Humphrey Fellowship Program "That's Life" May 25, 2017

On today's epsiode of "That's Life", Lois Richter interviews a cohort from the Humphrey Fellowship Program.  Nikki Grey Rutamu, Associate Director of Davis' branch of the Hubert H Humphrey Fellowship Program, starts off the interview by describing the Progam and how Humphrey Fellows are selected and placed with universities around the US; she is then joined by three current Fellows: Itzel Morales from Mexico and Samaneh Seifollahi-Aghmiuni and Navid Ghajarnia, a married couple from Iran. (Navid and Samaneh each applied and were selected separately, then were lucky enough to both get placed in Davis.)

From global climate change to adjusting to life in America, this is an interview not to be missed. Each Fellow passes the mike throughout the show, creating an open and flowing dialogue over the hour.  Guests described what each one's area of interest is, how they got into this US Program, what research or academic projects or classes they were in, and what they hope to take back to use in their own countries. 

While Mexico and Iran are very different countries, these Fellows had some similar insights from their time here.  They agreed that although the academic learning was extremely useful, an enormously important part of their experience was meeting and interacting with so many people from different countries and learning that we are truly all alike in many ways.

Each person who becomes a Humphrey Fellow needs to learn English in order to get the most out of their stay in the US; and some take classes when they get here. Not these three guests.  They all learned English at home -- but said it wasn't until they were immersed in the language here in Davis that they finally started to 'think in English'.  Lois asked each to say something in their native tongue so you listeners could hear the sound of their homeland.  (It was interesting what each one chose to say. Lois asked for translations after they were all done.)

Towards the end of the interview Lois asks about some of their favorite experiences or things that they have done or seen in Davis. Navid responds with a great story about becoming an unofficial cheerleader for the Women's UC Davis basketball team -- what a lovely takeaway. It is fun and exciting to hear about these adventurer scholars, their work and their play. 

During the show Lois offered to have every set of Humphrey Fellows come on KDRT and tell about their home countries. Nikki agreed and will begin offering that option next year. Each Fellow stays for eleven months; so Itzel, Navid, and Samaneh will be leaving by the end of summer.

Details about today's guests can be found at ...

Itzel Morales (

Samaneh Seifollahi-Aghmiuni (

Navid Ghajarnia (

Nikki Grey Rutamu, A. Director (

PS: While talking with these guests after the show, Lois asked if any of them wanted to come back to have an entire hour telling us about their countries and experiences. They ALL said yes! So look for them to be scheduled in June/July.  Stay tuned!

PPS: 6/29/2017 will feature Fellows Samaneh Seifollahi-Aghmiuni and Navid Ghajarnia talking about differences between living in Iran and living in Davis.

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