May 22, 2002
Posted: May 22, 2002
VT- For the fifth year in a row, three Middlebury College students
were awarded Thomas J. Watson Fellowships. Julie Hand of Manchester Center,
a member of the class of 2002 who graduated in March of this year; senior
Dane Springmeyer of Bellevue, Wash.; and senior Kelly Jewell of Woodinville,
Wash., are the recipients of the 2002 fellowships. Each student will receive
$22,000 to travel outside the United States and explore a topic of his
or her own design.
Watson Fellows are chosen in a two-step process that requires nomination
from one of the participating 50 top liberal arts colleges in America,
followed by a national competition. After more than 1,000 students applied
to the first round of selection, 60 Watson Fellows were chosen.
Hand, who will travel to Vietnam, Madagascar, Mexico and New Zealand,
has titled her project "Chinese Festivals Overseas: Motherland Celebrations
and Hostland Inclusions." An international studies joint major in
East Asian and Latin American studies, she will study Chinese festivals
in countries outside of China. The project will incorporate her interests
in a variety of areas-music, dance, design, writing and travel. Hand said
she is interested in how Chinese culture joins together with its host
community, changes its traditions, or isolates itself during Chinese festivals.
She plans to dance in street parades, cook, play instruments and design
festival costumes, becoming a full participant in the festivals rather
than just an observer.
project, titled "Following Flyways: Exploring Global Raptor Migration,"
will take him to Spain, Egypt, Madagascar, Mongolia and Zimbabwe. A joint
major in environmental studies and geography, he will study and record,
with regional scientists, the migration and breeding habits of raptors
in countries situated along global raptor migration "flyways."
will also study the larger cultural relationships between raptors and
people by focusing on eco-tourism, primarily in Spain and Madagascar.
In all places where he travels, he will seek to learn more about the role
of international environmental organizations, conservation management
practices, and local communities through case studies in which raptors
are critical or flagship species.
project is a crystallization of my environmental concerns, a reflection
of my interest in and awareness of other cultures, and an expression of
my fascination for migratory bird life," said Springmeyer.
Jewell, whose project is titled "The Exotic Threat: Conservation
of Native Species in Island Environments," will study and travel
in Ecuador, Spain, Mauritius and Australia. A double major in biology
and Spanish, she was inspired to study the relationship between native
and invasive island species because, Jewell said, "It is generally
recognized that invasive species are one of the biggest current environmental
problems and will increasingly be so."
plans to explore, first with professional researchers and conservation
groups, the effects of invasive species on native ecosystems and the current
protections and controls for these threats. Her project may include work
such as rehabilitating native species, monitoring species populations,
and assisting with breeding programs for species with dangerously low
think [Middlebury's] interdisciplinary teaching and international focus
draw students who seek an opportunity to explore an interest of personal,
cultural, artistic or societal importance in countries outside the United
States following graduation," she added.
The Thomas J. Watson Fellowship Program was begun in 1968 by the children
of Jeannette K. Watson and her husband Thomas J. Watson, Sr., the founder
of IBM, to honor their parents' long-standing interest in education and
world affairs. The Thomas J. Watson Foundation selects students based
upon each nominee's character, academic record, leadership potential,
willingness to delve into another culture, and the personal significance
of the proposed project.
In the history of the foundation, more than 2,200 Watson Fellows have
taken this challenging journey. They have gone on to become college presidents
and professors, chief executive officers of major corporations, politicians,
artists, lawyers, diplomats, doctors and researchers. "We look for
extraordinary young men and women of extraordinary promise, individuals
who have the personality and drive to become the leaders of tomorrow,"
said Norvell E. Brasch, the executive director of the Thomas J. Watson
Fellowship Program and a former fellow.