The Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship is a three year program that provides funded summer internships and unprecedented opportunities to promising undergraduate students from 12 New York City partner colleges.

Program Features

Fellows are provided with annual funding of $6,000, $7,500 and $8,500, in addition to a $2,000 Discovery Fund to develop their personal, professional, and cultural potential.

In NYC and overseas, Watson partners with leading nonprofit, for-profit, and government organizations. Internships empower fellows to widen their view of the workplace and deepen their experience in fields of interest.

Discovery Fund

The Discovery Fund extends a fellow’s ability to self-initiate further professional exploration including research, fieldwork, conferences, and entrepreneurial ventures.


Fellows participate in a seminar series designed to help them build confidence, perspective and understanding of the work world and themselves.

Cultural Events

Fellows attend a series of engaging cultural events that allow them to discover the diversity of New York City and encourage them to explore it further.


Paired with a thoughtful, experienced reader, fellows engage in an ongoing dialog during the summer to help them process the internship experience and potential career paths.


Each Watson cohort is a close-knit group of peers with a variety of backgrounds and interests. Fellows inspire each other and become part of a lifelong network.


Watson staff, journal readers, and internship supervisors provide guided mentorship to help fellows personalize and deepen their fellowship experience.

Become a Watson Fellow

Am I Eligible?

You must be a second semester freshman or sophomore nominated by one of 12 New York City partner colleges. At the time of nomination you must:

-intend to or be majoring in a liberal arts discipline*
-have at least four semesters of full-time academic work remaining
-be an American citizen or green card holder (not on an international visa)
-be no older than 21 years old as of the application deadline (February 19, 2020)

*Some exceptions apply. Please contact your Watson campus advisor for complete program details.

Selection Criteria

Qualities sought in the selection of fellows include:

  • High Standards

  • Ambition

  • Openness

  • Desire to explore diverse cultures and new professional fields

  • Willingness to act on feedback

  • Leadership

  • Ability to work in groups

  • Integrity & Accountability

  • Strong academic record

Fellow Expectations
  • Attend the award reception (April)
  • Attend the three day orientation (late May-early June)
  • Engage in three summers of diverse internships, each 8-10 weeks, completing weekly journals
  • Engage in weekly summer seminars and events
  • Participate in several term-time events
  • Attend an annual campus visit (fall)
  • Attend annual Watson Finale (fall)
Application Process

Ensure eligibility

Contact your campus advisor

Complete the application including: 

  • One 500 word essay
  • One 250 word essay
  • One visual essay 
  • Two Recommendations
  • Resume
  • Transcript

Complete the campus selection process

Each partner college may nominate up to four candidates to be considered in the citywide selection process. Please ask your campus advisor about internal campus deadlines. Citywide selection and award announcements take place in late March. Fellows are referred to their first internships in early April.