Press Releases

March 15, 2023

Announcing the 55th Class of Thomas J. Watson Fellows

New York, New York (March 15th, 2023) – Continuing its tradition of expanding the vision and developing the potential of remarkable young leaders, today the Watson Foundation announced its 55th Class of Thomas J. Watson Fellows. The Watson provides a year of unparalleled international discovery for graduating college seniors in any discipline. This year’s class comes from 20 states and 4 countries and exhibits a broad range of academic specialties, socio-economic backgrounds, and project diversity.

They will travel to 54 countries pursuing topics ranging from climate refugees to pediatric cancer; from contemporary African art to disability care innovation; from entrepreneurial inclusion to urban animals; from coastal resilience to modern opera.

About the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship

A Watson Year provides fellows with the opportunity to test their aspirations and abilities through a personal project experienced on an international scale. Since the inaugural class was named in 1969, over 3000 Watson Fellows have been selected.

Watson Fellows are nominated by 41 colleges and university partners across the United States. Fellows receive $40,000 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.

The Watson community includes inspiring leaders across the world – artists, business leaders, community organizers, diplomats, Emmy-, Grammy-, MacArthur-, Oscar- and Pulitzer-recipients, entrepreneurs, faculty, healthcare pioneers, journalists, lawyers, politicians, researchers, and committed 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 expand their vision, test and develop their potential, and build the confidence and perspective to be more humane and effective leaders in the world community.


Adaja Cooper, Hendrix College

Adilene Sandoval, Bates College

Agathe Mwehu, Wheaton College

Alli Roshni, Oberlin College

Allie Mikolanis, Wellesley College

Annie Means, Whitman College

Ariana Henry, Vassar College

Arturo Linan-Martinez, Bowdoin College

Aubrianna Wilson, Middlebury College

Benjamin Oelkers, Rhodes College

Caro Djakuduel, Davidson College

Charles-Olivier Levesque, College of the Atlantic

Charlie Wetzel, Lawrence University

Clara Benadon, Bowdoin College

Clark O'Bryan, Middlebury College

Elijah Hicks, Berea College

Elizabeth LaCroix, Bates College

Ella Meyer, Pitzer College

Ellie Murphy-Weise, Wellesley College

Emma Hart, Oberlin College

Emma Schaefer, Grinnell College

Erin Flannery, Colgate University

Grace Levins, Union College

Huda Rahman, Vassar College

Hunter Logan, Haverford College

Isabella Amaro Varas, Connecticut College

Jocelyn Velasquez Baez, Wesleyan University

Julian White-Davis, Carleton College

Katie Jose, Whitman College

Kirsty Leech, Rice University

Maddi Schink, Colorado College

Margaret Kraus, Scripps College

Marisol Cora, Earlham College

Mouminatou Thiaw, Scripps College

Olivia Stoetzer, Swarthmore College

Paige Bristow, Ursinus College

Rania Afaneh, Wellesley College

Salwa Sidahmed, Hamilton College

Sarah Shelton, Colgate University

Shiara Pyrrhus, Williams College

Sidney Taylor, Harvey Mudd College

Tomas Martinez, Pitzer College

Learn more about the fellows and their projects here.

Media Inquiries

For more information about Watson or our work, please contact us.