Honors Senior Majoring In Geography Awarded Gates Cambridge Scholarship

April 17, 2018
Dino Kadich

Dino Kadich was a Magellan Circle Scholar in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and was named the outstanding undergraduate student by Gamma Theta Upsilon, the national geography honors society.


Dino Kadich (class of ‘18) is an Honors senior majoring in Geography and Africana Studies, with a minor in North Eastern and North African Studies. His hard work has culminated in him being named a 2018 Gates Cambridge Scholar. The scholarship he will receive is supported by a trust that began with a $210 million donation to the University of Cambridge from Bill and Melinda Gates in 2000. The donation is the largest ever for a UK university, according to the Gates Cambridge website.

The scholarships are awarded to outstanding scholars from countries outside the UK to pursue a full-time postgraduate degree in any subject available at the University of Cambridge. Kadich plans on using the scholarship to pursue a masters in Geographical Research.

Honors Assistant Dean Karna Walter says that Kadich “is in rare company as a recipient and he will be a wonderful ambassador for Honors, the UA, and the United States.”

Kadich and his parents came to the U.S. in 1997 as refugees from Bosnia. The experience set a foundation that continues to influence Kadich’s interests and research. “I am interested in the ways in which young people in Bosnia and Herzegovina navigate and negotiate the country's fractured politics and weak economy on an everyday basis,” Kadich says.

For the past two years, Kadich has worked with Professor Lynn Staeheli, a well-respected political geographer and department head of the UA School of Geography and Development. In the past, Kadich studied hip-hop culture in Sarajevo. He says the culture “creates a sense of community and belonging in a country where forms of national belonging that seem quite natural to us simply cannot exist.”

In the future, Kadich is interested in studying what belonging means in this context, how it is produced, and the creative methods scholars can use to elicit these complex social phenomena. “This work is really personal for me,” Kadich says. “I am joining a community of scholars who are interested in improving people's lives. For me, one of the really exciting parts about this experience is making friends with people doing amazing work fighting diseases, re-imagining education, and changing the way we think about the history of science.”

Kadich has seen firsthand how lives can change – and improve. He says that when his parents came to the U.S., their “lives were uprooted and irreversibly altered by the brutal siege that they lived through.” They had to start their lives over in their 30s, had to learn a new language, and begin new careers. It was a completely unfamiliar and new way of life for their entire family. It was never easy. “But they did it,” Kadich says. “They succeeded. That's why I'm here.”

Now, Kadich says his parents are proud and elated about the opportunity for him to study at Cambridge. Kadich is excited about his studies, the academics, and being able to actually live in Cambridge. And there are a few added perks that come with the experience. “I love British comedy and all of the delicious international cuisines and cultures you can find in the city.”

The Gates Cambridge Scholarship is one of the most competitive of its kind to apply for and win. Kadich has advice for future students who may be in his position. “Writing grants and applications is all about telling a story,” he says. “If you can take your experiences and interests and articulate them in a way that demonstrates how they are meaningful to you and potentially impactful for the world, you can succeed.”


Story written by UA Honors College.

From "Four Questions with the Class of 2018"

Dino Kadich completed a double major in geography and Africana studies with a 4.0 GPA. His honors thesis, an exploration of youth politics through the lens of popular culture, was based on independent research in Bosnia. Dino was one of 55 (out of 6,000 applicants) to be awarded a Gates Cambridge Fellowship and will begin study at Cambridge University in the fall.

Which UA professor will you miss the most, and why?
Professor Lynn Staeheli. She has been the most supportive, challenging and caring educator I could have ever asked for. Not only has she driven me to approach issues critically and thoughtfully, but she also made me believe that the research I do matters. 

What is your favorite funny story from your time at the UA?
I truly cannot ice skate. But over the course of my three years in Arizona Model United Nations, I have somehow ended up on ice rinks over and over again (we often travel to conferences in chilly places). A couple of years ago, we were at an ice rink in Chicago and I had pumped myself up to skate around and at least try to cling to the wall for a bit. Meanwhile, my friends come up and grab me by the arms and catapult us into the middle of the rink. I was so terrified. We went in circles over and over again and it started to feel normal. They let go and I fell. Life is easier when you’re holding onto someone for dear life.

What has been your favorite place on campus, and why?
Caffe Luce. While technically off-campus, it is close enough to have been home for the past few years. There’s always someone you know hanging out — and someone you can snag a table from!

In five years, where will you be living and what will you be doing?
Five years from now, I hope to be finishing up my Ph.D. in geography and continuing my research on youth activism and the politics of memory in Bosnia and Herzegovina. As long as I am imagining the future, I will have also caught up on my reading list and sleep in this fantasy world.