About the Watson Fellowship:
The Watson provides unparalleled exploration for forty exceptional graduating college seniors in any field. Students conceive a dream-year integrating their unique experience, proven skills and passion and receive support for a year of independent study on an international scale.
This year’s class comes from seven countries and fifteen states. They’ll traverse 74 countries, exploring topics from neuroscientific art to beekeeping, from earth’s extreme life to Asian modern dance, from orphanages to ocean acidification, from youth activism to astronomy.
“The Watson Foundation was an early adopter of experiential learning,” said Chris Kasabach, Director of the Fellowship. “Since the 1960s, well before the internet or mainstream notions of globalization, The Watson encouraged students to engage their ideas on an international scale and put their lives in the context of a world community. This year’s class is a cohort of terrific integrative minds, and imaginative, independent thinkers.”
Watson awardees come from select private liberal arts colleges and universities across the United States. From over 700 candidates, 147 finalists were nominated to compete on the national level from which 40 were selected. Each fellow receives $25,000 for twelve-months of travel, college loan assistance as needed, and an insurance allowance.
The Thomas J. Watson Foundation was created in 1961 as a charitable trust by Mrs. Thomas J. Watson, Sr., in honor of her late husband, the founder of International Business Machines (IBM). In 1968, in recognition of Mr. and Mrs. Watson’s long-standing interest in education and world affairs, their children decided that the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship Program should constitute a major activity of the Foundation.
Over 2,700 Watson Fellows have taken this challenging journey. A Watson Year provides fellows an opportunity to test their aspirations, abilities and perseverance, while developing a more informed sense of international concern. Watson Fellows have gone on to become international leaders in their fields and include CEOs of major corporations, college presidents, MacArthur “genius” grant recipients, diplomats, artists, lawyers, doctors, faculty, journalists, and renowned researchers and innovators.
Visibly Queer: Exploring the Intersections of Art and Activism
Making art is a way to physically merge visual cultures together, and to call people into action. In queer communities around the world, art – whatever the form may be – film, dance, poetry, painting, is being created in large numbers in an effort to increase visibility, combat homophobia and achieve equal rights. My Watson year will explore the art making of queer communities in nine countries. Why is a certain media of artistic expression chosen over another, and are these decisions enhanced or altered by the social and political environments or historical traditions of a country? By engaging in cultural intersections, I hope to learn the implications of being visibly queer.
I plan to visit the following countries:
5. South Korea
9. The Netherlands