New ThinkSwiss Scholarship Spots

“The most extraordinary thinkers and doers are coming to Switzerland, are you one of them?”

We just completed three new promotional spots for the ThinkSwiss Scholarship  program for ThinkSwiss  (an initiative by Presence Switzerland). They feature two former recipients of the scholarship and in keeping with the student budget aesthetic, we used Skype to interview both Ryan Luke Johns and Hilary Landfried.

Ryan Luke Johns, a graduate of Columbia University, now pursuing a masters at Princeton, is a pretty interesting cat. An architecture student with a slant towards digital fabrication, days after completing his undergraduate studies, he undertook the traditional architectural “Grand Tour of Europe” —with a twist: packing a change of shorts, a t-shirt and some other basic necessities that could  fit in a backpack, he flew to Amsterdam and from there, over the course of 133 days, ran to Athens. You can find an account of his trail adventures here: His idea was to experience the transitions from natural  to rural to urban spaces at the pace of the human body. This makes sense especially as his main interest  is “bringing the flexibility and freedom of the digital into a real physical experience.” During his “Grand Run” he visited the Gramazio & Kohler Robotics fabrication lab at the ETH in Zurich, which is how he learned about the ThinkSwiss scholarship. Definitely one to watch. More about on Ryan Johns and his digital and real world adventures on his site

(l) Crossroads in the Netherlands (r) Ryan Johns takes the Leaning Tower into consideration.


Hilary Landfried in Masaka Uganda with the "Disclosure Site" project.

The second spot features Hilary Landfried, a philosophy major at GettysburgUniversity. Two summers ago, she worked with AIDS organization, Kitovu Mobile in Masaka, Uganda as a trauma counselor. The organization worked with five schools in that district, and Landfried quickly sensed that the students were uncomfortable talking to adults—parents or teachers about sex education or HIV. As a result, she collaborated with Kitovu to create “disclosure sites,”  locked boxes where the young students could submit their questions anonymously. At the end of the week, trained teachers and facilitators would answer all the questions in a general assembly. Since then, in the States, she’s been involved in various initiatives involving migrant workers and the homeless. For the ThinkSwiss scholarship, she studied with Jacques Picard, a cultural anthropologist, at University of Basel. Her focus was on issues of nationalism and identity—which led her to participate in the International Task Force for Holocaust Education, Remembrance, and Research conference in Amsterdam.



Spot #3 combines cameos of Landfried and Johns in a FAQ style spot presided over by Christoph Ebell, Science and Technology Counselor at the Swiss Embassy in Washington D.C. Here he covers not just the ‘how to’ apply questions, but more importantly, he explains what your ThinkSwiss Scholarship can do for you.