In this Q&A, we speak with Julie Wagoner, a rising senior majoring in international studies and French who was recently selected as the 2022-2023 recipient of the Donald C. and Margery S. Hellmann Scholarship award.
Unique to the Jackson School, the award provides a stipend to support the education and training of a Jackson School undergraduate major with demonstrated excellence in international studies, clear interest in a career in international affairs, and with a strong and creative commitment to promoting the international public good.
Name: Julie Wagoner
Degree: Double-major in International Studies and French Studies
Expected to graduate in: June 2023
Hometown: Seattle, WA
How did you choose the UW?
Julie Wagoner: I grew up in Ballard, a neighborhood 15 minutes west of the U-District, and I always knew that I wanted to go to UW. This is partially because I did not have the ﬁnancial resources to explore out-of-state universities but also because the thought of going to a large university with extensive opportunities in every ﬁeld was so exciting to me. Additionally, my involvement in music through playing clarinet was a huge part of my childhood, and I really wanted to join the Husky Marching Band. I joined during my first year and met some of the best people in my life.
How did you decide to major in International Studies?
J.W.: I have always known that I wanted to make a diﬀerence in the lives of others, but early in college I was unsure what this would look like for me. That’s why I chose the Jackson School and specifically the Human Rights track of the general International Studies Major. I loved the fact that there is a huge variety of subjects available and that students can easily choose the path that they want to take to serve their speciﬁc interests. It is a wonderful major for students who want to make a diﬀerence in the world but may need to take a few classes before learning where in the ﬁeld their passions lie. Another of my favorite things about this major is that I’ve been able to easily connect it to other subjects–a JSIS [Jackson School] class led me to eventually declaring an anthropology minor.
Tell us about your reaction on receiving the Hellmann Scholar Award.
J.W.: I remember receiving the email while I was at work one day and I was so happy that I could not stop smiling for the rest of my shift. I feel incredibly humbled to receive this award and I could not have gotten here without the wonderful professors and peers who I have met in the Jackson School.
How do you think the award will help your goals and career path?
J.W.: This award in part is making it possible for me to study abroad in Europe this summer. It will allow me to take some time oﬀ work in the fall to put more eﬀort towards research projects and think about what I would like to do once I graduate in Spring 2023. During the 2021-2022 school year, I was able to work on a team with the Disability Inclusive Development Initiative [housed in the Jackson School’s International Policy Institute]. Involvement in this research helped me learn more about my interest in the international disability rights ﬁeld. Because of this award, I will have more economic ﬂexibility to dedicate time towards this project.
Tell us about your study abroad experience while at the Jackson School.
J.W.: This summer, I am studying abroad in Paris through the UW French Studies program. I was also awarded the Crawford Endowed Scholarship through the Jackson School, and the combination of that and the Hellmann Scholar Award is making it possible for me to travel abroad this summer. I am currently answering these questions from a cafe in Amsterdam, and this is my ﬁrst time in Europe! One of my life goals is to live in a francophone country while being involved in human rights work.
What Jackson School class has impacted you the most and why?
J.W.: It’s quite diﬃcult to narrow this answer down to a single most impactful class, but if I had to choose one I would choose JSIS B 346: Disability in Global and Comparative Perspectives taught by associate professor Stephen Meyers. I grew up physically disabled and have always known that I wanted to consider involvement in global disability rights movements, but this was the ﬁrst time that I had the chance to explore this interest in an academic setting. I was introduced to technical terms and grassroots ideas that would be necessary to work in the ﬁeld. This class also led me to joining the Disability Inclusive Development Initiative, and because of this class and my research, I feel strongly about following my passion for pursuing disability rights after graduating from UW.
As a rising senior, what key skills have you learned at the Jackson School for your career?
J.W.: In particular, I think that the Jackson School has prepared me very well to work in an interdisciplinary context. In my courses there is often a mix of Jackson School, Law, Societies & Justice and Anthropology students. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from people of diﬀerent academic and social backgrounds because I believe that in the Human Rights and Disability Justice ﬁeld, and this collaborative skill is one that I will use daily. I have learned the importance of celebrating diﬀerent perspectives in every environment as well as listening to and uplifting those whose voices are marginalized in academic settings.
What advice do you have for prospective Jackson School students?
J.W.: Keep a constant open mind. Be willing to connect with your professors and peers because you never know what professional and academic doors may open for you.