Philip Palios / Marc Studer photo
By Douglas Esser
After graduating from high school, Fulbright scholar Philip Palios spent nearly a decade working at some of the biggest names in technology: Microsoft, Amazon and Apple. But, software engineering left him feeling unfulfilled.
“As I grew into adulthood, I became more aware of my mortality and more concerned with what I could be doing to make the world a better place within my lifetime,” he said. “The biggest issue on my mind was climate change, and I was also thinking about its intersection with poverty.”
Palios took a two-year break in 2009 to earn an associate degree at Bellevue College as he thought about moving in another direction.
“I believed that more needed to be done to inspire people and expand their imagination of possible solutions to spur action,” he said.
The way to motivate people about environmental concerns is through the arts, said the University of Washington Bothell senior who is graduating this year with a degree in culture, literature and the arts.
“The arts are the part that speak to the heart,” he said. “People know the problem. People know what we have to do. But bringing about change is really complicated and a hard process.”
Palios is interested in the intersection of the environment and the humanities. He’ll start exploring that more in September through a yearlong U.S. Student Fulbright grant, earning a master’s in environment, culture and communication at the University of Glasgow Dumfries campus in southwest Scotland.
The Fulbright is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. The program strives to increase mutual understanding with people of other countries. Palios credits Natalia Dyba, UW Bothell director of global initiatives, with setting up his Fulbright application for success.
Palios chose UW Bothell in 2016 for its School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences. In addition to courses, he took part in study abroad trips to Greece and Rome. He worked on campus as a study abroad adviser and peer writing consultant.
A favorite project at UW Bothell was a group assignment for a winter quarter public art and ecological restoration class, Palios said. The group created a mural outline of trees, using green painter’s tape, on the windows of a UW1 vista.
Palios self-published a novel about science and technology and is halfway through writing his next novel, with a theme of political activism and social change. A favorite book he’s recently read is “The Sunlight Pilgrims” by Jenni Fagan (a Scottish novelist coincidentally) about a world slowly freezing over.
Palios may pursue a doctorate and eventually wants to teach college students. He would love to return to UW Bothell.
“I think critical thinking is really important, and I think college writing is a good way to improve thinking,” he said. “Ideally I’d want to come back here and teach.”