Merit Scholarships, Fellowships and Awards

Meet the Advisors

Erin Hitzemann

Manager of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards

During my K-12 education, I was not interested in academics and had spent most of my time playing sports. Actually, I had struggled in school, but I knew going to college would be an opportunity to a better life. After starting at a local community college, I transferred to Seattle University on an athletic scholarship. In my first 2 years at college, I had learned how to be a better student, how to become involved in a variety of organizations on campus and how to thrive in academics, especially my Psychology major. In my Junior year I was awarded a merit scholarship. It was the first time that I had received an award for academics rather than athletics. I found that this academic award increased my confidence.  When graduate school was suggested to me by one of my professors, I thought that I actually could succeed in graduate school. The merit scholarship not only  helped me financially, but it also was the recognition I needed to continue my involvement on campus and to pursue my studies confidently.

I have spent the last 15 years working with college students in various capacities. I love helping students to realize their dreams, to develop their interests, to have the courage to try for something outside of their comfort zone and to think about how they can contribute to something bigger.

In my role as the Manager of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships and Awards, it is my privilege to help you take advantage of the exciting opportunities offered through merit scholarships. I look forward to working with you!


Natalia Dyba

Director of Global Initiatives

When I was a senior in college at Rice University in Houston, TX, I found out about a post-graduate fellowship that awarded $20,000 to spend a year outside of the United States pursuing any topic of interest, whether academic or not. I decided to apply because I didn’t know what to do after graduation. My proposal was to study ski bums in Norway, Switzerland, Chile and New Zealand. Unfortunately, I was not selected. Fortunately, I learned some valuable lessons, which helped me successfully apply for the Fulbright ETA program in Argentina. I spent nine months teaching English and learning about a new part of the world at the National University of Mar del Plata in Argentina.

I look forward to advising students interested in pursuing international opportunities, including scholarships for study abroad, post-graduate fellowships, and teach abroad programs.


Cruz Garibay

Scholarship Advisor

Cruz Garibay is a Scholarship Advisor and Resident Advisor. He is pursuing a double undergraduate degree in Health Studies and Business Administration with a minor in Human Rights. His goal is to work to achieve social change in medical institutions and advocate for underrepresented minorities dealing with health care issues.

As a first generation student he has personal experience allocating and searching for different types of funding to finance his post-secondary education. Throughout his college experience, Cruz has developed a passion for working with students, “My hope is to be a resource for students by serving as a metaphorical lighthouse. I want to be able to guide them through the different pathways that are available for them to make their college experience a memorable one.”

Contact Us

Merit Scholarships, Fellowships and Awards

Student Success Center UW1-160