AAFSW’s 2016 Merit Scholarship Winners

AAFSW is pleased to announce the winners of our 2016 Merit Scholarships.

The AAFSW College Merit Scholarship ($2,000) was awarded to Miranda Walls, daughter of William Walls and Melissa Nuwaysir.

Miranda Walls is a rising junior at James Madison University and majoring in Economics with a minor in Middle Eastern Communities and Migrations. While at JMU, she has volunteered at Ten Thousand Villages in downtown Harrisonburg, become actively involved with the club Students Helping Honduras, and held a virtual internship with the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues. As part of the Honors Program at JMU she began a Global Studies area of emphasis, culminating in a self-designed practicum with the Refugee Resettlement Office in Harrisonburg. When she started university her parents were still posted to Italy and she has had the opportunity to continue with her Italian language studies and begin studying Arabic while at school.


The Judy Felt Memorial Volunteerism Scholarship ($1,000) has been awarded to Sofia B. Tipton, daughter of Bernardita and Joseph Tipton. This award, which was created to honor the late Art & BookFair Chair Judy Felt, honors a student with an exceptional record of community service. Among Sophia’s volunteer activities were English tutoring for Korean immigrants, and serving as a recreation assistant at Sunrise Assisted Living Center.

Sofia Tipton is currently a senior at the College of William & Mary, majoring in Cultural Anthropology and minoring in East Asian Studies. By birth she would be considered a Chilean-American, but due to her parents’ jobs, she was able to live and study around the world; and so she would rather consider herself as an international student. Earlier she was given the opportunity to study Korean overseas under the NSLIY (National Security Language Initiative for Youth) scholarship. It was one of her most impactful experiences, which influenced her consideration in getting a degree in anthropology while also giving her an enormous love for Korean culture. Before transferring to William & Mary last year, Sofia was able to return to Korea and further her Korean studies through the Critical Language Scholarship. She hopes to someday be able to return to Korea and begin her own anthropological research around East and Southeast Asia.


The AAFSW Best Essay Award ($500) was awarded to Magda Travis, daughter of Daniel Travis and Katarzyna Helbin-Travis. This award honors a student for writing an outstanding essay on how growing up in a Foreign Service family has affected plans for college, work and/or life.

Magda Travis is a theatre major at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has performed on the street, at the Ugandan National Theatre, and in a barn (twice). Her performances have been in Polish, English, and this fall she will be singing in German as Hansel in Humperdinck’s opera adaptation of Hansel and Gretel. She has taught drama to schoolchildren in Kampala and Nairobi, and fought like a gladiator in Rome. When she’s not in the corner crying over being cast as a guy five times in a row now, she’s furiously training her voice in the practice rooms. Magda hopes that with enough hard work she’ll be able to join the growing ranks of TCK (Third Culture Kid) performers and help non-TCKs understand who we are.