The Jennifer Caldwell Endowed Fund in Human Rights


This fund has been established in the name of a cherished UW alumna, Jen Caldwell, to honor her passionate commitment to human rights. While at the University of Washington, Jen was known for combining academic excellence with working for justice. She played leading roles in efforts to educate the campus community about rape and sexual violence, in switching our campus to 100% fair trade certified coffee, and in raising funds to support scholarships for young people who work on Guatemalan coffee plantations through the UW Guatemala Education Project.

Upon her graduation in 2007, the Law, Societies and Justice program awarded her the Karin Stromberg Award in recognition of her outstanding combination of scholarship with public service. She also won the prestigious Bonderman Fellowship, which enabled her to travel around Latin America and Africa after graduation.  Jen stayed in South Africa in order to help shape a new effort to encourage forms of global tourism based on equitable and sustainable relationships with local communities in poor countries. While in South Africa, she was killed in a tragic accident in September 2009.

The Jennifer Caldwell Fund in Human Rights gives financial support to UW students proposing international, hands-on practical projects to produce tangible human rights improvements for vulnerable communities around the world.

Read more about Jennifer Caldwell in the UW Daily article that featured her life and legacy.


Fellowship Eligibility

Applications are open between March 3, 2014 and April 4, 2014.


All undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Washington (Bothell, Seattle, Tacoma) working on projects connected to faculty research or teaching are eligible to apply. Strong applicants will propose work related to topic areas about which Jen cared deeply (including fair trade, human rights, and women's rights). Preference will be given to proposed projects that are feasible, sustainable, and develop partnerships with established organizations on the ground. In 2014, we anticipate having approximately $3000 available to distribute to one or more awardees.


Selection Criteria

Preference will be given to projects with the following characteristics:

  • Feasibility. The project has clearly specified objectives, a specific and realistic work plan (including tasks and timelines if appropriate), and the candidate possesses the skills and resources to carry out the work required.
  • Hands-on engagement. The project will have a practical human rights benefit. While it may be appropriate to also receive degree credit for this work, this is not a necessary component. The award places primary emphasis on real-world impact.
  • Partnership. The project will be undertaken in conjunction with an established organization working in the topical or geographic area where the project is to be carried out. This ensures that the student’s work is viewed as productive and positive contribution by groups that are already active in the field, and that the student will benefit from the guidance of experienced leaders.
  • Vision. The project clearly reflects Jen's commitment to connecting campus activities with service work abroad.

Application Materials

To be considered, please submit the following materials in a single PDF file to
1. Your CV or Resume with full contact information (phone, address, and email).
2. A document answering the following questions:

  • Status as a UW student (anticipated degree, expected graduation date, and subject/area of focus)
  • Statement of purpose describing the project, your qualifications to do this project, the project’s timeline, and identifying (including full contact information) the faculty member whose teaching and/or research is connected to this project. (approx. 500 words)
  • What is your project’s specific human rights impact? How, exactly, does it improve the human rights of the affected people? (approx. 250 words)
  • Keeping in mind Jen’s commitment to connecting campus activities with service work abroad, what, if any, work have you done on campus (coursework and/or student activities) that is relevant to your proposed project? (approx. 250 words)

3. A detailed budget describing how the funds would be used and, if necessary, the source of supplemental funds to complete the project.
4. A letter of support from the primary organization with which you will be partnering.
5. The names and full contact information (campus address, phone, and email) of two University of Washington faculty members who are familiar with your work. One of these references can be the faculty member listed in 2 and whose research and/or teaching is connected to your project.

If you have any questions about the application process, please do not hesitate to contact us at

2013 Award Recipient 

Amy Reed-Sandoval, is a PhD student in Philosophy. Amy's project involves sharing her passion for philosophy with marginalized indigenous youth in Oaxaca, Mexico, through the Centro de Esperanza Infantil. This organization works with street children in Oaxaca, seeking to help ensure they have the benefit of an education. For the past two summers, Amy has been working there to develop a Philosophy For Children (P4C) program for 10-18 year old street youth in Oaxaca, based in part on the work of the Northwest Center for Philosophy for Children at the University of Washington. The program encourages critical thinking and inquiry, and the thoughtful articulation of ideas. As Amy explained in her application for the Caldwell award,

"Philosophy for Children classes emphasize actively doing philosophy as part of a community of inquiry. A P4C instructor might commence a philosophy session by reading a children’s book containing a philosophical puzzle, and then open the floor to a student-led philosophical dialogue that identifies and explores that puzzle. Through P4C, students learn to think critically for themselves and defend their philosophical perspectives with reasons and logic. Importantly, students also learn to listen to and respectfully engage the views of others. Many philosophers of education have thus stressed the importance of providing philosophical training for young people as part of a flourishing democracy in which citizens are empowered to freely share and debate their unique perspectives on a range of important issues."


Image (below), Amy working with children in Santa Ana Zegache, Oaxaca, Mexico.

This summer, with the support of the Jen Caldwell Award, Amy travelled to Oaxaca to further develop the P4C program, introducing some new games and workshops, as well as creating a small library so that the students can continue to explore philosophical questions and approaches all throughout the year, since apparently she's been hearing from students who've taken her summer sessions in past years that they're eager to keep doing philosophy even when she's not around!

This past summer's intensive course lasted for two weeks, and ended with a day of philosophical "human rights speeches" prepared by the students over the course of their Philosophy for Children classes. Thanks to this scholarship Amy was also able to contribute to a documentary about the program, which can be accessed here. The documentary features clips of some of Amy's sessions on the Philosophy of Human Rights, and provides helpful information about the important connections between Philosophy for Children and human rights education.

You can read more about her work, both in Seattle and Oaxaca, on her website: There are also some photos there of her work with kids in Oaxaca. Amy is also featured in the September 2013 edition of the University of Washington College of Arts and Sciences Perspectives newsletter, in an article, titled "Encouraging Young Philosophers in Oaxaca." Click here to read the article and recent news on Amy's work. 

Return to top


2012 Award Recipients

Kate Fenimore and Marina Fitzpatrick ~ worked with a Cambodian organization called Women's Development Association (WDA) .  They helped the WDA find and train ‘peer-educators’ who will work to disseminate health information (related to maternal health, water sanitation, and in particular the value of using local clinics) into entirely underserved rural populations.  

Ursula Mosqueira ~ Worked with human rights organizations in El Salvador to initiate legal action against perpetrators of crimes against humanity during the country's civil war. 

Return to top 


 2011 Award Recipients

Abby Temple and Melanie Robinson ~ Worked in Loitokitok, Kenya to help the teachers and staff at DEB Primary School build a Learning Resource Center and design a sustainable curriculum emphasizing self-development for school students.

Return to top  

2010 Award Recipients

Lydia Ansari ~ Worked with Refugee Consortium of Kenya on gender-based violence in urban refugee camps in Nairobi.

Mariah Ortiz ~ Worked with Kenyan Human Rights Commission on reproductive rights and transitional justice.

Return to top 


Center for Human Rights
University of Washington
Box 353650
Seattle, WA 98195

Angelina Snodgrass Godoy
Helen H. Jackson Endowed Chair in Human Rights
Director, Center for Human Rights

Gai-Hoai T. Nguyen
Associate Director, Center for Human Rights