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Watson Fellowship Application Procedures

Fall 2021

To: Prospective Watson Fellowship Candidates

From:   Professor Ben Fallaw, Watson Fellowship Liaison & Chair, Colby Watson Committee Subject:    Watson Fellowship Application Materials and Procedures REQUIRED MATERIALS DUE BY 3:00 PM ON FRIDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2021. There will be an information session that will take place at 4 PM Friday, September 10, 2021 location TBA (Tentatively in Diamond 153)

  1. The application consists of several important elements

(a) Personal Statement (1,500 words maximum)

(b) Project Project Proposal (1,500 words maximum)

(c) Title and Abstract (100 words maximum)

(d) Additional Materials. Space for three, including:

(i) Budget

(ii) List of Contacts in Project Countries

(iii) You may upload images or recording in the third


Additional Information:

(e) Personal Information (Address, DOB, etc., contact


(f) Postgraduate Plans (brief)

(g) Medical Information

(h) Brief Biographical Abstract

(i) Activities on Campus (student organizations, sports,

employment, etc.)

(j) Awards

(k) Employment History

(l) Educational History

(m) Past Travel

(n) Languages Spoken in Project Countries and Your Fluency

(o) Other Language Spoken

(p) PDF Scan of an Unofficial Copy of Your Transcript

(q) Headshot (Passport size)

  1.  Once you have been cleared by me, you may begin to complete the on-line application, enter the names and emails of the two people who will be serving as recommenders for you, and upload under additional materials your contact list, budget, and (optional) a third document, image or recording.
  2. Official Colby transcript.  Have Colby’s Registrar’s office send an electronic copy to me.  In addition to this official transcript, please email to me a pdf version of your transcript.  To do this, simply access your grade transcript, copy it, create a pdf file, and email to me as described in #2.
  3. Budget. The budget will provide information about travel expenses.
  4. NOTE: Failure to follow the instructions outlined above may result in a rejection of the application. Letter of recommendation and transcripts must be uploaded by the campus due date (Friday, October 1st by 3:00 PM). The committee reserves the right to not interview candidates with incomplete applications by the campus due date.
  5.  Two letters of recommendation.  Letters of recommendation must follow the format provided by the Watson Foundation, foundHEREor from me by request.  You should send your recommenders these guidelines as soon as possible. 

Note:  One of the letters of recommendation must be from someone affiliated with Colby.


  • Application materials are read by all members of the Colby Committee.
  • If there are fewer than twenty candidates, all applicants will likely be granted Committee interviews.  If there are more than twenty candidates, Committee interviews may be based on pre-selection.
  • Interviews will take place approximately two to three weeks after the submission deadline.
  • Committee interviews last approximately twenty minutes.
  • Selection of the four nominees will be completed on the last day of interviews.
  • Names of the nominees will be announced via email (to all applicants) within several hours after the last interview is conducted.
  • Nominees will submit applications to the Watson Foundation electronically by early November (exact date TBA).
  • Notification of final selection will be received on or near March 15.
  • Colby email addresses will be used when corresponding with applicants and eventual nominees.
  • A representative of the Watson Foundation will conduct full hour interviews with each of the four nominees on campus sometime between November and February.


  • Read the information available on the Thomas J. Watson Foundation website, especially the sections on “independent study” and “travel.” 
  • Make sure that your project reflects a true passion.
  • The key to a successful Watson is the combination of project and person.
  • The best recommendations come from people who can talk about why your project is a great fit for you.
  • Ask friends, professors, etc. to read and criticize your proposal and personal statement.  Please feel free to speak with any member of Colby’s Watson committee (see list below) to discuss your project and personal statement.
  • Strong proposals frequently include project-related connections in each project country.
  • Plan for a Watson, but don’t plan on it: create a variety of other viable options for your post-graduate year.


Additional Guidance

Selection Criteria

Qualities sought in the selection of fellows include:

  • Leadership
  • Imagination
  • Independence
  • Emotional Maturity
  • Courage
  • Integrity
  • Resourcefulness
  • Responsibility

Proposed Countries

Applicants cannot propose visiting countries that are under a State Department Warning, Level 3 or 4 a Department of Treasury Embargo, or is designated a CDC Level 3 country.

Your Personal Statement

What has convinced you to apply for the Watson? What do you hope to benefit from the year?

Your Project Statement

Your project must sustain your interest amidst the highs and lows of a year in unfamiliar places. What is your plan for the 12-month period? What opportunities and challenges are unique to your project?


It is the committee’s policy to not provide feedback to unsuccessful candidates, because the committee’s deliberations are confidential and candidates cannot re-apply.

Watson Committee

Ben Fallaw (chair)Diamond, 859-5323Professor of Latin American Studies
Daniel R. LaFaveDiamond 351, 859-5243Associate Professor of Economics, Faculty Affiliate East Asian Studies and Global Studies
Josh Martin Olin Science Center 334, 859-5710Assistant Professor of Biology
 Steven NussBixler 170, 859-5635Associate Professor of Music, Faculty Affiliate, East Asian Studies
Véronique B. PleschBixler 164, 859-5634Professor of Art
Mohammad ShabanguMiller Library 218Assistant Professor of English
Nadia El-ShaarawiDiamond, 859-5223Assistant Professor of Global Studies

Watson Fellows

Jennifer Alfond Seeman1992Outdoor & Environmental EducationRussia
Yasser Alwan1986Photographing Effects of Economic DevelopmentEgypt
Frank Apantaku1971Study of Health InstitutionsScotland, England, India
Jennifer Barber1978Writing Poetry Quebec’s Literacy Renaissance and Landscape as Creative SourcesCanada
Peter Baye1981A Comparative Analysis of Beach and Dune VegetationCanada, British
Jeffra Becknell1982Organization Development of Women’s AthleticsEngland, West German, Sweden
Hannah Beech1995Controlling the News in the Chinese TriadBeijing, Hong Kong
James Brace197419th and Early 20th Century TransportationUnited Kingdom, Western Europe
Robert Bullock1984Decommissioning of Nuclear Power PlantsUnited Kingdom, West Germany, Japan
Zahid Chaudhary1997Race in ScotlandUnited Kingdom
Daniel Chiacos2003Searching for the soul of Charango in Latin American Folk MusicBolivia, Peru, Chile
Tom Claytor1985Romance of the Bush PilotKenya, Brazil, Nepal, New Zealand
Deanna Cook1988Writing a Children’s International CookbookIndia, Thailand, New Zealand, Australia
Meadow Dibble-Dieng1995Networks & Artwork in West AfricaSenegal, Ivory Coast, Mali
David Galvin1975Lichens as Indicators of Air PollutionUnited Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium, Sweden, Netherlands, Germany, Canada
Thomas Gerencer1994Radio TheaterEngland
Joan Giblin1998Green Tea & Coffee: Stories of Japan’s Changing WomenJapan
Jeanne Guild-Eastman1987Destruction of Tropical Rain Forests & Diversity of North American Migrant BirdsCosta Rica, Panama, Brazil
Gillian Gutierrez2000Communities of the Fishing IndustryChile, Philippines, Portugal
Heather Hartshorn1991Conflict ResolutionNorthern Ireland, USSR, Israel
Amy Higgs1998Environmental Education in Latin AmericaBelize, Costa Rica, Ecuador
Joel Horn1977Botanical PhotographyNew Zealand
Martin Hubbe1976Paper Industry: Water recycling & Corrosion ProblemsFinland, West German, Sweden
Timothy Hunt1980Bogs and Glaciers: A Paleological ApproachGreat Britain, Scandinavia, Ireland
Asma Husain2005Concepts in Concrete – Searching for Utopias to Alleviate Urban PovertyBrazil, India
Laurence Kominz1974An Apprenticeship in the Noh TheaterJapan
Paula Kot1981The Migration of Homo ErectusSouth Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Spain, France, Hungary
Anna L’Hommedieu2002Temporary Immigrants: A Permanent Solution? Ecuadorian Migration to EuropeSpain, Italy
Jeronimo Maradiaga2009 Ecuador, South Africa, India
Hal Marden1976Study of Prisons for a NovelNetherlands, England
Joseph Meyer1979Government Sponsored Migration ProjectsMalaysia, Indonesia, Phillipinnes
Adella Mikkelsen1999Notions of Fate and the Future in the Chinese AlmanacTaiwan, Singapore, People’s Republic of China
Kelly Miller2003Persuasive PentecostalismBrazil
Mark Morin1980Pre-natal Health Care and ResearchGreat Britain, Sweden, Belgium
Parwana Mohammad2016The Experience of Childbirth and the Role of Midwives within Diaspora and/or Indigenous CommunitiesBrazil, New Zealand, Guatemala, Czech Republic
Jacqueline Mourot2001 Madagascar, La Reunion, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Tahiti, New Caledonia
Andrew Nemiccolo1993Cultural Geography of the Five Ancient Gokaido HighwaysJapan
Carter Newell1977Marine ParasitologyEngland,Wales,France,Scotland, Ireland, Norway
Timothy Oakes1987Route of the Long MarchChina
Brian O’Halloran1993Role of Ethnicity in Contemporary Georgian PoliticsRussia
Fredericka Ott1976Oceanographic StudiesBermuda, United Kingdom, Mediterranean Europe
Jill Picard1996Women, Adverse Conditions and DevelopmentJamaica, Lesotho
Meredith Post Gramlich1990Attitudes Toward Physical DisabilitiesIndia, Nepal, Singapore, Thailand, Australia, China
David Powers1983The Significance of the Ocean Liner in Maritime HistoryUnited Kingdom, France, Netherlands
Karen Prager2004Faith Under Fire: Women of the Russian Orthodox ChurchRussia, Lithuania
Thane Pratt1973OrnithologyPapua New Guinea
Yiyuan Qin2012In Search of a Shared Future: Explorations in River BasinsSwitzerland, France, Germany, Peru, Brazil, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia
Grantland Rice1986Retracing the Route of W.S. GreenNew Zealand
Eric Rosengren1979The Issue of Deregulation in Australian Trucking IndustryAustralia
William Rouhana1982Law and PoliticsEngland, France
Patricia Ruprecht1989Primary and Pre-school EducationChina, Taiwan
Peter Schmidt-Fellner1978International Commodity Agreements and the New World Economic OrderSwitzerland, Belgium, England, Zambia, Philippines
Robert Scott1990Interpretation & Emotional Expression in Classical Guitar PerformanceWestern Europe
Gregory Smith1973Comparison of Eastern and Western Liturgical ChantsUSSR, England, France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Romania, Turkey
Hannah Springhorn2018Feeding the Soul: Food Culture within Distance RunningEcuador, Japan, Ethiopia, Kenya
Michael Strotz1972Pluralism in Colonial SocietiesGuinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, San Tome Islands, Portugal, Angola
Michael Swift1985Retracing Wordsworth’s ToursUnited Kingdom, Western Europe
Jennifer Thayer Naylor1983A Comparative Study of Byzantine and Islamic ArchitectureItaly, Greece, Egypt, Turkey
Emilia Tjernstrom2006Nomad’s Land – Development, Conservation and NomadsMali, Mauritania, Argentina and Mongolia
Carolyn Treat1982Techniques and History of Marble SculptureItaly, Greece
Toni Tsvetanova2011Redefining Homelessness: A Promise for Change Through Social EntrepreneurshipFrance, South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh
Hilda Westervelt1992Anecdotal & Didactic Narrative on Romanesque Historiated CapitalsFrance, Spain, England
Nathan Woodruff1971National Parks and Equivalent AreasEurope, USSR
Sujie Zhu2015Explaining Possibility: Exploring Cross-Cultural Improvisational PerformanceSenegal, Japan, India, Poland


Project and Statement Samples 

Grossman Hall
(207) 859-4140
[email protected]

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Friday: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
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