Wadzanai Motsi ’12 has been awarded a prestigious Watson Fellowship for one year of independent study and travel abroad. Motsi, an independent major in international relations from Zimbabwe, is one of only 40 students nationwide to receive the $25,000 fellowship from the Thomas J. Watson Foundation.
Motsi plans to use the Watson Fellowship to learn about the motivation for political activism among students and youth in Tunisia, Ghana, the Czech Republic, and Cambodia.
“My objective is to attend student union meetings and work with youth organizations as these countries gear up for national elections,” Motsi said. “I plan to examine why young people are politically active and why they choose specific avenues to express their views.”
At Grinnell, Motsi has served as vice-president of the student government association, a member of the women’s varsity tennis team, and led a service trip to Nashville, Tenn. She hopes to return to Africa following her Watson year.
The Thomas J. Watson Fellowship Program offers college graduates of unusual promise a year of independent exploration and travel outside of the U.S. to foster effective participation in the world community.
Within the past 10 years, 18 Grinnell students have won Watson Fellowships, including Courtney Sheehan ’11. Follow Sheehan's Watson-sponsored study of film festivals throughout the world in her blog, Movie Meeting Places.