Press Releases

March 15, 2021

Announcing the 53rd Class of Thomas J. Watson Fellows

New York, New York (March 15th, 2021)
– Continuing its tradition of supporting remarkable young leaders, today the Watson Foundation announced its 53rd Class of Thomas J. Watson Fellows. The Watson provides a year of unparalleled international discovery for select graduating college seniors in any discipline. This year’s class comes from 22 states and 8 countries and exhibits a broad range of academic specialties, socio-economic backgrounds, and project diversity.

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.

About the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship

Watson Fellows are selected from 41 private colleges and university partners across the United States. They receive $36,000 for twelve months of travel and college loan assistance as needed. Following the year they join a community of peers who provide a lifetime of support and inspiration.

Over 3000 Watson Fellows have been named since the inaugural class in 1969. A Watson Year provides fellows with the opportunity to test their aspirations and abilities through a personal project experienced on an international scale. Watson Fellows are leaders in their communities and fields, including CEOs, college presidents, community organizers, Emmy-, Grammy-, and Oscar-award winners, artists, diplomats, entrepreneurs, faculty, journalists, lawyers, politicians, physicians, researchers, and influential social advocates.

About the Watson Foundation

In 1961, the Watson Foundation was created as a charitable trust in the name of Thomas J. Watson Sr, best known for building IBM. Through one-of-a-kind programs, and over 100 global partnerships, the Foundation works with students to develop personal, professional and cultural opportunities that build their confidence and perspective to be more humane and effective leaders with a world view.


Abel Sapirstein, Harvey Mudd College

Alisa Chen, Reed College

Amy Harff, Hamilton College

Archer Thomas, Bowdoin College

Augustina Nguyen, Wheaton College

Benjamin Portzen, Lawrence University

Bramwell Atkins, Sewanee: University of the South

Connie Chao, Wellesley College

Crystal Ma, Williams College

Divya Gudur, Middlebury College

Eleda Fernald, Oberlin College

Eniola Ajao, Amherst College

Esther Mano, Earlham College

Grace Callahan, Wellesley College

Hannah McKenzie, Bates College

Isis Pinheiro, Bard College

Jack Rider-McGovern, Connecticut College

Jacob Fontaine, Rhodes College

Jiin Jeong, Hamilton College

Joseph Stein, Haverford College

Kyra Zapf, University of Puget Sound

Langston Stephens, Davidson College

Lauren Hutton, Colgate University

Lia Pikus, Rice University

Liam Voorhees, Whitman College

Liana Merk, California Institute of Technology

Madi Goetzke, Oberlin College

Mandy Tu, Sewanee: University of the South

Margot Lurie, Amherst College

Mari Robles, Vassar College

Matthew Roizin-Prior, Union College

Nora Peachin, Middlebury College

Ricardo Jimenez, Lawrence University

Samuel Pigott, Earlham College

Sarah Vanasse, Union College

Savannah Wiegel, Hendrix College

Soha Saghir, Haverford College

Stephen Nadler, Union College

Tashayla Borden, Connecticut College

Vivian Bauer, Macalester College

William Prum, Hamilton College

Zijia Zhuang, Bryn Mawr College

Learn more about the fellows and their projects here.

Media Inquiries

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