Three Berea College Students Named Thomas J. Watson Fellows


Berea College students Stephen Nwaloziri, Aloyce (Hans) Riziki and Sophia Winkowitsch have won the prestigious distinction of being members of the 52nd Class of Thomas J. Watson Fellows.

Sophia Winkowitsch

Sophia Winkowitsch

Watson Fellows are selected from just 40 private colleges and university partners across the United States making the Watson pool extremely competitive. This year there were 153 finalists who were nominated to compete on the national level, from which 47 Fellows were selected.

Berea College typically has the distinction of at least one or two Watson Fellow winners each year, but this is the first time since 1990that Berea has had three simultaneous winners.

Stephen Nwaloziri

Stephen Nwaloziri

Each Watson Fellow receives $36,000 for 12 months of travel and college loan assistance as needed. Following their year abroad, Fellows join a community of peers who provide a lifetime of support and inspiration. Berea College’s Fellows will travel to various continents to explore topics about which they are passionate.

Winkowitsch will focus on “Goats in Sustainable Agriculture around the World.” Since her childhood in Michigan, she has found inspiration in goats’ “resilience and multi-faceted usefulness,” she said.

Aloyce (Hans) Riziki

Aloyce (Hans) Riziki

Nwaloziri, will be taking “A Breathtaking Adventure with Trash,” to “explore and learn what happens during the life cycle of plastic waste,” and to find an alternative to landfills, he described. Nwaloziri grew up in Nigeria.

Riziki, from Tanzania, will spend his year immersed in yoga-practicing cultures around the globe for his study of “Understanding Yoga’s Origin and Evolution.”

The Watson Fellowship provides a year of international discovery for select graduating college seniors in any discipline. This year’s class comes from 20 states and eight countries and exhibits a broad range of academic specialty, socio-economic background and project diversity.

About the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship

Nearly 3000 Watson Fellows have been named since the inaugural class in 1969. Berea has averaged one winner per year since becoming a Watson School in 1988.

A Watson Year provides fellows with an opportunity to test their aspirations and abilities through a personal project cultivated on an international scale. Watson Fellows have gone on to become leaders in their fields including CEOs of major corporations, college presidents, Emmy, Grammy and Oscar Award winners, Pulitzer Prize awardees, artists, diplomats, doctors, entrepreneurs, faculty, journalists, lawyers, politicians, researchers and inspiring influencers around the world.

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 provides students with personal, professional and cultural opportunities that expand their vision, test and develop their potential, and build their confidence and perspective to be more humane and effective leaders on a global scale.

Categories: News, People
Tags: Center for International Education, Students, Study abroad, Thomas J. Watson Fellowship

Berea College, the first interracial and coeducational college in the South, focuses on learning, labor and service. The College only admits academically promising students with limited financial resources—primarily from Kentucky and Appalachia—but welcomes students from 40 states and 70 countries. Every Berea student receives a Tuition Promise Scholarship, which means no Berea student pays for tuition. Berea is one of nine federally recognized Work Colleges, so students work 10 hours or more weekly to earn money for books, housing and meals. The College’s motto, “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth,” speaks to its inclusive Christian character.