Two Hamilton College Seniors awarded prestigious Watson Fellowships

Christopher Nash of Pawling, N.Y., and Sara Schonfeld of Rochester, have been awarded Watson Fellowships by the Thomas J. Watson Foundation. The fellowships are awarded annually to graduating college seniors and provide funds for travelling outside of the United States to explore a topic of their choosing.

Watson Fellows are chosen in a two-step process that requires nomination from a participating college, followed by a national competition. This year more than 1,000 students applied to the first round of the selection. Sixty seniors were selected from 49 of America's top liberal arts colleges.

Nash, who is majoring in government at Hamilton, has chosen a project entitled, "Technology.world: The Internet and Information Infrastructures in France, Portugal, Singapore, Micronesia and Tuvalu." Nash will study the incorporation of the Internet into the existing infrastructures of both highly developed and information-poor nations.

Schonfeld's project is entitled, "Exploring the World of Children with Special Needs: Poland, Russia and Romania." She will study the availability of social and educational resources, structures and facilities for children with disabilities in those three countries. She chose them because they are currently experiencing political, social and economic transitions which have a dramatic impact upon disabled children. Schonfeld is a Russian Studies major.

The Watson Fellowship Program was begun by the children of Thomas J. Watson, Sr., the founder of IBM, and his wife, Jeannette K. Watson, to honor their parents' long-standing interest in education and world affairs. The foundation selects Watson Fellows based on each nominee's character, academic record, leadership potential, willingness to delve into another culture, and the personal significance of the proposed project.

More than 2,000 Watson Fellowships have been awarded in the 30-year history of the foundation. Noreen Tuross, executive director of the Watson Foundation and a former Watson Fellow, said that in the 185 interviews conducted this year in the final round of competition, "We found an abundance of creativity, intelligence and integrity from which to choose." The Watson Foundation continues to believe that the investment in Watson Fellows is an effective contribution to the global community.

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