Meet the Watson Fellowship nominees
Four students have been nominated by the College for consideration of the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship Program. The fellowship offers a one-year grant to seniors “of unusual promise” to study independently outside the United States. The stipend for award winners is $30,000.
This year’s selection committee included: Ann Anderson, the Agnes S. MacDonald Professor of Mechanical Engineering; Maggie Tongue, director of the Scholars Program; Doug Klein, the Kenneth B. Sharpe Professor of Economics; Brad Bruno, professor of mechanical engineering; Jillmarie Murphy, assistant professor of English, Lynn Evans, director of National Fellowships and Scholarships; Jeffrey Witsoe, associate professor of anthropology; and Rahde Franke '10.
Union’s most recent Watson winners include Warren Thompson ’15, Karlee Bergendorff ’15, Sean Day ’14 and Shiqing He ‘14. Other recent winners include Joshua Anderson ’13, Shilpa Darivemula ’13, Rahde Franke ’10 and James Morton ’10.
Here are the four members of the Class of 2016 who were nominated by the Union committee:
Hometown: Somerville, Mass.
Majors: Mathematics and Spanish
Activities: Posse scholar, Omega Phi Beta sorority president and African Student Association public relations chairperson
Project title: “Styles by Maishka: An Exploration of Hair and Identity in Africa and the African Diaspora”
Proposed countries: India, Ghana, Jamaica, Brazil and England
Description: This fellowship ties into my Africana Studies minor because I am interested in traveling to countries in the African Diaspora—Ghana, Jamaica, Brazil and England—to learn and study about hairstyling within those communities. Although there are differences between professional and nonprofessional salons, I am interested in the connection to community and empowering individuals through teaching and learning about their hair.
HTOO WAI HTET
Hometown: Yangon, Myanmar
Majors: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Activities: Robotics Crew, MakerCorps, Academic Opportunity Program tutor, Early Music Ensemble and Chess Club
Project title: “ Making Technological Empowerment Affordable”
Proposed countries: Switzerland, England, Kenya, India, Indonesia and Japan
Description: My project is about exploring simple, innovative technologies that will empower people by making them accessible to users. I hope that the experience will allow me to learn more not only about the development and marketing of innovative technologies, but also about myself as a person and how I can contribute to make an impact to the developing world through simple inexpensive technology.
Hometown: Wolcott, Conn.
Majors: Biology and Political Science
Activities: Campus Action, Muslim Student Association and Garnet Minstrelles
Project title: “Life After Loss: Collective Bereavement and Post-Conflict Healing”
Proposed countries: Nepal, Thailand, Rwanda and Turkey
Description: I want to further understand grief and healing in refugee communities around the world; communities I wouldn’t have been able to learn from otherwise. I hope that I can gain an understanding of the connections between grief, post-conflict identity, and healing from different groups of refugees, and that in time, I will be able to provide better and more holistic care to the world’s most vulnerable populations.
Hometown: Targovishte, Bulgaria
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Activities: Ethics Bowl member and Academic Opportunity Program tutor
Project title: “Finding Refuge in Art”
Proposed countries: Turkey, Jordan, Albania and England
Description: My project explores the role of art in the life of refugees around the world. Among many technical skills I hope to gain in working with experienced refugee artists, I am also looking to develop strength and perseverance - two valuable qualities that can shape the success of my future.