Past recipients of Hamilton’s prestigious Bristol Fellowship have ventured around the globe exploring the seahorse trade, kayaking down wild rivers, and living with poor women in marginalized communities, just to name a few. The spirit of inquisitiveness and adventure that motivates them continues with this year’s fellows, Josef Komissar ’22 and Maria “Alejandra” Pulido ’22.

Each Bristol Fellow receives a $30,000 research grant to spend a year after graduation studying an issue of personal interest. Komissar’s topic is “The Language of Juggling: Cultural Exchange Through Performance,” while Pulido will pursue “Paths of the Displaced: Exploration of Migration Resources.”

Josef Komissar ’22
Josef Komissar ’22. Photo: Zach Stanek

Komissar’s project will take him to Australia, Germany, and Mexico where he plans to examine how different landscapes and cultures have impacted the development of juggling and juggling communities around the world. By visiting schools, attending festivals, and watching circuses, he hopes to understand how culture is communicated through the art of juggling.

“I am especially interested in youth circuses and their ability to engage and uplift children from all walks of life,” he noted. “One of the most exciting prospects is the opportunity to meet so many new people from completely different backgrounds than myself. Juggling will provide me a basis for meeting new people, even if it means just standing around in a public park and juggling for passersby.”

Josef Komissar ’22

Majors: Computer Science and Mathematics 
Hometown: Ashland, Mass.
High School: Ashland Public High School 
Activities: Duel Observer, Juggling Club, Curling Club

Maria “Alejandra” Pulido ’22
Maria “Alejandra” Pulido ’22

Pulido’s research will focus on the migrant populations of Greece, France, Spain, Togo, and Singapore. She hopes to gain a holistic picture of the impact of migration by interacting with humanitarian workers, educators, government officials, healthcare providers, and community leaders, as well as “welcoming time spent with migrants and refugees to understand movement and integration from their perspectives.”

Drawing on inspiration from her own experience, Pulido is determined to better the experiences of migrants and refugees. “I am a political asylee from Colombia and am privileged enough to have gotten American citizenship,” she said. “I chose to focus on migration because every place I have been and every displaced person I have encountered was in need of more assistance than was provided.”

Maria “Alejandra” Pulido ’22

Major: World Politics
Hometown: Bogotá, Colombia, and Miami, Fla.
High School: Coral Reef Senior High School
Activities: Common Ground facilitator; member of On the Move, Women’s Rugby, Center for Intersectional Feminism

The Bristol Fellowship is funded by the family of William M. Bristol, Jr., Class of 1917, who served as a Hamilton trustee, president of the Alumni Association, fundraiser, and benefactor. He was one of seven generations of Bristol family members to attend Hamilton, dating back to the chartering of the College in 1812. Mr. Bristol’s great, great-grandfather became one of the College’s first trustees after helping to found the Hamilton-Oneida Academy, which later became Hamilton College in 1793.

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