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Kass Wojcik ’22 Will Travel the World in Search of Bees as a Watson Fellow

April 6, 2022
Kass Wojcik ’22

Kass Wojcik ’22, who is majoring in biology and minoring in environmental studies, will be traveling to as many as six countries on five continents to research how beekeeping and pollinator conservation is practiced around the world as a 2022 Watson Fellow.

The Thomas J. Watson Fellowship is a one-year grant for purposeful, independent exploration outside the U.S., awarded to graduating seniors nominated by one of 41 partner institutions.

Kass, who is from Green Township, N.J., was inspired to pursue her project not just by her strong interest in biology and love of nature, but also by her own experience keeping bees with her family.

“I’ve been beekeeping since my sophomore year of high school, and while it's been an incredible experience, it's also been alarming to see firsthand the decline of our pollinators as they face things like climate change and increased land development,” says Kass. “A question that I get asked frequently as a beekeeper and something that has become a driving question of my project is, ‘how can we save the bees?’”

Through the Watson Fellowship, Kass plans to learn about how people living in places other than the U.S. are addressing this highly important topic that concerns not just our pollinators, but also our environment and food supply. Starting this summer, she plans to travel to five or six different countries, including Australia, China, Kenya, Mexico, Slovenia, and either Chile or Turkey, to learn more about how bees and the issues facing them are viewed in different parts of the world, as well as what people in various places are doing to support our pollinator populations.  

Each of the countries she has chosen to visit has unique pollinators, organizations, and/or beekeeping practices.  

“I'm hoping that by speaking and working with beekeepers, scientists, and conservationists in each place I visit, I can learn more about the relationships being fostered among people, pollinators, and the environment and to bring what I learn into my future work as a biologist.”

While at Bryn Mawr, Kass participated in the SEA Semester Marine Biodiversity and Conservation program, held a summer internship at the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge, and has done research with Associate Professor of Biology Tom Mozdzer.

"I would tell anyone interested in the Watson or another type of program through Bryn Mawr to try applying even if you don't think you're going to get it because you just might be surprised."

Kass has also been a four-year varsity member of the Bryn Mawr track and field team and the soccer team. She holds school records in several events and has received numerous honors as a member of both teams.