Caitlin Jacobs '07 Awarded Watson Foundation Fellowship
Jacobs Will Use $25,000 Award to Study the Coexistence of Big Cats and Humans
March 19, 2007
Caitlin Jacobs, a candidate for May graduation from Hamilton College, has been awarded a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship for 2007-2008. Jacobs' project is titled "An Examination of the Coexistence of Big Cats and Humans."
Nearly 1,000 students from up to 50 selective private liberal arts colleges and universities apply for these awards annually. This year 179 students competed on the national level after their institutions nominated them in the autumn and 50 were selected from 50 of America's top liberal arts colleges. Each fellow receives $25,000 for the year of self-directed independent study while traveling outside the United States after their graduation. Jessica Mariglio '07 has been named an alternate for her project titled, The Rhyme of Life: Political and Personal Expression Through Slam Poetry."
Jacobs describes her project: "I seek to understand how humans and big cats can coexist. To examine the human side of this issue, and to learn how to minimize the conflict, I will visit four distinct conservation projects located in areas where humans and cats must share an environment." Jacobs plans to visit Chiquibul Forest Reserve and National Park of Belize, Iberian Lynx Project (ILP) located in Parque Nacional de Donana in Spain, the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) in Namibia, and Chang Tang Wildlife Preserve in Northwestern Tibet. She hopes to gain an understanding of the effect that big cats have on the local people, and of how the people are responding to the presence of the cats.
By volunteering with the conservation organizations, Jacobs hopes to learn about the efforts to reduce the conflict and make it possible for cats and humans to share a living space. Each of the conservation initiatives is at a different stage of addressing the conflict, and as a result, she will gain a more comprehensive view of the many steps involved in facilitating coexistence. To more fully appreciate the human side of this issue Jacobs will live and volunteer on farms and ranches and immerse herself in each community.
Jacobs, a biology major and Dean's List student at Hamilton, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest national academic honorary society, in October. She was the recipient of a Joseph F. Anderson Summer Internship Fund in 2006 that enabled her to intern at the Makalali Game Reserve in South Africa where she assisted researchers with studies on lion management and participated in game counts within the reserve. She spent the fall 2005 semester in Quito, Ecuador, where she was a volunteer with the Amazoonico Wildlife Rescue Center. During the summer of 2005 Jacobs worked with Student Conservation Association in Pacific Crest Trail, Calif.; in 2004 she was an ocelot caretaker at the Intiwarayasi Wildlife Refuge; and in 2002-03 she volunteered at the Vermont Raptor Rehabilitation Center in Woodstock, Vt.
At Hamilton, Jacobs has been a member of the women's varsity lacrosse team, the Hamilton Environmental Action Group, the Hamilton Outing Club, and a DJ for college radio station WHCL.
She is the recipient of the Dirvin Family Prize Scholarship, the Christopher George Scott Scholarship and the Coleman Burke Prize Scholarship.
Jacobs is the daughter of Janni and Bruce Jacobs of Braintree, Vt.