Fifty Years of Discovery

Director’s Message

In 1969 the first Watson Fellows went abroad. The purpose was to encourage graduating college students to embrace their biggest ideas on an international scale. In doing so they could build the confidence, perspective and international concern to become more humane and effective leaders of their own lives and the lives of others. 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. 

Today Watson Fellows are leaders in every field. They have argued America’s most influential education legislation before the US Supreme Court, reinvented affordable housing, journalism, Broadway, contemporary music, computing and data science, and established important new theories about the earth’s formation. During our 50th Anniversary we celebrated with our partner institutions, connected with fellows across the world, built and relocated to a new creative space, completed the largest review of the (TJ) Watson Fellowship's impact in our history, and launched many new projects that position the foundation and our fellows for the future.


Chris Kasabach

Executive Director, Watson Fellow

Project

Watson + Woolworth

In 2018 Watson completed its new offices in partnership with New York's historic Woolworth Building, providing partners and fellows with an imaginative space to inspire a new generation of leaders.

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Project

Impact

The Watson Census taught us the impact of the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship on fellows' lives, and the lives they've touched.

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Project

Interactive Map

From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, over 3000 Watson Fellows have completed remarkable global projects and immersive experiences.

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Project

Watson Journal

In 1970 a young filmmaker followed fellows into the world as they crossed disciplines and borders. A new film follows fellows as they explore citizen journalism, music cultures of Islam, disaster response, sports empowerment and diversity in media.

Coming soon

Project

Regina Joseph

Regina Joseph, Superforecaster

During Watson's 50th Anniversary, Carolyn Barnwell, 2007 Watson Fellow, interviewed leaders who, at a young age, took a chance on their biggest ideas, followed those ideas across the world, and built remarkable futures from those journeys.

Regina Joseph had always been interested in the art and science of prediction. From daily decisions to geo-political events, how do people forecast their futures? In this episode of Journeys Regina shares how that interest became a global pursuit and the foundation of her professional work. She went on to foresee (and found) the first digital magazine, Blender, and today is a US government-designated Superforecaster.

Special thanks to Pat Irwin for providing his music.

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