Earlham offering additional funding option for students pursuing Watson Fellowships
September 12, 2018
Earlham College will award a $15,000 stipend to a graduating senior during the 2018-19 academic year to fund a year of international travel in pursuit of a personal passion.
The award, the result of a gift from the late Andy Cecere ’45 (pictured left), will be given to a finalist for the Watson Fellowship, one of the nation’s most sought after post-graduate scholarships.
“We are thrilled to offer this additional support to students as a symbol of the good relationship we’ve had with the Watson Foundation,” says Jennifer Seely, associate professor of politics and Earlham’s Watson liaison. “We always have a lot of promising students but it’s a competitive national award and the field is very tough. We know we have students with great projects that just miss out every year. This award will meet that need.”
Earlhamites are candidates for funding from the Watson Foundation, which began awarding the fellowship 50 years ago in honor of the late founder of IBM. Thirty-seven Earlham graduates have earned Watsons since 1981.
“We are thrilled that Earlham recognizes the impact that the Watson Foundation has on the lives of their graduates, especially during our 50th anniversary,” says Chris Kasabach, the executive director of the Watson Foundation. “By providing students with the widest cultural, professional and personal growth opportunities, we empower them to expand their vision, test and develop their potential, and gain the confidence and perspective to do so for others.”
Wilmer Chavarria ’13, (pictured right) was awarded a Watson Fellowship to explore independent filmmaking in Europe and Latin America.
Imani Lewis-Norelle, ’17, Olga Galperin ’15, Mishel Mussali ’15 and Chavarria are Earlham’s most recent Watson recipients. They pursued projects that explored non-governmental forms of justice, musical traditions of women, the relationship between food and land, and cinematographic arts. These projects resulted in travel to Bolivia, Canada, Ghana, South Africa, Republic of Congo, Mexico, China, India, Iceland, Peru, Senegal, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Jordan, Chile, El Salvador, Costa Rica, the United Kingdom, The Netherlands and Italy.
“Out of all the fellowships that are out there, this one is remarkable because it provides opportunities to make the experience what you want it to be and what you need it to be,” Lewis-Norelle says. “Having this opportunity forces you to grapple with a lot of really challenging questions, but I think the space you are given to negotiate how you fit in the world and how you want to exist in it is precisely what makes this experience so personally transformative.”
In addition to this award, Earlham is inviting Watson alumni for a reunion on campus during Homecoming from Sept. 21-23.
Mat Johnson ’93, whose Watson project explored the effects of international experience on African Americans, is among those expected to speak to alumni and current students during the Watson Anniversary Celebration Breakfast. Today, Johnson is an award-winning writer and holds an endowed chair at the University of Oregon. He is the author of Hunting in Harlem, which won the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in fiction.
“Earlham students are great candidates for Watsons because they have eclectic interests and are passionate about matters of importance in the world,” Seely says. “We hope this 50th anniversary celebration inspires the next generation of Earlhamites to chase their intellectual curiosities while preparing for rewarding futures.”
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Earlham College, a national liberal arts college located in Richmond, Indiana, is a "College That Changes Lives." We expect our students to be fully present: to think rigorously, value directness and genuineness, and actively seek insights from differing perspectives. The values we practice at Earlham are rooted in centuries of Quaker tradition, but they also constitute the ideal toolkit for contemporary success. We rank 7th nationally by Princeton Review for Best Classroom Experience and 22nd by U.S. News and World Report for commitment to undergraduate teaching.
Brian Zimmerman is director of media relations at Earlham College. He can be reached at 765-983-1256 and email@example.com.