The Watson Fellowship

What have you always dreamed of doing? The Watson Foundation provides $30,000 to 40 graduating seniors across the nation to pursue their passions for one year in country(ies) outside the U.S. Since the Watson Fellowship was established, Wesleyan has been invited to nominate four seniors every fall for the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship. We are proud that Wesleyan’s nominees have been of such high quality and promise, and hope that you will join them. The project proposal should:

    • Show a long-standing commitment to the subject, as well as demonstrate how it provides a new challenge in its focus and in the intended areas of travel (places where the student has neither studied nor lived for a significant length of time).

    • It may not involve study at a foreign institution.

    • The project needs to be imaginative and feasible, and be able to be carried out with great independence

Contact | | 860-685-2550
Kate Smith, Associate Director of Fellowships, Internships and Exchanges
Center for Global Studies, Fisk Hall - 201D

DEADLINE | Campus: September 15 @12PM EST | Final: September 15

ELIGIBILITY | Only students receiving their degree in May 2018 are eligible to apply in the Fall 2017 term for one of Wesleyan’s nominations. Serious candidates typically start drafting their proposals over the summer.

DETAILED INFORMATION | For a complete background about the Watson Foundation Fellowship, please visit their website

PROPOSAL & SELECTION PROCESSThink of a project about which you are passionate and that has the depth or breadth to sustain you for a year’s worth of work and exploration. The project should demonstrate serious creativity in whatever subject area you choose, challenge you on many fronts, and be a personal stretch. For example, your project should not repeat something you have already done or involve a return to the place where you studied abroad, lived, or visited for more than a month. However, your past experiences should serve as a springboard for your project.

You will be selected for an interview in late September on the basis of your written proposal, which should be submitted without any supporting documentation. The proposal should be well thought-out, well-organized, and clearly written. The quality of your thinking, the creativeness and strength of your project, and the project’s feasibility and challenge are crucial criteria for the Wesleyan Selection Committee. The Committee will review your academic record, which you would send to the Foundation if you are nominated, but it nominates a student primarily on the basis of the proposal and the interview.

If you are selected as a Wesleyan nominee, you will be interviewed by a Watson Program representative on campus any time between November and late January, and notified by the Program of its decision in mid-March. This past year, 40 Fellows were selected from over 150 nominees from less than 50 of the country’s finest private liberal arts colleges and universities.

REQUIREMENTS & GUIDELINES | Each candidate will submit six copies of their proposal to the Fries Center for Global Studies in Fisk Hall by September 15 @12PM EST. To be considered you must have these materials in your proposal for the committee to review:

    • Title page stating: title of your project, your name, Wes ID, phone number, email, and major(s)

    • Proposal should be no more than three pages

    • Double-spaced with 12-point font and one-inch margins

    • Address what you want to do and why, how you will do it, and why you should be the one to do it

    • Strongly recommended to include the names of several contacts in the country(ies) to which you wish to travel - the more detail you offer will make your proposal clearer and stronger

Note: Proposals that do not follow this format or are submitted late may not be considered. For any questions about the application process or your specific proposal, please set-up an appointment online with Kate to speak in person, on the phone or via Skype. Best wishes and have fun thinking about your wanderjahr!

PAST TOPICS | Some past successful topics are listed below. A complete archive may be found here

Michaela Fisher


Cooperative Worlds: Exploring the Global Cooperative Economy

Spain, Argentina, New Zealand, Germany, Canada

Noah Hamlish


Blue Revolutionaries: The human experiences surrounding aquaculture in coastal and island communities

Norway, Scotland, Thailand, New Zealand

Chando Mapoma


Unlearning Incarceration: Investigating, Comparing and Contrasting Alternatives to Immigrant Detention

South Africa, Australia, United Kingdom

Isabella Banks


Making Crime Personal: Restorative Alternatives to Criminal Justice

Australia, England, New Zealand, South Africa

Emily Weitzman


The Points are Not the Point: Slam Poetry, Community, and Culture

South Africa, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Nepal, Ireland)

Cara Tratner


Overcoming Exclusion: Community-Based Educational Alternatives

Peru, Guatemala, Ghana, Uganda, India

Solomon Adler


Redubbing the World: Cassette Culture and the Power of DIY Production

Malaysia, Indonesia, Mexico, Belgium, Sweden

Davis Knittle


Cities in Transition: Identity, Narrative and the Changing Urban Landscape

Canada, Ecuador, Australia

Liana Woskie


Bringing Healthcare Home: The Community Health Worker

Bangladesh, India, Thailand, Tanzania, Lesotho)