Press Releases

March 15, 2016

2016 Thomas J. Watson Fellowship Press Release


New York, New York (March 15th, 2016) – Continuing its tradition of expanding the vision and developing the potential of promising students, today the Watson Foundation announced its 48th class of Thomas J. Watson Fellows. The Watson provides a year of unparalleled international exploration for select graduating college seniors in any field.

This year's class comes from eight countries and 21 states. They'll traverse 67 countries exploring topics ranging from climate change to incarceration; from technological empowerment to forced migration; from car culture to ethnoentomology. "This is a remarkable group," said Chris Kasabach, Executive Director of the Watson Foundation. "Each fellow has taken a deep, organic interest, and turned it into a bold, global through line." 

Watson awardees come from select private liberal arts colleges and universities across the United States. From the program's 40 partner institutions, 152 finalists were nominated to compete on the national level from which 40 Fellows were selected. Fellows will receive $30,000 for twelve-months of travel, college loan assistance as applicable, and a health insurance allowance.

About the Watson Foundation
In 1961 the Foundation was established as a charitable trust by Mrs. Jeannette K. Watson in honor of her late husband, Thomas J. Watson, the founder of 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. In 2015, the Foundation structured as a public-facing foundation, unifying its program activities under Watson Foundation.

About the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship
Over 2,800 Watsons have been named since the Fellowship's founding in 1968. A Watson Year provides fellows with an opportunity to test their aspirations, abilities and perseverance through a personal project that is cultivated on an international scale. Watson Fellows have gone on to become international leaders in their fields including CEOs of major corporations, college presidents, Grammy winners, MacArthur grant recipients, Pulitzer Prize awardees, diplomats, artists, lawyers, doctors, faculty, journalists, and many renowned researchers and innovators.


Natasha Allen Harvey Mudd

Lane Atmore Grinnell College

Daniel Bateyko Middlebury College

Chase Booth Grinnell College

Mercer Borris Swarthmore College

Jesse Bossingham Swarthmore College

Alyssa Brody Wellesley College

Aleksandra Burshteyn Amherst College

Ian Calaway Macalester College

Benjamin Clark Middlebury College

Kira Clingen Rice University 

Gaela Dennison-Leonard Hamilton College

Harrison Goodall Pomona College

Alexandra Goss Pomona College

Tess Hamilton Bowdoin College

Noah Hamlish Wesleyan University

Galen Hecht College of the Atlantic

Laura Humes Macalester College

Moondil Jahan Berea College

Srilekha Jandhyala Pitzer College

Lara Johnson Rhodes College

Xzavier Killings Davidson College

Mariya Krutkova Haverford College 

Lauren Lyons Sewanee: University of the South 

Chando Mapoma Wesleyan University

Parwana Mohammad Colby College

Javon Mullings Wheaton College

Mishel Mussali Earlham College

Anna Nichols Pitzer College

Motlatsi Nkhahle Middlebury College

Alec Rotunda Davidson College 

Vera Rudi Oberlin College

Kelsey Schober Bates College

Jessa Thurman Hendrix College

Erica Veazey Bates College 

Anders Villalta Oberlin College

Htoo Wai Htet Union College

Benjamin Walker Amherst College

Benjamin Wesley Hamilton College

Rasha Younes Bryn Mawr College

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