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Fellowships Bryn Mawr College
101 N. Merion Ave.
Bryn Mawr. PA 19010-2899
Phone: 610-526-5375
Fax: (610)526-7560

Watson -- Getting Started

Getting to know the Watson Fellowship... and Yourself:

  • You need to be familiar with the Watson program, its requirements and application procedures, so take a good look at the Watson website.
  • To learn more about what a Watson Fellowship year is like, check out the "Meet the Fellows" page of the Watson website.  Be sure to scroll down to the section titled "Watson Fellow Journeys" for an overview of several T.J. Watson Fellow years.
  • Many recent and current Watson Fellows from institutions other than Bryn Mawr have also published or are publishing blogs of their Watson years. A little time on Google should turn up several of these.

In addition to learning more about the Watson Fellowship, much of your time getting started on a Watson application should be spent looking inward to explore who you are and what your passion is. Your project must emanate from your passion. 

The Watson Foundation invests in people, not projects. While the project must hold deep personal significance for the fellow, for the Foundation the project is equally important as a means to their ends. The stated goals of the Watson Foundation are to foster "enhanced capacity for resourcefulness, imagination, openness, and leadership" and "humane and effective participation in the world community." An inspiring project, well-matched to the fellow, helps ensure a successful 12-month experience in the field under often trying circumstances and will enable the fellow to develop the personal capacities listed above.

What is Your Passion?

Turning inward is a key part of thinking about a Watson project. Projects must emanate from a personal passion. A Watson year is NOT a cerebral, intellectual undertaking. It is quite different from anything you've likely been doing in your years as a Bryn Mawr student. Rather than thinking about developing a formal research project, you will need to identify your passion and develop a project out of this. 

Questions to think about as you identify your passion might include the following:

  • Is there a skill, talent, or interest you possess that you have cultivated for some time, that your are passionate about, and want to explore in other contexts around the world?
  • Is there a particular issue you are passionate about that you would like to have time to explore in different contexts around the world?
  • Is there a question that has captured your attention for some time now, a question that has personal meaning and that you want to explore in difference contexts around the world?

Designing Your Project

In designing your project, you will want to link your passion to an inquiry that will take you to different parts of the world, expose you to new cultures, and that will enable you to develop the capacities listed above.

To learn more about countries you might want to go to, you can begin with something as simple as Lonely Planet’s worldguide or as complicated as the U.S. Army’s Country Studies.

Regarding the logistics of the year, fellows rely on contacts in the field to ground their stay in each setting. Contacts can range from people or organizations that are central to your inquiry, to people who can help you figure out the necessary logistics of housing, local transportation, etc. Remember that developing contacts takes time and effort. You will need to be resourceful, drawing on networking skills and internet research. Identifying good contacts often takes persistence as you will likely face many dead ends and unanswered emails, so be sure to give budget a lot of time for this process!

For questions about the Watson Fellowship, please contact BMC Watson Liaison, Michelle Mancini, Assistant Dean - 610-526-5375.

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