Student Voices

CELE Fellowships

Heaven Tesfamariam

Medical Anthropology & Global Health and Political Science major, UW class of 2019

The Ellis Fellowship had an impact on my post-graduation plans because of the service component, which made me more involved in my community–especially the Eritrean Community Center. One of my biggest commitments with them has been mentoring YPFDJ (Young People Stand for Democracy and Justice).

Ellis Fellow Capstone

I work with an Eritrean youth group; my work has included organizing a career day, networking events and campus visits. 

Service Commitments as a Fellow

My longest commitment was Bryant Elementary School. I worked with them since the spring quarter of my freshmen year. I worked there with their health room and it was fun because I got to interact with all of the kids. It was a Nurse Assistant position where I would take care of the kids if they had fallen and needed a bandaid or if their tummy isn’t feeling well. When I started at UW, I was on the nursing track and Bryant elementary served a purpose to build experience.

I also worked with Mary’s Place, a homeless shelter for families. What I later discovered is that Mary’s Place was a shelter I stayed at with my family when I was younger so it was great to remake that connection and work with them. There are a lot of East African refugees so I got to use my language skills and help the client communicate with the shelter.

Social Issues of Interest

One of them is racial equity and it’s been a theme throughout my four years here and in other work that I’ve done. Homelessness is the second issue. Having been someone who experienced homelessness when I was younger wanted to address throughout my time here and throughout my service.

Post-Graduation Plan

The first step is going back home (Eritrea) and do national service there for two years. The Ellis Fellowship had an impact on my post-graduation plans because of the service component, which  made me more involved in my community–especially the Eritrean Community Center. One of my biggest commitments with them has been mentoring YPFDJ (Young People Stand for Democracy and Justice) because I held leadership positions with them when I was in high school. So that’s been a huge part of my Ellis Fellowship and being involved in my community in that way led me to want to go back and serve.

More Student Profiles

Kiss’Shonna Curtis

CELE Fellowships

I’d like to be active in being a part of the change for Seattle’s homeless population and advocating for more mental health resources.

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Feben Gebremichael

CELE Fellowships

As part of the fellowship, I worked with a number of different organizations. First I explored local food banks, then a brief internship with Ventures, a non-profit that helps equip people with the tools they need to start their own businesses, then with the Dream Project.

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Vy Tran

CELE Fellowships

The majority of my time was spent organizing events, working on the curriculum, and getting more mentors onboard. We were also placed in special storytelling and community classes together, which were pretty amazing…some of the most interesting topics I’ve ever been presented with in college.

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Joy Levine

CELE Fellowships

Twelve thousand of our neighbors are currently experiencing homelessness and countless more live with unstable housing due to high rents. My Ellis Fellowship service commitments with Mary’s Place, Pike Market Senior Center, and ROOTS Young Adult Shelter gave me a passion for affordable housing policy and bringing down barriers to housing for our at-risk neighbors.

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Nancy Huizar

CELE Fellowships

As a young woman of color, I researched and have experienced how historically and in present-day communities, People of Color have been intentionally kept out of decision-making on important environmental issues.

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Steven Rowe

CELE Fellowships

As a fellow, I participated as a Union Gospel Mission front desk assistant, a youth tutor for the Seattle public library (Delridge branch), a Somali Community Services tutor, and a Juvenile Detention Center activity facilitator.

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