April 27, 2017
Every fall, seniors apply for Watson and Bristol fellowships. The Watson fellowship is a national fellowship where seniors from 40 schools compete for 40 grants to spend one year doing research while traveling the world. Each of the 40 partner schools develops a board that reviews all of the applications from their school and then nominates four of those students to participate in a national competition for those 40 grants. Thus, any of the 40 schools can have zero to four students receive a Watson Fellowship any given year.
For the past 18 years, at least one Hamilton student has received a Watson fellowship, and for 11 of those years, multiple Hamilton students have received fellowships. This year, no Hamilton students received the fellowship, ending the streak. Ginny Dosch, Hamilton’s Student Fellowship Coordinator, responded, “Haverford College and Williams College similarly did not receive a fellowship this year… it’s the nature of competition… when Hamilton has received multiple fellowships, that means another school did not get any.”
That being said, three Hamilton students were awarded Bristol Fellowships this year. When Hamilton seniors apply for the Watson, they are also automatically applying for the Bristol. Those same four nominees, as well as two other students chosen by the board, compete for the Bristol. The Bristol family then picks the recipients out of the pool of six nominees. The Bristol is almost identical to the Watson in nature. The informational brochure states, “The Fellowship was created in 1996 for Hamilton students through a bequest from William M. Bristol, Jr. ’17. Its purpose is to encourage discovery through self-designed, year-long independent study projects based in countries outside the United States. Mr. Bristol loved to encourage young people to go out and see the world and experience other cultures. When recipients returned, he would ask them to dinner and sit them at the side of his good ear to tell him about what they saw and learned.”
Normally, only one nominee receives the fellowship. This year, however, three of those six nominees were chosen. Taryn Ruf ’17 will study “The Whey Forward: Exploring Cheese Producers’ Blending of Tradition and Modernity” and travel to Great Britain, Georgia, Brazil, New Zealand, Switzerland and Germany. Florence Turiaf ’17 will study “Removed Yet Within: An Exploration of Identities Within Non-Sovereign Territories” and travel to the Falkland Islands, Western Sahara, Mayotte, Hong Kong and American Samoa. Kathryn Veasey ’17 will study “Exploring Golf Course Maintenance Practices in Varying Climates and Terrains” and travel to Iceland, Scotland, Dominican Republic, Morocco and Japan.