, education, culture, poverty and other constraints - and how they impede women’s access to HIV/AIDS treatment and care. Secondly, investigating gender gaps and failures in AIDS treatment policies at multiple scales - the global (via international NGO initiated programs), national (through past and existing AIDS policy texts), regional (through the SPDC Niger-Delta regional AIDS program); and finding alternative pathways to create and design more effective AIDS gender policies and programs. The final objective is to provide an explanation on the gendered discourse on the barriers and constrains to women in accessing AIDS treatment and care within the Nigerian context.


Matthew Adeiza - PhD student in the Department of Communication 

My research explores the relationship between digital media use and democracy consolidation in Nigeria with a focus on the June 21, 2014 governorship election in Ekiti state, Nigeria. The study aims to account for how existing socio-political factors potentially define the use of digital media for political purposes, as well as how digital media influence how politicians relate with their constituencies. Data gathered through interviews and campaign messages of election candidates will be analyzed, written and defended as my thesis in winter 2015. The research will contribute to African Studies literature by showing not just how digital media are used in a local African election but also how context define the use.


Sarah Dreier - PhD student in the Department of Political Science

The University of Washington African Studies Program’s Ottenberg-Winans Fellowship will contribute to my critical preliminary dissertation research on the politics of homosexuality in East African religious institutions. My research begins with one key empirical question: How have African religious institutional leaders’ responses to their global North counterparts’ moves toward greater LGBT inclusion been shaped by the social and political conditions within their countries and constituencies? This research yields insights into three dynamics of essential relevance to contemporary African and transnational politics. Those dynamics are: the unique and complex connections between religious authority and political governance in sub-Saharan Africa; the contemporary competition among religious institutions for African “souls;” and the post-colonial dynamics that undergird this transnational schism. To begin answering this question and uncovering these dynamics, I will conduct archival, interview-based, and observational research in Ethiopia and Uganda in Winter 2015. This research will also be supported by the UW Graduate School Chester Fritz Fellowship. In addition to serving as the basis for my dissertation, this research will also support my continued contributions to important discussions within transnational church bodies.


Sarah Kane - Undergraduate student in the School of Art

My research project deals primarily with language. What I want to explore is how, when, and where South African youth are exposed to African American vernacular. Furthermore I intend to discover why some South African youth have adopted it as a form of English they choose to speak. As someone who did not grow up speaking African American vernacular but who is African American, I would also like to compare my thoughts on that form of English to those of South African's and see where we have similar or different views on the matter.

Ailene Umayam - Undergraduate student UW Bothell - Nursing 



This summer I will be participating in the Global Health Promotion in Togo, Africa: Health Services Delivery in Resource-Poor Settings study abroad program. UW Bothell Nursing and Health Studies Program have partnered up with the FEED-DS foundation to take part in a medical mission to provide health care, education, and training to rural villages in Togo, West Africa. The research that I propose to do involves looking into, “The effect of poverty/income on health care access for Togolese people in rural villages." I plan to do to this by collecting information through review of studies, observations, and by interacting with local Togolese people. My hopes are that within my research I will be able provide recommendations to help create change in any gaps I may discover within the Togolese healthcare system and to help in the forward movement for the Togolese population to have better healthcare access.


2013 Fellowship Recipients
African Studies warmly congratulates the 2013 Ottenberg-Winans recipients.

The 2013 fellowship recipients are:

Daniel E Coslett - Graduate Student in Built Environment

Daniel Low - Graduate Student in the Medical School

Jade Graddy - Undergraduate Student in the Department of Linguistics 

Vijay Narayan - Graduate Student in the Department of Global Health 

Questions about the fellowship or the application process should be directed to:

To make a contribution to the Ottenberg-Winans fund, please click here.

For other student funding and scholarship opportunities please click here

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