UW graduates stand during commencement, wearing mortarboards that display the purple "W"

The Stroum Center for Jewish Studies congratulates this year’s graduating students, who come from departments wide-ranging departments, including linguistics, business, international studies, biology, and English.

Learn more about — and read writing by — this year’s cohort of graduates, which includes both undergraduate minors and current and former graduate fellows.

Undergraduate students

Ari Goertzel graduated cum laude in winter 2019 with a double degree in linguistics and applied and computational mathematics and a minor in Jewish studies. For his linguistics honors thesis, he wrote “Construct in Place: A Cross-Categorical Approach to Hebrew Construct States.” He will be attending the Ph.D. linguistics program at the University of Connecticut starting in autumn 2019.

Portrait of Doria Nelson, smiling, in a blue dressDoria Nelson majored in international studies and minored in Jewish studies. From 2016-2019, she worked as a student intern for the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies, supporting its day-to-day operations and helping to manage dozens and dozens of events. She has worked extensively with Jewish organizations in the Seattle area.

Portrait of Michael Peterson shows him smiling, arms folded, wearing a T-shirt, with a sunny park scene in the backgroundMichael Peterson majored in biology and minored in Jewish studies. After taking some time away from school, he intends to go to graduate school and ultimately be a part of immunology-related research.

Portrait of Stormy Peterson, seated, smiling, wearing a dress and sweater, with bushes and a trail in the backgroundStormy Peterson graduated with a degree in business administration, with a focus in finance and a minor in Jewish studies and dance. She intends to work in the field of real estate finance after graduation and to continue to travel internationally with her husband.

Graduate students

Molly FitzMorris graduated with a Ph.D. from the Department of Linguistics in June 2019. She completed her M.A. thesis, “The Last Generation of Native Ladino Speakers? Judeo-Spanish and the Sephardic Community in Seattle,” at the University of Washington in the spring of 2014, focusing on Seattle-area Ladino. Her doctoral dissertation, “Productivity, influence, and evolution: The complex language shift of Modern Ladino,” looks at some of the sound patterns, word formation processes, vocabulary, and sentence structures that make the Ladino spoken in Seattle unique.In her dissertation, Molly shows that the community-wide change from Ladino to English in Seattle is unlike seemingly similar language shifts in other speech communities. Molly has been instrumental in organizing International Ladino Day in Seattle since its inception and has done critical work with speakers of Seattle-area Ladino to gain a better understanding of the state of the language today. As of July, she is working as a linguist at Facebook in the Seattle area. You can read about Molly’s research and hear recordings of Seattle Ladino speakers on her website.

Black-and-white portrait of Denise wearing a striped blouse, hair back, with a bemused expressionDenise Grollmus received her Ph.D. in English in June 2019. She is now the Communications Manager for the Simpson Center for the Humanities. In 2012, she was a Fulbright scholar to Poland, and from 2013-2014, she was the Philip Bernstein Memorial Scholar in Jewish Studies. She also holds an M.F.A. in creative writing from Penn State and her work as a journalist and essayist has appeared in numerous publications, including The Guardian, LA Review of Books, Jewish Review of Books, NYMag, Salon, Tablet Magazine, and various Village Voice papers.

Portrait of Pablo Jairo Tutillo Maldonado smiling, wearing a suit and tiePablo Jairo Tutillo Maldonado, who hails from Connecticut, recently graduated with an M.A. in Middle East studies through the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies. Pablo obtained his B.A. in international relations and a minor in Arabic studies from Connecticut College. Pablo has studied at Alexandria University in Egypt and at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel. At the University of Washington, Pablo researched the intersection of history and politics in countries in the Middle East, particularly the political and historical narratives of Jewish refugees, Syrian refugees and other forced migrants from the Arab world. He speaks conversational Arabic, Hebrew and Turkish.

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⇒ Learn more about the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Washington, our Sephardic Studies Program, or our Israel Studies Program.
Note: The opinions expressed by faculty and students in our publications reflect the views of the individual writer only and not those of the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies.