BEREA, Kentucky—The Center for International Education is proud to announce its four Berea College Nominees to the national slate for the 2016-2017 Watson Fellowship. Fewer than 160 graduating seniors from 40 institutions are nominated nationwide for this esteemed prize. Berea College is the only school in the Commonwealth from which The Watson Fellowship accepts candidates.
The Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, named after the founder of International Business Machines (IBM), offers graduating college seniors of “unusual promise” the opportunity to engage in one year of independent exploration and travel outside the United States. Its goals are to enhance the capacity for resourcefulness, imagination, openness, and leadership, and to foster humane and effective participation in the world community—in short, to develop future leaders who are self-reflective, well-informed, mindful citizens of the world. Each year, 40 winners of The Watson receive $30,000 each.
After intense deliberation over proposals from Berea’s impressive group of Watson Fellowship applicants, the four seniors nominated for the national running have been determined: Moondil Jahan, Liana Madrid, Ngoc Anh Cao, and Abigail Palmer.
Moondil Jahan is honored to explore the expression of grief and joy through indigenous drumming and dancing. She plans to travel to Spain, Germany, and Morocco. This journey, for Moondil, is not just one of exploring countries and cultures. She goes on to explain, “My Watson project entails a journey both inwards and outwards, concurrently towards myself and others. I am humbled and thrilled to receive such an honor to be a part of Watson Four.”
Abigail Palmer is excited about analyzing superheroes and anti-heroes in media around the world. She plans to travel to Spain, India, Italy, England, and Scotland. “I am absolutely honored to be offered such an opportunity and hope that I can represent myself, friends, family, and Berea well during this challenging, but rewarding process.”
Liana Madrid will be investigating the creation of cultural identities by ethnic minorities. Liana plans to travel to Japan, New Zealand, Sweden, South Africa, and Brazil. Liana is honored to have been chosen as well. She says, “I am more than grateful to be given the opportunity to move forward. It has been an on-going process for me to believe and see my potential, and it feels very surreal to have been nominated as one of four Berea students for a chance to be a Watson Fellow. Thank you!”
Ngoc Anh Cao, who will be looking into hearing the stories of Vietnamese Boat Refugees, will be traveling to Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, Germany, and Canada. She feels that this project is giving her a voice. “This fellowship tells me that my personal story matters, and that
what I’m committed to doing will create something good in this world, not only for myself but also for others.”