Nominees for Watson Fellowship Propose Self-Designed Research Projects to Travel the Globe

 head and shoulder shots of three students
(l-r) Jennifer Bitterly, Daniela Garcia, and Kathleen “Tate” Mulligan

The Thomas J. Watson Fellowship is a one-year $30,000 grant for purposeful, independent study outside the United States, awarded to graduating seniors. Anthony Siracusa ’09, for example, spent his Watson year exploring bicycle cultures in eight countries across four continents. Before beginning her studies at Harvard Law School, Sarah Bacot ’13 traveled to Poland, Argentina, India, South Africa, and Canada pursuing her project “Out of the Closets, Into the Streets: Exploring Queer Identity through Community Organizations and Pride Parades.” 

Watson fellows must be nominated by partner colleges, and this year, Rhodes’ Postgraduate Scholarship Committee is endorsing three seniors for 2018-2019: Jennifer Bitterly, Daniela Garcia, and Kathleen “Tate” Mulligan.

An English and philosophy major, Bitterly is a Rhodes Diplomat, Bellingrath Scholar, and two-time winner of the American Mock Trial Association’s All American attorney award. She has participated in study abroad programs in Spain, Ecuador, and Argentina. Her proposed project is “Searching for Home, Shaping the Self,” an exploration of what home signifies across varying cultural and geopolitical environments. “I hope to learn how the relational value of home takes shape through physical place as I conduct studies in Guatemala, South Africa, Greece, India, and Mongolia,” says Bitterly.

Garcia is a political science and international relations bridge major and Latin American Studies double major at Rhodes. She also is a Clarence Day Scholar, Mellon Innovation Fellow, and president of the Latinx Student Association on campus. “Walls, Barriers, and Borderlands” is the title of her project inspired by her personal and academic interests in issues related to marginalized communities.  

Mulligan is pursuing a Watson Fellowship to explore meal preparation and food harvesting in rural and urban settings in India, Morocco, China, and Peru. In 2015, she helped to create Rhodes’ Food Recovery Network, an initiative preventing food waste on campus, and currently she serves on its executive board. A history and international studies bridge major, Mulligan is a service scholar through the Bonner Program and also has studied in Murcia, Spain.

Finalist interviews for the Watson Fellowship will be held in January 2018 and notification of winners will be made in March.