The Dr. Clyde Snow Fund for Latin American and Caribbean Studies

In Memoriam of Dr. Vincent F. Phillips, MD

March 25, 1948 – December 19, 2019

It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of Dr. Vincent F. Phillips, MD a dear friend and long-time supporter of LACS. Dr. Phillips worked for many years in the fields of internal medicine and oncology. He also had a long interest and relationship with the peoples of Guatemala, especially with the Mayan communities who endured decades of violence. In the 198o and 1990s, he became involved in human rights work done by the pioneering forensic anthropologist Dr. Clyde Snow and the Forensic Anthropology Foundation of Guatemala (FAFG).

Dr. Phillips’ generosity supported the creation of the Dr. Clyde Snow Fund for Latin American and Caribbean Studies in Fall 2016 to honor the work and legacy of a groundbreaking forensic anthropologist who combined academic training with the tireless pursuit of justice. Dr. Snow helped track down Josef Mengele in Brazil and worked to bring peace and justice to the families of the disappeared in Argentina, Guatemala, El Salvador, and around the world.

Thanks to the support of Dr. Phillips, UW undergraduate and graduate students have carried out important research in a wide number of fields including landscape architecture, geography, history and international studies, all with clear connection to the causes of human rights and social justice in the America. A recent example of the legacy of Dr. Vincent F. Phillips, MD can be found here (find the full list of projects here.)

Dr. Phillips was a frequent visitor to campus and generously shared research materials,  photographs, and stories from his many visits to Guatemala. His generosity and commitment to students has left a lasting imprint on our intellectual community. He will be missed.

¡Doctor Phillips Presente!

About the Dr. Clyde Snow Fund for LACS 


With the generous support of Dr. Vincent Phillips*, the Dr. Clyde Snow Fund for Latin American and Caribbean Studies was established in Fall 2016 to honor the work and legacy of a groundbreaking forensic anthropologist who combined academic training with the tireless pursuit of justice. Dr. Snow helped track down Josef Mengele in Brazil and worked to bring peace and justice to the families of the disappeared in Argentina, Guatemala, El Salvador, and around the world.


The fund is open to students enrolled in any undergraduate, graduate or professional school at the University of Washington. The funds can be used to support travel and related expenses, living expenses, and research materials on projects in or about Latin America and the Caribbean that are in the spirit of the social justice-oriented work of Dr. Snow.

Questions?  Please contact

* We want to acknowledge and express our gratitude to our generous donor, Dr. Vincent Phillips, MD and Internal Medicine doctor in Tacoma, WA at Mso Washington.

¡Gracias, Dr. Phillips!

Congratulations to our 2022 Dr. Clyde Snow Fund Recipient!

Elizabeth Shoffner. This fund will support her on-going work on Indigenous politics, human rights, and environmentalism in the Americas.


Congratulations to our 2020 Dr. Clyde Snow Fund Recipients!

Jorge “Coco”Alarcon -P.h.D. Global Health, Implementation Science

Coco’s research focuses on understanding housing design and conditions of floating communities in the Peruvian Amazon and the impact on human and ecological health.This summer Coco will  complete a systematic analysis of the houses in a floating community in the Peruvian Amazon and will compare his result with previous health and ecological data. He hopes his findings can serve as guidelines to inform multisectoral housing policies in the Peruvian Amazon region and to promote and preserve the ancestral practice of living on the water.

Megan Erickson – Political Science

 My project focuses on the nexus of trade in licit industries and cartel violence in Mexico. I find quantitative support for the significant increase in cartel-related homicides in municipalities that experience rapid growth in avocado production and exports. With support from the Dr. Clyde Snow Fund, I will be able to qualitatively support this finding. I will conduct interviews with farmers from Michoacán, the highest avocado-producing state in Mexico, to better understand the dynamics of violence in the region. This research project will additionally speak to the ethics of conducting quantitative and qualitative research in conflict zones.

Congratulations to our 2019 Dr. Clyde Snow Fund Recipients!

Rebecca Bachman –  Landscape Architecture

Rebecca’s work lies at the intersection between the built environment and global health in rapidly urbanizing Latin American cities. She is pursuing a Master of Landscape Architecture from UW’s College of Built Environments as well as a Graduate Certificate of Global Health. With the generous support of the Clyde Snow Fund, she will conduct research in Iquitos, Peru as foundation for her master’s thesis, certificate capstone, and future career. The research will apply design thinking to complex challenges to human and ecological health in the urbanizing Amazon. The goal is to create upstream built environment solutions for global health issues. Through this work, Rebecca is synthesizing experience in Latin American Studies, work in Latin American informal communities, years of work in horticulture, and her graduate studies.

Jorge Bayona – History

As part of my dissertation research, I will travel to the city of Iquitos, Peru, to search for materials pertaining to two key conjunctures in the 1920s: the federalist rebellion of 1921-22 and the response to the 1927 ratification of the border treaty with Colombia. By doing so, I will trace how local settler societies understood their hold over indigenous territories and bodies, thus allowing me to uncover the ways settler colonial anxieties manifested when their territorial ambitions came under threat, and how they masked settler colonialism behind the rhetoric of nation-building.

Henry Bell, Katy Dalton, Marlena Skrobe, Dave Berndtson – Marine and Environmental Affairs


As clients of the University of São Paulo’s Dr. Leopoldo Cavaleri Gerhardinger, our capstone work will support the emergence of a learning network in Brazil as part of the four-year Brazilian Oceanic Horizon campaign. Our project seeks to connect and capacitate ocean resource experts, researchers, and community leaders to deliver collaborative management approaches that preserve and restore ocean services and amplify the voices and concerns of those who depend on critical marine resources. We are interviewing ocean learning network participants on best practices, conducting a literature review on existing marine environment-focused peer-to-peer learning networks, producing a series of videos showing worldwide interpretation of conservation to facilitate discourse, and presenting our findings in Brasilia in December at a meeting hosted by the Brazilian Oceanic Horizon campaign.

Edgar Calderon – Global/Public Health

This autumn I will use the Dr. Clyde Snow Fund for Latin American and Caribbean Studies to travel to Colombia to conduct a qualitative research study for my master’s degree thesis. This study will be aimed at exploring the perceptions and understanding of Intimate Partner Violence from indigenous communities in the region of Vaupes. I am thankful for the support provided by Dr. Vincent Phillips through this fund and It is my hope that this research becomes the catalyst for the planning and implementation of programs aimed to reduce all forms of gender-based violence in this region.

Anika Larson – Medicine

With the support of the Dr. Clyde Snow fund, I will travel to the region of Loreto, Peru to learn from the ways that the recent nationwide reforms toward community-based mental health services have been applied locally. In particular, I will be exploring the challenges, benefits and ongoing needs of a recently constructed network of protected residences for people experiencing mental illness. In collaboration with local mental health researchers and staff, I will identify a potential area for growth, perform a localized needs assessment and prepare a product to assist with the ongoing development of Loreto’s community-based mental health services.

Gaurav Pai – Comparative Literature, Cinema and Media

Briana Williams – Global Health

With support from the Dr. Clyde Snow Fund, I will conduct my thesis research in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. This project is something that I am very passionate about because it is an environmental justice project related to water, a sacred symbol in Mayan culture. As a part of a larger study conducted by some colleagues from UC Davis, I will be conducting qualitative public health research to assess community perceptions and needs related to water quality, wastewater systems, and their effect on health. Ultimately, the goal is to disseminate our findings to help inform decisions made by the communities in reference to the extreme public health problem of untreated wastewater being pumped into Lake Atitlan.

Honorable Mentions:

Shanelle Briggs – Medicine

Shanelle Briggs is a medical student who graduated from WSU with degrees in Basic Medical Sciences and Spanish. During her undergraduate career, she studied abroad in Costa Rica and Spain. She also went on medical mission trips to Guatemala where she did research and volunteered as a translator. During these experiences, Shanelle  developed an interest in dermatology. She will be participating in UWSOM’s Global Health Immersion Program in Lima, Peru. During these eight weeks, she aims to use teledermatology to increase access of dermatology care to patients by decreasing the burden of travel and allowing for more efficient follow-up care.

Kelsey Gilman – International Studies

Luis Diego Granera Vega – Economics

Kristina Solveig – Medicine



2018 Dr. Clyde Snow Fund Recipients

Caitlin M. Alcorn – Geography

With funding from the Dr. Clyde Snow Fund, I will travel to São Paulo, Brazil to begin conducting interviews with domestic workers and employers as part of my dissertation research. Part-time day work is increasingly replacing full-time work as the dominant employment arrangement within the paid domestic service sector, one of Brazil’s largest sectors of female employment. I am interested in understanding the impacts of this shift, particularly on the daily lives of workers and employers, their employment relationship, and the organizing efforts of both domestic workers’ and employers’ unions.

Leyla Savloff – Anthropology

I focus on the social experience of women striving for freedom and belonging, while negotiating the institution of motherhood and the aftermaths of incarceration. Engaging with a growing global concern over gender violence, my dissertation asks: How do women reimagine their lives after punishment? What are the potentials of women-only spaces? How do these spaces work to end gender violence? The funds from the Dr. Clyde Snow award will assist in paying for my travel to Buenos Aires in August to conduct wrap-up interviews that illuminate the continuum of institutional and gendered violence that incarcerated women in Argentina are subjected to.

Emily Willard – International Studies & Law, Society and Justice

I will be traveling to Guatemala this summer to share my preliminary research findings with the community I am working with for my dissertation research. I want to get their feedback and perspectives on the research so far, and discuss next steps with them as far as writing conclusions and possible publication. I also will conduct follow-up interviews as well as assist in the preparations for and attend the 20th anniversary celebration of the founding of their town at the end of July 2018, a central part of my research and our work together. The funds will help pay for my travel expenses, and the production of educational material for the town.

Megan Zebert-Judd – International Studies & Law, Society and Justice

The Dr. Clyde Snow Fund will support my travel expenses this summer as I ethnographically participate in law enforcement trainings in the US Mexico Borderlands. In order to understand dominant discourses of border making and analyze how local and federal agents and police are trained, I will immerse myself in the narratives of the security community and gather training materials. These training materials will be studied and contextualized with the history of the US Mexico Border. This analysis is part of my dissertation project which discusses religious expertise, law enforcement profiling, and conflict in the Borderland.

Lisa Michelle White – International Studies

Thankful for the generous support provided by Dr. Vincent Phillips through the Clyde Snow Fund. Living liquid modernity, we are rapidly moving towards a crashing of collective worldviews, swirling around living issues of water. Locally we reach for the promise of a hyperconnected, biotechnological world while we lose touch with the roots of place and the knowledge of our own internal seas.

With future implications in novel social and structural research, I will use Zika epidemic as a case study for discourse analysis of risk communication. Funding will help with travel expenses as I will return to Brazil in June for preliminary field studies relating responses to Zika within community health sites.

2017 Dr. Clyde Snow Fund Recipients

Elizabeth Shoffner – Geography

“I will be spending two months this summer conducting preliminary dissertation research in the borderlands of the Río Uruguay, primarily in the areas that would be directly affected by the proposed Garabí-Panambí hydroelectric complex.  If constructed, this joint project between Argentina and Brazil would physically and ecologically remake the national border, displace thousands, and potentially inundate important conservation areas.  In imagining a radical decolonial environmentalism, I am interested in the inclusions and exclusions produced by collective political action in opposition to the Garabí-Panambí.  Specifically, I will be investigating how claims to nature/place or against “development” might be predicated on and/or visibilize certain identities and subjects while eliding or silencing others.”

Angie Tamayo – Psychology

“In August, I will travel to El Salvador to work with ProBusqueda, a human rights organization that seeks for children disappeared during the Civil War in the country. During my trip, we will design a psycholegal support methodology for the organization; based on the literature review I did and the experience they already have. By building a bridge between psychologists and lawyers, we pretend to provide a better support to the families in their called for justice in courts. The funds from the Dr. Clyde Snow award will help me to pay for food and lodging during the two weeks I will be in El Salvador.”

Emily Willard – Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies (JSIS)

“My plan is to develop a collaborative project with the community of Nuevo Amanecer to support their existing work to preserve the town’s historical memory of the conflict in Guatemala. The community has expressed a desire to use the preservation and presentation of their history as a self-sustaining economic development tool for their town. Potential activities are: to organize a short and long term educational program for their town’s anniversary celebration, expand the memorial at the local church, and repair the central meeting hall where all community remembrance, meeting, and celebration events take place.”

Megan Zebert-Judd – Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies (JSIS) 

“Law enforcement throughout the U.S. Southwest and Pacific Northwest have targeted migrants who practice informal Catholicism by associating their beliefs with the narcotics trade and labeling these communities narco cults. This process systematically violates the rights of already marginalized individuals, and it restricts how informal religious groups may symbolically represent themselves in the United States. The amount granted by the Dr. Clyde Snow Fund will support my living and travel costs while I analyze training materials and conduct interviews with those who produce the training materials used to target migrants in the Southwest United States. This amount will directly enable the completion of this preliminary analysis over the summer.”

Honorable Mention: Caitlin Alcorn – Geography