Monday, March 31, 2008

Watson Fellowship! Information Meetings!

From Professor Joshi, Watson liasion:

I am writing for three reasons. First to mention that this year we have two Watson winners, Emilie DeWulf and Rachel Gross. Please join me in congratulating these striking young women who are preparing to embark in August on exciting journeys across the globe.

Please also announce in your classes and/or email advisees and potential Watson students that we will be holding two Watson introductory meetings this month: Wednesday April 23, 5:30-6:30 pm OR Thursday April 24, 5:30-6:30 pm. Both will be in Wyatt 109. They are open to all but particularly pertinent for students applying in the Fall.

Finally, I am writing to ask your help in identifying potential Watson candidates. Because this fellowship is unique and because you know students best, you are well placed to identify a potential student and encourage him/her to consider the Watson

What is the Watson? The Watson Fellowship is a highly competitive and prestigious national fellowship that provides students with a $25,000 grant to pursue a year of travel outside the United States in the year after graduation. Fellows develop innovative projects that take them to diverse locations to address what are often highly idiosyncratic interests (e.g.: kite building, communities with lake monster myths, retracing Darwin’s Beagle journey, and our latest two: horse tack and training, and mountain huts). For a list of UPS’s Watsons, please go to:; for a list of national fellows, see: The program is highly selective, not only in fellows, but also in the roughly 50 colleges it invites as participating institutions. Puget Sound has been a “Watson school” since 1992 and we have been extremely successful in those years with one or two winners almost every year since 1994.

Who is a “potential Watson” student? Because the foundation places tremendous emphasis on identifying unique individuals who demonstrate self-reliance and spirit, a potential student is a bit different from those whom we typically think of for scholarships. Successful Watson applicants are not necessarily “A students.” Rather they are bold and original thinkers and very resourceful; they are young people who demonstrate curiosity and independent thinking (“moxie” to use the foundation’s term); they have strong interests, yet a flexible mind; are determined and able to deal with setbacks; have the ability to engage (listen, learn, and persuade) others. There is no one “profile”: quiet students do well, as do loquacious ones. What matters is that the student have a burning interest in pursuing a project (after all, she will be alone for a year in foreign locales, with only one this question to keep her going). Since the Watson program started, it has awarded fellowships to students from almost every major; students from no one disciplinary background appear to be more successful. If you think you know a student who fits such a profile, please encourage him/her to consider applying for a Watson and to contact me.

Thank you for your help. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at