News & Updates
March 15, 2021
Announcing the 53rd Class of Thomas J. Watson Fellows
November 8, 2021
Robert Montgomery, 1982 Watson Fellow, performed the first investigational transplant of a genetically engineered, nonhuman kidney to a human body
A medical milestone, xenotransplants, which could eventually include hearts, lungs and livers — would offer a lifeline to the more than 100,000 Americans currently on transplant waiting lists, including the 90,240 who need a kidney. On his Watson year, Robert studied health care systems in Eswatini, Madagascar, Sudan, Kenya, and Ghana....
October 6, 2021
Co-Founded by 1973 Watson Fellow Dr. Paul Yock, Stanford Biodesign celebrates 20 years of innovation
Dr. Yock is the Martha Meier Weiland Professor in the Stanford School of Medicine and Professor of Bioengineering. Since 2001, Stanford Biodesign has trained 182 innovation fellows, 2,225 Stanford students and 74 Stanford faculty members. Fifty-two companies have been founded based on technologies invented at Stanford Biodesign, and those technologies — such as a faster, more accurate way to diagnose heart arrythmias and and a wound irrigation system that prevents surgical site infections — have helped more than 4 million patients....
September 14, 2021
Karen Tei Yamashita, 1974 Watson Fellow, awarded the 2021 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters by the National Book Foundation
Yamashita is the author of eight books and numerous plays and is being honored for her expansive, innovative and genre-defying works. As the 34th recipient of the foundation’s lifetime achievement award, she joins the ranks of Toni Morrison, Joan Didion, E.L. Doctorow and Norman Mailer. Her latest book, Sansei and Sensibility, is a collection of short stories about growing up in Japanese America....
September 1, 2021
Christina Conklin, 1990 Watson Fellow, releases "Atlas of Disappearing Places"
Sourcing data from scientific papers, Conklin painted 20 places deeply impacted by climate change. Using seaweed as her canvas, when water touches the surface, the painting disappears, reshaping our world. Partnering with climate change educator and planner Marina Psaros, each chapter also highlights potential climate solutions, from planting heat-tolerant kelp to new laws that give nature legal rights....
August 4, 2021
Kava Garcia Vasquez, 2017 Watson Fellow, uses skateboarding as community building tool
Co-founder of Bronx Girls Skate, Kava was recently featured in the New York Times as a leader in the skateboard community. Her Watson project investigated skateboarding cultures as centers for inclusive community building, and took her to Sweden, Spain, Cambodia, South Korea, and South Africa....
August 2, 2021
Barbara Ofosu-Somuah, Watson Fellow 2013, sees her Italian to English translation of Afro-Italian writer Marie Moïse published in Words Without Borders
Barbara provided the foreword for the first Italian-language edition of Saidiya Hartman’s “Lose Your Mother”. During her Watson experience, Barbara investigated lived experiences across the African Diaspora....
July 20, 2021
Brian Kateman, Watson Fellow 2011, leader of Reducetarian movement, releases new documentary "Meat Me Halfway"
In "Meat Me Halfway", Brian sets off to learn more about the animal agriculture industry, the animal rights movement, ethical meat, and potential solutions to factory farming. The film is instructive on how reducetarianism (a diet that involves intentionally eating less meat, fish, dairy and eggs to any degree) benefits ourselves and the planet....
July 10, 2021
Teodora Ana Mihai, Watson Fellow 2002, wins Prize of Courage at Cannes Film Festival for her film 'La Civil'
Based on a true story, 'La Civil' received an eight minute standing ovation at Cannes. Teodora won the Prize of Courage for the film's bold and timely social message on violence against women....
July 1, 2021
Priya Donti, Watson Fellow 2014, named an "MIT Technology Review 2021 Innovator Under 35"
Priya cofounded Climate Change AI, an interdisciplinary organization that brings together academics and industry experts to demonstrate how machine learning can help electric grids reliably integrate renewable energy. Her Watson year focused on Smart Grid policy creation and implementation in Germany, India, South Korea, and Chile....
June 15, 2021
Kai Bird, Watson Fellow 1972, releases Outlier: The Unfinished Presidency of Jimmy Carter, “a landmark presidential biography”.
“Bird is able to build a persuasive case that the Carter presidency deserves this new look." -New York Times Book Review...
May 19, 2021
Sandra Babcock, Watson Fellow 1986, leads fight against capital punishment in Malawi
Dr. Babcock, Founder and Faculty Director of the Cornell Center on the Death Penalty Worldwide, began working on Malawian capital cases in 2007. Since then, her work has supported the release of about 150 former death row prisoners — many mentally ill or minors. On April 28th, Malawi's Supreme Court abolished the death penalty....
April 13, 2021
Jonathan Meiburg, Watson Fellow 1997, follows up on Charles Darwin's wonder about Caracaras and releases "A Most Remarkable Creature"
"If caracaras were able to read—and immersing myself in Mr. Meiburg’s vivid prose I sometimes fancied they just might be—this book would give them a lot of information about that exceptional creature named Jonathan Meiburg." - Christoph Irmscher, Wall Street Journal...
March 15, 2021
Introducing the 2021 Thomas J. Watson Fellows
The 53rd Class of Thomas J. Watson Fellows come from 22 states and 8 countries. They will travel to 77 countries pursuing topics ranging from marginalized languages to community healthcare; from food sovereignty to Black women's liberation through art; from computer science education to underground music production....
February 16, 2021
Lila Hassan, 2015 Watson Fellow, breaks Capitol Riots news
Lila, as part of a ProPublica and PBS FRONTLINE team, identified 20 members of the Boogaloo Bois with ties to the armed forces in the wake of the Capitol riots....
Read more on ProPublica
February 15, 2021
Iram Parveen Bilal, 2004 Watson Fellow, releases her third feature film
Iram's newest feature "I'll Meet You There," is a story about being American Muslim after September 11. The film follows a young Pakistani-American woman who wants to be a dancer and her father who encourages her to follow her dream......
Read more on New York Times
January 14, 2021
Dr. Alexa Mieses Malchuk, 2010 Watson Fellow, speaks to O, The Oprah Magazine, about the importance of the COVID vaccine for Black and Latinx communities.
In two articles with O, Alexa, Director at UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine, shares her experiences with patients and her first-hand account of receiving the vaccine....
December 7, 2020
Marquis Palmer, 2018 Watson Fellow, Selected for Marshall Program
The first Marshall Scholar from Hamilton College since 1986, he will pursue two degrees in the UK: a Science degree in political thought from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, and a Master of Philosophy degree in criminology from the University of Cambridge. On his Watson, Marquis explored skateboarding as a tool for community activism in Germany, Brazil, South Africa, Mozambique, and Greece....
November 18, 2020
Naeem Mohaiemen, 1995 Watson Fellow, awarded Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant.
Naeem is a writer, filmmaker, and visual artist. The Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant will support his forthcoming book Harmit Singh's War. Harmit Singh, was a photojournalist who covered the 1971 war that splintered Pakistan and created Bangladesh. His Watson project was Oral History of Systematic Genocide in War Era Bangladesh....
October 21, 2020
Sumathi Sivapalasingam, 1990 Watson Fellow, is medical lead on Regeneron's Ebola and COVID-19 therapeutics.
Sumathi is the senior medical director at Regeneron, a NY-based biotech firm. The FDA has recently approved of Regeneron's Ebola treatment, Inmazeb, which Sumathi led in her capacity as senior medical director of early clinical development and experimental sciences. Her Watson Fellowship focused on health care systems in India and Sri Lanka....
October 8, 2020
Auyon Mukharji, 2007 Watson Fellow, releases new album with folk quartet, Darlingside
Auyon Mukharji is a singer, songwriter, and mandolin player for Boston indie folk darling, Darlingside. The band released their fourth album, “Fish Pond Fish,” to critical acclaim last week. Auyon's Watson focused on self-expression in folk music in Ireland, Turkey, and Brazil....
August 11, 2020
Mark Siedner, 2000 Watson Fellow, leads important new COVID-19 research
A Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School Infectious Disease Specialist, Mark and his colleagues evidenced the life-saving impact of statewide social distancing measures. During his Watson year, he studied the international response to the HIV epidemic....
July 9, 2020
National Geographic highlights work of paleontologist, Timothy Rowe, 1975 Watson Fellow
New paper co-authored by the UT-Austin paleontologist re-discovers Jurassic Park's Dilophosaurus "the best worst-known dinosaur"....
July 2, 2020
Aracelis Girmay's From Woe to Wonder featured in The Paris Review
Aracelis Girmay, 1999 Watson Fellow, is the author of three books of poems, most recently "The Black Maria", for which she was a finalist for the Neustadt International Prize for Literature. Her Watson Fellowship centered on epic poetry and oral histories....
June 5, 2020
Lila Hassan, 2015 Watson Fellow, selected as FRONTLINE/Columbia Journalism School Fellow
Lila will report and contribute for FRONTLINE, U.S. television's longest-running investigative documentary series......
Read more on PBS
May 11, 2020
Richard Nelson, 1972 Watson Fellow, debuts new play for Public Theater
“What Do We Need to Talk About?” is Richard Nelson's fifth play in the "Apply Family" cycle and was streamed as a benefit performance......
Read more on The New Yorker
March 20, 2020
Introducing the 2020 Class of Thomas J. Watson Fellows
The 52nd Class of Thomas J. Watson Fellows come from 20 states and 8 countries. Their topics range from rare diseases to criminal justice; from female filmmakers to nuclear energy; from children's theater to water-scarcity....
February 24, 2020
Hannah Beech, 1995 Watson Fellow, and Elaine Kurtenbach, 1981 Watson Fellow, write from the front lines of the novel coronavirus
Lifelong journalists Hannah Beech and Elaine Kurtenbach, writing for the New York Times and Associated Press, share the coronavirus' impact on Southeast Asia and international business....
January 31, 2020
Julie Taymor, 1974 Watson Fellow, explores life of feminist icon, Gloria Steinem, in "The Glorias"
"The Glorias" is Julie Taymor's fifth feature film and stars Julianne Moore and Alicia Vikander. The film is based on Steinem’s 2016 memoir “My Life on the Road"....
December 4, 2019
Taslim Tavarez, 2017 Watson Fellow, selected as Schwarzman Scholar
145 Schwarzman Scholars were selected from more than 4,700 applicants. Schwarzman Scholars pursue a Master’s degree in Global Affairs with a core curriculum focused on three pillars: China, global affairs, and leadership, at Tsinghua University in Beijing....
November 22, 2019
Slow and Steady Records, music label co-founded by Ross Eustis, 2011 Watson Fellow, finds success
The San Francisco Chronicle calls Slow and Steady Records, "an essential platform for some of the region’s most creative bandleaders" as Ross and his partner release albums by artists from Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle....
October 16, 2019
Harry Johnson, 2017 Watson Fellow, receives transformative Kenan Charitable Trust award for Brothers at Bard
Harry received a $400,000 grant from the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust to strengthen and sustain Brothers At Bard, the mentor and leadership program he co-leads through the Center for Civic Engagement at Bard College....
October 1, 2019
Mary Childs, 2008 Watson Fellow, joins NPR as reporter and host
A financial journalist and author, Mary Childs, is joining “Planet Money,” on National Public Radio. She also hosts “Finance Fridays with Mary” on Planet Money's sister show “The Indicator"....
September 11, 2019
Regina Joseph, 1987 Watson Fellow, receives National Science Foundation award to research new prediction models
A government-designated superforecaster, Regina will work with peers at Johns Hopkins University to compare human-centered versus AI-based models when predicting which cancer drugs will succeed in clinical trials....
August 7, 2019
One Year Later: Returning Fellows Gather at Davidson
Last week we welcomed home the 50th Class of Thomas J. Watson Fellows at Davidson College....
July 19, 2019
Four Watson Fellows Selected as 2019 Aspen Ideas: Health Scholars
Via Abolencia ’13, Isaac Deonarine ’17, Mariely Garcia ’17, and Joseph Gyasi ’17 participated in Aspen Ideas: Health 2019 engaging global healthcare innovation and the leaders on its frontier....
June 6, 2019
Christine Bruckner, 1988 Watson Fellow, awarded Women in Sustainability Leadership Award (WSLA)
Recognizing the most powerful women making a difference through sustainability the WSLA honors leaders who exhibit environmental stewardship, serve as a conduit for change, and give back to their community and profession. Previous winners include Hillary Clinton, Coca-Cola’s chief sustainability officer Bea Perez, and Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang Architects....
May 9, 2019
Kunchok Dolma, 2008 Watson Fellow, wins New York Emmy
"Rolando's Rights," a film created and produced by Kunchok for the NYC Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs, won for Instructional/Informational Video Production....
March 15, 2019
Introducing the 2019 Class of Thomas J. Watson Fellows
This year's class hails from 6 countries and 18 states. Fellows will travel to 76 countries exploring topics ranging from artificial intelligence to music subcultures; from food insecurity to island innovation; from neonatal to end-of-life care....
March 1, 2019
Watson Celebrates 50 Years of Discovery.
In 1969 the first Watson Fellows went abroad. Since that time, nearly 3,000 Watson Fellows have been awarded and over 42,000 students have completed the Watson application, a powerful process that turns a big idea into a personal blueprint....
Read more on Watson
February 13, 2019
“The World According to Fannie Davis” is a New York Times Editor's Choice.
Bridgett Davis, filmmaker, novelist, professor, and 1982 Watson Fellow, creates "a daughter's gesture of loving defiance, an act of reclamation, an absorbing portrait of her mother in full". -Jennifer Szalai, NYT...
Read more on New York Times
January 16, 2019
Reggie Thomas, 2007 Watson Fellow and former NYC Deputy Director is the new Government Affairs leader at REBNY
As SVP at the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) Reggie will lead social impact projects with NYC Council Officials, including projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and ensure fair housing....
Read more on Commercial Observer
January 3, 2019
Lindsay Stern's new novel named to Vanity Fair's "The Books We’re Looking Forward to in 2019".
A 2013 Watson Fellow, Lindsay's new book, "The Study of Animal Languages" will be published by Viking Press this February alongside new works by Toni Morrison and Ali Wong....
Read more on Vanity Fair
November 8, 2018
Jena Griswold, 2006 Watson Fellow: Colorado's new Secretary of State
Jena Griswold defeated incumbent Wayne Williams in Colorado's Secretary of State race....
Read more on Colorado Public Radio
October 16, 2018
Ryan Herold, 2017 Watson Fellow, awarded Fulbright
As a Fulbright Scholar, Ryan will complete an MRes. in Biotechnology and Bioenergy in the UK. His research uses genetic engineering and directed evolution to produce renewable energy from CO2 and hydrogen....
Read more on fulbright.org.uk
September 28, 2018
Emily Glass, 2015 Watson Fellow, helps Derek Jeter and MLB's Miami Marlins build professional sport's best education program
As the Marlin's education program leader, Emily is building a player development program that blends personal, professional and cultural awareness....
Read more on Fox Entertainment
August 7, 2018
One Year Later: Returning Fellows Gather in California
Last week Pomona College in Claremont, California, welcomed home the 49th Class of Thomas J. Watson Fellows....
June 20, 2018
Watson Foundation partner 100 Resilient Cities celebrates five years
The 100 Resilient Cities and Watson Foundation partnership has brought ten Jeannette K. Watson fellows to cities facing a range of shocks and stresses from earthquakes and wildfires to homelessness and aging infrastructure....
April 27, 2018
Jeannette K. Watson Fellows Selected as New York City Urban Fellows
Jeannette K. Watson Fellows Kadeem Robinson and Nicole Krishtul will continue their Watson journey with the support of the highly selective New York City Urban Fellows Program....
March 15, 2018
Introducing the 2018 Class of Thomas J. Watson Fellows
The 50th Class of Watson Fellows hail from 8 countries and 17 states. They'll travel to 67 countries exploring topics ranging from foster care to opera; from the Cambrian explosion to human augmentation; from threatened big cat species to spoken word....
February 28, 2018
Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship 2018 Finalists Announced
The Watson Foundation and our 12 NYC partner institutions are pleased to announce the 47 finalists for this year's city-wide selection. Fifteen Watson Fellows will be selected from the finalists and announced on Wednesday, March 28th....
November 15, 2017
Dan Hammer, 2007 Watson Fellow, wins Pritzker Emerging Environmental Genius Award
Dan Hammer has been awarded the first-ever Pritzker Emerging Environmental Genius Award, a $100,000 cash prize, for his work to make satellite imagery more accessible and understandable. The prize was created to recognize individuals 40 and younger who have shown exceptional promise as champions for the environment....
Read more on Berkeley News
September 11, 2017
Fire Chasers, shot by Steve Holleran, 2008 Watson Fellow, debuts on Netflix
The immersive docu-series follows front-line fire fighters during the dramatic 2016 California wildfires....
Read more on LA Weekly
August 14, 2017
Raffi Khatchadourian's in-depth look at Julian Assange for The New Yorker
Following years of in-person interviews, journalist Raffi Khachadourian, 1995 Watson Fellow, sheds light on Assange's five years in the Ecuadorian Embassy....
Read more on The New Yorker
July 2, 2017
Jason Mantzoukas, 1996 Watson Fellow, adapting graphic novel for Paramount
Comedian-actor-writer, Jason Mantzoukas, will adapt Paul Pope’s acclaimed graphic novel Battling Boy for Paramount, which will be produced by Brad Pitt’s Plan B....
Read more on Entertainment Weekly
May 2, 2017
The Reducetarian Solution "The kind of book that's worth reading more than once." - The New York Times
The Reducetarian Solution -- 70 original essays from influential thinkers on how reducing meat consumption from one's diet can transform the life of the reader, animals, and the planet -- is available in stores and online. Edited by Brian Kateman, 2011 Watson Fellow, you can also read Brian's Op-Ed in the LA Times....
Read more on LA Times
April 14, 2017
The Lost City of Z releases in theaters this weekend
Based on the New York Times Bestseller by David Grann, 1989 Watson Fellow, the film received the NYT critic's pick. When it was released in 2009, B&N called "Z" "the single best nonfiction book of 2009"....
Read more on New York Times
March 15, 2017
Introducing the 2017 Thomas J. Watson Fellows
The 49th class of fellows will travel to 67 countries exploring topics ranging from pediatric cancer treatment to citizen journalism; from animation to autonomous vehicles; from immigration to island communities, from megacities to wildfire management. They hail from 6 countries and 21 states....
December 14, 2016
Linnea Burnham's Watson journey featured on NPR and The Splendid Table
Linnea Burnham, 2015 Watson Fellow, sat down with Lynne Rosetta Kasper to discuss her journey from Mongolia to Brazil exploring global cheese culture....
Read more on The Splendid Table
October 28, 2016
Thomas J. Watson Fellowship Selection Committee Announced
Watson Fellows Elizabeth Arend '02, Zahid Chaudhary '97, Tabitha Decker '01, and Craig Safan '70, join Chris Kasabach to become the 49th Thomas J. Watson Fellowship Selection Committee....
September 26, 2016
Watson and 100 Resilient Cities Build New Partnership
The Watson Foundation and 100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation (100RC) have partnered to provide expansive opportunities to JK Watson Fellows and international cities....
Read more on 100RC website
July 2, 2016
Ellen Baxter's Remarkable Journey Featured on NPR's Invisibilia
Ellen Baxter, 1975 Watson Fellow, shares her Watson experience in Geel, Belgium and through the world of mental health and community development on Invisibilia's "The Problem with the Solution", July 1....
Read more on NPR
June 22, 2016
Julie Taymor Announces World Theater Fellowship Recipients
Julie Taymor, 1974 Watson Fellow, announced the first three recipients of the Julie Taymor World Theater Fellowship, a one-year travel fellowship created to nurture and inspire young directors ages 21-29, which was inspired by her experience as a Watson Fellow in Indonesia....
Read more on Playbill.com
April 27, 2016
Liz Ogbu at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian National Design Museum
Liz Ogbu, 1998 Watson Fellow, shared her insights as part of the museum's Game Changers series...
Read more on cooperhewitt.org
February 1, 2016
Shearwater releases "Jet Plane and Oxbow" to critical acclaim.
Front man Jonathan Meiburg, 1997 Watson Fellow...
Read more on subpop.com
December 1, 2015
"Silicon City: Computer History Made in New York" at the New-York Historical Society.
The Watson Foundation's first public program partnership...
Read more on nyhistory.org
November 4, 2015
Edwin Lee, Mayor of San Francisco, re-elected to second term
Edwin Lee, 1974 Watson Fellow...
Read more on SF Mayor
October 5, 2015
Eric Rosengren, President & CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston hosts the bank's 59th Economic Conference.
The New York Time's The Upshot caught up with him for his outlook on the American economy. Eric Rosengren, 1974 Watson Fellow...
Read more on nytimes.com
April 28, 2015
Watson Board President, David McKinney honored by Brown
During its 247th Commencement, Brown University will confer the honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters recognizing Dave's longstanding leadership and commitment......
Read more on brown.edu
April 15, 2015
Minh-Duyen Thi Nguyen, 2014 Watson Fellow, awarded Soros
The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans will support her MD studies and goal to help women at the fringes of society....
Read more on Pdsoros.org
March 6, 2015
John Siceloff, 1976 Watson Fellow, honored by peers
Winner of six Emmys and a Peabody, John will be remembered as a committed social-advocate, television producer and journalist....
Read more on Current.org
March 5, 2015
Aracelis Girmay, 2000 Watson Fellow, receives Whiting Award
Awarded annually to ten emerging writers, the Whiting Awards are based on early accomplishment and the promise of great creative writing to come....
Read more on The Paris Review
January 5, 2015
Emanuel Yekutiel, 2012 Watson Fellow, named to Forbes 30 < 30.
Chief of Staff, FWD.us...
Read more on Forbes
July 18, 2014
Blue Chalk Media extends New York Times content partnership
Lisa Jamhoury, 2007 Watson Fellow, founding member and Director of Digital Communications...
Read more on Technical.ly
May 14, 2014
Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and journalist, Kai Bird publishes his third novel, The Good Spy
Kai Bird, 1972 Watson Fellow...
Read more on New York Times
May 6, 2014
Flux Emerges From Google X And Nabs $8M To Help Build Eco-Friendly Buildings
Jenny Carlile, co-founder, 2003 Watson Fellow, Chris LaRosa, program manager, 2003 Watson Fellow...
Read more on Tech Crunch
July 19, 2012
Mayor Bloomberg and Ellen Baxter, 1975 Watson Fellow, break ground on SugarHill, Broadway Housing Community's landmark Harlem project.
HARLEM—When it opens next year, Broadway Housing Community's 124 units of affordable housing and children's museum at 155th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue in Sugar Hill will provide the Upper Manhattan neighborhood with a much-needed boost....
Read more on DNA Info
March 23, 2012
President Obama pays tribute to civil rights leader John Payton, 1972 Watson Fellow
President Obama late Thursday paid tribute to John Payton, the president and director counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education fund....