Watson Fellowship Description
(Text copied from the Watson Fellowship website)
THE THOMAS J. WATSON FOUNDATION inaugurated the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship in 1968. The mission of the Fellowship Program is to offer college graduates of unusual promise a year of independent, purposeful exploration and travel outside of the United States in order to enhance their capacity for resourcefulness, imagination, openness, and leadership and to foster their humane and effective participation in the world community.
The Program provides Fellows an opportunity for a focused and disciplined year of their own devising--period in which they can have some surcease from the lockstep of prescribed educational and career patterns in order to explore with thoroughness a particular interest. During their year abroad, Fellows have an unusual, sustained, and demanding opportunity to take stock of themselves, to test their aspirations and abilities, to view their lives and American society in greater perspective, and, concomitantly, to develop a more informed sense of international concern.
In selecting Watson Fellows, we are most concerned with holistically identifying individuals who demonstrate leadership, resourcefulness, imagination or vision, independence, integrity, responsibility and emotional maturity, and courage. A candidate's academic record, while not of primary importance, is also considered, together with those extracurricular activities that reflect both initiative and dedication.
The proposed project should reflect a candidate's genuine interest in, and long-standing commitment to, a specific pursuit, whether or not this interest is evident in a formal course of study. The project must be one that can be conducted with great independence and adaptability, and it cannot involve formal study at a foreign institution. It must involve travel to areas where the student has not previously lived or studied for a significant length of time. Fellows are not allowed to return home at any time during their Fellowship year except in rare circumstances and with the prior approval of the program. In short, the project should be personally significant, imaginative, and feasible.
Administered in cooperation with outstanding private colleges and universities throughout the United States, the Watson Fellowship provides a grant of $25,000 to each recipient. (Fellows whose spouse or dependent child will accompany them may be eligible for a grant of $35,000.) In addition, the Fellowship Program will supply, as a supplement to the stipend, an amount equal to twelve months of payments of eligible outstanding federally guaranteed and institutional student loans. The purpose of the student loan assistance program is to ease the financial burden of Watson Fellows during their Fellowship year, and to provide encouragement for all students, regardless of student loan debt, to apply for Watson Fellowships.
All Fellows are required to maintain contact with the Fellowship Program during their year abroad. In addition to quarterly progress reports, they must submit a final evaluation of their year together with an accounting of the expenditure of Fellowship funds. The Fellowship is taxable and must be reported by recipients as income. Taxes are not withheld by the Fellowship Program.
The Thomas J. Watson Fellowship Program welcomes applicants from a diverse range of backgrounds and academic disciplines. All graduating seniors at participating institutions are eligible for nomination by their institution.
Individual colleges and universities participating in the Watson Fellowship Program establish their own procedures and deadlines for the application process. A representative of the program will visit each campus to interview nominees during the fall and winter months. Forty Watson Fellows will be selected from among the approximately 155 candidates nominated by the participating institutions.
Grinnell College and the Watson Fellowship
Grinnell College is proud to be one of the colleges and universities who have been invited to nominate four seniors for the 2012-13 Thomas J. Watson Fellowship competition. Grinnell College has been invited to participate in this Fellowship every year since the program was founded in the late 1960s, and, with only three exceptions, has had at least one Watson Fellow in each class. A complete list of Grinnell's Watson Fellows can be found at the bottom of this webpage. Doug Cutchins serves as Grinnell College's liaison to the Watson Foundation. Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to meet with him to discuss their ideas and plans for a Watson Fellowship. To make an appointment with Doug, please call (641) 269-4408 or email him.
The following materials must be submitted to the Office of Social Commitment, 1233 Park St., by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, September 17, 2012. Because the CRSSJ (1233 Park St.), which houses the Office of Social Commitment, is inaccessible to students with mobility disabilities, please contact soccom[at]grinnell[dot]edu if you would like to make alternative plans to submit your application materials. Please submit the original plus seven copies (eight total), arranged into packets in the following order:
- Grinnell College's 2012-13 Watson Fellowship application form.This is a .pdf file, which requires Adobe Acrobat to open. The application is formatted with form fields, which allows applicants to complete it on their computer, print it, and submit it. However, please note that unless you are working with a full version of Adobe Acrobat, you will not be able to save your edits and changes. Note that this application requires a 100-word biographical abstract; before writing this, applicants are encouraged to review these Watson 100-word biography samples or the biographical abstracts of last year's Watson Fellows.
- A personal statement, adhering to these guidelines from the Watson Foundation: "In your personal statement, you should discuss how your project is your project--and how it reflects your talents, concerns and commitments. It may include a description of your background, your college years, your professional goals and aspirations, and your reasons for seeking a Watson Fellowship to undertake your project. The personal statement is an opportunity to provide the Watson Fellowship Program with a sense of who you are, including how you would benefit from the unique experiences the Watson Fellowship permits and how you would embrace the challenges of immersing yourself in cultures other than your own for a year. The specific content of the personal statement is up to you, but we require that it not exceed 1500 words." Advice on writing personal statements
- A project proposal, adhering to these guidelines from the Watson Foundation: "The proposal should describe your plan for the 12-month fellowship year, including a description of your proposed project and details as to how you intend to carry it out. In addition, you should include information about what it is that prepares you to undertake your project. The specific content of the proposal is up to you, but we require that it not exceed 1500 words." Please note that Watson Fellows are not allowed to travel to countries under State Department Travel Warnings; please check this list to ensure that the countries you plan to visit are not currently under travel warning. Contact Doug Cutchins if you have any questions about this policy.
- (Optional) Other documents considered necessary for explaining the feasibility of the proposal, including such items as a budget, list of contacts, or itinerary. Applicants who proposal includes an artistic talent or skill (such as photography, dance, singing, etc.) may submit materials that demonstrate their abilities; before doing so, please contact Doug Cutchins to work out the particulars of what and how materials should be submitted.
- An unofficial copy of your transcript, obtained from the Registrar's Office in the John Chrystal Center. Do not print out your transcript from PioneerWeb and submit this instead of the unofficial transcript.
The application form, personal statement, and project proposal should each be stapled separately, then paper-clipped together with the transcript to form a complete packet. In addition, you must also:
- Arrange to have two recommendations submitted by the September 17 deadline, one of which must be from a Grinnell College faculty member. NOTE PROCESS FOR RECOMMENDATIONS. These recommendations should utilize the 2012-13 Watson Fellowship recommendation form, which is a two-page form, as well as submitting one or two paragraphs about the applicant. These should be submitted directly to the Office of Social Commitment (instructions are at the top of the two-page form). Recommenders may contact Doug Cutchins if they have any questions about submitting their recommendation. Recommenders should be made aware that if the student that they are recommending is selected as one of our four nominees, they may be asked to write a full letter of recommendation before the foundation's national deadline in early November.
- Print, sign, and submit one copy (separate from your packets) of the Scholarship Nomination Permission Form and Waiver
All candidates will be interviewed 1:1 by two committee members, after which time a short list of finalists for our four nominations will be named. Those finalists will interview with one more committee member before final decisions about our four nominees. Nomination decisions should be made before fall break.
All applicants are expected to adhere to these ethical guidelines.
2012-13 Grinnell College Nomination Committee Members
- Ed Cohn, History
- Ann Ellis, Psychology
- Kevin Engel, Science Library
- Astrid Henry, Gender, Women's, and Sexuality Studies
- Erin Hurley, Physical Education
- Angelo Mercado, Classics
- Celeste Miller, Theater and Dance
Committee members may write letters of recommendation for candidates, provided that they are a natural and strong fit for the student and their project. Committee members should not be asked to write letters of recommendation simply because they are on the committee. Letters from committee members will not be weighed more heavily than letters from non-committee members.
Grinnell College Watson Fellows, 1969-present
- Jonathan D. Buswell, '69; Agricultural Economic Development; Honduras, El Salvador,Guatamala, Nicaragua
- John Garang DeMabior, '69; Rural Development; East Africa
- Gregory M. Coggs, '70; Comparative Law; Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria
- Benson F. Smith, '70; Film; England
- Mary E. Brooner, '71; The status of women: a Third World perspective; Ghana, Ceylon
- Thomas J. Cole, '71; The sub-culture of povery and the impact of welfare systems; Great Britain
- David N. Feldman, '71; The aesthetics of "lower" forms of popular culture; England, France, Denmark, Sweden
- Douglas S. Russell, '71; New Town planning & population decentralization; Finland, West Germany, England, Sweden, Denmark
- Edward M. Hirsch, '72; The relationship of violence to poetic form; Wales, France, England
- Norris Stubbs, '72; A dual project: comparative Afro-Caribbean music and problems of engineering in the Caribbean; Brazil, Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad, Tobago, Barbados, Honduras, Guyana
- Robert E. Eckhardt, '73; European approaches to the problems of the aged; Spain, Sweden, Poland
- David L. Gaines, '74; Mime; Western Europe, Poland, Japan
- Gregg H.S. Golden, '75; First Amendment Rights: Their Parallels in Other Countries; England, France, Norway
- Charles M. Becker, '76; State credit allocations; Yugoslavia, Tanzania, New Zealand
- Susan B. Hyatt, '76; Multi-Ethnic Traditions in the Balkans; Yugoslavia, Greece, Bulgaria
- Patrick Irwin, '77; American Jazz & Jazz Musicians; UK, Denmark, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria
- Ann K. Lion, '78; Comparative Study of Family Planning; Barbados, Jamaica
- June Bradley, '78; New Generation of European Art Photographers; France, England, Italy, West Germany
- Jo Looye, '79; Handicrafts and Economic Development; Chile, Ecuador
- Keith Graves, '79; Acoustical Analysis of Baroque Music in Halls of Baroque Period; Italy, Austria, West Germany, France, England
- Kathleen Kurz, '80; Child Nutrition; Kenya, Tanzania
- Angelo Ioffreda, '80; Old/New World Aspects of Viticulture; Italy, France, Chile, Argentina
- Donna Olds, '81; Jamaican Cultural History; Liberia, Jamaica
- James Jensen, '81; Bio-Gas Digestion Systems; England, India, China
- Laure Capouya, '82; Landscape Artists in the New World; Mexico, Brazil
- Kathryn Jackson, '83; Nation Building in Africa; Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Africa
- Todd L. Oberman, '83; Grass-Roots Citizen's Groups; Yugoslavia
- Cynthia Chessick, '84; Women in Israel; Israel
- Elizabeth Keegan, '85; Writers and Literature; China
- Amy Fraenkel, '85; Acid Rain in Europe; Sweden, France, England
- Meghan Hays, '87; Cuba, Yugoslavian & Nicaraguan Women. The Family & the Socialist State; Cuba, Yugoslavia, Nicaragua
- Sarah Fee, '87; The Funerary Art of France and Madagascar; France, Madagascar
- Peter McBride, '87; Latin American: Retracing the Nature Studies of Darwin and Wallace; Latin American countries
- Lorelei Kelley, '88; Women's Involvement in Arms Control Disarmament; Sweden, W. Germnay, England, New Zealand
- Timothy Manatt, '88; The Conciencia Group; Argentina
- Emily Green, '89; Cutural & Social Perceptions of Children; Guatemala, El Salvador
- Michelle Kuenzi, '89; Development, Modernization, & Women's Subsistence Strategies; Senegal, Mali
- Lauri Jennisch, '90; Geriatric Health & Social Services; Sweden, England, Canada
- Jon Kosek, '90; Resource Use and Protection; Costa Rica, Kenya, Nepal
- Steven Pickle, '90; Political Organizations of Indigenous Peoples; Norway, Australia, New Zealand
- Bruce Emond, '91; AIDS Counseling and Information Services; Thailand, Malaysia
- Seth Peterson, '91; Chinese Democracy Movement-in-Exile; France, Germany, Australia, Japan, Canada
- Louis Saletan, '91; Effects of Reforms on Soviet Performance Arts; USSR
- Shaan Hamilton, '92; Waste Management and the Environment; England, Latvia
- Adrienne McAdory, '92; Race vs. Ethnic vs. Class Consciousness: A Study in Africa; Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone
- Adam Stam, '93; Agrarian Reform in Russia; Russia, Ukraine
- Rachel Stamm, '94; The Relationship Between Ecotourism and Marine Mammal Conservation; Norway, Canada, Dominican Republic, Bahamas
- Todd Foreman, '95; Minority Groups in British Commonwealth Labour Parties; New Zealand, Australia, United Kingdom
- Veronica Ocampo- Raeder, '95; The Dance of Humans and Nature: Finding Signatures in Tropical Rainforests; Belize, Tahiti, Kenya, Brazil
- Aaron Gross, '96; The Practice of Ahimsa in Jainism and Tibetan Buddhism; India
- Ryan Gibson, '98; Creating a Modern Irish Mythology by Translating Words Into Forms; The Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland
- Margaret L. Taylor, '99; Space, Place and Identity in the European Circus; England, France, Denmark, Switzerland
- David Burnett, '00; Technopreneurs: Making Asian Tigers Roar Again?; Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, India
- Megan Williams, '00; The Dustbin of History: Monuments in Eastern Europe, 1945-2000; Germany, Poland, the Baltics, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Romania, Moldova, Bulgaria, Macedonia
- Matthew Magee, '01; Hepatitis C in Rural and Urban Populations; Italy, Egypt, India
- Michael Abel, '02; Williamsport Bound: Youth Baseball in Asia and Latin America; Japan, Taiwan, Mexico, Venezuela, Curacao
- Hai-Dang Phan, '03; Trans-planted and -lated Selves : Poetry in Exile; England, France, Australia
- Devan McGranahan, '04; Sustainable Grazing and the Management of Native Mammals on African Ranches; Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya
- Qi Zheng, '04; Magic Bullet or Water Gun: Perception and Use of Antibiotics; Ireland, the Netherlands, Singapore, Thailand
- Omondi Kasidhi '05; Bringing Home More Than A Medal: The Socioeconomic Impact of African Runners; South Africa, Botswana, Ethiopia, Morocco, Nigeria, and Ghana
- Kyle Marquardt '05; The People's Fate: Language and Politics in Three Turkic States; Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan
- Jason Rathod '06; Finding Self in the Other: Cultural Fusion in the Indian Diaspora; Fiji, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Mauritius
- Sarah Parker '07; Innovative Traditional Music: Marimba and Youth Culture in Southern Africa; Botswana, Namibia, South Africa
- Linn Davis '08; Investigating the Investigators: Journalism in Two Developing Democracies; India and South Africa
- Graciela Paz Arias '08; Into the Young Mind of a Cultural Revolutionary: Retracing Che's Travels; Argentina, Chile, Peru, and Venezuela
- Filippos Rodger Tsakiris '10; No Island is an Island: An Alternative Approach to Global Sustainability; Bahamas, United Kingdom, Iceland, Sweden, Maldives, New Zealand
- Alex Reich '11; We Are What We Eat: The Far North And Its People In a Changing World; Canada, Russia, Norway, Sweden, Finland
- Courtney Sheehan '11; The Politics of Film Festivals; Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Netherlands, India, Russia
- Ngoc Truong '11; Creative Discontent: Speechwriting in Open and Closed Societies; India, South Africa, Singapore, Vietnam, Australia
- Wadzanai Motsi '12; Speaking Up: Unearthing the Motivation for Political Activism Amongst Students; Tunisia, Ghana, Czech Republic, Cambodia